Whether you’re checking out ballet schools for a young dancer for the first time, seeking a new ballet school due to a move, or looking for more rigorous training a pre-professional trainee program, there is a lot to consider when it comes to choosing the right ballet school or program for yourself or your child.
We’ve identified six important criteria to consider when selecting a ballet school or trainee program. It’s worth it to do your research because a school with shortcomings in any of these areas may not be able to help you reach your goals. We recommend contacting the schools you’re considering and asking them about these criteria as well as asking for references from past students and others in the dance industry.
Here are the criteria to consider if you’re trying to determine how to choose the right ballet school or program.
Whether you’re looking at a beginning dance class or a pre-professional training program, the curriculum used by the ballet school you choose matters. After all, it is the foundation upon which a dancer’s future is built. At the beginner levels, the curriculum should focus on developing proper posture, movement and weight transfer, while at upper levels the focus should be on posture, pointe and variations, combinations, jumps, turns, leaps, and expressions. At the pre-professional level, schools should balance rigorous ballet education in the studio and classroom with a multitude of performance opportunities, and be able to help you make connections where it counts. This is our approach at Joffrey Ballet School.
Quality of Instruction
An integrated curriculum that can develop your ballet technique and artistry is important, but equally important is whether the instruction you receive actually delivers the goods. That’s why the background of the individual instructors at the schools is a crucial factor when evaluating quality of instruction. The instructors themselves should have professional experience with a reputable dance company. However, professional experience alone does not make a great teacher. That’s why you should also seek out instructors who have instruction certification, and whose students have proven successful in competitions, as professional dancers or other venues. At Joffrey, our instructors are some of the finest you’ll find anywhere, with broad professional experience performing as principals with companies around the world, in addition to proven success as instructors and coaches.
At Joffrey we have built a reputation for developing strong, versatile dancers for more than 60 years. Regardless of which direction your dance training takes you, choosing a ballet school or program with a long history and strong reputation opens doors and provides you with options. As a young dancer moving up through the levels, the thought of dancing professionally could be the furthest thing from your (or your parents!) minds. But in a few years, you could be looking for a BFA or pre-professional trainee program. The reputation of the schools on your dance resume could make or break your ability to bring those dreams to life.
Seek out a ballet school that has development programs that allow dancers to grow from preschool and creative movement classes, through beginner, intermediate and advanced levels and onto pointe and eventually pre-professional training when they’re ready. Often, people think they will start at a local studio and then move to a more intensive program later, but this approach can leave gaps in a dancer’s training foundation. Choosing the right school as early as possible helps to ensure that the dancer is properly instructed from the beginning. At Joffrey, we’re proud to offer a complete dancer development program, from preschool movement classes through five levels of ballet training and our renowned pre-professional ballet trainee programs that prepares dancers for life as a professional dancer.
Performance / Training Balance
Dancers seek performance training and opportunities because it builds a curriculum vitae for those dancers with career goals; it is also just a lot of fun. However, it’s important to make sure that performance opportunities don’t take the place of structured classroom or studio instruction. It’s a red flag when most of the school’s training time is spent preparing for performances or recitals. Dancers should spend most of their time building a strong foundation through focused training balanced with performance preparation. At Joffrey Ballet School we offer thousands of hours of classroom instruction as well as multiple professionally produced performance opportunities throughout the year. It’s the best of both worlds and part of what sets our program apart.
Today’s ballet artist is often asked to stretch beyond classical technique to incorporate modern or classical elements. Rigorous classical training develops strong dancers with excellent form, but exposure to multiple styles can help those dancers become more versatile; this in turn can help dancers find work more easily. At Joffrey Ballet School, we pride ourselves on turning out versatile dancers with training in classical, modern and contemporary ballet – along with exposure to numerous other dance forms such as street, Latin and more. This provides our dancers with an incredible “library” of techniques to draw from in every performance.
Contact Joffrey to Learn if We’re the Right Ballet School for You!
There’s a lot to consider when choosing the right ballet school or program, but we believe Joffrey compares favorably on all these criteria and more. Contact us today to register for an online audition and to learn more about whether Joffrey is the right ballet school for you!