Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers

ABT Jackie Onassis School

Recommended Posts

dluna, Hope your daughter spirits rise - time does have a way of making things "better". I'm not sure if you're aware of it, but NJ Ballet in Livingston seems to have a pre-professional program. My daughter danced there for a short period of time. When she was there, they had some great instructors who gave her helpful corrections. With regards to ABT/JKO; have you heard what date dancers must reply by if they were accepted?

Link to comment
  • Replies 533
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • mirabray


  • dcportrait


  • dluna


  • DanceMumNYC


dluna - do have a talk w/ the director of njb - find out what level you daughter will be for the fall. also you can't expect the overall level of dance ability at njb to be equal to what you would see at the ABT SI - however there are a few "gems" at njb and they will be given opportunities within the njb intensive program to perform quite a bit. but you must know this since your daughter has been there a number of years.


don't let her give up hope - just have her keep working hard and try again next year. within nj there are not many options. pk mentions susan jaffe's school which does have very good training - that may be an option if you are willing/able to commute to princeton 5/6 days a week.


if you would like to pm me i'd be happy to discuss the njb - other training issue with you as i/my daughter have wrestled and have first hand experience w/ njb and the issue of other training.

Link to comment



Regarding JKO keep things in perspective, it added one more class to it program this year. My DD was told only fifteen dancers per class size. The other two classes that exist now are a least 15 dancers. So do the math, only about 15 opening or less. There was a massive mailing for the audition in April. Read previous post about 62 dancers came to that audition. Individual auditions were done and now the summer programs students may be evaluated. Like other big name programs they will, and can pick the cream of the crop.


Here is a search on NYC base schools.



Link to comment

Sending you lots of support Dluna. Just remember everything happens for a reason. Sometimes things that we wish for aren't what is supposed to be happening. As we change our course and live that new path it all begins to make sense. The most important thing is that you find a place for your daughter where she flourishes and feels challenged. When my daughter was at this point she left New Jersey and became a yearrounder at Washington School of Ballet. This was an excellent choice for her. You could also consider Studio Maestro or Ballet Academy East in NYC. Best of luck to you and your daughter!

Link to comment



I'm sorry for your daughter, and it's hard on a mom to see your child sad and disappointed. However, I am also a believer of things happening for a reason and I'm sure that a year from now, this will be but a small part of her memory.


I'm also a NJ resident that is considering NJ School of Ballet, or any other good ballet school in NJ. My daughter who just turned 13 has been a student at a NYC ballet school for the past 3 years and I am in the process of evaluating whether to continue there. (See the thread I started in Crosstalk - To leave or not to leave big name ballet school.) I have been trying to gather information and certainly recommendations for schools in New Jersey. I also have been told to look into Princeton Dance & Theater and The Academy of Dance Arts in Red Bank (however they teach a totally different technique her than my dd is used to.)


On the other hand, if I could arrange a carpool to the city, I would consider staying there. I have heard good things about studio maestro. Ballet Academy East is a little harder to get to coming from NJ as it is on the upper east side of manhattan and so you deal with a little more traffic. The school that my daughter is in has auditions in the beginning of september if you are interested I could give you more info.


My daughter is at CPYB summer intensive right now. When she returns I plan to take her to these places to try them out and see what kind of gut feeling we get out of it.


In what part of NJ do you live. If we both decide to do the princeton thing, maybe we could work something out.



Link to comment

Studio Maestro and Ballet Academy East have programs in August so I would definetely visit them and speak with their staff. The students and staff are not necessarily the same as the year round programs but you should be able to make some assessment of the training. Studio Maestro also has a daily Open Class for teenage students.

Link to comment

Dluna - I think you should look at the thread on where graduates are going from professional training programs. It looks like it does not make that much differences whether or not the school is associated with a company or one of the more "famous" schools. Graduates are doing well from small schools too. Take your daughter around to visit a few of the local schools, like Studio Maestro, Princeton Dance and Theater School, New Jersey Ballet, Coupe, and Princeton Ballet. That way you can meet with the directors and your daughter can see where she thinks she would fit. Find out if the dancers get jobs or into good dance programs when they graduate.


Does anyone know where the SAB girls who are not apprentices are going next year? Studio Maestro? JKO?

Link to comment

Hi, everybody who wrote into this thread!


I just want to add a little information about JKO here. First of all, lots of info about the faculty and school can be easily obtained by going to




and clicking on all the faculty and staff links. For example, if you want to know about Franco DeVita's background, just follow his link. But for those of you who were just wondering about it, here it is anyway:




Since you can read all about it there, I won't bother to reiterate any of that information here, except to say that Mr. De Vita is a very open person, quite thoughtful and accessible, from my experience, and if the students want to take the class of other teachers outside the school, all they have to do is discuss it with him, and I'm sure he would give his opinion as to the advisability of studying with any particular teacher. Parents of current students have told me that he considers private coaching a time-honored tradition in ballet, and there is not the same atmosphere of fear and obfuscation there that you may find at other schools when students wish to get some outside help. Having said that, I'm sure he would probably prefer to have the opportunity to give feedback about any extracurricular classes/lessons, to be sure it would not be totally contradictory to what he is trying to accomplish.


