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About Us

Founded by Noble Barker in 1985 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit community-based ballet school, New Haven Ballet has grown to provide the standard for classical dance training throughout Greater New Haven, Connecticut. Each year New Haven Ballet reaches over 6,500 children and adults through ballet training, performances, and community programs.

NHB School

  • Over 300 children and teens study classical ballet and other dance forms at NHB School each year.
    • We offer students opportunities to learn through master classes with professional dancers and guest teachers, including Alicia Mae Holloway who danced with Dance Theatre of Harlem, Alejandro Ulloa who offered partnering classes, and Savannah Durham, a dancer with New York City Ballet.
  • New Haven Ballet offers dance classes at five studio locations: our Audubon and Whitney studios in New Haven, studios in Bethany and Branford, and we established a new satellite studio at the Dixwell Community House “Q House” in New Haven, serving children from the Dixwell and Newhallville neighborhoods.
  • New Haven Ballet provides more than $62,000 in financial aid to NHB School students and through scholarships to DanceAIR graduates who continued their training at NHB School.


  • Every year our dancers present four performances of The Nutcracker and an annual spring production at the Shubert Theatre New Haven.
  • Summer residency at Choate students perform at the Paul Mellon Arts Center.
  • Students perform in up to three additional community performances each year.
  • All performances are professional production quality and many feature guest artists from notable companies such as New York City Ballet.
  • We hire professional costume designers and provide students with costumes made by the makers that supply costumes for leading professional ballet companies around the world.
  • Performances feature spectacular sets designed and constructed by the same professional set companies that work with Broadway shows.
  • Many performances feature live musicians including players from Music Haven and the Neighborhood Music School who accompanied our student Company dancers at the Shubert Theatre in May 2023.
  • The performance also included NHB’s School performing Coppélia, and a performance by our Shared Ability dancers, attracting an audience of approximately 1,200 people. The DanceAIR program culminated in a free performance at ACES ECA Arts Hall for 325 family members and friends.
  • New Haven Ballet offered free community performances during 2022-2023, with two featuring Nutcracker excerpts in Branford and at Q House in New Haven, and a performance in June 2023 on the Branford Green featured excerpts from Coppélia. Over 850 people attended these performances.

Community Programs

  • New Haven Ballet collaborated with New Haven public schools and LEAP to redesign and restart our DanceAIR program, where nearly 60 students participated in dance training from the Q House, and Edgewood, Truman, Lincoln Bassett, and John S. Martinez Schools.
  • Shared Ability workshops for youth and young adult dancers with special needs are offered every spring and culminates in a performance at the Shubert Theatre.
  • In addition to community performances where audience members attend for free, we donate over 260 tickets to veterans, families with children who have cancer, and families in need to our annual Nutcracker performances at the Shubert Theatre.
  • 125 teens and adults participated in Open Division recreational dance classes.


DANCEAIR PERFORMANCE: "The students who participate in the ballet classes this year look forward to their time to learn new movements and practice their routines. This program has boosted the confidence of the students it serves and has offered these girls an opportunity that they may not have gotten if it wasn’t for this program. I saw the excitement before a performance in a real theater when I chaperoned the students last spring. They were thrilled to have the opportunity to show what they had learned and dance on the same stage with the New Haven Ballet company."

ES / Lincoln-Bassett School

NHB's IMPACT ON THE COMMUNITY: "The classes in your two New Haven studios and the Q House, the DanceAir program, Shared Abilities classes and the scholarships you have made available have truly connected the New Haven Ballet to the entire community in a deep and meaningful way. I have seen several of the Shared Ability performances, and the excitement backstage and in the audience was palpable. The sense of accomplishment, the mutual support and the pride of dancers and parents electrified the very large room. I witnessed the standing room only crowd at the Q House last December and the wonder of young faces seeing excerpts from The Nutcracker for the very first time. The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven is proud to support your work."

JD / Community Foundation of Greater New Haven

TRAINING: "To sit in our car rides to and from NHB over the years makes me realize (even more than I already did) what a profound effect you have made. The laughter to and from Madison to New Haven over the years has truly been some of the best times of her (and my!) life. There are no words to thank you both enough. She has a very large part of her that wants to pursue dance because of all the amazing training and disciplines she has learned from you. But it goes way beyond dancing - and for that, I am forever grateful."

JS / Parent of NHB student

PERFORMANCE: "Yet again, another breathtaking performance and one that we all cannot thank you enough for! It was such an amazing week for N, and all 12 of our family members thoroughly loved it!"

DANCEAIR: "Words can't adequately express the gratitude I have for all of you, the teachers, and the staff at NHB. I have always been very open that I would not financially be able to provide this opportunity for Z. I remember so well when she was awarded her DanceAir Scholarship in second grade. I was so overwhelmed with thanks and so excited for her. The tears just flowed. I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of scholarships for the following years, and I am so grateful for the ongoing support to sustain Z's participation. In all her years at NHB, there has never been a class she didn't want to attend or a day she had a negative experience. She may not say much, but I want you to know she loves class with all of you; she has articulated the unique gifts each of you share with your classes. The fact that such a reserved kid actively works to perform on stage is so puzzling to me- but that's Z! She genuinely loves ballet, always practicing and dancing around. She told me the other day that she feels her instructors help her to do better without pushing or being negative, and it's very different from school. She says she never feels bad about herself. She feels ballet makes her want to do better because it just feels good. I just wanted to let you know how grateful I am for NHB, for each of you, and for your role in loving and supporting Z as she grows up."

LV / Parent of DanceAIR student

SHARED ABILITY: "My daughter who is severely disabled with cerebral palsy and has intellectual disabilities has participated in the dance program for many years. It is something she looks forward to every year. At so many levels it makes a difference in her life. She lives in a protected environment and going to a safe place like dance at New Haven Ballet allows her to get out, meet peers like herself, make friends, move her body and stretch, listen and follow instructions, move and feel music, gain a sense of accomplishment, but most importantly interact with enabled dancers where she and her peers are the focus. For the enabled dancers this may well be the only time they will meet, touch, spend time with, and get to know the personalities of someone who is disabled, in a no judgement zone. This interaction will stick with the enabled dancers throughout their lives and see that the disabled are people to be loved, cherished, and work very hard for each step in life or dance movement they make. The instructor is always fabulous, creative, fun and motivating. The year end performance, though not always perfect, brings cheers and tears from the audience as the shared ability dancers together with their partners show off all that they accomplish and their true beauty. These cheers and tears are beamed right back at the audience by the glow of accomplishment and pride in my daughters face. When she leaves the stage we will give her a hug, tell her how wonderful she did and she will simply answer “no over”.  Please support Shared Ability, it is so important to those that are mostly unseen." 

MP / Parent of a Shared Ability dancer

Photo: ©Thomas Giroir Photography


To provide the greater New Haven Community with exceptional classical ballet training, performances, and outreach programs, that nurture appreciation of ballet and foster the joy of dance.

On October 31, 2020, NHB’s Board of Directors adopted the following Diversity and Inclusion Statement:

New Haven Ballet celebrates those who aspire to excellence in classical ballet. A culture of creativity is the core of our work and diversity promotes innovation. The arts can provide powerful life-changing experiences that prepare students and impact audiences to lead more successful, meaningful and culturally rich lives. The arts can also prove to be an important platform for social change. At New Haven Ballet we are passionate about creating an inclusive dance environment and performances that promote and value diversity and inclusion. We will continue to strive to increase diversity in age, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability, ethnicity, and perspective, which will improve and strengthen our work.

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