Arts, Culture, and Humanities

ARIZONA YOUTH BALLET MESA

aka Arizona Youth Ballet

Mesa, AZ

Mission

We are a non profit 501(c)3 program that provides pre-professional performance opportunities through strong technical training and a nurturing environment for dancers of all ages. Through dedicated, highly regarded faculty, outstanding supporters and amazing dancers, we strive to be the premier youth dance company in the Southwest.

Ruling Year

2014

President

Stephanie Kilgore

Secretary

Jane Walls

Main Address

8747 E Posada Ave

Mesa, AZ 85212 USA

Keywords

Ballet, Dance, Nonprofit, Youth, Education

EIN

45-4452132

 Number

6715138522

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Ballet (A63)

IRS Filing Requirement

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

Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

Our main goal is to grow a company that offers high level technical training, in a nurturing environment, as well as offers professional performance opportunities. The Board of Directors recognizes the high quality of our Artistic Staff, training, and performance opportunities. We aim to increase the community knowledge of our programs, staff and performances. Only by doing this will we reach more dancers who will benefit from our training. Our dancers are trained to continue in the dance world, higher education or to enter the work force with the skills they will learn.

Our programs

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Pre-Professional Training

Summer Intensive

Where we work

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Total number of free seats filled for performances

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

General/Unspecified,

Families

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context notes

AZYB works with a group serving military families and first responders by offering free tickets to our performances. Even though all tickets are reserved, not every ticket is redeemed.

Total number of paid seats filled for performances

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

General/Unspecified,

Families

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Average dollar price for performance tickets

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

General/Unspecified,

Families

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context notes

AZYB has been able to maintain ticket costs, while continuing to offer high quality ballet productions.

Total number of performances

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

General/Unspecified,

Families

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context notes

We are consistent in offering 3 performances of The Nutcracker and 2 performances of our chosen Spring selection.

Charting Impact

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

The organization was born from a desire to form an organization that could take young aspiring dancers from the dance studio to a professional company. A need was identified by this group for a pre-professional opportunity that mirrored a true professional ballet company in order to prepare the next generation of classical ballet dancers. The young dancers that were taking dance classes were unaware of the requirements to take their love of the craft to a professional stage and environment. Arizona Youth Ballet was created to give them a safe place to experience the highs and lows involved in preparing for a stage production, as well as the demands of auditioning and rehearsing for desired roles, as well as the disappointment of not receiving those assignments. Arizona Youth Ballet does this in a safe and nurturing environment. Part of this experience includes regular, scheduled classes and rehearsals that are dictated by technique level and training. Although other pre-professional companies existed, the founding group saw a need for a company where the focus was less on sheer technical ability, and more on a well-rounded skill set. They also wanted this to be a safer place for dancers to learn, where bullying was prohibited and dancers of a wide variety of personal, physical, and technical variations would be given the keys to success. Arizona Youth Ballet’s artistic staff is comprised of professional dancers, both retired and active, who bring a level of experience that includes all sides of the industry. Our artistic staff have all been teaching for a minimum of 20 years each, in addition to their professional careers. This lends to insights and contacts from all sides of the profession, from training to a professional career.

