Founded by George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein
Chairman of Faculty and Artistic Director Peter Martins

The Mae L. Wien Awards

2013 Wien Awards

The School of American Ballet is pleased to announce the following recipients of the 2013 Mae L. Wien Award:

Peter Martins
Kay Mazzo


Daniela Aldrich
Isabella LaFreniere
Jordan Miller

Photo by Paul Kolnik

PETER MARTINS was appointed George Balanchine’s successor as SAB’s Artistic Director and Chairman of Faculty in 1983. For the past thirty years, Mr. Martins has overseen the artistic direction of both the School and its affiliated company New York City Ballet. At SAB, he has introduced numerous initiatives and enhanced programs to ensure that the School’s training continues to produce exceptional dancers for New York City Ballet and companies around the world. Among the programs implemented under Mr. Martins’s direction have been: choreography workshops that have nurtured promising choreographers among SAB’s students and in the professional dance community, providing important early dance-making opportunities for emerging talents such as Christopher Wheeldon and Justin Peck; an expanded music curriculum; a weight-training program for intermediate and advanced male students; a new “Prep Division” that lowered the minimum enrollment age from 8 to 6; and perhaps most significantly, a tuition-free Boys Program which has exponentially increased the School’s male enrollment. In its early days, the Boys Program served as the impetus for expanded recruiting in the New York-area, which subsequently blossomed into a robust community outreach initiative that now reaches scores of boys and girls in New York City neighborhoods and has further diversified the School. Above all, he has presided over the evolution of the faculty, developing new faculty members as needed to maintain the tradition of excellence in the instruction offered by SAB.

KAY MAZZO, who trained at SAB starting at the age of 11, was appointed to SAB’s faculty in 1982 by George Balanchine after performing with NYCB for 20 years. She taught girls in most levels before being appointed Coordinator of Curriculum in 1993 by Peter Martins. Ms. Mazzo succeeded Stanley Williams as Co-Chairman of Faculty in October 1997. In her current capacity, she oversees all aspects of daily training for the entire School, including the management of faculty and pianists. Student development and professional placement along with the School’s national and local audition initiatives are among her key areas of focus. Ms. Mazzo also teaches a full schedule of classes for intermediate and advanced girls, passing on the knowledge and expertise gleaned from her many years dancing for Mr. Balanchine. She has been a trustee of the George Balanchine Trust since 1987.

DANIELA ALDRICH's first exposure to dance came in the form of Flamenco classes in Málaga, Spain, where she lived from the ages of 2 to 5 while her father worked as a language instructor. Upon returning to their home in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Daniela enrolled as a student at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, where she trained for the next 6 years with Marcia Dale Weary and Leslie Hench. When her parents embarked on another teaching year in Málaga, 13-year-old Daniela, who is fluent in Spanish, moved alone to Madrid for her 8th grade year, attending public school and training at the Victor Ullate School of Dance. The following two years were spent at CPYB, where Daniela enjoyed the opportunity to perform in a number of Balanchine’s ballets. She attended SAB’s Summer Course in 2010 and 2011 before enrolling as a full time student at the age of 16. Daniela has progressed to the highest level of the advanced division and was one of two advanced students selected by Peter Martins and Kay Mazzo this spring to participate in a special student teaching program. She is also a teaching assistant in the Children’s Division Girls I class and holds a leadership position in SAB’s on-site Residence Hall, serving as one of four Community Development Assistants. Now 18, she will graduate in mid-June from Professional Children’s School, where she was recently named the recipient of the senior award for Excellence in Creative Writing. Daniela performed a soloist role in Cortège Hongrois at the 2012 Workshop. This year, she performed a principal role in all three performances of Divertimento No. 15.

ISABELLA LaFRENIERE, 17, was inspired by her older sister to begin ballet classes at the age of 4 in Toledo, Ohio. For four years beginning at the age of 7 she trained in northern Michigan with Scott Heinerich and Giuseppe Canale. From the ages of 11 to 14, she pursued her ballet training with Anna Reznick and Alexei Kremnev, first at Southold Dance Theater in Indiana and then at the Joffrey Academy of Dance in Chicago. Isabella attended SAB’s five-week Summer Course in 2008 at the age of 12. She enrolled as a full-time student two years later and has been living in SAB’s onsite Residence Hall and training in SAB’s Winter Term for the past three years. She attended the Chautauqua Institution summer dance program in 2011 and 2012, earning leading roles in student productions of Balanchine’s Serenade and Donizetti Variations. She has also danced as a guest artist in the American Academy of Ballet’s annual Nutcracker productions in Buffalo for the past two years. Isabella is in her junior year at Professional Children’s School, where she especially enjoys math and science classes. She made her first Workshop appearance this year, dancing the principal ballerina role in Walpurgisnacht Ballet at two performances.

JORDAN MILLER, who hails from Auburn, Indiana, started tap, jazz, and ballet as a toddler. She chose to dedicate herself to ballet at the age of 12 after enrolling at the Fort Wayne-based conservatory New American Youth Ballet. There she trained with SAB alumna Beth McLeish and was first exposed to Balanchine’s choreography through a school performance of Serenade. Jordan was offered a scholarship to SAB’s Summer Course when she was 16 and was subsequently invited to become a year-round student. Jordan has been training in the advanced division for the past two years. She participated as a dancer in SAB’s Student Choreography Workshop in 2011 and 2012 and in the recent spring session of the New York Choreographic Institute. She also works as a teaching assistant in the Children’s Division Girls I class. Now 18, Jordan completed her high school studies a year early, graduating with honors from Professional Children’s School in 2012. She performed in the corps de ballet of Cortège Hongrois at last year’s Workshop and danced a principal role in all three performances of Divertimento No. 15 this year.