About Us

"Just a quick note to thank you for taking the time out of your BUSY schedule to meet with us today.  We appreciate all that you and your staff do on a daily basis for Caroline and the rest of the students.  We feel extremely blessed that Caroline is in such a wonderful studio and surrounded by exceptional teachers and sweet friends!  Again, thank you!"

Eric and Kim Irmscher, Parent Ballet 6

Excellence Under One Big Tent -  And all together

Founded in 2001, New Ballet is a bridge-building Community School of the Arts and Creative Youth Development organization, serving every corner of the Mid South. We provide access to excellence in training, comprehensive mentoring, an outlet for multi-cultural expression and family resources through the NBE Family Resource Center.

Our innovative approach to learning equips our students with leading-edge knowledge and expertise.

Children and adults from vastly diverse economic and cultural backgrounds come together on a daily basis in studio spaces where the common denominators are excellence and innovation. Training is intensive, specific and targeted to college admission. Dance is made relevant as the youth contribute their own creative ideas, working collaboratively with artistic leadership to build our unique aesthetic. The bridges built in the process remain a principle value of the organization.

NBE's locations provide extraordinary accessibility for experiential learning and practical experience.

New Ballet is invested in neighborhoods where there are no college preparatory dance programs and few if any options for creative expression through movement.  Participants from Orange Mound, Binghampton and Hickory Hill are on a fast track to matriculate into the Midtown NBE studios where youth train side by side with peers from all over the Mid South. A natural resource for Midtown, students travel from East Memphis, West Memphis and North Mississippi seeking excellence in pre-college instruction. Wheter in Ballet, African Dance class or Creative Movement, Pre-School to Adult students enjoy the spirit of collaboration and community investment found in the halls of "NBE".

Our forward-thinking Teaching Artists make true community based learning possible. Active and engaged students play an integral role while developing leadership skills through community service, peer mentoring  and classroom assistance.

New Ballet prepares the next generation of leaders to successfully face real-world challenges in a diversity of careers. In only 12 years, we have educated leaders and innovators in the world of dance , as well as educated our own Teaching Artists to lead us into the future, but that's not all. Our graduates have earned doctoral degrees in International Relations and languages, masters and business degrees in fashion and journalism and jobs on Broadway as both choreographers and performers.

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

New Ballet School students perform consistently throughout the year both in large scale bi-annual productions and at cultural institutions such as the Brooks Muesum, in Shelby County schools and for community service projects at organizations such as Bridges USA 

Performance training readies students for college level programs and auditions by providing a platform for real world experience. Exposure to multi-cultural dance and different dance genres contributes to the students' versatility, promoting college readiness.  NBE participants are as at home in an elementary school classroom as the opera house or symphony hall. A versatile corps of students will perform this season with Opera Memphis at th eMidtown Opera Festival and with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra in Memphis Renaissance at the Levitt Shell. 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.

In our the tenth season, NBE was commissioned to create and perform a world premiere work at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Duke Elligton's "Harlem",  accompanied by the National Symphony Orchestra as part of NEW MOVES: Symphony + Dance. Read more in the Washington Post.

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.

Philosophy - Rigor, Excellence, Mentoring, Peer Support

Sound technical ballet training with an emphasis on multiculturalism -

New Ballet students' goals cover a broad spectrum. It is a desire to be immersed in an atmosphere of professionalism, creative expression and serious intent in order to become a citizen of the world that binds youth with a diversity of interests. The years spent at New Ballet amount to a career during the school years that pays benefits throughout participants lives in various chosen professions.

In addition to Ballet, students will explore Modern dance, Tap, African dance, Flamenco, Hip Hop, and Chinese dance throughout their studies at New Ballet. They will 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 and nurturing 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.