Honoring the 2024 Mae L. Wien Award Recipients

Over thirty years ago Lawrence A. Wien with his daughters and their families established the Mae L. Wien Awards at SAB. They honor Mrs. Wien, a great devotee of ballet who was also deeply interested in young people. SAB and Mrs. Wien’s family are pleased to announce the 2024 Award recipients:

Mae L. Wien Awards for Outstanding Promise
Becket Jones
Alexander Perone
Kylie Williams

Mae L. Wien Award for Achievement in Choreography
Lauren Lovette

Becket Jones was born in Chicago and followed her older sister into ballet at age 3. The Jones family relocated to Raleigh, NC, when Becket was 6, and at age 11 she enrolled at Triangle Academy of Dance in nearby Cary where her teachers included SAB alumna Margaret Severin-Hansen. Featured roles in TAD’s Nutcracker  included “Clara, “Dewdrop” and “Sugar Plum Fairy. Becket attended SAB’s Summer Course from 2019 to 2021 before enrolling in the Winter Term at age 15. She received a rare opportunity to perform children’s roles (Solider/Candy Cane) in NYCB’s 2021 performances of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker when pandemic protocols kept younger children from dancing. Additional stage experience included NYCB’s 2023 The Sleeping Beauty, SAB Workshops (2022: Symphony in C;  2023: featured roles in La Source, Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet and Coppèlia) and NYCB’s spring 2024 performances of Scènes de Ballet. She danced in SAB’s Student Choreography Workshop in 2022 and 2023 and in the New York Choreographic Institute’s 2023 fall session. This year, Becket has worked as a teaching assistant for SAB’s Little Dancers program and for the Preparatory Division “C” class; and she also serves on the Residence Hall Council. Becket completed her high school studies via correspondence last month and has already started virtual college course work. Now 17, Becket will become an apprentice with New York City Ballet in August. In this year’s Workshop Performances, she performed featured roles in Serenade and Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2, and appeared in the Scènes de Ballet corps.

Alexander Perone began training in styles ranging from hip hop to ballet in his hometown of Belle Mead, NJ, at age 9. At 11, he also enrolled at Princeton Ballet School, where he trained with Aydmara Cabrera and Rebeca Maso and was invited to perform “Fritz” in American Repertory Ballet’s Nutcracker. He remained active in competition dance with his original home studio until age 16 while also dancing lead roles with Princeton Ballet. Prior to enrolling in SAB’s Winter Term in September 2022, Alexander trained with Laurie Kanyok at Kanyok Arts Initiative in NYC and attended the 2022 Juilliard Summer Dance Intensive. A member of SAB’s Advanced Men’s class for the past two years, he both danced in and choreographed for SAB’s 2022 and 2023 Student Choreography Workshops. Other 2023 performing experiences included New York Choreographic Institute’s spring and fall sessions, NYCB’s lecture-demonstration program, and a featured part in Napoli at SAB’s 2023 Workshop. In 2024, Alexander danced in Justin Peck’s In Creases for SAB’s Ball and in Scènes de Ballet at NYCB. Now 18, Alexander will complete high school through correspondence this month. He will attend the Royal Danish Ballet Summer School this July before beginning an apprenticeship with NYCB in August. At this year’s Workshop, he performed featured parts in Serenade, Tendu, and Scènes de Ballet.

Kylie Williams, 18, developed her love of ballet as a toddler while observing classes at Sunnyside Ballet Studio in Queens, which was founded by her mother Yasko Takeno-Williams (who trained in Japan and danced professionally in the U.S). She began formal ballet training with her mother at the age of 4 and was concurrently enrolled at the JKO School when she was 5 and 6. Kylie continued her training at Ballet Academy East from age 7 to 16. She attended three SAB Summer Courses between 2018-2022 and enrolled as a Winter Term student in the fall of 2022. Kylie danced in SAB’s 2022 and 2023 Student Choreography Workshops and in the 2023 Fall Session of the New York Choreographic Institute. Other recent performing experience includes NYCB’s The Sleeping Beauty (2023) and the Company’s recent performances of Scènes de Ballet. For two years, Kylie has worked as a Children’s Division teaching assistant, aiding faculty in both the Boys II and Girls IIA classes for the current Winter Term. She completed 9th and 10th grades at NYC’s elite Beacon High School before transitioning to a correspondence program, which she will complete this month. She will begin an apprenticeship with New York City Ballet in August. Kylie danced a featured role in La Source at SAB’s 2023 Workshop. This year, she performed featured roles in Serenade and Scènes de Ballet.

Lauren Lovette has made an exuberant mark on the dance world as both an acclaimed performer and a sought-after choreographer. She began studying ballet at the age of 11 at California Dance Theatre and received additional training at the Cary Ballet Conservatory in Cary, North Carolina. She attended SAB’s Summer Course for three years beginning in 2004 before enrolling as a full-time student in the fall of 2006. In 2008, Ms. Lovette’s choreography career began when she signed up to make a work on her fellow students in SAB’s annual Student Choreography Workshop. In 2009, she danced leading roles in the June Workshop Performances (including two principal parts in Serenade); and that fall, she created her second ballet for the Student Choreography Workshop just as she was also beginning an apprenticeship with New York City Ballet. While still an apprentice she participated in a working session of the New York Choreographic Institute and soon after joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet. She was promoted to Soloist in February 2013 and to Principal Dancer in June 2015. Between 2016-19, Ms. Lovette received three commissions to create new works for NYCB, and in 2021, she announced her departure from the Company in order to more fully dedicate herself to new choreography and other creative endeavors. Ms. Lovette was named Resident Choreographer of the Paul Taylor Dance Company in 2022. In demand as both a choreographer and dancer, Ms. Lovette has created works for Paul Taylor, New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre Studio Company, Vail Dance Festival and Colorado Ballet, among others. In 2012 Lovette was the recipient of both the Janice Levin Award, given to one NYCB’s most promising corps de ballet members each year, and the Clive Barnes Award for dance. In 2018 Lovette was the Virginia B. Toulmin Fellow for Women Leaders in Dance at The Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University. Ms. Lovette’s Tendu premiered at SAB’s 2024 Workshop Benefit on June 11. It marks her Workshop choreographic debut, fifteen years after her last appearance on the Workshop stage as a student performer.