Announcing SAB’s Alumni of Distinction Award Recipients

The School of American Ballet proudly celebrates that the accomplishments of its alumni community are extraordinary and worthy of recognition. Therefore, as part of our 90th Anniversary Celebration, SAB has established an annual Alumni of Distinction Award.

These annual awards will be a powerful storytelling tool as we aim to not only lift our alumni’s achievements to a larger audience, but also to illuminate the influence and impact that they have on the communities and cultures of their lives. The awards will also give the School the important opportunity to explore openly how a foundation in classical ballet training at SAB contributes to broadly defined success both on stage and off.

We are deeply honored to announce the inaugural Award recipients are photographer Rosalie O’Connor, and actor, singer and dancer Hinton Battle (1956-2024).

Rosalie O’Connor began her training at SAB in 1982, and in 1987, she joined the ranks at American Ballet Theatre, dancing with the Company until she retired in 2002. Upon her retirement, she became an Associate Staff Photographer at ABT and launched Rosalie O’Connor Photography.

Since 1996, Rosalie has developed a prolific body of photographic work, and her services are in high demand. Her images have appeared in Vogue, Vanity Fair, The New York Times and most dance periodicals. Rosalie’s photographs have been displayed in solo exhibitions at Lincoln Center and at The John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

For more than twenty years, Rosalie has beautifully captured life at SAB in the studios, on the stage and in our hallways. And since the inception of our Capstone Program, she has graciously supported our auditioning students by providing them with professional audition photography services.

Hinton Battle (1956-2024) was an actor, a singer, a dancer and a choreographer. He began training at SAB in 1970, but his professional career began at 18 when he made his Broadway debut as the Scarecrow in the original production of The Wiz. As his career progressed, Hinton won three Tony Awards, each for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical.

Hinton’s career was impressive and expansive, and his work appeared on and off-Broadway, in television, film, music and literature. He even returned briefly to ballet after establishing his Broadway career, dancing with Lyric Opera Ballet in Chicago and Dance Theater of Harlem.

The Hinton Battle Dance Academy was in operation in Japan from 2017-2022, and in his memory, all 41 Broadway theaters dimmed their marquee lights on March 12, 2024.

Hinton was a founding member of SAB’s Alumni Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion.

The first two recipients will be honored at our 90th Anniversary Alumni Celebration on Friday, June 7, in person at SAB. All alumni and their guests (21 years of age and older) are invited to join us as we honor our two inaugural Award recipients.