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 the “SAB Open” division and features seminars exploring ballet history, technique, and choreographic masters.

This April and May 2022, Ballet Connoisseurship events are back in-person at the School of American Ballet. Wine and light hors d’oeuvres will be served at each session. Proof of full vaccination is required, and, with the safety and comfort of our patron base in mind, we request that all attendees are masked except when actively eating or drinking.

Individual courses are available for $50 each. A full unit is $125. View details about the current sessions below. 

*A live-stream of each event will be available upon request. Please reach out to Alexis Branagan for more information at

See the Music: Choreographer-Composer Pairings

George Balanchine famously said, “See the music, hear the dance.” He demanded that his dancers be acutely musical, phrasing their movement such that the audience might hear the music differently. These three courses will guide patrons through a deep look at the way choreographers Balanchine and Robbins have used the music of a particular composer. Discussion will include both musical and choreographic analysis. Speakers will also discuss the level to which dancers and musicians may modulate individual tempos and phrasing, and how the conversation between the dance and the music plays out in rehearsals.
Individual Sessions are $50 each or purchase the full unit for $125.

Photos left to right: Paul Kolnik (Mozartiana, Goldberg Variations, Agon)

Tschaikovsky and Balanchine

Monday, May 9, 7:00-8:30pm ET
with Dena Abergel and Gino Francesconi
Featuring demonstrations by School of American Ballet students

Gino Francesconi, former Archivist for Carnegie Hall, and Dena Abergel, former New York City Ballet dancer, SAB faculty, and Children’s Repertory Director, will speak about Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky, his music, and some of Balanchine’s choreography to his scores, including George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® and Mozartiana. SAB students will demonstrate excerpts of Mozartiana, one of Balanchine’s ballets which, like his production of The Nutcracker, features uniquely sophisticated roles for children. Gino Francesconi will offer historical background on Tschaikovsky, including his performances at the opening of Carnegie Hall and how his trip to New York City spurred his composition of the music for The Nutcracker.

Bach and Robbins

Monday, May 16, 7:00-8:30pm ET
with Cameron Grant and Christine Redpath

Cameron Grant, former solo pianist for the New York City Ballet Orchestra, and Christine Redpath, NYCB Ballet Master and former soloist dancer, and will speak about Jerome Robbins’ unique use of Johann Sebastian Bach’s music. They will take a close look at Goldberg Variations on the heels of New York City Ballet’s performances of this large-scale work.

Stravinsky and Balanchine

Monday, May 23, 7:00-8:30pm ET
with Simon Morrison

Simon Morrison, a music historian specializing in 20th-century music with a focus on dance, will speak about the unique, long artistic partnership between George Balanchine and Igor Stravinsky. Referencing archival performance footage, Morrison will highlight Balanchine’s and Stravinsky’s complimentary implementation of abstraction in their work, and how works like Agon are true masterpieces from both a movement and musical perspective.

Register Now

Register now for one or more spring sessions!  Each seminar is $50 each.  A full unit is available for $125.

Ballet Connoisseurship On Demand

Throughout the pandemic, SAB continued to offer Ballet Connoisseurship courses via Zoom. We are pleased to offer access to our library of 20 previously-recorded remote Ballet Connoisseurship sessions through Vimeo On Demand. This collection includes sessions from units exploring George Balanchine’s black and white ballets, Jerome Robbins’ unique choreography style, comedy in ballet, contemporary choreographers, and more. Sessions are available to rent for $25 each.  Or you can buy all 20 for just $100.

View the full line up on our Ballet Connoisseurship On Demand page.

Ballet Connoisseurship is made possible in part by a grant from The Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation.