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The heart of the Preparatory’s dance department philosophy is the expectation that all students, whether they are professional aspirants or young children and adults exploring the joys of dancing, will have the opportunity to reach their own desired level of achievement. In return, a nationally respected faculty are dedicated to meeting the needs of their students on an individual basis and to offering them exemplary training, inspiration, and encouragement.

Training Programs

Young Children's Program (ages 3-6)

The Young Children's Program is designed to spark innate creativity and joy in moving and to begin to build a foundation for more in-depth technical training. The four levels within this program are designed to capitalize on the young child's physical, cognitive, and emotional development. Classes meet once a week; students are grouped by age and by readiness for class material. The curriculum is designed for yearlong study and class material is introduced incrementally so students are fully prepared to enter the next level. All classes require a minimum of eight students and are limited in size to provide individual attention.

Creative Dance 1 (min. age 3)
Creative Dance 1 sets a strong foundation for more formal dance study by strengthening movement/locomotive skills, increasing flexibility, and by stimulating rhythmic awareness and expressiveness. Students are guided through structured movement and are encouraged to dance with expression and explore diverse movements. The instructor and students work for 55 minutes without caregivers, so all students must be at least 3 years old by the first day of the fall semester. All new 3 year-olds must take a placement class to ascertain readiness for group dance instruction prior to registration. The curriculum is designed for yearlong study.

Creative Dance 2 (min. age 4)
Creative Dance 2 continues to build a foundation for more in-depth technical training. Students are led through exercises to increase strength and flexibility, and work on movement/locomotive skills, rhythmic awareness, and expressiveness. Basic ballet terminology and simple barre work is introduced incrementally to prepare students for Introduction to Ballet, and students continue to explore varied movements in the center. The curriculum is designed for yearlong study, so students must be at least 4 years old by the first day of the fall semester. No previous experience or placement class required.

Introduction to Ballet 1 (min. age 5)
Introduction to Ballet 1 for 5 and 6-year olds accommodates beginning students and those who have previously taken creative dance and/or pre-ballet classes. The curriculum approaches the fundamentals of ballet training (body placement, arm movements, footwork, and simple vocabulary) while continuing to develop students' body awareness and build their locomotive and expressive skills. The instructor prepares the students for future performances through an informal studio performance for family members at the end of the spring semester. No previous experience or placement class required for 5 year-old students. Some 6 year-olds may be placed in Introduction to Ballet 1 to build fundamental skills and learn ballet vocabulary before taking Introduction to Ballet 2.

Introduction to Ballet 2 (age 6+ by placement only)
Introduction to Ballet 2 prepares students for more formal ballet study with an increased emphasis on ballet vocabulary and terminology, ballet barre exercises, and a basic awareness of technique, along with continued work on more complex locomotive skills and expressive skills. Students are encouraged to apply corrections to their movement in a positive atmosphere and progress is evaluated on an individual basis so students are fully prepared to move to the Primary Ballet Program or Open Program. Introduction to Ballet 2 students may participate in a performance at the end of the spring semester with other Peabody Preparatory Dance students age 6-18 (additional Materials Fee required). The curriculum is designed for yearlong study; therefore, students must be at least 6 years old by the first day of the fall semester. All new 6 year-olds must take a placement class prior to registration to determine whether Introduction to Ballet 1 or Introduction to Ballet 2 is appropriate.

Primary Ballet Program (ages 7-12)

The Primary Ballet Program is where concentrated ballet training at Peabody Dance begins. This program includes all Beginner and Elementary Ballet Levels 1, 1X, 2, and 2X. In line with Peabody Dance's objective to enable students to advance at a pace that matches their abilities, interests, and time commitments, students in the Primary Ballet Program—who are enrolled for at least two classes per week—may be invited to take additional scheduled classes at or below their own level (or in exceptional cases, in a higher level) for no additional cost.

All classes are a minimum of eight students. All students wishing to enter Levels 1X-2X must first complete a placement class.

Registering for levels which include more than one class per week offers financial savings compared to registering for each class individually. As the levels progress, the savings increase! When registering, the course number under the appropriate level should be chosen in Student Information System (SIS). Tuition fees are listed per semester.

Pre-Professional Program for ballet and contemporary dance
(ages 11-young adult)
The Pre-Professional Program ranges from first intermediate Level 3 to advanced Level 6. This program, for students in Ballet and Contemporary Dance, is the backbone of the Peabody Preparatory’s dance curriculum and continues to build on the basic foundation begun in the Young Children’s and especially the Primary Ballet Programs. Its intensive, graded course of study is designed to help motivated, possibly career-minded students meet the dance arena’s highest standards. The path to that goal is based on the Dance Department’s collective belief in the proven results of sound, concentrated training: the more classes, diligently applied, the faster the student’s growth and progress. Therefore, students with special potential and commitment are urged to take as many classes as they can. Artistic, as well as financial, incentives are in place to enable that possibility. Most importantly, the mode of procedure for the entire Pre-Professional Program is designed to encourage and enable students to advance at a pace that matches their abilities, interests, and time commitments.


In the Pre-Professional Program, the training intensifies over time while students continue to hone their skills, broaden their required curriculum, increase their number of classes per week, and enlarge their schedule of rehearsals, performances, and special events. Contemporary Dance is introduced in Level 3; pointe work, which is considered an integral part of ballet class for the female dancer and not scheduled separately, begins in Level 4 (however, the student’s technical and physical readiness for pointe work, which may prohibit progress, first must be assessed by the ballet faculty). Also in the upper levels, classes may start to address the special technique requirements of the male dancer.

Ballet & Contemporary Dance Focus

By Level 4X, a Pre-Professional Program student may opt to retain a curriculum focus in Ballet or choose a Contemporary Dance Focus, which provides carefully graded classes compatible with the Ballet program but at the same time adding principles of major modern techniques to develop the dancer’s strength, versatility, command of the floor, and spatial dynamics. Improvisation, Composition, and Repertory classes are built into upper-level schedules, and continued training in ballet is required. Whether the focus is Ballet or Contemporary Dance, following this dedicated, often difficult path to advanced fulfillment is the way students can become articulate, expressive, mature performers.

Big savings with Package Registration!

The Pre-Professional Program is organized in “packages” which provide the recommended minimum number of classes per week for each level: in Ballet from the first intermediate Level 3 through 3X, 4, 4X, 5, 5X, to the most advanced Level 6; and in Contemporary Dance from Level 4X through 6.

In keeping with its philosophy, all Preparatory Dance students enrolled in a Pre-Professional Program package and who attend all their required classes may take additional classes-at or below their own level-at no additional cost. Some students who attend all required classes and are doing exceptional work may be invited by a faculty panel to take additional classes in a higher level than their own-at no additional cost.

Enrollment in Pre-Professional Program packages offers financial savings compared to registering for each class individually. The more intensive the program, the greater the savings!

It is important to note that a level, as outlined in the following class schedules, is merely an indication of a student’s current stage of accomplishing the required skills. Placement in a particular level is not based entirely on age, years of study, or innate talent; rather, placement in a particular level is guided more by a student’s physical facility and quickness in digesting information than by the demands of a pre-ordered syllabus. A student will be placed where the artistic director and faculty feel he or she will profit most and where gaps in training can be addressed. At the same time, students will be allowed and encouraged to advance through the level system according to their own talent, hard work, and dedicated attendance.

When registering, the course number under the appropriate level should be chosen in SIS or written on the registration form. Tuition fees are listed per semester. All classes are a minimum of eight students.

Estelle Dennis/Peabody Dance Training Program for Boys

Tuition-free program for boys who have the potential and desire to dance.