2019–2020 Ballet Connoisseurship

SAB’s Ballet Connoisseurship is an educational offering for adults providing seasoned ballet goers, patrons, students, scholars, and newcomers alike with knowledge and perspectives that will enhance their appreciation of ballet. Ballet Connoisseurship was launched in January 2019 as part of our new “SAB Open” division and featured seminars exploring ballet history, technique, and choreographic masters.

The 2019-20 season expands upon topics introduced last year and explores new areas.  The 2020 Winter Session of Ballet Connoisseurship includes three units running January through May. Each unit consists of three 90-minute courses and will feature one course which illuminates SAB’s unique methods and the Balanchine aesthetic through live in-studio student demonstrations.

Below is an overview of the upcoming units and meeting times. Click the navigation menu on this page to view detailed descriptions of the units in the 2020 Winter Session.

Topic Overview & Tuition

2019-2020 Overview

Note: All courses take place from 7:00–8:30pm.

Unit IV: Dance & Music History

The History of Swan Lake
Wednesday, January 8
Bournonville and His Influence on Balanchine
Wednesday, January 15
Balanchine and Stravinsky
Wednesday, January 22

Unit V: Master Choreorgraphers

Jerome Robbins: Dances at a Gathering and More
Wednesday, Februrary 12
Justin Peck
Wednesday, February 19
Christopher Wheeldon
Wednesday, February 26

Unit VI: Balanchine Black and White

George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments
Wednesday, April 22
Balanchine’s Black and White in the Studio
Wednesday, April 29
George Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco
Wednesday, May 6

Unit I: Ballet & the Visual Arts

Kirstein’s “Live Eye”
Wednesday, September 18, 2019
The Ballet Russes Aesthetic
Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Ballet Photography: Perspectives from Behind the Lens
Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Unit II: Ballet in the 21st Century

Ballet in Film
Wednesday, October 23, 2019
The Future of Ballet: Spotlight on SAB’s Student Choreography Initiative Course I
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
The Future of Ballet: Spotlight on SAB’s Student Choreography Initiative Course II
Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Unit III: Ballet & Americana

Ballet 101: Training a Balanchine Dancer
Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Ballet and Broadway
Wednesday, November 20, 2019
George Balanchine’s Representations of Americana in Ballet
Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Ballet Connoisseurship Tuition

Each unit (which includes 3 courses each) costs $600. Three units are available for a discounted price of $1600. Or you may now purchase any single course for $225. SAB Members receive a 10% discount with an emailed code.

2020 Winter Session

The following Units will run from January through May 2020. View meeting times, topic and speaker information below. All patrons will be notified of additional information as it becomes available. For questions about this program, please contact Alexis Branagan: 212-769-6612 or abranagan@sab.org.

Unit IV: Ballet & Music History

Wednesday, January 8, 7PM–8:30PM

The History of Swan Lake

Dance historian and writer Lynn Garafola and New York City Ballet principal dancer Maria Kowroski will speak about the history of this classic story ballet, from its Russian roots, to Alexandra Danilova’s interpretation of Odette/Odile, to the versions and dancers we see on stage today. Kowroski will offer insights from her experiences dancing the ballet, particularly dancing the principal role of Odette/Odile with New York City Ballet and as a guest artist with the Mariinksy Ballet. New York City Ballet will perform Swan Lake February 14-23.

Wednesday, January 15, 7PM–8:30PM

Bournonville and His Influence on Balanchine

Silas Farley, dancer with New York City Ballet and dance history scholar, will explore the work of August Bournonville and the Bournonville method, the ballet technique and training system devised by the Danish ballet master. Male students from SAB will demonstrate some of the principles of the technique and how they complement and inform the Balanchine aesthetic.

Wednesday, January 22, 7PM–8:30PM

Balanchine and Stravinsky

Simon Morrison, a music historian specializing in 20th-century music with a special interest in dance, will speak about the unique, long artistic partnership between George Balanchine and Igor Stravinsky. New York City Ballet will perform its Stravinsky & Balanchine program on January 21, 23, and 26, and on February 1 and 2.

Unit V: Master Choreographers and Works

Wednesday, Februrary 12, 7PM–8:30PM

Jerome Robbins: Dances at a Gathering and More

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the premiere of Jerome Robbins’ Dances at a Gathering, we will take a close look at this iconic ballet and other pieces from Robbins’ varied body of work. Amanda Vaill, Jerome Robbins biographer, will lead a discussion with Kay Mazzo, Chairman of Faculty at SAB and former principal dancer with New York City Ballet. Before joining NYCB, Ms. Mazzo trained at the School of American Ballet and performed with Jerome Robbins’ Ballets U.S.A.

Wednesday, February 19, 7PM–8:30PM

Justin Peck

Justin Peck, Resident Choreographer and Artistic Advisor of New York City Ballet, will speak about his work for New York City Ballet and beyond. Peck identifies collaboration as an important part of his process; he will illuminate how working with other artists has shaped his work. Mr. Peck is the Tony Award winning choreographer of the 2018 revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel on Broadway and choreographer of Steven Spielberg’s forthcoming big screen remake of West Side Story.

Wednesday, February 26, 7PM–8:30PM

Christopher Wheeldon

Jeff Edwards, former principal dancer with New York City Ballet, former associate artistic director of Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company, and current professor at The Juilliard School, will speak about Christopher Wheeldon’s career and choreography.

Unit VI: Balanchine Black and White

Wednesday, April 22, 7PM–8:30PM

George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments

Former principal dancer Merrill Ashley will speak about George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments, including the work’s history, her experience dancing a principal role in the ballet, and the ideas and coaching Balanchine shared with his dancers in the studio. New York City Ballet will perform The Four Temperaments as part of its 2020 Spring Season.

Wednesday, April 29, 7PM–8:30PM

Balanchine’s Black and White in the Studio

Suki Schorer, Brown Foundation Senior Faculty Chair at SAB and former principal dancer with New York City Ballet, will illuminate the technical aspects behind some of Balanchine’s iconic black and white ballets as advanced SAB students perform variations from Apollo, Concerto Barocco, and more. Ms. Schorer will also speak about her personal experiences performing the role of Calliope in Apollo.

Wednesday, May 6, 7PM–8:30PM

George Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco

An in-depth look at Concerto Barocco, one of George Balanchine’s early ballets, which later became part of the Black and White canon. Guest speaker(s) TBA. New York City Ballet will perform Concerto Barocco as part of its 2020 Spring Season.

Register Now

Click the link to register for a Ballet Connoisseurship unit or individual course. Each unit is $600 and includes three 90-minute courses. Single courses are available for $225 each. SAB Members at the Inner Circle level and higher receive a 10% discount with an emailed code. Click here to learn more about becoming an SAB member.

REGISTER HERE