About Us

Founded in 2001, New Ballet Ensemble and School is a Community School of the Arts and Arts Education program with a professional teaching and performing ensemble.  Unique to Memphis and to communities across America, New Ballet is a bridge-building arts training organization that serves youth from every corner of the area and in its entirety, providing access to excellence in training.  Children and adults come together on a daily basis in an arts space where the common denominators are both excellence and innovation in dance. The bridges that we build in the process remain a principle focus of the organization’s leadership.

New Ballet offers an array of programs including the school, Title 1 school residencies, public and school performances and community partnerships with human service organizations and community centers.

New Ballet Ensemble is the professional company of performing and teaching artists who appear on the main stage and in our schools where students are engaged, educated and recruited for scholarships in the New Ballet School. Ensemble members are graduates of the School and Trainee programs.

New Ballet School students are given the opportunity to perform in annual productions with the professional company. Community partners and participants perform with New Ballet students and professional dancers in the main stage performances.  In the process, Memphis youth come to know one another by discovering both their similarities and differences while sharing their love for the art of dance.

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.


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.



New Ballet provides opportunities to young aspiring artists from diverse backgrounds by providing the tools and training to those who seek excellence. Class offerings and curricula are based on the ethic of sound technical ballet training with an emplasis on multiculturalism. Students will explore Modern dance, tap, African dance, Flamenco, Hip Hop, and Chinese dance throughout their studies at New Ballet. New Ballet students' goals cover a broad spectrum.Some have a serious desire to have access to scholarship opportunities at university dance programs, others participate in the program out of a desire to be immersed in an atmosphere of professionalism, creative freedom and serious intent. For many, the years speant at New Ballet amount to a career during school that pays benefits throughout their lives in many chosen professions.

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.