Ballet Tech Foundation, Inc.

aka Ballet Tech   |   New York, NY   |


Ballet Tech is committed to introducing tens of thousands of New York City public school children to the beauty and rigor of classical dance and providing those most talented with the dance training necessary to fulfill their natural gifts, tuition-free. Ballet Tech pledges itself to the development of succeeding generations of classical dancers, whose diversity reflects the full spectrum of the American community.

Ruling year info


Artistic Director

Ms. Dionne Figgins

Main address

890 Broadway

New York, NY 10003 USA

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NTEE code info

Other Art, Culture, Humanities Organizations/Services N.E.C. (A99)

Arts Education/Schools (A25)

Ballet (A63)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Without Ballet Tech's tuition-free school, limited accessibility and the high cost of quality training prevent children from low-income New York City communities the opportunity to learn classical dance. Annual tuition at leading dance academies starts at $1,000 for beginners and can exceed $10,000 for advanced students and dancewear costs upwards of $400 per year, making the dream of becoming a professional dancer possible for only a few.

Moreover, in recent years the pressure on schools to achieve higher scores on state math and reading tests has further reduced the role of arts in the public school curriculum (Center for Arts Education Research & Policy Briefing, 2010). Yet dance is being studied as a pathway to enhance learning, and dance programs are showing how dance education promotes skills for academics, citizenship, and the workplace (What Educators and Parents Should Know About Neuroplasticity, Learning and Dance, SharpBrains, 2016).

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Ballet Tech School

The Ballet Tech School identifies talented children in the New York City public school system and provides them with tuition-free professional ballet training. The program has been recognized as a national model in arts education and several other cities have consulted with the organization on replicating the program. About 30,000 students are auditioned annually in 200 NYC public elementary schools. In 44 years, we auditioned 930,334 and enrolled 26,589 students. The kids also have an opportunity to perform at The Joyce Theater in June as part of Kids Dance, Ballet Tech's student performance troupe.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

Ballet Tech owns and operates (with American Ballet Theatre) the Lawrence A. Wien Center for Dance
and Theater at 890 Broadway. This building houses the school's and ABT's studios and offices. The Center provides rehearsal facilities to Broadway shows, touring companies and nonprofit theater and dance
companies and individual artists.

Population(s) Served
Artists and performers
Children and youth

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of students auditioned since inception.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth

Related Program

Ballet Tech School

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

This number represents students auditioned in their public school. It does not include open auditions held at Ballet Tech. By fiscal year (July 1 - June 30), not calendar year.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Ballet Tech Foundation is dedicated to developing new generations of dancers by introducing thousands of New York City public school children to the beauty and rigor of classical dance and providing those most promising with the professional training necessary to pursue their creative potential, tuition-free.

Through a scaffolding approach to learning from the Introduction to Ballet classes to the Pre-Professional High School classes, students develop a lifelong love of dance, are prepared for professional dance careers, or are inspired to pursue other disciplines in the performing arts. Alumni have gone on to dance with acclaimed companies such as Alvin Ailey, Battery Dance Company, Cedar Lake Dance Ensemble, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Martha Graham, New York City Ballet, John Passafiume Dancers, and on Broadway. Academically, the student body ranks in the top percentiles on standardized tests; during 2016-17, the average percentage of BT students who achieved a level 3 or 4 on NY State exams was 73% in math and 77% in English Language Arts, compared to the citywide averages of 38% and 41%, respectively.

All Ballet Tech students benefit from the rigor of the dance training. Whether or not they pursue dance as a career, they are all trained to be leaders of tomorrow in any field. The skills they develop through dance training are transferrable to all careers: creativity, discipline, respect, confidence, and teamwork – rare qualities sought after in any profession.

Our aim is to increase accessibility to classical dance, develop new generations of dancers, and promote future citizens.

Recruitment: Each year, Ballet Tech auditions 30,000 2nd-5th graders at 200 NYC public schools. Auditions are designed to discover children who have the physical attributes suited to ballet and who exhibit coordination, flexibility, musicality, and a desire to dance. Participants learn a simple series of movements; no prior dance training is required. For most, it is their first exposure to dance. Ballet Tech also holds five open auditions at its studios to ensure all students have the opportunity to do so.

Introduction to Ballet: Identified at the auditions, 500 3rd-5th graders will enroll in the Introduction to Ballet Program. Students attend public schools citywide and are released from their classes once a week to study dance at Ballet Tech. The Department of Education provides busing. The Intro Program introduces students to the fundamentals of ballet. All children selected participate in a six-week introductory course; about half return at Ballet Tech's invitation for an additional six weeks. The following fall, 40-50 graduates of the program enroll full-time at the New York City Public School for Dance.