Arizona Youth Ballet provides a weekly technique class each Saturday, with our Artistic Staff, who are classically trained in ballet as well as other dance styles and have extensive experience on the stage and in the classroom. Dancers are required to attend multiple weekly technique classes, at the studio of their choice, the number of which is determined by their company placement. For dancers pursuing a professional career, our staff provides guidance in audition techniques, introductions, industry insight, and career motivation. Those who are Company members for the love of the craft learn discipline, time management, and responsibility in a competitive industry, as well as skills that can be used for success in future, non-dance, endeavors. Providing a diverse artistic staff ensures we provide our dancers with a well-rounded technical education. AZYB has recently embarked upon an extended education program, as a service to our community, that includes technique classes taught by guest professional teachers in a variety of genres, as well as classes in areas such as nutrition, stage make-up, resume writing, and audition skills. We hold open auditions for the company every August. Auditions for our production of The Nutcracker are open to the community. Students from around the Valley chose to perform The Nutcracker with us, without the obligations that accompany annual company membership. This gives community dancers an opportunity to participate in a classical ballet, while receiving expert instruction and guidance from our professional Artistic Staff. We hold mid-year company auditions after The Nutcracker season, when many Nutcracker dancers choose to join our company. Our biannual full-length performances are open to the community, and are advertised across the valley. Additionally, we engage in community outreach programs to foster an appreciation of classical ballet, at local libraries, bookstores, and schools. Arizona Youth Ballet has two main beliefs that set us apart from other pre-professional companies. Arizona Youth Ballet understands that our dancers may not have all started their dancing careers with our staff. They are coming to us for further training and performance opportunities. Arizona Youth Ballet requires our company dancers take at least one day a week with our Artistic Staff but they are allowed to continue taking classes at their current studios, until such time as additional training is needed. Further, other companies will age out dancers in a pre-professional program at the age of 18. However, Arizona Youth Ballet knows not all dancers start their career when young. Arizona Youth Ballet has two divisions. One is for dancers under the age of 18 and those over 19 (ages determined at the beginning of the season). The dancers in Division II are expected to mentor and assist the younger dancers as well as train. This helps create a bond with dancers and strengthens the dancers and the company.

Arizona Youth Ballet’s artistic staff is comprised of professional dancers, both retired and active, who bring a level of experience that includes all sides of the industry. Our artistic staff have all been teaching for a minimum of 20 years each, in addition to their professional careers. This lends to insights and contacts from all sides of the profession, from training to a professional career. Our Artistic Director has maintained contacts in the professional world that she uses to the advantage of the students she now mentors through our program. She has used these contacts to facilitate introductions and auditions for dancers. She has also continued to teach, during breaks, at other programs. She is a highly sought after instructor and continues to teach during breaks at other programs, pre-professional and higher education institutions. Our Ballet Master continues to dance locally, as well as instruct our dancers. He has also recently worked with dancers training for ballet competition. Until the dissolution, he was a well-regarded member of the Artistic Staff for another local highly regarded dance company. He balances these obligations with his involvement with Arizona Youth Ballet and continues to inspire our dancers. Further, in order to provide a more rounded experience, Arizona Youth Ballet has added a Contemporary/Modern Instructor to the Artistic Staff. The Instructor has a degree in Modern Dance, as well as a Masters in Business with a specialization in Management and Operations, and has formed, and run, modern dance companies. She taught and choreographed a 10 minute piece that was performed by the entire company during the 2018 Spring performance. This brought a greater depth of technique to dancers looking forward to auditioning for professional companies, where ballet experience alone is insufficient. Even though Arizona Youth Ballet has dancers that have performed, and competed with other dance companies and studios, the experience they received with our Contemporary/Modern Instructor gave them a new confidence in their ability to master new dance forms. The Board of Directors is made up of 7 volunteers, including involved parents as well as professionals who believe in the mission of Arizona Youth Ballet. Board Members are responsible for liaising with the performance venue Facilities Director, as well as other vendors, and maintaining a working relationship with the studio owners where auditions and rehearsals occur. Board Members work with Committee Heads to ensure needed action items are addressed in a timely manner. The Board is also in charge of marketing of performances and the company, website maintenance, and company merchandise. They conduct all business-related matters, including budgeting and financial direction, to maintain company viability and allow Arizona Youth Ballet to continue providing exceptional technical training.

