New Ballet Ensemble once referred to the professional wing of our organization, but now includes all performers at New Ballet with members ranging in age from 6 to adult. The intent is to integrate professional teaching and performing artists, student artists and renowned guest artists into our classes and innovative performances across Memphis and the world!
New Ballet main stage productions, along with community and school performances, engage and educate students. Professional ensemble members serve as Teaching Artists in the New Ballet School, instructing children from ages 3 to 18, and in Shelby County Schools' Strategic Dance Initiative where we instruct over 200 students weekly.
Dedicated to creative youth development through dance, the New Ballet Ensemble is made up of a diverse group of dancers from different backgrounds, fluent in ballet, modern, African, flamenco, jazz, tap, and hip hop genres.
Photo credits: Andrea Zucker Photography
Community partnerships are at the heart of the work performed by the Teaching and Performing Artists at New Ballet. Partners include, Shelby County Schools, Memphis Grizzlies mentoring, Bridges Out of Poverty, Bridges, Girl's Inc, The Brooks and Dixon Museums, Rhodes College, Facing History and ourselves and fellow arts organizations. For the 2008/09 season, New Ballet partnered with Opera Memphis in La Traviata, Treemonisha, and Faust; in 2010, Orpheus; 2011, Aida and in past seasons, performed in Porgy and Bess and Macbeth.
New Ballet Ensemble students and trainees have benefitted from partnerships with professional master teachers and choreographers such as, Christina Bernal (Ballet Master Teacher), Blakely White McGuire and Kim Jones of the Martha Graham Company past and present, Uri Sands and Toni Pierce Sands (formerly Ailey company and now Co-Directors of TU Dance), Elizabeth Corbet of Frankfurt Ballet and Francesca Harper, formerly of Frankfurt Ballet and Dance Theater of Harlem, Mel Tomlinson, Myrna Kamara, and our beloved guest ballet mistress, Kaori Ogasawara.
Intern Training Program
The Ensemble Intern Training program was established in 2005. Graduating students are given an opportunity to further their training on the professional level while training as teachers and, in some cases, attending college classes at the University of Memphis and Christian Brothers University. Since entry into the program, trainees have performed as Lincoln Center Institute performing artists and in schools throughout Memphis. Artists In Training attend on a company schedule, 30 hours per week and have the opportunity to graduate into the company or move on to University BFA programs with facilitation from Ms. Smythe and other mentors such as our guest teaching artists.