New York City Public School for Dance (NYCPSD): The NYCPSD is a joint venture with the NYC Department of Education (DOE), integrating an academic curriculum with pre-professional ballet training. The DOE provides academic instruction while Ballet Tech provides dance classes, visual arts, an after-school program, summer training, and performing opportunities with Kids Dance. The School serves 150 4th-8th grade students annually. The dance curriculum includes ballet technique, pointe, men's, partnering, repertory, character, modern, and stretch. Students take up to 10 weekly classes.

High School Training: Ballet Tech's high school program, in partnership with the Professional Performing Arts School (PPAS), allows students to take academic classes in the morning at PPAS and dance classes in the afternoon at Ballet Tech; students take 12 weekly classes. Transportation is provided by Ballet Tech.
Summer Training: Ballet Tech holds classes for full-time students for four weeks in July. They take 2-12 weekly classes. In addition to the standard ballet curriculum, students study Modern, Tahitian, Irish jig, West African, and tap. Approximately 145 students enroll in the summer program annually. High school students are also given the opportunity to assist during the summer training as paid teaching assistants with the younger students; a distinct aspect of the program designed to provide summer income and foster teaching skills.

Kids Dance: Ballet Tech's student dance troupe, Kids Dance, prepares students for professional performance experiences. Students learn and perform choreography created especially for them by Eliot Feld and other premier choreographers. Kids Dance performs at The Joyce Theater each June and at other venues, e.g. New Victory Theater and the Delacorte Theater.

Ballet Tech was originally founded as a professional dance company in 1974 by eminent choreographer Eliot Feld. In 1978, Mr. Feld began the Ballet Tech School to provide tuition-free dance training to develop new generations of dancers drawn from the public school system – an untapped source of talent due to limited access and cost-prohibitive quality training. Ballet Tech subsequently entered into an unprecedented public/private partnership with the NYC Department of Education (DOE) in 1996 to launch the New York City Public School for Dance (NYCPSD) and added academic classrooms to the space at 890 Broadway, making it possible for students to study dance as part of the regular school day. Ballet Tech is the only school in the US that offers a scaffolding approach to academic and artistic learning from 4th through 12th grades.

Ballet Tech is a school for all of NYC children and transportation for many of our students can make the difference between enrolling in the school or not, especially for those living in the outer boroughs and whose parents are unable to accompany them to the School. The New York City Department of Education provides bus service for Ballet Tech's part-time Introduction to Ballet program but not for the full-time students enrolled in the New York City Public School for Dance. To that end, Ballet Tech coordinates a private bus service to alleviate the problem and enable students to enroll. Ballet Tech offers subsidies to cover a portion or all of the cost of transportation based on need.

In 44 years Ballet Tech has auditioned 930,334 students and enrolled 26,589 into the New York City Public School for Dance.

In partnership with the Professional Performing Arts School (PPAS) Ballet Tech re-launched its high school training program in September 2014 and is looking forward to its first graduating class in June, a seminal moment in Ballet Tech's inspired history. Now with a complete high school, we also plan to invite artistic directors of local dance companies and heads of college dance programs to the June performances at The Joyce Theater, treating the six performances as a showcase for the high school juniors and seniors. Each of our eight high school graduating students has been accepted to college – four in dance programs.

We are also creating an Alumni Program to stay connected with graduates and track their success. We have tried to stay in touch with past students, but without a formal program, it has been a “hit-or-miss" process. Alumni will benefit from peer-to-peer communication, as well as act as mentors for current students, ambassadors for the organization, and ideally become donors, helping to secure Ballet Tech's future and the success of its students.

Ballet Tech believes that every child in NYC deserves the opportunity to dance and grow to reach their full potential as people. Through its extensive recruitment process, Ballet Tech will strive to continue its outreach efforts to increase the number of public school auditions providing more students with the tuition-free quality dance training.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We act on the feedback we receive

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback


Ballet Tech Foundation, Inc.

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Ballet Tech Foundation, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 02/23/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Jilian Cahan Gersten

Ballet Tech

Laurel Durst

No Affiliation

Carol Zerbe Hurford

No Affiliation

Philip E. Aarons

Millenium Partners

Patricia Crown

Law Offices of Patricia Crown

Karen Levinson

No Affiliation

Bill Heinzen

Deputy Counselor to the Mayor

Patricia Tuthill Pazner

Legal Aid Society

Rachel Moreno

Vice President of Brand and Culture Strategy Planned Parenthood

Mimi Lien

Stage Designer

Jenny Gersten


Jilian Cahan Gersten

Director of Development and External Affairs Brooklyn Arts Council

Warren Adams

Writer, Director, Choreographer

Suk Han

Equity Research Analyst

Edgar Peterson

Senior Director, Relationship Management CUSIP Global Services, Operated by FactSet

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? No
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/23/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American
Gender identity

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation

No data


No data