this from http://www.ballettech.org/
One dances the sacred and the profane, not to reconcile them, for they're already one. – Eliot Feld
In 1977, on the number 3 train, on his way to the studio for a working day of choreographing, Eliot Feld shared a train car with a class of elementary public school children on a field trip and at that moment the idea for the Ballet Tech School was born. The idea was this: that children attending New York City elementary public schools should have the opportunity to study ballet dancing, tuition-free, dependent only upon their talent and passion for dancing.
Ballet Tech views the children of the New York City public school system as a vast and underutilized human resource. And that resource has the potential to invigorate classical ballet dancing in a uniquely diverse and American way and at the same time realize the potential of children traditionally excluded from the venerable art of the ballet.
Ballet Tech is a New York City public school, grades 4-12, offering its students a quality academic education and intensive and rigorous ballet training designed to develop professional dancers.
Ballet Tech began in 1974 when world-renowned choreographer Eliot Feld founded a professional dance company, then known as the Eliot Feld Ballet. In 1978, Mr. Feld created a tuition-free ballet school for New York City public school children. To date, the Ballet Tech School has auditioned 649,798 children and enrolled 17,240 students.
Ballet Tech is dedicated to seeking out talented New York City public school students and provides a continuum of training from introductory through professional level training. Throughout the children's instruction, dance classes, shoes and leotards are provided free of charge. During the first year of training, transportation is provided while students attend ballet classes on a school-time release program. Students who show the talent and passion required to study classical ballet are invited to attend The New York City Public School for Dance (NYCPSD) - a cooperative, tuition-free venture between the NYC Department of Education and Ballet Tech. The School offers a rigorous academic curriculum paired with intensive dance training for students in grades 4 through 12.
Ballet Tech's professional dance company was forced to disband in 2003 due to economic pressure. Despite this temporary set-back, Ballet Tech continues to produce ballets choreographed by Eliot Feld. In the fall of 2004, Ballet Tech presented MANDANCE PROJECT - a three-week season featuring six laureate dancers, who premiered 12 new works. Going forward, Ballet Tech will present a season in New York City every 12-18 months. This new strategy allows Ballet Tech to continue to create new ballets and share them with the public, even if on an abbreviated scale. This strategy also gives Kids Dance, Ballet Tech's pre-professional ballet company comprised of Ballet Tech students, the fundamental opportunity to perform and connect with the professional dance world.
Eliot Feld's Ballet Tech is a recognized innovator in the ways it has brought together the often-antagonistic bedfellows of New York real estate and the performing arts. Ballet Tech Foundation conceived and directed the renovation of The Joyce Theater. And in partnership with American Ballet Theatre it saved from commercial development the building now known as The Lawrence A. Wien Center for Dance and Theater - New York's primary rehearsal complex for the performing arts. Ballet Tech Foundation's ability to conceive and carry out extraordinary projects such as these attests to its understanding of the need to create an infrastructure to support its more poetic enterprises.
The New York City Public School for Dance (NYCPSD) is a unique collaboration between Ballet Tech and the NYC Department of Education. The School, comprised of grades 4-12, integrates ballet-training with a public education. The academic curriculum follows the New York State Regents requirements, supplemented with the arts. In addition to academics and ballet, students study dance history, visual arts and music, and attend a four-week summer intensive program as part of their training.
The NYCPSD offers a specialized curriculum in a small school setting. Most classes have fewer than 25 students. The school provides a nurturing environment that prepares students for whatever choices they make in their professional dance or collegiate careers.
In addition to a full academic day, 4th and 5th grade students have the oppurtunity to join the after-school program, which provides enriching artistic and literacy activities five days/week from 3-5:30 pm. There is a nominal fee for participation.
Kids Dance is Ballet Tech's pre-professional student troupe. Created in 1994, Kids Dance provides students with the opportunity to learn choreography and develop performance skills, activities that are essential to the development of a professional dancer. Kids Dance presents programs for families and young audiences.
- full disclosure: smf’s stepmother is a teacher @ ballet tech