The School of American Ballet (SAB) was founded in 1934 as an integral part of George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein’s proposal for the creation of an American ballet company. Critical to this plan was the establishment of a school, where students would be trained in the artistic innovations of what was anticipated to become an American dance tradition, and would ultimately lead to the creation of one of the world’s leading dance companies: New York City Ballet.
Today, the School of American Ballet continues its work toward an American dance tradition fully reflective of the society it aims to represent. As an undeniably intrinsic, important, and visible aspect of American life, SAB considers the artistic representation of cultural and racial diversity as essential, and therefore regards an official, organization-wide focus on cultivating such diversity as but a natural extension of its original mission: to train exceptional dancers in the art of the American ballet.
Known as a premier training academy whose graduates are poised to join and ultimately head dance organizations worldwide, SAB believes that it must be proactive in assuring access to its auditions and training, as well as in providing the necessary financial, developmental, and social support for qualified students of all backgrounds. The School is cognizant of the scope of its influence in ballet, and therefore sees itself as responsible for setting a tone of inclusivity and access within its practices, with the ultimate goal of affecting the racial and ethnic composition of professional stages worldwide.
The School of American Ballet’s current Diversity Initiative, officially launched in 2012, but truly the continuation of more than two decades of community-focused outreach and a long-standing tradition of support for talented dancers of all backgrounds, features two divisions : Recruiting and Outreach, and Student Life.