National Medal of Arts

The School of American Ballet is recognized for its achievements in forging a dynamic classical ballet tradition in the United States and is one of the world's central institutions of ballet teaching. Founded by the legendary choreographer George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein, the school has been recognized for instilling Balanchine's incomparable standard of classical excellence in its students, who form a "who's who" of American dance -- among others Suzanne Farrell, Arthur Mitchell, Maria Tallchief, Ethan Stiefel and Darci Kistler, as well as Broadway stars Chita Rivera and Hinton Battle. The school is the official academy of New York City Ballet and is led by the company's artistic director Peter Martins.