Santa Monica, California
A Letter From Allegra Clegg, Executive Director
Westside School of Ballet
May 4, 2022
As the days grow longer and we approach our annual Spring Performance, I have been wondering – Why do we do this? Why do we pour so much of our time, energy, and money into Westside Ballet?
The answer will be different for everyone, but for me it lies in Westside’s ability to grow amazing adults. This ethos has been part of Westside since its founding. My mom, Yvonne Mounsey and her co-founder, Rosemary Valaire, were so proud of our alumni who applied the gifts of the rigorous training they received at Westside to incredible life paths. I can still see my mom’s face when she told me about former students and what they were doing with their lives – her face always lit up and she couldn’t contain her smile as she recounted their stories. Her goal was to teach kids to be passionate about their choices, work hard every day, and have a positive attitude.
Our alumni say it all in their successes in multiple fields. From the arts, to medicine, to law, to the military, to environmental science, to education, they run the gamut of meaningful, impactful careers. I believe they got their foundation at Westside, an appetite and drive for success developed by being pushed hard in a supportive environment. They not only learned the skills and artistry of ballet, but they internalized the discipline it takes to get through a class, a rehearsal, and a performance. Though the majority of our alumni did not go on to professional ballet careers, they learned the appreciation of what all artists go through for their art; They learned what athletes endure to perfect their sport, how to honor their bodies, to put in the hours and be a team player, and they learned the most important lesson of life – life is hard and it may not always go your way but if you show up and work hard you will likely succeed and contribute to a better society.
This is the legacy that we are carrying forward. Our teachers, parents, volunteers, donors, and community partners also recognize the mission we have at Westside, and over the last two years they have shown how important this organization is to them by stepping up to help keep our doors open, our classes operating, and our kids dancing.
Our mission has always been to bring the arts to children in our community. We give over $100,000 in financial aid each school year to families who cannot afford ballet lessons for their children. Additionally, we expose thousands of children to classical ballet and music through our free community performances. And during the pandemic, we began offering a free children’s class on Sundays open to the wider community and reflective of our diverse, multi-cultural environment.
Westside’s legacy is worth preserving. I hope you will join me in helping Westside thrive and grow for generations to come by donating to us today. Let’s continue to Raise the Barre and give our kids the gift of Grace and Grit.
In these times of need, we are grateful for your support. If you would like to consider making a donation to help Save Our School, please see information about our fundraising efforts here.
About Westside School of Ballet
Westside School of Ballet is Los Angeles’ oldest and most successful public ballet school, founded in 1967 by New York City Ballet’s Yvonne Mounsey, and co-founder Rosemary Valaire, Royal Ballet soloist.
We are dedicated to the pursuit of excellence and the development of the student as an artist. Every year since the school’s founding, our students have been awarded scholarships with major ballet company schools and summer programs. This achievement is a result of the exceptional training by teachers with broad experience performing with professional companies all over the world.
An important part of a student’s training is the study of the classics and the opportunity to perform. For nearly 50 years, Westside Ballet (WSB’s non-profit performing division) has been Southern California’s premiere pre-professional training company, comprising approximately 100 dancers ranging from ages 8 to 18 years.
Our Alumni have gone on to dance with numerous professional companies, including New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, Houston Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Los Angeles Ballet, Sacramento Ballet and Kansas City Ballet.
Classes for All Ages and Levels
Westside School of Ballet offers training in classical ballet for all ages and levels of dancers, from Pre-Ballet to adult students. Learn more about our programs of study here:
Please note: The name Westside Ballet is used informally to refer to two separate organizations: Westside Ballet Company, a non-profit 501(c)3, and Westside School of Ballet. Allegra Clegg is director of both the company and the school, but they are separate legal and financial entities.