The 1960s

In December 1963, the Ford Foundation grants millions to SAB and seven American ballet companies in order to “strengthen professional ballet in the United States”. The new resources transform the School into a national organization, with faculty members and NYCB dancers traveling the U.S. to recruit, assist in local outreach programs and distribute scholarships to talented students for training at SAB.

Balanchine makes two notable additions to the School’s faculty in 1964: Stanley Williams, a respected teacher and former dancer at the Royal Danish Ballet, and Alexandra Danilova, Balanchine’s former classmate at the Imperial Ballet and a leading ballerina of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Williams soon gains worldwide fame as a teacher of male dancing, attracting leading professionals such as Rudolf Nureyev, Edward Villella, and Mikhail Baryshnikov to his daily classes at SAB. Madame Danilova, primarily a teacher of variations classes for women, establishes SAB’s annual year-end Workshop Performances, giving the School’s advanced students an opportunity to participate in professionally staged, publicly performed productions of classic ballet works.

Notable students enrolled at SAB during this period include Patricia McBride, Suzanne Farrell, Kay Mazzo, Gelsey Kirkland, Robert Weiss and Merrill Ashley.