Ballet Tech, NYC Public School for Dance

Phone: (212) 254-1803
Website: Click here
Admissions: audition, citywide
specialized arts
Principal: ROY ONEILL
Neighborhood: Gramercy Park
District: 2
Grade range: 04 thru 08
Parent coordinator: ELSIE APONTE

What's special:

Specialized ballet classes

The downside:

No sports or types of dance other than ballet

The Inside Stats


Our review

Ballet Tech is a tiny school created in 1978 to train dancers, many of whom have gone on to perform professionally with Alvin Ailey, American Ballet Theatre and Dance Theatre of Harlem. Though the school draws students from all five boroughs it strives to create a sense of community among students and parents, one centered around ballet. The school offers both academic classes and ballet for children in grades 4 through 8.

Many students travel a long distance to get to school—one student who lives in Far Rockaway said he gets up at 4 a.m. Parents and the Ballet Tech Foundation, which supports the ballet curriculum, arranged for van transportation to and from school for those who need it.

Students begin their dance curriculum with two classes per week in 4th grade, progressively adding ballet, technique and pointe classes until they take up to nine dance classes in 8th grade. Although there is no gym, kids participate in Fitnessgram and teachers are encouraged to take classes to the park when the weather is nice. Still, the number one complaint is the lack of diversity in their physical activity. “We want hip hop!” exclaimed a group of 5th grade boys.

Students were well-behaved and the academic classes seemed solid on our visit. Classes were interactive with math games and group discussions. Most students perform well on standardized tests. The school serves a wide range of abilities, but because classes are small kids seem to get the attention they need.

Many students are accepted to specialized high schools as well as performing arts schools like LaGuardia and PPAS and ultimately pursue careers in dance.

Academic Teachers say that kids seem even more focused after their ballet classes. The parent coordinator, Jane Cascone, credits the close-knit feel created within the school. “We are their home away from home. There’s nobody who can slide through the cracks here.”

Middle school students get lockers. At lunch, kids play chess, color and catch up on homework while socializing with friends. Afterschool students get tutoring and can participate in activities run by the program Roads to Success, including knitting, drama and art.

Special education: The school has very few special education students.

Admissions: Open auditions for 3rd-5th graders through a 12-week process. Around 10 percent of applicants are accepted. Students must audition again in 5th grade to continue in the school’s middle school. (Aryn Bloodworth, December 2011)

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