LIFT Program

New York Theatre Ballet’s LIFT Community Service Program began in 1989. It includes a variety of performance and learning activities, some offered in an in-house performance space called The Dance Gallery.

Read the NY Times article Small Steps Big Dreams by Vincent Mallozzi – June 27, 2008

LIFT includes a year-round Study Program for children at risk and homeless. Based on auditions held in shelters and other locations, up to 30 children are enrolled each year – all given partial or full scholarship assistance and other supporting help (clothing, medical care, field trips, mentoring). The study program has won recognition from the White House and the National Endowment for the Arts as a model national program.

“Programs such as LIFT are successful only to the extent that their creators have the vision to look beyond the present, the wisdom to understand the impact of the long-term commitment required, and the willingness to provide that commitment. Artistic Director Diana Byer has devoted [over] a decade to seeing to the needs of the children not just a leotard and ballet shoes, or transportation to class, but medical care, interpersonal skills, relational stability, and a chance to get away from the immediacy of the shelter situation. Dedication to the art form provides the framework for every aspect of the program, but the rigors and discipline of dance instruction are coupled with a genuine concern for the children and their families.” [Schuyler Chapin, former Commissioner, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs.]

Special Awards & Recognition

Homeless Shuffle by Marisa Nieves

Major Funding Partners

Reflections from the Artistic Director

NYTB presents an Annual Student Recital each year as part of its LIFT Community Service program. All students of Ballet School NY participate. The event is usually held in a college or school auditorium within easy reach of parents. This season’s recital: June 12, 2010. For information,call NYTB at 212-679-0401.

Barre to Stage is an admission-free Dance Gallery program for LIFT study children, parents, and neighborhood audiences. Throughout the year, guests are invited to open rehearsals, lecture-demonstrations, costumed run-throughs, and other activities.

Page to Stage teaches children in Ballet School NY the basics of choreography and stage design using literature as the foundation.

Dance on a Shoestring has been offered annually for the past 11 years. This Dance Gallery program gives NYTB artists and dancers a venue for developing their art through experimentation and new choreography. It enriches neighborhoods and builds audience appreciation through high quality mini-performances, lecture-demonstrations, and workshops. It gives LIFT children and other children studying in NYTB’s affiliated school, Ballet School NY, opportunities to learn their craft from production through performance. This year, Dance on a Shoestring will offer 8 performances and four different programs.

For general information about the LIFT Community Service Program, email