As for this fall ('06) at JKO, I believe he is looking for students with the potential to develop, not for students who already possess perfect technique. In fact, I know it, since he has accepted my dd!! He is trying, from what I gather, to stick fairly closely to the age limits established, i.e., 12-14 for the Elementary Division means 12-14, with the very, very occasional exception for those 11.75 and 13.75 year-olds who might be admitted (or promoted) a little early to either the Elementary or Intermediate divisions. Rumor has it he likes good feet, but who doesn't? Also, I gather from feedback from the parents of other students who have applied, either with or without success, that he is less likely to take a 14 year-old for the Intermediate Division who still has a ways to go in terms of basic technique or who lacks a certain level of proficiency on pointe, for instance, or who has been trained in another method to a degree which he feels would make it hard for that student to fit smoothely in with the other Intermediate students. Quite a few students seem to have been told that they are a little weak in one area or another, and to go away and work on that area and come back and try again.


I can attest that the students and families I know who are already there seem very happy with the school, although last year, since there was only one class encompassing the 12-15 year old group, several of the most advanced felt a little hindered by the level of the least advanced, and the least advanced probably were quite challenged. Mr. De Vita apparently addressed this problem by varying his center combinations for the differing abilities of the students. One student is rumored to have left mid-year because she did not feel sufficiently challenged. However, this year, with the addition of the Intermediate Division, the situation should improve.


ABT has indeed had a school before, but I take issue with the allegation that it has 'had trouble' keeping its school. True, in the most recent years the school has had a spotty history, but the original Ballet Theater school on West 57th Street was open for quite a long time, I believe, perhaps 20 years or so (?)then closed briefly in the late 60's or early 70's (help! anybody got the exact history here?), but opened again under Baryshnikov shortly afterwards. After that, a longer absense. Perhaps as the school becomes more established, which hopefully the Onassis and other funding will make possible, it will be able to demonstrate a good track record at remaining viable, placing its students in companies and colleges.


Good luck to JKO and to dluna and anyone interested in the school!

Link to comment

My dd would like to know why she was not accepted. Do they usually say in the letter? Hers did not, but she does have Mr. Davita as a teacher. Is it okay for her or me (at observation) to ask? What is the proper etiquette? She is worried it is partly due to her injury which happened at the beginning of the third week, the last week of auditioning, although everyone in her class who was accepted auditoned in the spring, and no one who just came in the summer was accepted. They are all younger 12-14, and she will be 15 in 2 months. I figured they have the class from last year for her age group, and she is too old for the new class. She told me Mr. Davita seemed to like her the first few days, but then he asked her to show her Irish/Italian fire (she is also part Russian, Welsh, etc. and is 5ft.7, 115 lbs., blonde, cool, graceful, more like an English or Russian dancer). After tath he did not pay attention to her. She said everyone she knew who was accepted was short, very thin, with very long legs. Her Russian teacher from NJB said they never accept people the first time and she should audition again next year. I am just concerned about her training this coming year as we don't think her current school prepared her well enough for this audition the past year and don't want to have the same thing happen again next year. We cannot afford to send her away. She is one of 10 children, 8 of whom are still at home, and she has always been homeschooled. Thanks for the information.



[edited by moderator to remove unnecessary quote of a preceding post.]

Edited by dancemaven
Link to comment



My daughter received her waitlist letter on Monday and after getting over her disappointment, went to speak to Mr. DeVita on Wednesday. After thanking him for considering her for the JKO school, she asked what she needed to work on. She said he was very approachable and seemed to be impressed that she went to speak to him directly rather than having mom call.


If you would like to speak to him, I would do it today. He will not be at the summer program for the last two weeks. He is very good about returning phone calls. If your daughter wants to speak to him, let her know that his office is on the fourth floor. If you should be unable to touch base with him today, he will be back on July 31st for the Young Dancer program.



Link to comment


The classes are Elementery Divison 12-14, Intermediate Divison 14-16, Advance 16-18. She would be old enough for the intermediate.

But my DD is 16, was not accepted either, since they have such full classes now, and alot of dancers moving up, there cannot be many openings. Frank Devita told us only about 15-20 per class.


Does anyone know if he is taking older students this year? Most of acceptence post are younger dancers.

Link to comment

Dluna, your daughter should ask Mr. DeVita why she was not chosen and whether or not she should try again. It is true that the older you get, the harder it is to get into these schools. There are just less openings.


If your daughter really wants to have a chance at JKO, maybe she should study at the Princeton Dance and Theater school in Princeton since Susan Jaffe is the director. She would be studying the correct technique and I'm sure Susan Jaffe could tell you whether or not she is suited to that company and/or school. Why don't you make an appointment and have her take a class. It would be fun to take Susan Jaffe's class anyway. I hear that she coaches the students individually when they have parts in the shows and that she teaches at least two days a week. Does anyone know who the other teachers are and whether or not they were dancers at ABT?


Otherwise, does anyone know anything about Elaine Kudo's school in New Jersey? She was also at ABT.


Just remember, there are no guarantees of a future in dance even if you go to a school like JKO or SAB. Many great dancers come out of small schools. It's all about how you dance at the company auditions.

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...