Founder & Artistic Director
Diana Byer has performed as a principal with the company and as a guest artist with ballet companies throughout the U.S. Before establishing the company and school, she performed as a soloist with Les Grandes Ballets Canadiens, Manhattan Festival Ballet, New York City Opera Ballet, and the Juilliard Ensemble. Ms. Byer received her principal dance training from Margaret Craske and Antony Tudor.
Ms. Byer received extensive media attention for her ongoing work with homeless and at-risk children, winning special citations from President George Bush, First Lady Hillary Clinton, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the President’s Committee on the Arts & the Humanities. The LIFT Community Service program, which provides dance classes, performance opportunities, scholarships and services for the homeless and at-risk children of New York City, was initiated at NYTB through her vision and commitment. In 1988, 1990, and 1993, Ms. Byer received the Helen Wieselberg Award of the National Arts Club in recognition for her ongoing work with LIFT. In 1992, Lincoln Center produced at Alice Tully Hall a one-hour presentation for children called Dreams On A Shoestring, featuring an original script based on Ms. Byer and LIFT.
In December 1996, she was again spotlighted in two features in Dance Magazine. Ms. Byer coached the principals in the Columbia Pictures film, Center Stage. She was a member of the Antony Tudor Centennial Celebration Committee and in 2008 staged Tudor’s Judgment of Paris for the American Ballet Theatre Gala at The Metropolitan Opera House. She is a repetiteur for the Antony Tudor Trust and a member of the Board of Directors of the Dance Notation Bureau. In 2010 she assisted Kevin McKenzie in ABT’s restaging of Antony Tudor’s Jardin Aux Lilas (Lilac Garden) and staged Agnes de Mille’s Three Virgins and a Devil for the Alabama Ballet. In 2011 Ms. Byer restaged Antony Tudor’s Soiree Musicale and the dances from Agnes deMille’s Carousel, Oklahoma and Brigadoon.