New Ballet Ensemble and School
Founded in 2003 by Artistic Director Katie Smythe, New Ballet Ensemble and School (NBE) is a Creative Youth Development program focused on bringing students from diverse backgrounds together by providing access to a professional standard of dance training, regardless of a family’s ability to pay. NBE programs include: two dance residency programs in local Title 1 schools where all participants train for free; a school in the heart of midtown Memphis where an array of youth come together with thirty percent of students training on scholarship, and; the Professional Trainee Program. In the Trainee program young adults earn stipends, gain access to professional development as Performing and Teaching Artists, and matriculate into jobs as instructors, mentors and choreographers in the Ensemble.
NBE’s organizational goal is to ready students for higher education and/or a life as a professional dancer. The curriculum instills knowledge of West African dance, urban dance (Jookin’ and Break Dance) and Flamenco in addition to intensive Ballet training in preparation for work with 21st Century choreographers.