New York City Ballet and The School of American Ballet
Artistic Director, New York, NY
The New York City Ballet (NYCB) and the School of American Ballet (SAB) share a common heritage, having been founded by the same two visionaries, George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein, with an inextricably linked artistic purpose. While NYCB and SAB are two independent not-for-profit organizations, with distinct missions, budgets, staffs, and Boards of Directors, the continued vitality of both NYCB and SAB depends upon the strength of their mutual links and on their joint pursuit and cultivation of a specific, shared artistic tradition.
The School of American Ballet, the official school of the New York City Ballet, was founded in 1934 with a mission to develop dancers for professional ballet careers. The School's curriculum is focused on the classical ballet aesthetic established by Balanchine through his teaching and choreography, and more than 95 percent of NYCB's current dancer roster trained at SAB. SAB alumni dance with other companies as well; currently, there are SAB alumni at more than 70 US dance companies and 12 international ones. In addition, SAB alumni hold leading artistic posts at 20 American and five foreign companies.
New York City Ballet is one of the foremost dance companies in the world, with an unparalleled repertory of ballets, nearly all created for NYCB, and many of which are considered modern masterpieces. The Company, established in 1948, remains dedicated to the vision of its founders in pursuing two primary objectives: to preserve the ballets, dance aesthetic, and standards of excellence they established; and to develop new work that draws on the creative talents of contemporary choreographers and other artists. The mission is accompanied by a commitment to expand the audience and make ballet accessible to the widest possible public.
NYCB and SAB are two of the 11 constituent organizations of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Governed by a 43-member Board, NYCB has an annual operating budget of $89 million, an endowment of $222 million, and a roster of more than 90 dancers and 62 musicians. SAB has an annual operating budget of $16 million, an endowment of $71million, and a staff and faculty of 65 and is governed by a 45-member Board.
The Artistic Director for NYCB and SAB will provide the overall creative leadership for the Company and the School, including the training and development of dancers and ensuring that the Balanchine and Robbins repertory and aesthetic are maintained and remain relevant for generations to come. The individual will continue, and build upon, the legacies of George Balanchine, Lincoln Kirstein, Jerome Robbins, and Peter Martins, preserving and presenting the heritage repertory while continuing NYCB's unparalleled commitment to creating a new ballet repertory through the ongoing commissioning of innovative new works from choreographers, composers, theatrical designers, and other artists.
The Artistic Director will work in close collaboration with the Executive Director of NYCB and participate actively in NYCB's marketing, fundraising, production, and education activities. The individual will work equally closely with the Executive Director and the Chairman of Faculty at SAB to ensure that the School's curriculum fully supports the training of dancers for the Company specifically and the field in general and prepares them emotionally and physically for the rigors of a professional career at NYCB or elsewhere.
Under a shared leadership structure, the Artistic Director will report to the Boards of both NYCB and SAB alongside their respective Executive Directors and be actively engaged in short-term and long-range planning for both organizations. It is expected that the Artistic Director will be committed to creating and sustaining an organizational culture that values and embodies diversity, inclusion, and racial equity.
Key institutional priorities for the incoming Artistic Director include but are not limited to:
- Ensure the future of the Balanchine and Robbins repertory; preserve and protect the legacy while keeping it fresh, vibrant, and relevant;
- Bring a keen eye to the selection of dancers for the Company and actively participate in their training and development;
- Have a compelling vision for the future of ballet and how NYCB can, through its programming, be seen as a leader in the field and engage both current and new audiences;
- Be aware of the choreographic landscape worldwide and bring the best choreographers to NYCB through commissions and programming that inspire and challenge both NYCB artists and audiences alike; support the development of choreographic talent at the School and Company; further the potential of the New Combinations Fund and New York Choreographic Institute;
- Work with NYCB's Executive Director and marketing staff to sharpen and build the company's brand locally, nationally, and internationally through traditional and digital platforms;
- Serve as an effective and highly visible ambassador and fundraiser for NYCB and SAB;
- Fully committed to NYCB's business model and to continually refining and improving its artistic program going forward, while promoting excellence and mission;
- At NYCB, supervise and recruit, as needed, a highly qualified and cohesive artistic staff including ballet masters, resident choreographer(s) and, possibly, one or more deputy artistic directors; delegate specific responsibilities and appropriate authority; hold individuals accountable for specific and collective performance; maintain morale and provide direction;
- At SAB, work in collaboration with the Chairman of Faculty to: oversee the ballet training curriculum and pedagogy; hire and evaluate all permanent and guest faculty; hold individuals accountable for specific and collective performance; maintain morale and provide direction;
- Establish a rapport with and inspire members of both Boards and assist in the cultivation of the next generation of trustee leadership.
