New Jersey Ballet Celebrates Collaboration of Company and School

By Steve Sears

Maria Kowroski, NJB Artistic Director; Scott Becchi, Honoree; Lynn McMahon, Honoree; and Scott Tross, Chairman of the Board (credit: New Jersey Ballet)

David Tamaki, Managing Director of the New Jersey Ballet Company since the fall of 2021, sets the table.

Since (Artistic Director) Maria Kowroski  has arrived, our company is on a completely new trajectory, and while this season was a great season, next season is going to be even more exciting.”

When the 2023 – 2024 season opens, the New Jersey Ballet School will celebrate its 70th anniversary, and the New Jersey Ballet Company its 65th. Tamaki adds, “Both entities were founded at separate times, but have always had a close working partnership.”

That partnership is now even closer and was confirmed when the New Jersey Ballet held its annual Spring Gala on Thursday, April 27 at the Crystal Palace in Livingston. Tamaki says about the evening, “It is our annual fundraiser. All funds raised from that event help support our future projects, especially encompassing Maria’s vision for the company, as well as the collaboration of the school and company which now are formally one organization, where a professional company presents its programming and the school will also now go through a transformative phase with really investing in the training that we offer to students that attend the New Jersey School of Ballet.”

The New Jersey Ballet is preparing to announce in the upcoming months their 2023 – 2024 season performance lineup, and that statewide tour will include multiple venues, including a wonderful list for November, March, and May, as well as 13 holiday season performances with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra of The Nutcracker at Morriston’s Mayo Performing Arts Center, where the company is the resident ballet company. 

“The New Jersey Ballet,” Tamaki says, “has always been focused on serving New Jersey. We try throughout our season to tour and hit as many communities as possible, to show the artistic quality and programing that the New Jersey Ballet presents.”

For Tamaki and the rest of the company, the planning is exciting, especially as Kowroski heads into her second year as Artistic Director. He says, “She has a very expansive vision of what she wants to see New Jersey Ballet become, and with her vision it really allows for robust planning. It is a lot of work, but because she has such a clear vision for the company, it makes the planning that much easier because we have an idea of what she wants to accomplish.”

In January, the New Jersey Ballet lost one of its most loved coaches, Gabrielle Noa-Abbate, who, like Tamaki, grew up at the New Jersey School of Ballet, danced professionally with the company, and became an instructor and a coach. Beloved by so many, the school in her honor established the Gabrielle Noa-Abbate Scholarship Fund.

Tamaki says, “Her passing shocked all of us, and we felt that there was no better tribute for her than to have a scholarship fund where those with financial need would have the opportunity to study ballet. Gabrielle was passionate about professional dancers and the needs that they had, and she was also passionate about the next generation of dancers and always wanted to nurture them as a teacher. The scholarship will help honor what she cared deeply about, while providing assistance to those who need it.”

The New Jersey Ballet is located at 7-9 Vreeland Road in Florham Park. For more information, visit www.njballet.org.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.