About Us

Excellence under one big tent -  And all together

Founded in 2001, New Ballet is a bridge-building Community School of the Arts, serving youth from every corner of the Midsouth, providing access to excellence in training.

Children and adults from vastly diverse economic and cultural backgrounds come together on a daily basis in an arts space where the common denominators are excellence and innovation in dance. The bridges that we build in the process remain a principle focus of the organization’s leadership. With support from our funding partners, need based scholarships serve over 59% of the New Ballet student population. 

The out of school time program, based in the historic Cooper Young neighborhood, is a resource for dance training for both the serious pre-professional student and those who want to experience personal growth through the art of dance.

New Ballet offers an array of avenues into the school. A vocational program has helped to build a corps of Memphis teaching and performing artists and specialists who have remained with the organization to carry out our mission. Title 1 school residencies, public and school performances and community partnerships with human service organizations and community centers serve participants in Orange Mound, Binghampton, and Hickory Hill. Summer intensives bring experts from around the nation to teach challenging classes and repertoire.

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

New Ballet School students perform in annual productions, at cultural institutions, in schools and for community service projects.  In the process, Memphis youth come to know one another by discovering their similarities and uncerstanding their differences while sharing a passion for the art of dance. Performance training readies students for college level programs and auditions. Exposure to multi-cultural dance and different dance genres promotes college readiness as well as a versatile corps of students who are prepared for twenty-first century dance innovation.

In our the tenth season, NBE was commissioned to perform at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. with a premiere of a new work by Artistic Director Katie Smythe and the Ensemble.  The work, based on Duke Ellington's MLK Suite and was commissioned by the Kennedy Center and accompanied live by the National Symphony Orchestra as part of NEW MOVES: Symphony + Dance.

November 10, 2014 NBE was awarded the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award in Washington D.C. Director and founder Katie Smythe accepted the award along with student Briana Brown, a junior at Immaculate Conception. This award is the highest honor a creative youth program can receive. Read more


The mission of New Ballet School is to bring together children from all backgrounds by providing a professional standard of training, regardless of the ability to pay.



At New Ballet, young aspiring artists from diverse backgrounds use the tools and training provided at New Ballet to achieve their dreams. Class offerings and curricula are based on the ethic of sound technical ballet training with an emplasis on multiculturalism.

New Ballet students' goals cover a broad spectrum. From a serious desire to pursue dance as a career through participation in university dance programs to a desire to be immersed in an atmosphere of professionalism, creative freedom and serious intent as a growing citizen of the world. For many, the years spent at New Ballet amount to a career during school that pays benefits throughout their lives in many chosen professions.

Students will explore Modern dance, Tap, African dance, Flamenco, Hip Hop, and Chinese dance throughout their studies at New Ballet. They will also find support for homework help, college counseling and ACT and SAT testing before and after classes and rehearsals.

It is our hope that the young Memphis artists who grow up at New Ballet and who so desire, will return to the Memphis community to share their knowledge, talent and love of dance, becoming teachers and performers who will nurture those 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.