The Artistic Director will be a humane leader for whom people wish to perform their best. The individual will ideally also be an alumna/us of SAB and NYCB who will have:
- A deep and passionate commitment to the Balanchine and Robbins aesthetic and repertory;
- Demonstrated artistic leadership success as a programmer and/or company leader for an organization known for quality and excellence;
- An eye for talent; the ability to select the best dancers, choreographers, teachers, and coaches and encourage their development;
- A commitment to teaching and the ability to inspire dancers to perform at the highest possible levels of artistry and technical ability;
- An understanding of how ballet fits into a larger cultural landscape; cultural acuity and a vision for the future of the art form;
- A deep appreciation for and keen sense of music and the ability to partner successfully with the music director and his team;
- Charisma, gravitas, and the stature to command the respect of the Company, the School, and the dance community writ large;
- A commitment to embracing and championing diversity throughout the two organizations;
- Proven success or aptitude as a fundraiser;
- Strong interpersonal and leadership skills, with the ability to build effective relationships with multiple stakeholders, including dancers, musicians, parents, faculty, staff, Board members, and other supporters; the ability to be a good listener; diplomacy, honesty, decisiveness, confidence, and empathy;
- Strong organizational skills, with proven ability to focus, prioritize, execute, collaborate, and delegate;
- A good business head and an understanding of the fiscal impact of programming;
- Excellent communication skills and a comfort with technology and digital platforms;
- The ability to be effective under pressure and handle constant multitasking.
ADDITIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES DISTINCT TO EACH ORGANIZATION
New York City Ballet
- Conceiving and implementing NYCB's artistic programming, including seasons at the David H. Koch Theater, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, working in collaboration with the Company's production, music, marketing, communications, operations, and finance departments;
- Overseeing the Company's vast repertory of works and making sure that the heritage repertory is maintained, appropriately represented in programming, and prepared for performance;
- Upholding the Company's commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity in all respects in connection with artistic duties;
- Supervising more than 90 dancers and overseeing their daily workload and wellbeing in collaboration with ballet masters and other key artistic staff members;
- Rehearsing, coaching, and casting ballets as necessary, and overseeing the company's ballet masters and artistic staff in their efforts in these areas;
- Teaching Company class as required;
- Overseeing all artistic aspects of the music and production departments;
- Hiring and promoting dancers as necessary and appropriate;
- Conducting annual performance reviews with dancers, ballet masters, and other key artistic personnel, and deciding on contract renewals and terminations as necessary, in coordination with the Company's Executive Director;
- Providing oversight to the New York Choreographic Institute;
- Working with senior management to develop and secure national and international touring engagements for both the full Company and NYCB Moves;
- Participating in key Company functions such as Board meetings, fundraising events, educational initiatives, and marketing, press, and promotional efforts as necessary.
The School of American Ballet
- Ensuring the continued artistic excellence of SAB in the Balanchine tradition;
- Serving as SAB's primary artistic liaison with NYCB;
- Furthering SAB's diversity and equity work with the goal of diversifying professional ballet stages nationwide;
- Together with the Chairman of Faculty: hiring and evaluating all faculty; overseeing faculty professional development and pedagogy; overseeing the artistic training curriculum as established by George Balanchine, including the class offerings, choreography program, music program, and other artistic offerings; and selecting the performance program and repetiteurs for the year-end Workshop Performances, choreography programs, gala programs, and any other student performance opportunities that are part of the students' training;
- Teaching the advanced students at least once a month and observing other classes as needed;
- Selecting NYCB Apprentices annually with input from the Chairman of Faculty and the Professional Placement Manager;
- Ensuring that the School's capstone (senior) students are prepared to join other leading professional ballet companies in the United States and abroad;
- Attending SAB Board meetings, fundraising events, and all-employee meetings;
- Meeting regularly with the Executive Director and the Chairman of Faculty; meeting regularly with faculty.
The School of American Ballet and New York City Ballet are equal opportunity employers and consider all applications without regard to race, color, religion, creed, gender, national origin, age, disability, marital or veteran status, sexual orientation, and/or any other legally protected status.
Please send applications or nominations to Sarah James or Becky Klein at