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. New Ballet collaborates with education partners through school residencies and invests in other active community partnerships to reach audiences of all ages where they are. 

In 2014, we were awarded the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, 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 here.

  • 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 with 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.

The organization is home to Lil Buck who was both a student and professional Teaching Artist, and has received terrific reviews in the NY Times for our annual performance of Nut Remix and the Washington Post for performances at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. We are hailed by the Memphis Chamber of Commerce as a “cultural treasure”.

NBE Teaching Artists make community based learning possible, exercising Core Values: 

  • Generosity
  • Grace
  • Great teaching and intentional listening

Active and engaged students develop leadership skills through community service, peer mentoring and studio assistance. Many teaching artists are graduates of our school, leading efforts in Title 1 schools and performing in schools county wide and in Arkansas under the Lincoln Center and Wolf Trap models of Arts Education with Delta Arts, Crittenden County.

Education Partnerships and School Residencies

NBE is currently in residence in six Title 1 schools and one Charter School in Memphis.

Performances highlight and fuse local culture

New Ballet School students perform both in the large-scale annual production, The Nut Remix, at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts and Springloaded at the Germantown Performing Arts Center.

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 Theater.  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. 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. We truly believe that mentoring is for everyone!  Find out more.

College guidance and workforce development

New Ballet is very prould to have 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 New Ballet Professional Trainee Program, earning weekly stipends as they attend local colleges. Regular ACT prep sessions are also held for dancers in grades 9-12.

New Ballet Ensemble and School (NBES) is a thriving after school dance program in the heart of Memphis, bringing youth together by providing equitable access to excellence in dance training. In 2014, we were awarded the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, 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 here. NBES collaborates with principals through school residencies in alignment with the goals of the school, active community partnerships with artists of all ages and cross sector relationships to create a network of service providers for families. 

ArtsMemphis Community Dance Space and Arts Partnerships

Opened to provide a safe and professional rehearsal environment for Community Based Organizations, the Arts Memphis Community Dance 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 Festival of Memphis. For more information about our ArtsMemphis Community Dance Space, please contact kathy [at] newballet [dot] org.

Facing History & Ourselves

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

Shelby County Schools

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

Arts partners include:

Orange Mound Partenerships

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 NBES partner school, Dunbar Elementary. Nowunder direction of Jamita Swearingen, the center has provided access to services and training through cross sector collaborations. 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 childcare and children's dance classes to take place during evening seminars. Joyce Coleman leads the center.

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. Original partners in Engagement Transforms Communities included: ArtsMemphis, 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 through assets.
  • 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. 
  • Generosity: Extending hospitality internally and externally