Recruiting and Outreach
The School of American Ballet believes that it can best influence diversity in ballet through seeking and training a racially diverse student body prepared to enter the professional dance world. The Recruiting and Outreach Department works to support this mission and is committed to expanding access to SAB’s programs to students from all backgrounds.
SAB’s free lecture-demonstration, The Beauty of Ballet, provides a child-friendly introduction to ballet for family audiences in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Harlem, and Queens. In performances presented annually since 2009, SAB faculty member Katrina Killian and SAB’s advanced students demonstrate the principles of classical training and perform variations from well-known ballets, offering children and families the opportunity to connect with the world of ballet right in their own backyards. SAB is pleased to partner with Aaron Davis Hall, Queens Theatre, and Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture to present The Beauty of Ballet in 2023.
In 1998, SAB expanded recruiting for the Children’s Division by offering free Community Auditions to children aged 6-10 at neighborhood sites in Harlem, Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Chinatown. These annual spring auditions have led to a marked increase in the diversity of the student body. For example, 74% students of color who auditioned for SAB’s Children’s Division for the 2023-24 Winter Term auditioned at a community location.
National Audition Tour
The National Audition Tour provides SAB with the opportunity to audition serious ballet students from around the country for its annual Summer Course and Young Dancer Series. To increase the number of applicants of color who participate at these auditions and subsequently enroll in its programs, SAB has increased communication with local teachers and schools, as well as collaborated with alumni who maintain significant ties to diverse dance communities nationwide.
Student Life at SAB is committed to fostering a welcoming, inclusive environment for students in all divisions. The Student Life staff considers ‘diversity’ to be an umbrella term designating an abundance of scales on which students, faculty and staff may differ from one another, and is dedicated to promoting conversation and awareness about these differences.
As a part of SAB’s commitment to the health of its student body, faculty, staff, and students are required to participate in professional development and programming that address topics of diversity, inclusion, and empathy. Programming includes:
- Professional development for faculty and staff, focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace as it relates to SAB’s mission and goals.
- New Student Experience’ Programming: a series of workshops for new Intermediate and Advanced students that covers topics such as inclusivity and leadership.
- Personal Enrichment Program: a series of workshops for students in all divisions that cover topics such as identity, implicit bias, microaggressions, and empathy.
- Mentoring and networking experiences for students of color through conferences and symposiums with partnering organizations.
- Student Life and Residence Life Professional Development, with explicit focus on topics of identity, equity, and inclusion.
National Visiting Fellows
The School of American Ballet (SAB) established the National Visiting Fellows program in 2015 with the intention of cultivating relationships with teaching professionals from around the country who are committed to training students from diverse backgrounds. This aids in our effort to build partnerships with dance institutions around the country and investigate potential strategies for national development. Since it began, SAB has awarded fellowships to over 30 teaching professionals across the United States and continues to maintain relationships with past Fellows. Beginning in 2018 and in partnership with past Fellows, SAB implemented National Outreach programs in Atlanta and New Orleans with free masterclasses and teacher training workshops for local students and dance educators. Learn more about past outreach events involving National Visiting Fellows on our blog.