About New Haven Ballet


The award-winning New Haven Ballet (NHB) began in the basement of St. Paul’s Church in the fall of 1985 as an outgrowth of the Connecticut Ballet. Under founding Artistic Director Noble Barker, NHB provided dance instruction for pre-professional and recreational dancers alike. Over thirty years later NHB has firmly established itself in the Greater New Haven and shoreline arts communities, with studios in New Haven and Branford, and highly trained faculty that support students aspiring to professional dance careers as well as those studying ballet for recreational purposes. Its broad curriculum includes ballet, pointe, contemporary, tap, jazz, partnering, and Pilates. In addition, the school has become a major arts organization, playing a vital role in the community through outreach and school programs, a student performance ensemble, and collaborations with artists within the community and beyond. NHB’s annual Nutcracker, performed at the historic Shubert Theater with guest stars from world-renowned ballet companies including New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre, has become a New Haven holiday tradition.

As the school grew under Barker and his successors, so did NHB’s goals. In addition to Nutcracker, NHB has two other full-length ballets in its repertory–Coppélia (premiered 1994) and Snow Queen (1997–98), which was created in collaboration with composer Susan Bingham. The school has performed and collaborated with the Chancel Opera Company, Connecticut Ballet Theatre, the Hartford Ballet, the Moscow State Ballet, the New Haven Symphony, the Nutmeg Ballet, the Omaha Ballet, Orchestra New England, the Pittsburgh Ballet, Yale Repertory Theatre, and more. In a 1997 coup for NHB, the George Balanchine Trust awarded the school rights to perform Donizetti Variations, an opportunity given only to schools of the highest caliber. NHB also performs annually at New Haven’s prestigious International Festival of Arts and Ideas.

In 2013, Lisa Sanborn, a distinguished teacher and dancer, was named the Artistic Director. Under Ms. Sanborn’s leadership New Haven Ballet’s strong commitment to ensuring that pre-professional instruction is available to those in the student division while offering the joy of dance to those in the open recreational division allows all students to fulfill their potential. NHB participates in lecture-demonstrations for New Haven area children, offer low and free admission performances to the community, and continues its commitment to outreach programs, including, Shared Ability, which brings dance and performance opportunities to differently abled students. In addition to choreographing an all-new Nutcracker in 2013, Ms. Sanborn partnered with Dr. Richard Gard to form the New Haven Ballet Orchestra, which successfully premiered at the Shubert Theater in December 2013. Ms. Sanborn also instituted a new outreach program, DanceAIR, which teaches ballet and offers health and nutritional guidance to underserved New Haven students and affords needs-based scholarships to gifted students. Under Ms. Sanborn, NHB has improved the technical proficiency of its students, brought world renowned guest artists, master teachers, and choreographers, and staged classical, neo-classical and contemporary works; and, NHB is poised to meet the challenges that come with success: maintaining a topnotch dance program that supports students at all levels, from beginner to pre-professional; moving into a dedicated facility that will enable the school to grow and expand; and continuing to develop community ties within Greater New Haven and southern Connecticut.

New Haven Ballet is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization and acknowledges the generosity of our devoted patrons and corporations as well as foundation support including: the National Endowment for the Arts, the Connecticut Commission on Arts, Culture and Tourism, NewAlliance Foundation, the City of New Haven Mayor’s Community Arts Grant Program, the Ethel & Abe Lapides Foundation, Withers Bergman, LLP, The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development Office of the Arts, Anna Fitch Ardenghi Trust, Webster Bank, and The Theresa Foundation.

The New Haven Ballet school admits students of any age, race, color, creed or national origin to all rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded and made available to school students



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