The Mae L. Wien Awards

Mae L. Wien

In the late nineteenth century, Herman Levy from Russia and Roselle Linker of France immigrated to New York. They married in 1904 and in 1909, on the 4th of July, their daughter Mae was born. The Levys lived in Manhattan and Mae attended Julia Richmond Elementary School and Washington Irving High School, Columbia University, and art school as well.

At a New Year’s Eve party in 1928, Mae met Lawrence A. Wien and they were married the next year, returning from their honeymoon just before the infamous October stock market crash. The young married couple lived in Manhattan, then Brooklyn and, as Larry Wien’s business prospects flourished, in Connecticut. They had two daughters: Enid (“Dinny”) and Isabel.

It was a close-knit family, and when Dinny married Lester Morse and Isabel married Peter Malkin, they and their children stayed intimately involved with the Wiens. The extended family spent major holidays together and often traveled together.

Larry was involved with numerous New York City organizations and the Wiens were generous donors to Brandeis University, Lincoln Center, New York City Ballet, and especially Columbia University and Columbia Law School. He sat on the Lincoln Center Board for many years and was instrumental in admitting the School of American Ballet to Lincoln Center as a full constituent.

When Mrs. Wien died in 1986, her husband and family established the annual Mae L. Wien Awards at SAB in her honor. At the same time, the family endowed a Faculty Chair in honor of Mrs. Wien. The first recipient of this honor was former ballerina and longtime faculty member, Alexandra Danilova. When she retired in 1989, the Mae L. Wien Chair passed to veteran teacher Andrei Kramarevsky.

2023 Wien Awards

From left: Sheryl Ware, Natalie Glassie, Mia Williams, Oscar Estep. Photo: Rosalie O’Connor

The School of American Ballet is pleased to announce the following recipients of the 2023 Mae L. Wien Award:

Mae L. Wien Awards for Outstanding Promise
Oscar Estep
Natalie Glassie
Mia Williams

Mae L. Wien Faculty Award for Distinguished Service
Sheryl Ware

Oscar Estep was born in San Diego and fell in love with dance after a viewing of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker during a visit to New York. The following year his family moved to NYC and Oscar took classes at Ballet Hispanico before successfully auditioning for SAB at age 6. Childhood performances with NYCB included roles in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, Swan Lake and La Sylphide; but he also pursued his interest in baseball and soccer, participating first in NYC’s Westside Little League and then in Westside Soccer League concurrently with his ballet training until the age of 13. Performing experiences as an advanced student include SAB’s Student Choreography Workshop and the New York Choreographic Institute (2022 and 2023) and this year’s SAB Beauty of Ballet community performances and NYCB lecture demonstration program. Now 18, Oscar graduates from Professional Performing Arts School in June. He will attend the Royal Danish Ballet Summer School this July before beginning an apprenticeship with New York City Ballet in August. At this year’s Workshop, he performed featured parts in Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet and Napoli.

Natalie Glassie, 19, was born in Brooklyn and started neighborhood dance classes when she was 4 before enrolling at SAB at age 6. While training in the Children’s Division she performed in almost every New York City Ballet production that features parts for children, highlighted by two years as “Marie” in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker at ages 10 and 11, Mozartiana, La Sylphide and Union Jack. Natalie danced in SAB’s 2019 and 2021 Student Choreography Workshops and both danced and choreographed (to music by Debussy) in 2022. Other performing experiences include the 2022 and 2023 spring sessions of the New York Choreographic Institute, NYCB’s lecture demonstration program (2020), SAB’s Beauty of Ballet community performances (2023), and SAB’s Workshop Performances in 2011, 2014, 2021 and 2022. She graduated from Professional Children’s School in 2022 with the senior awards for Excellence in Science and Excellence in Political Theory. At this year’s Workshop, Natalie performed principal parts in Coppélia, Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet and Napoli.

Mia Williams started early dance training in a wide array of genres at age 3 in her hometown of Yuma, Arizona, after finding early inspiration in her mother’s pursuit of recreational tap dancing. By the age of 11, Mia had narrowed her dance focus to ballet. When she was 16, she attended SAB’s 2021 Summer Course and was invited to enroll that fall as an advanced student in the C2 class. For the past two years, Mia has lived in SAB’s on-site Residence Hall while training full time and attending Professional Performing Arts School, from which she will graduate this month. Performing experiences include SAB’s Beauty of Ballet community performances (Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux) and the 2022 Student Choreography Workshop. At the June 2022 Workshop Performances, Mia originated a role in the world premiere of Gianna Reisen’s Signs and performed in Symphony in C. Currently recovering from an injury, Mia did not appear in this year’s Workshop. Now 18, she has been invited to begin an apprenticeship with New York City Ballet in August.

Sheryl Ware began training in her hometown of San Mateo, California, with Robert and Carolyn Hanlin when she was 7. She attended the School of American Ballet’s Summer Course when she was 15 and subsequently enrolled in the School’s Winter Term. At the age of 17, George Balanchine invited her to join the New York City Ballet. During her ten years with NYCB, Ms. Ware performed principal and soloist roles in numerous works by the Company’s founding choreographers, George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. Ms Ware retired from dancing in 1980. She was invited to join SAB’s permanent faculty in 1996 and has been a mainstay teacher of Children’s and Intermediate Division classes ever since. Ms. Ware was first awarded the Mae L. Wien Award for Distinguished Service in 2003. In 2014, she participated in the Workshop as a stager, teaching Coppélia’s “Waltz of the Golden Hours” solo that Mr. Balanchine made for her in 1974. She contributes her knowledge of that ballet once again for this year’s performances.

