About Us

Core Values

    • Personal growth: building on the assets inherent in all of us
    • Social Justice: assuring that no one is held back by systemic racism, bias or poverty
    • Innovative Teaching: focusing on each child’s unique, optimum capabilities
    • Community Building: bridging our racial and cultural differences
    • Partnerships: working collaboratively to achieve our goals
    • Education: working in partnership with Educators, children and youth
    • Generosity: extending hospitality internally and externally
    • Professional Integrity: reaching high to achieve together

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, college and career ready classical ballet curriculum. Five out of six salaried Teaching Artists and Trainees grew up through involvement with New Ballet since childhood, and, through the Professional Development Trainee Program, have become key staff, ushering programming to Shelby County Schools, including those they attended as children. New Ballet collaborates with education partners through school residencies and invests in other active community partnerships to reach students and audiences of all ages where they are.

New Ballet was one of twelve organizations nationwide 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 here.

  • Excellence Under One Big Tent and All Together - New Ballet is known for equitable and extraordinary accessibility.
  • Our innovative approach equips our students with expertise, life skills and job/college readiness.

Aspiring dancers from 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 and other pursuits.  Student voice informs creative choices, and Student Leadership on the Board of Directors guides the organization's decisions.

The organization is home to Lil Buck who was both a student and professional Teaching Artist. New Ballet has received excellent 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”.

New Ballet Teaching Artists make community based learning possible, exercising: 

  • Generosity
  • Grace
  • Professional instruction 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 instruction and performance in Public Schools.

Education Partnerships and School Pathways

The New Ballet Pathways program provides instructon and mentoring in six Shelby County Title 1 schools in Orange Mound, South Memphis, Cooper Young and in the Overton High CAPA program.

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.

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.  New Ballet 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.

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.

Arts partners make for important collaborations and include:

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.