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Pathways Residencies

Created in collaboration with Shelby County Schools and funded by generous donors, Pathways is a tuition-free in-school residency program that inspires students with an affinity for dance to continue developing their talents. New Ballet Teaching Artists visit partnering schools once to twice weekly throughout the school year, leading a variety of dance classes. Pathways students matriculate into the New Ballet studio program and perform in their schools and at New Ballet’s annual Family Night at the Overton Park Shell.

Pathways locations are in the county’s highest child poverty zones and began in 2009 as the Orange Mound Residency Program at Dunbar Elementary School. Its success caught the attention of the TODAY show, and Al Roker’s “Lend A Hand” program gifted the school with a fully equipped studio, mirrors, sprung floor, and barres. The program evolved into Pathways, expanding into multiple schools in Shelby County.

Pathways residencies are built collaboratively with school administrators. Students expand their passion for dance at their schools, where they become inspired to advance into classes at New Ballet. Some of these talented young dancers have built successful dance careers, becoming Teaching and Performing Artists who return home to teach in their communities.

Pathways services reach beyond dance to address the needs of particular schools and students. Initiatives have included student mentoring through the Lunch Buddies program, free after-school transportation access between students’ schools and New Ballet, and family engagement and assistance programs, all supporting a deeper connection to the family and community.

If your school is interested in becoming a partner in the Pathways program, please contact Mary Frances Massey at 901-726-9225 or for more information.

Pathways currently holds programs in the following public schools:

  • Dunbar Elementary
  • La Rose Elementary
  • Northaven Elementary
  • Peabody Elementary
  • Booker T. Washington Middle
  • Humes Middle (Frayser Community Schools – Spring Residency)
  • Millington Intermediate
  • Sherwood Middle
  • Millington Central Middle & High
  • Overton High

Pathways at Shelby County Schools is generously sponsored by:

  • The Hearst Foundations
  • Women’s Foundation of Greater Memphis
  • National Endowment for the Arts (Art Works grant)
  • The Memphis Grizzlies
  • Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Educational Foundation
  • The Memphis City Council
  • The Shelby County Commission