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Investing in the Future: The School of Ballet Arizona Scholarships


The School of Ballet Arizona Scholarships


Students of The School of Ballet Arizona. Photo by Tzu-Chia Huang.
Students of The School of Ballet Arizona. Photo by Tzu-Chia Huang.

The School of Ballet Arizona (SBAZ) offers a variety of merit and/or need-based scholarships. Beyond furthering their education, and in some cases breaking down financial barriers, scholarships are an investment in people, our school, and ultimately the advancement of ballet.

This year, we are thrilled to announce SBAZ has awarded 32 scholarships for the 2021-2022 school year, totaling $68,908 in merit and financial aid. Additionally, 23 students were awarded $25,870 in scholarships for the 2021 Summer Intensive program. All in, we gave out nearly $100,000 in scholarships to our students this year.

Highlighted below, are some of the scholarships provided at SBAZ and the incredible individuals and foundations that have made this funding possible.

Ted Stephan
Ted Stephan

The Ted Stephan Scholarship

In May 2021, Ballet Arizona received the news of a generous bequest from longtime ballet supporter, Theodore R. Stephan. This wonderful gift established the new merit-based, Ted Stephan Scholarship, which will be awarded each school year.

Born in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, Ted was raised during the Great Depression and became a young man through the backdrop of World War II. He developed a deep appreciation of music and dance early on through his mother who was a gifted pianist and opera-lover. Those interests, forged during turbulent times, became passions that endured throughout his lifetime. While attending Ohio State University, after serving in the war, Ted worked as a ballroom dance instructor at Arthur Murray’s Dance Studio. Ted later established a career in the mortgage banking industry and real estate, was a photo model, and ultimately became a business entrepreneur dealing in health and nutrition. Through it all, he remained passionate about dance and was still out on the dance floor every week through his 93rd year.

Ted was an active and passionate supporter of Ballet Arizona, as well as many other charities, and we are honored to be remembered by him in this thoughtful and generous way. We look forward to celebrating his lifelong passion for dance and education through the beneficiaries of this scholarship, thereby instilling that same lifelong passion for dance in future generations to come.

Kathleen McGillicuddy Kelly’s five loving childrenThe Kathleen M. Kelly Memorial Scholarship

This past spring, Kathleen McGillicuddy Kelly’s five loving children, memorialized their mother’s legacy with The Kathleen M. Kelly Memorial Scholarship. Through the support of family and friends, the scholarship has raised over $15,000 and has been awarded to two upper-division and two lower-division students for the 2021-2022 school year. Inspired by their mother’s life-long dedication to dance, the family created the scholarship in order to remove financial barriers that ballet students and parents often face throughout the course of their training.

Born and raised on the east coast, Kathleen was from a Baseball Hall of Fame family, as the granddaughter of the great Connie Mack. Although she was a forever sports fan, Kathleen made a name for herself through dance, as a Radio City Music Hall Rockette in the early 50’s. Her dancing days continued in Arizona, where she performed, taught, and choreographed for over 50 years, most notably with her precision tap company, The Kelly Dancers.

Kathleen’s passion for dance started at the age of 3 with ballet. She trained throughout her adolescence, and while Kathleen loved all types of dance, she understood the important foundation ballet training provides a dancer, as well as the impact ballet and dance, can have on anyone’s life. She was the embodiment of vitality and positive energy, whose memory will continue to inspire the students at SBAZ and the community she cared for so deeply.

The Hearst Foundations Scholars

In 1997, the Hearst Foundations established a generous endowment of $100,000 to support scholarships at The School of Ballet Arizona. The proceeds from this endowed scholarship support a portion of tuition for four to five students annually.

For 24 years, Hearst Foundations has underwritten tuition for more than 100 students at The School of Ballet Arizona. They were the first organization to make the seed gift towards Ballet Arizona’s endowment, now valued at $5 million dollars.

The Hearst Foundations are national philanthropic resources for organizations working in the fields of culture, education, health, and social services. Founded in 1946 by William Randolph Hearst, the Hearst Foundations identify and fund outstanding nonprofits to ensure that people of all backgrounds in the United States have the opportunity to build healthy, productive, and inspiring lives. Ballet Arizona is honored by their long-standing support and the opportunities they have provided to students at The School of Ballet Arizona.

The School of Ballet Arizona students in Swan Lake at Desert Botanical Garden. Photo by Rosalie O'Connor.
The School of Ballet Arizona students in Swan Lake at Desert Botanical Garden. Photo by Rosalie O’Connor.

To learn more about how you can support our scholarship programs, contact the development department at 602.343.6520.


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