From age four until high school graduation my daughter thrived at NBE. It gave her an additional, diverse group of friends from neighborhoods across the city to grow up with. They struggled together to develop as dancers and celebrated the success of their public performances in front of ticket buying audiences. My daughter gained academic success thanks to help from NBE’s mentors. It is a marvelous place to dance!
When I was first invited to perform with NBE, I had no idea that it would be one of the most rewarding experiences in my career. I not only appreciated their mission, but the level of professionalism exceeded my expectations. Katie Smythe has created an environment of caring, discipline and a love for the arts that some of these young people may not have otherwise had a chance to experience. Children and adults of all colors and social standing convening in this one building to make magic. From the moment I walked in the door eight or nine years ago, I knew that this was a special place. I always enjoy going back to work this company!
My daughter started at NBE when she was four and continued to study there through her senior year of high school. So many good things came out of her study at New Ballet! She found a diverse group of friends from different schools and neighborhoods, completely apart from her school and church crowd. The bonds with those NBE fellow students remain strong, because over the years as they grew up together, they physically and mentally failed, failed better, performed for paying audiences and received standing ovations. My daughter and all NBE students get a professional level of training that culminates several times annually to public, ticketed performances from their earliest years; there are no "recitals" for the "little kids". They dance in the same productions as the Company/teaching artists. That experience, the excitement and joy of rehearsals and public performances, built my daughter's confidence and competence in all areas of her life.
In addition to dance training and performance in several different styles, from Classical Ballet to Flamenco, my child both received mentoring and mentored younger students herself. NBE provided a useful venue for that "village" concept of child raising. She had opportunities for Community Service through NBE and her college application essay was about her experiences at NBE. She described in detail how her years there taught her how to organize her schoolwork, study efficiently and balance academics with the increasing class and rehearsal commitments in high school. She wrote about developing appreciation of new backgrounds, culture and art, how she learned to stay with a project long term, even when she was the "worst" at something; how to be helpful if she "got it" and someone else was struggling. She learned how to both take and give correction in a positive way, without shame, something many people find extremely hard! She learned to respect herself and others and how to speak and work confidently with adults.
Most of all, my daughter felt the physical exertion at NBE classes provided a great reset every afternoon after school. She learned she liked to sweat and move and laugh with her friends. She's now away at college, still in touch with NBE friends who have moved on to everything from dance majors and budding careers to pre-med.
I also personally benefited from mentoring NBE students for several years. I learned much more than I taught listening to their concerns and helping with their aspirations. NBE can be a great place to thrive as both a student and a parent volunteer.
I am a parent of a student at New Ballet. My daughter grew up loving ballet, and after a couple of years at a traditional ballet school, she told me she didn’t like it anymore and wanted to do something different. So she experimented with gymnastics and folk dances, both of which she enjoyed. Years later, she told me her teacher at the first school told her (at age 5) that her rib cage was too big. That explained a lot. Forward to today. My daughter decided to go back to ballet at NBE and is now in her sixth year there. Thanks to help from NBE’s generous scholarship programs, she was able to attend an amazing intensive in Italy last summer, and she continues to grow in marvelous ways, as a dancer and as a person. I love the diversity at New Ballet, their body-positivity, their support and mentoring system, and the love their faculty continue to show my daughter.
Their annual production of NutRemix is incredible! I love that they mentor so many young people throughout the year, and let them participate in this huge performance. The diversity, creativity and technical skills are always outstanding and impressive. It has to be a life- changing experience for the dancers.
NBE provides its students with a comprehensive dance education and opportunities to serve the greater Memphis community. My years of experience with the school education program has been nothing short of incredible! Katie Smythe and the entire NBE team are passionate about dance education, and their productions and education programs are always well received by students, teachers, and school administrators. The attached photo was taken during an elementary school artist residency with Noelia Garcia Carmona, NBE Director of Dance.
New Ballet Ensemble Company and School is a wonderful organisation. The dancers are eager to learn and to share their knowledge in this exciting creative environment .
Ms. Corbett is an internationally acclaimed dancer & choreographer who generously gives her time to teach and choreograph pieces for New Ballet almost every year.
I’ve worked with New Ballet for the past several years on their Nut Remix and Memphis Renaissance programs and their artistry and creativity is amazing. I am also a NBE parent - my daughter is in her 3rd year in the school and has learned wonderful things. The teachers and performers are truly top-notch!
This reviewer is a professional musician in the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra has performed with New Ballet on major productions since 2014.
Our family was introduced to New Ballet when we first moved to town. Our daughter was in pre-K and loved to dance. We brought her to the school - mostly because of its reputation as a place for children to go regardless of their affluence, education, etc... PLUS, they offered classical ballet training. There has always been a fair mix of children in the program - public, private and home school - some on scholarship, some not. The mixture of race, family of origin, ability to pay, etc... introduced her to students she might not have had the chance to build strong, working relationships with. They relied on each other in ways that maybe don't happen in schools or in the neighborhoods where they live. These relationships are lifelong ones. On top of this, she developed into a beautiful dancer. In her later years she danced as soloist and demisoloist. It's breathtaking to see your child accomplish something like this!! When she was injured (weak knees and feet), her whole class would rally with her. It's the same with any of the dancers - they're a team! Katie, the director, takes personal interest in the dancers - referring Thais to Dr.'s in NY, going with her to appointments, etc... The school was her second home - the discipline she received was better than her first home (LOL, truth). She is studious and hard working in life. She is also introverted and the time spent as President of the student board taught her invaluable skills. She danced for 13 years at NBE. Though she isn't majoring in dance in college (she was SUPER prone to injury - just like her lacrosse playing dad - the majority of the other dancers, not as much as Thais), her dance training prepared her for a double major in fine arts and art history - she's already making plans for a doctorate. She is so disciplined LOL! We're forever grateful to Katie Smythe and New Ballet Ensemble. I know Thais feels the same.
My family and I are very proud to support New Ballet Ensemble & School. NBE students reflect a true cross section of the Memphis community. They come together in a loving and supportive environment but are nevertheless subject to high expectations and receive a professional level of dance education. The dance instruction is phenomenal, but the lessons the students learn about one another and their community are even more valuable and will guide the students for the rest of their lives.
I have supported this organization since its earliest days, and it has grown leaps and bounds since then! Both of my children attend NBE classes, and we have loved being a part of the NBE community. I'm so proud of all of our Memphis graduates who have gone on to become professional dancers and successful in their careers (even if they follow a different path from dance - one of my son's former ballet teachers is a pre-med student now!). Their annual Nut Remix shows are a highlight of the holiday season & a welcoming, diverse alternative (or supplement) to the traditional Nutcracker experience.