NYU Steinhardt News

Alumna Monica Stephenson Works To Increase Diversity in Ballet

Project Plié is an initiative of the American Ballet Theatre to increase racial diversity in ballet companies across America. The project offers training and support to ballet students from areas that are underrepresented in professional ballet companies and provides a network of ballet companies committed to increasing the level of diversity among their dancers.

Alumna Monica Stephenson (a graduate of our Dance Education track in ABT Ballet Pedagogy) is the project coordinator for Project Plié; she is responsible for teacher recruitment and training, and forming partnerships with companies around the country. One of Monica's tasks is recruiting racially diverse teachers and teachers who are committed to serving children underrepresented in classical ballet. Those who are selected are eligible to receive scholarships for ABT's National Training Curriculum courses.

Project Plié's Partner Companies include Ballet Austin, Ballet Memphis, and Washington Ballet. Its Advisory Committee includes Misty Copeland, a principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre, and Nigel Lythgoe, an executive producer of So You Think You Can Dance.