Student dancers and Company members are from all across the Greater Phoenix area. Most performances also include Valley adult professional guest artists who perform roles for which our student dancers are not yet technically qualified. We believe this enhances the experience of our student dancers, giving them the opportunity to interact with the professionals and learn from them both technically and professionally. Our target performance audience is families, and the pictorial evidence shows that various ages and races attend our productions. After performances, dancers join the public in the lobby to answer questions, pose for photographs, and discuss the experience. Younger audience members enjoy meeting the dancers and seeing the costumes up close. A young girl attended our performance of Cinderella wearing her own Cinderella gown and asked be photographed with our Cinderella. Her mother told us how excited she was to have that opportunity. We serve the general population with interactive performances in senior retirement communities, schools, libraries, and bookstores. Our goal is to introduce the general population to classical ballet in an informal and intimate setting where individuals can enjoy a short performance and ask questions in order to both enjoy and learn. Arizona Youth Ballet partnered with a charter public school on the far west side of the Valley to introduce classical ballet to their students. Our dancers participated in multiple grade level assemblies from Kindergarten to 8th Grade and performed pieces from a classical ballet, followed by personal interaction with the students to answer their specific questions. This partnership brought no financial gain to AZYB, but our dancers benefited in a number of ways. It allowed them an additional performance opportunity; provided them with an opportunity to serve others; and allowed them to express their understanding of ballet technique and share their love of the craft. Arizona Youth Ballet evaluates its work based on feedback from its audiences as well as its company members and their parents. We know that we are effective when our audience numbers grow year over year. This is evidenced in strengthening ticket sales, which has been the case since inception. Another sign of success is in the form of written audience reviews, either as exit surveys, or testimonials, when patrons express their appreciation for the performance and their intention to return to enjoy future productions. We learn from our dancers of our effectiveness annually at audition time, when our company members rejoin us year after year because they tell us that they believe they are receiving exceptional training. We have a high rate of return for company members. Each January we hold mid-year auditions, when many of the community dancers who initially joined us just for the Nutcracker production, decide that they want to join us for ongoing training as a company member, after they recognize the benef

Arizona Youth Ballet has alumni who have gone on to higher educational dance opportunities as well as accepting professional ballet company contracts. These dancers credit Arizona Youth Ballet’s artistic staff as being instrumental in the training needed to secure these university placements and professional contracts. One of these dancers had previous injuries related to a different company. She has stated that the training and rehabilitation received from our Artistic Director allowed her to not only dance again but to gain the professional contract. Our Artistic Director reached out to the Artistic Director of the professional ballet company to facilitate the audition and introduction. This is an example of the benefit of having an Artistic Director who retired at the peak of her career, and who maintained contacts within the professional world, and uses this to the advantage of the students she now mentors through our program. Further, in order to provide a more rounded experience, Arizona Youth Ballet has added a Contemporary/Modern Instructor to the Artistic Staff. The Instructor has a degree in Modern Dance, as well as a Masters in Business with a specialization in Management and Operations, and has formed, and run, modern dance companies. She taught and choreographed a 10 minute piece that was performed by the entire company during the 2018 Spring performance. This brought a greater depth of technique to dancers looking forward to auditioning for professional companies, where ballet experience alone is insufficient. Even though Arizona Youth Ballet has dancers that have performed, and competed with other dance companies and studios, the experience they received with our Contemporary/Modern Instructor gave them a new confidence in their ability to master new dance forms. We continue to grow and learn more about our community in the studio and at large. We have begun adding additional life skill master classes for our dancers. The goal is to not only prepare our dancers for their next audition but for their life step. They learn self-discipline, time management and organizational skills, as well as resume writing and self defense. We recognize the dance world is extremely competitive and there are concerns about dancers and nutrition. We have added a Nutritionist to our volunteer list and she speaks to the company and guest artists each Nutcracker about good nutrition and what a dancers active body needs.

External Reviews

Photos

Financials

ARIZONA YOUTH BALLET MESA

Need more info on this nonprofit?

Need more info on this nonprofit?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information

Operations

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

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

BOARD ORIENTATION & 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?

Yes

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

No

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Yes

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

No