On Pointe docu-series goes behind the scenes at School of American Ballet

David Mead looks ahead to a new series coming soon on Disney+.

The School of American Ballet at Lincoln Center in New York City is widely regarded as America’s leading ballet academy. Founded in 1934 by George Balanchine and patron of the arts and writer Lincoln Kirstein, around 20 SAB graduates embark on professional careers annually. The school produces almost all of New York City Ballet’s dancers, as well as performers for many other for companies around the globe; and you don’t have to look hard to find many alumni who are now artistic directors, choreographers and teachers.

On Pointe, posterNow, starting December 18, On Pointe, a new six-part docu-series from Disney+ is too take viewers behind the scenes at the famous institution. For the first time in the 85 years since its founding, SAB opened its doors, allowing producers Imagine Documentaries and DCTV unprecedented access to its facility, classes, faculty and students aged 8 to 18 as they pursue their dreams.

The series captures a year in the life of the school and its students. Shot in true vérité, On Pointe follows students from around the United States through their audition process, rigorous training, and home and school lives.

For high school age students, the stakes are high. The series shows the rigorous training undertaken for professional careers, the years of which culminate in final contention for entry into NYCB. Those students are diverse, from many backgrounds. The metropolis that is New York City is a very foreign environment for many. The series will explore how their sacrifice for their passion impacts both them and their loved ones.

The younger students are not forgotten. The camera watches as elementary and middle school students seek coveted roles in NYCB’s annual season of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker at the David H. Koch Theater. Viewers will see these youngsters being put through their paces and readied for their performances.


Imagine Documentaries assure us of “a portrait of the triumphs, disappointments and growing pains of the journey to becoming a young professional dancer.” With the list of executive producers including such prominent names as Ron Howard, On Pointe promises much and seems sure to be a welcome distraction for ballet lovers from the usual Christmas fare.

OnPointe streams on Disney+ from December 18, 2020.