Past Awardees

Over the years the students who have received Mae L. Wien Awards have graduated to rewarding ballet careers. Many dance with the New York City Ballet. Others have gone to professional companies both here and abroad: American Ballet Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Fort Worth Dallas Ballet, Maurice Bejart’s Ballet of the Twentieth Century, and the White Oak Project. Several of the older awardees’ performing careers have ended; some have stayed in the ballet world and are teachers, choreographers, and ballet mistresses. Others have pursued such diverse second careers as forestry, catering, finance, physical therapy and news casting.

The Mae L. Wien Awardees are:

Rebecca Metzger
Robert Lyon
Muriel Stuart
(Faculty Award)
Gretchen Patchell
Eric Lindemer
John Selya
Antonina Tumkovsky
(Faculty Award)
Tanya Gingerich
Inmaculada Velez
Arch Higgins
Jiuchi Kobayashi
Alexandra Danilova
(Faculty Award)
Samantha Allen
Elizabeth Walker
Todd Williams
Hélène Dudin
(Faculty Award)
Megan Bonneau
Sant’gria Bello
Robert LaFosse
(Young Choreographer
Elise Reiman
(Faculty Award)
Emily Coates
Anna Liceica
Stanley Williams
(Faculty Award)
Jennie Somogyi
Edwaard Liang
Miriam Mahdaviani
(Young Choreographer
Suki Schorer
(Faculty Award)
Kristina Fernandez
Seth Belliston
Richard Rapp
(Faculty Award)
Jessy Hendrickson
Benjamin Millepied
Andrei Kramarevsky
(Faculty Award)
Aesha Ash
Darius Crenshaw
Christopher Wheeldon
(Young Choreographer

Kay Mazzo
(Faculty Award)
Aubrey Morgan
Stephen Hanna
Garielle Whittle
(Faculty Award)
Janie Taylor
Adam Hendrickson
Susan Pilarre
(Faculty Award)
Carla Korbes
Craig Hall
Seth Orza
Olga Kostritzky
(Faculty Award) 
Ashley Bouder
Glenn Keenan
Amar Ramasar
Andrew Veyette
Marina Stavitskaya
(Faculty Award)
Megan Fairchild
Ashlee Knapp
Benjamin Griffiths
David Blumenfeld
Melissa Barak
(Young Choreographer

Peter Boal
(Faculty Award)
Jessica Flynn
Georgina Pazcoguin
Tyler Angle
Allen Peiffer
Jock Soto
(Faculty Award)
Sara Mearns
Ana Sophia Scheller
Vincent Paradiso
Giovanni Villalobos
Sheryl Ware
(Faculty Award)
Kaitlyn Gilliland
Tiler Peck
Daniel Applebaum
William Lin-Yee
Nathalie Gleboff
(For Distinguished
Maira Barriga
Jan Burkhard
Robert Fairchild
Masahiro Suehara
Katrina Killian
(Faculty Award)
Kathryn Morgan
Tabitha Rinko-Gay
Anthony Huxley
David Prottas
Darci Kistler
(Faculty Award)
Sara Adams
Kristen Segin
Cameron Dieck
Russell Janzen
Nikolaj Hübbe
(Faculty Award)
Megan Johnson
Lydia Wellington
Samuel Greenberg
Michael Tucker
Sean Lavery
(Faculty Award)
Emilie Gerrity
Ashly Isaacs
Shoshana Rosenfield
Taylor Stanley
Violette Verdy
(Faculty Award)
Jillian Harvey
Spartak Hoxha
Alexander Peters
Elizabeth Wallace
Jeffrey Middleton
(Faculty Award)
Harrison Ball
Meaghan Dutton-O’Hara
Angelica Generosa
Peter Walker
Lisa de Ribère
(Faculty Award)
Olivia Boisson
Harrison Coll
Silas Farley
Claire Von Enck
Sean Lavery
(Faculty Award)
Daniela Aldrich
Isabella LaFreniere
Jordan Miller
Peter Martins
(Faculty Award)
Kay Mazzo
(Faculty Award)
Lyrica Blankfein
Christopher Grant
Baily Jones
Addie Tapp
Dena Abergel
(Faculty Award)
Joscelyn Dolson
Clara Ruf-Maldonado
Dammiel Cruz
Yvonne Borree
(Faculty Award)
Emma Von Enck
Christopher D’Ariano
Ethan Fuller
Jonathan Stafford
(Faculty Award)
Nieve Corrigan
Gabriella Domini
Andres Zuniga
Arch Higgins
(Faculty Award)
Naomi Corti
Julianne Kinasiewicz
Davide Riccardo
Andrei Kramarevsky
(Faculty Award)
Savannah Durham
Shelby Tzung
Cainan Weber
Phoebe Higgins
(Faculty Award)
Ross Allen
Ruby Lister
Rommie Tomassini
Lily Maulsby
Madeline Rogers
Schuyler Wijsen
Jeffrey Middleton
(Faculty Award)
Henry Berlin
Alyssa Douglass
Charlie Klesa
Alla Reznik
(For Distinguished Service)