The Kennedy Center

The Washington Ballet @ THEARC


Originally founded as The Washington School of Ballet in 1944 by legendary ballet pioneer Mary Day and incorporated as a professional company in 1976, The Washington Ballet (TWB) is one of the preeminent ballet organizations in the United States. TWB has built an international reputation presenting bold works by choreographers from around the world, including Choo-San Goh, Christopher Wheeldon, Mark Morris, Twyla Tharp, and Nacho Duato, as well as neoclassical masterworks and fresh stagings of 19th century classics. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Septime Webre and Managing Director Arthur Espinoza, TWB has embraced a three-part mission: ensuring excellence in its professional performance company; growing the next generation of dancers through its Washington School of Ballet; and serving the community in which it resides through robust community engagement programs. For more information, visit


Co-founded in 1944 by the late Mary Day and Lisa Gardiner, The Washington School of Ballet (TWSB) is recognized nationally and internationally for its classical training and dedication to excellence in dance and dance education. The school trains more than 500 students a year at its studios on Wisconsin Avenue, NW, 300 students at TWB@THEARC in Southeast Washington, and an additional 50 students at its Alexandria campus at The Athenaeum. Its curriculum includes creative movement classes for four-year-olds, pre-ballet for five- and six-year-olds, boys' classes, and a graded program for students seven years old through young adulthood, many of whom wish to pursue dance as a career. The school also offers a Professional Track Program that brings together especially talented students from around the country and the world for intensive training under our renowned faculty. The Washington School of Ballet at The Athenaeum holds classes for young students in Northern Virginia. Both the Northwest and Southeast campuses also offer comprehensive adult programs. All three campuses share a curriculum formulated by Kee Juan Han, the School Director, to ensure the same high caliber of training at each of the school's locations.

A satellite campus of The Washington School of Ballet (TWSB), The Washington Ballet @ THEARC (TWB@THEARC) offers the same graded curriculum and conservatory-style training as TWSB. Since opening its doors in 2005, TWB@THEARC has grown from 60 to more than 300 students, ages 5-18, who study ballet, contemporary, African, and hip-hop, during the academic year from September through June. TWB@THEARC also offers a Summer Intensive course, classes for adults on a drop-in basis, and community engagement programs including DanceDC and EXCEL! Since its inception in 1999, DanceDC has provided integrated dance and literacy training to more than 6,000 students enrolled in District public schools. Building on the success of DanceDC came EXCEL!, a program that supports the most promising students from DanceDC to train at the internationally recognized Washington School of Ballet on full scholarship. TWB@THEARC is housed at the Town Hall Education Arts and Recreation Center (THEARC), a multi-disciplinary facility in Southeast Washington, where music, art, and social services are offered in an environment that inspires adults and children to learn, share, discover, and flourish. TWB@THEARC's state-of-the-art facility includes two studios, dressing and locker rooms, and a 365-seat theater, where The Washington Ballet performs its famed Nutcracker with some TWB@THEARC students in the production. TWB@THEARC grew out of The Washington Ballet's commitment to community engagement, and today, it is one of the Ballet's most successful initiatives.
The Washington Ballet, TheArc