About Us

Founded in 2001, New Ballet Ensemble and School (NBE) is a thriving after school dance program in the heart of Midtown Memphis, (Cooper Young) Dancers from all over the Mid-South fill our studios six days a week, training and exploring cultural forms of dance alongside a strong classical ballet curriculum. We collaborate with education partners through school residencies and invest in other active community partnerships to reach audiences of all ages where they are. 

New Ballet Ensemble was awarded the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award in 2014, recognizing the country’s best creative youth development programs for using engagement in the arts and the humanities to increase self-direction, academic achievement, graduation rates, and college enrollment. Read more.

Excellence Under One Big Tent and All Together - NBE is known for equitable and extraordinary accessibility.

Our innovative approach to learning equips our students with expertise in dance and culture.

Aspiring dancers from vastly diverse backgrounds come together on a daily basis where the common denominators are excellence and innovation. Training is intensive, specific and targeted to provide students wtih the tools they need to attain college admission or begin a career in dance. Dance is made relevant as the youth contribute their own creative ideas.

NBE Teaching Artists make community based learning possible. Active and engaged students develop leadership skills through community service, peer mentoring and studio assistance. NBE graduates are dancing professionally, and working in varied fields from international relations to fashion, journalism, environmentalism and medicine. From careers in non-profits to dancing on Broadway, graduates are proving that the sustained activity of studying dance throughout childhood leads to success.

Education Partnerships and School Residencies -

NBE is currently in residence throughout the year in Dunbar Elementary and Lester Community Center. This summer (2016), we are partnered with Memphis Teacher Residency at Lester Cornerstone Prep and Kingsbury Elementary In 2016-17, NBE will add a satellite at Grace St. Lukes Episcopal School and four residencies at Campus Elementary during intersession periods. The NBE DanceLab kicks up at Streets Ministries this year and we are in residence at LR Jackson and Wonder Elementary in West Memphis, Arkansas. 

Arts Infusion - Bartlett Elementary School and Sherwood Elementary partnerships with classroom teachers (sponsored by the Tennessee Arts Commission) will spread dance across content in reaging, math and social studies. 

Performance contributes vitality to local culture - Training for young aspirational dancers

New Ballet School students perform consistently throughout the year both in large scale annual productions at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts and Germantown Performing Arts Center and at cultural institutions such as the Brooks Muesum, in Shelby County Schools and through community partnerships.

Performance training readies students for college level programs and auditions by providing a platform for real world experience. Experience in diverse dance genres contributes to the students' versatility.  A corps of students have performed with Opera Memphis at the Midtown Opera Festival, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra in Memphis Renaissance at the Levitt Shell and at the Hattiloo.  NBE students have also performed in Washington D.C. at the Kennedy Center with the National Symphony Orchestra.

Mentoring with Team Up Memphis Grizzlies -  Students who engage with mentors are more likely to become leaders in high school, college and beyond. Mentoring is for everyone! Our mentors' fields range from the medical profession to the arts and one on one site visits assure concentrated time for a student to focus on the present and the future. Find out more.

College guidance and Workforce development -

NBE has placed graduates at Columbia University, NYU TIsch School of the Arts, TCU, SMU, Boston Conservatory, Marymount Manhattan, the Universities of South Carolina and Georgia, Baylor and Butler Universities. Graduates are eligible for the NBE Professonal Trainee Program, earning weekly stipends as they attend local colleges. Regular ACT prep sessions are held for dancers in grades 9-12.

ArtsMemphis Community DanceSpace and Arts Partnerships

Opened to provide a safe and professional rehearsal enviroronment for developing grass roots performing groups, this space has been home to Out Loud Artistry (OLA), the Memphis Breakers, Sub Culture Royalty, Bantaba African Company, a rehearsal space for Hattiloo Theater, the Grizzlies Dance Team and Women's Theater Fesitval of Memphis. For more information, please contact kathy [at] newballet [dot] org.

In the 2016-17 a new partnership with Facing History and Ourselves will result in new understanding of one another and our world through the "Green Onions" curriculum.

Shelby County Schools is a valued partner in reaching children with consistent dance training and with educational performmances.

Arts partners include the Levitt Shell, Opera Memphis, The Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Germantown Performing Arts Center, Creative Aging, Women's Theater Festival of Memphis and the groups listed below who run great programs in Orange Mound.

Panda Resource Center (Orange Mound) - A two generation approach

Developed in the spring of 2015 in partnership with Arts Memphis and "Engagement Transforms Communities", the FRC is located in our partner school, Dunbar Elementary. The center provides access to services and training through NBE partner organizations. Parents and grandparents are actively engaged in sessions planned with their input and collaboration. These include homework support for their children, access to computers, financial literacy programs for children and parents as well as child care and children's dance classes to take place during evening seminars. The center is led by Joyce Coleman. Find out more, email joyce [at] newballet [dot] org.

Partners in providing access to expressed family needs: Neighborhood Christian Center Orange Mound Women's Resource Center, Regions Bank, MLG&W, United Housing, Deneuville Adult Learning Center, SEEDCO. Partners in the arts and Engagement Transforms Communities: ArtsMemphis, John Washington III, Blues City Cultural Center, Theater Memphis, Prism Ensemble and Visible Music College.

Philosophy - Rigor, Excellence, Mentoring, Peer Support

An Intercultural Organization -

New Ballet students' goals cover a broad spectrum. A common desire to be immersed in an atmosphere of professionalism, creative expression and serious intent inspires NBE dancers to become citizens of the world.

Young Memphis artists who grow up at New Ballet frequently return to share their knowledge, talent and love of dance, becoming role models who nurture the youth who follow.

Core Values

  • Professional Integrity: operating at a high standard in all things.
  • Personal growth: building strong character in our student dancers.
  • Innovative Teaching: focusing on each child’s unique, optimum capabilities.
  • Community Building: bridging our cultural differences through dance.
  • Partnerships: working collaboratively to achieve our goals.
  • Community Engagement: taking dance to schools as a means to educate, discover and recruit talented young performers.