New Ballet established the paid trainee program in 2005 to give graduate students a paid opportunity to further their training on the professional level. Formalized in 2020, the program became known as the Teaching and Performing Artist Apprenticeship (TPAA). Artists may participate in the program full time or part time while attending university classes locally or online. Funded professional development includes training with the American Ballet Theater Teacher Training Program, Dance Education Laboratory and the National Dance Institute. New Ballet is dedicated to providing apprentices with the training they need to succeed as future performers and teaching artists, whether they remain in Memphis or ascend to the great stages of the world! Past participants include, Breana Moore, Ron K. Brown Evidence, A Dance Company; Maxx Reed Spiderman Turn off the Dark; and Charles “Lil Buck” Riley (Wikipedia).
Each year, apprentices build their skills in dance performance, instruction, choreography, operations and administration. TPAAs train alongside New Ballet Teaching Artists and guest artists and choreographers. Other opportunities include certification training with national curricula experts, participation in national conferences, membership in professional arts associations and more.
TPAAs contribute 20 to 30 hours per week in classes and rehearsals on salary, rising to full time status as teaching and performing artists at New Ballet within four years. Apprentices also perform in all New Ballet mainstage productions and are involved in the regular programming as assistant instructors for New Ballet classes and in Pathways residency programs. Previous apprentices have also had the privilege to perform at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts and at the Association of Performing Arts Professionals, and they regularly lead school performances throughout Shelby County.