The School of American Ballet, the official training academy of the New York City Ballet, was established in 1934 by legendary choreographer George Balanchine and philanthropist Lincoln Kirstein as the first and most essential step in their quest to create an American classical ballet company.
SAB, located at New York City's Lincoln Center, is today the premier ballet academy in the United States, training more students who go on to become professional dancers than any other school. SAB's former students fill the ranks of the New York City Ballet and other leading U.S. and international ballet companies.
The School's alumni roster is a "who's who" of twentieth century American classical ballet, filled with names such as Suzanne Farrell, Arthur Mitchell, Maria Tallchief and Darci Kistler, as well as Broadway legends Chita Rivera and Hinton Battle.
SAB's faculty is an international group of brilliant instructors whose backgrounds provide students with a variety of artistic influences.
The faculty is led by Peter Martins, (shown right) New York City Ballet's Ballet Master in Chief, and includes a number of current and past New York City Ballet principal dancers, many of whom worked directly with Balanchine.
Approximately 450 boys and girls, ranging in age from six to eighteen, attend classes during the School's ten-month Winter Term. A five-week Summer Course attracts an additional 200 of the nation's top ballet students. Admission is by audition only.
SAB provides over $1 million each year in financial aid to Winter Term and Summer Course students. Scholarships, which are allocated on a case-by-case basis, may cover tuition, room and board, travel fees and academic school tuition.
While most students enrolled in the School's Children's Division are residents of the New York metropolitan area, students in the Intermediate and Advanced Divisions hail from over 30 U.S. states and nine foreign countries. During Winter Term, 64 of these non-local students reside in the School's onsite residence hall; most Summer Course students live in the residence hall for the five-week program.
Many SAB students have unique opportunities to gain performing experience through the School’s affiliation with New York City Ballet. Younger students are featured in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, (shown right), A Midsummer Night's Dream and Coppelia among other ballets.
Advanced students may perform in the School’s Spring Workshop, NYCB Education Department’s Lecture-Demonstration program, SAB’s Student Choreography Workshop, and NYCB’s New York Choreographic Institute.
Approximately 20 advanced students receive contracts with major professional dance companies each year. In addition to NYCB, where alumni of the School comprise over ninety percent of the current company roster, SAB students go on to dance for American Ballet Theatre, Arthur Mitchell’s Dance Theatre of Harlem, Miami City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet, among others.
In the past five years alone, students have joined 35 U.S. ballet companies and nearly a dozen international dance troupes. SAB’s influence extends beyond the footlights: alumni currently hold artistic posts at more than 20 American and at least 5 foreign companies, and many of the nation's leading ballet schools are run by SAB-trained dancers.
Suzanne Farrell © Martha Swope; Vienna Waltzes, choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust; Darci Kistler © Paul Kolnik; Mozartiana, choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust; Arthur Mitchell © Martha Swope; The Four Temperaments, choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust; Peter Martins and boys class photos © Rosalie O'Connor; George Balanchine's The Nutcracker™ © Paul Kolnik; Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust
BALANCHINE is a trademark of The George Balanchine Trust