ABT Gillespie At Segerstrom Center Celebrates 5th Anniversary In Honor Of World Ballet Day
Segerstrom Center for the Arts is celebrating the fifth anniversary of its American Ballet Theatre William J. Gillespie School. The ABT Gillespie School opened on September 14, 2015. and has become one of the most respected ballet schools on the West Coast.
Combining the resources of American Ballet Theatre, America's National Ballet Company, and Segerstrom Center for the Arts, one of the nation's leading presenters of dance, the school offers unrivaled training and performance opportunities for students ages 3 - 18.
Already, many of the school's students have performed in productions by American Ballet Theatre, the Mariinsky Ballet and the Mikhailovsky Ballet. Center Executive Vice President Judy Morr said, "We are so proud of the extraordinary success of our ABT Gillespie School and the achievements of our students. The Center cannot thank Bill Gillespie enough for making our school possible and the talent and guidance of Alaine Haubert, the school's principal. And, of course, we treasure our relationship with American Ballet Theatre, whose presence at the Center through the school's National Training Curriculum and their glorious performances on our stages have helped to make Orange County the dance capital of the West Coast."
One of the singular advantages available to ABT Gillespie School students are opportunities to perform with the renowned ballet companies in the Center's International Dance Series. Since the school opened in 2015, students have appeared in ABT's annual performances of The Nutcracker, the world premiere of ABT's new production of The Sleeping Beauty (2015), the world premiere of ABT's production of Whipped Cream (2017), the Mikhailovsky Ballet's Don Quixote (2018), and the West Coast premiere of ABT's Harlequinade (2019). During the 2019-2020 school year, ABT Gillespie students performed in the Mariinsky Ballet's opulent production of La Bayadère (October 16 - 20) and will appear in ABT's The Nutcracker (December 13 - 24).
The ABT Gillespie School is under the leadership of the school's principal, Alaine Haubert, herself a former ABT soloist and ballet mistress. At the opening of the school in 2015, the school offered classes for students from 3 years of age to level 4, approximately age 14. Over the last five years, a full pre-professional division and a men's program have been added. The pre-professional program is for ages approximately 11 - 18. In addition to classes in classical ballet technique, pointe, men's training, character and body conditioning, variations, partnering and modern, the curriculum also includes live musical accompaniment for all ballet classes and levels. Upper Level students also participate in master classes conducted by ballet masters and principal dancers from companies appearing at the Center in the annual International Dance Series. Currently, enrollment is 300 students from ages 3 - 18 participating in 86 classes per week.
Former ABT Gillespie School students have been accepted into several prestigious ballet training programs including the American Ballet Theatre Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School in New York and programs at San Francisco Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, Pennsylvania Ballet, Houston Ballet, Boston Ballet, Ballet West, and Paris Opera. Alumnus Mallory Sweeney trained at ABT Gillespie School since its inaugural year. She performed in the world premieres of ABT's The Sleeping Beauty (2015) and Whipped Cream (2017), both choreographed by ABT Choreographer in Residence Alexei Ratmansky. Mallory shares, "The ABT Gillespie School has opened up so many amazing opportunities for me, including master classes, the opportunity to learn the amazing ABT National Training Curriculum, and a chance to perform next to the ABT company when they are here at Segerstrom Center." Mallory continued training this summer at the ABT New York Summer Intensive and has been invited to join the Joffrey Ballet apprentice program.
To learn more about the American Ballet Theatre William J. Gillespie School at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, please visit the Center's website at ww.SCFTA.org/Engage-and-Learn/ABT-William-J-Gillespie-Dance-School, or call 714-556-4100.