Wellness and Enrichment Programs

As students grow and develop artistically, so do their physical, social and emotional needs.

This personal growth is matched by increasing awareness of the roles they play in their communities and the significance of their training at SAB. We understand that when our students arrive for class, they bring with them the complexities of their development, and the School takes seriously its responsibility to help students address these changes in ways that keep them and their community healthy. Through a series of Wellness and Enrichment Programs, the Student Life Department aims to educate and resource students with the tools they need to be healthy, engaged and ready to learn.

Wellness Curriculum

Students in the Upper Children’s, Intermediate, and Advanced Divisions participate in SAB’s Wellness Curriculum. While programs and services vary by level to meet the needs of those students, the Curriculum addresses physical, mental, and social health. Specifically, it educates students about the ways in which their developmentally appropriate challenges are shaped by training at SAB.  

As students progress artistically, the Wellness Curriculum builds to complement their experiences within and beyond the studios. For example, conversations around competition and friendship begin as students first experience New York City Ballet casting in the Children’s Division, but also reach our most advanced students who participate in the professional placement process alongside their peers. Similarly, student access to physical therapy, Pilates and nutrition resources grow as their bodies develop through adolescence and the rigors of their training increase. 

SAB’s team of consulting professionals partner with the Director of Student Life for Children’s Division and Wellness Programming to shape curriculum and deliver information in dynamic and impactful ways. When possible, these programs are integrated into students’ regularly scheduled class time, underscoring the value SAB places on this education, while also ensuring that students will be able to fully participate in this learning. Below are introductions to the vital components of the Wellness Curriculum.  

Physical Therapy and Pilates

Physical Therapy and Pilates are valuable resources that can enhance a student’s technical training at SAB. Students work with certified and licensed professionals in either small groups or one on one sessions to build strength and flexibility, assess injury, and learn maintenance techniques. These resources are provided to all Intermediate and Advanced Division students via open hours several days per week.

Students in the Intermediate and Advanced Divisions also receive additional educational seminars in Physical Therapy. These seminars are developed to support the technical training needs of students in each level. Topics range from basic anatomy and injury prevention to addressing more detailed alignment and posture concerns, mobility and stability training.

Photo credit: Rosalie O’Connor

Nutrition and Mental Health Counseling

Education and awareness are at the forefront of SAB’s philosophy around nutrition and mental health for developing dancers. SAB has certified and licensed nutrition and mental health professionals on staff, who are available to meet with students for one on one support.

These resources are available to all Intermediate and Advanced Division students by appointment.
Students in the Intermediate and Advanced Divisions also receive additional educational seminars in both nutrition and mental health. These seminars are developed to support the development needs of students and are catered to teach real-life practical tools that can be used to enhance their physical and emotional well-being. Topics range from sports nutrition, optimal fueling, energy deficiency, homesickness, better sleep, coping techniques.

PEP Seminars

SAB aspires to create a student community and atmosphere that is supportive and constructive given the unique demands and rigors of serious ballet training. Healthy and productive attitudes towards oneself and fellow students within the SAB community can have an enormous impact on a student’s happiness and progress both inside and outside the ballet studio. While developmental growth and challenges are normal for all adolescents, the Personal Enrichment Program (PEP) has been developed to explore the issues that are especially heightened by the pursuit of ballet and provide students with the tools to productively deal with personal and social challenges as they arise.

All students in the Upper Children’s, Intermediate and Advanced Divisions receive this curriculum, which spans such topics as navigating friendships in dance, competition and comparisons, building positive self-esteem, overcoming challenges, communication skills, and mental fitness for class and performance.

Pointe Shoe Orientation

In partnership with corporate sponsor Freed of London, SAB offers students in Girls IV the opportunity to receive customized, one on one pointe shoe fittings as part of their artistic curriculum. As part of students’ and families’ pointe shoe education, SAB also provides an introductory pointe shoe orientation to address general questions and to prepare students for wearing pointe shoes.

pointe shoes

Student Advising

Students in levels B2, Intermediate Men and above all participate in SAB’s Advising Program. This program provides opportunities for students to connect with Student Life staff members, both in groups and one-on-one, to discuss non-artistic components of their SAB experience. Advisors seek to ensure that all students have at least one point of connection with staff at the School so they can ask questions, seek guidance and provide feedback regarding the many ways they exist in our community. Advisors and advisees formally meet 3 times over the year, but students are always encouraged to seek staff guidance from any member of the Student Life team at any point during their course of enrollment.

New Student Experience

New Student Experience programming stretches over the entirety of the Winter Term and is designed to help all new Intermediate and Advanced students as they transition to life in the SAB community. New students often need guidance on topics such as time management, injury prevention and recovery, health and wellness resources, balancing academics and navigating a new residential community. This program creates space for important non-artistic conversations with students who are navigating many new responsibilities and challenges. New Student Experience programming is developed and facilitated by SAB’s Associate Director of Student Life for Residential and Transitional Programming.

Lassalle Cultural Program

Founded in 2007, the Lassalle Cultural Program services students in the Upper Children’s, Intermediate and Advanced Divisions, and aims for two principal outcomes. The first is to help our students explore the history of ballet within the larger context of classical and contemporary art. The second is to ensure that our students have opportunities to experience New York City’s vast cultural landscape in ways that are educational and enriching for their developing artistry.

Over the course of the year, students will have the opportunity to attend performances and exhibitions at The Metropolitan Opera, The New York Philharmonic, New York City Ballet, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Guggenheim Museum, The Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as other non-ballet dance performances and Broadway theater.

While specific programming varies annually, on average students in our Intermediate and Advanced Divisions attend 5 Cultural Programs a year free of charge. Each of these programs includes an educational pre-talk that helps students contextualize the performance or experience. The Lassalle Cultural Program reaches our Upper Children’s Division students by offsetting the cost for trips to New York City Ballet and Broadway shows for them as well as an adult guardian. Lastly, the Lassalle Cultural Program partially subsidizes the cost for Summer Course students to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art and to see New York City Ballet in Saratoga Springs, New York.

The Department of Student Life oversees the Lassalle Cultural Program and efforts are spearheaded by the Assistant Director of Student Life for Academic and Cultural Programs. We are grateful for the many partnering professionals who help us build an educational and engaging roster of activities annually. SAB is particularly grateful for its partnership with the Jerome Robbins Dance Division at the New York City Public Library for the Performing Arts. Other consulting educators include SAB’s Music Teacher, as well New York City Ballet dancer and Cultural Program Fellow, Silas Farley.

This program is named in honor of Nancy Lassalle, an SAB alumna who helped found the program and who has dedicated her life to the promotion of the art of classical ballet exemplified by New York City Ballet and the School of American Ballet.