A Week with the Best of the Best

by Erin Poor, Michele Tilley and Matthew Boring

In the spring of 2018 two of the nation’s top performing arts ensembles, American Ballet Theater (ABT) and the St. Louis Symphony (SLSO), converged at the Lied Center for Performing Arts. Their time was divided between a rigorous rehearsal schedule and extensive residency services offered to Lincoln’s young artists of tomorrow.

In the week leading up to their monumental collaboration, ABT and SLSO provided countless life-changing opportunities for university, high school and middle school students. American Ballet Theatre held several dance master classes for students studying ballet at the University and in private studios across the city. Students experienced what it was like to “take class” with the same ballet masters who teach Misty Copeland and Isabella Boylston. ABT also opened rehearsals to student and community observers, offering a rare chance to experience the process of making incredible art on a monumental scale.

St. Louis Symphony brought to Lincoln their commitment to community engagement, offering master classes on viola, violin, cello, bass, trombone, percussion, and flute to UNL students. In addition to digging into the nuances and technical elements of specific instruments, musicians from SLSO visited the undergraduate and graduate music student convocation classes. Scores of aspiring musicians engaged in dialogue with elite artists about their careers, the challenges they faced and the barriers they overcame along the way.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Ronnie Green said, “Engaging with artists like American Ballet Theatre and St. Louis Symphony is part of what makes the student experience on our campus distinctive. Throughout every academic year, the most distinguished artists in the world teach in our classrooms and inspire our students.”

The week with American Ballet Theater and St. Louis Symphony, and the transformative experiences they so generously offered the Lincoln artistic community, will stay with us for a very long time. 

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