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First State Ballet school set to expand to Middletown area

First State Ballet Theatre is opening a satellite school in Middletown.

Delaware’s professional ballet company will break ground on an expansion of The School of First State Ballet Theatre in March -- with plans to open the school in the Town of Whitehall near Middletown in the fall 2024.

The School of First State Ballet Theatre is based at The Grand in Wilmington.

First State Ballet and Whitehall co-developer EDiS Company are teaming up on the new state-of-the-art facility that will serve lower New Castle County and Kent County with a wide range of dance and specialty classes.

First State Ballet’s Joan Beatson says downstate demand is driving the new offering.

"We do have feedback from people when we do go downstate who say ‘Oh, I wish you were closer.’ We do have some kids that come from downstate, as far as Milford, to study, so know that people will be excited who live down there because they won’t have to make the trek to Wilmington.”

Beatson says programming is still coming together, but it will reflect community needs.

"Our programming will be a little bit more mixed - right here at The Grand we offer just ballet classes. Our programming down there will be a little bit more diverse and with more options.”

The School of First State Ballet Theatre is based at The Grand in Wilmington.

It recently landed in the Top 5% of U.S. Ballet Academies in a study by Northeastern University.

Delaware Public Media' s arts coverage is made possible, in part, by support from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

Karl Lengel has worked in the lively arts as an actor, announcer, manager, director, administrator and teacher. In broadcast, he has accumulated three decades of on-air experience, most recently in New Orleans as WWNO’s anchor for NPR’s “All Things Considered” and a host for the broadcast/podcast “Louisiana Considered”.