Pre-Professional Program (11-18)

The Pre-Professional Program encompasses intermediate students placed in Level 5 to the most advanced dancers in Level 10. This program, for students in ballet and contemporary dance, is the backbone of Peabody Preparatory Dance’s curriculum and continues to build on the foundation begun in the Early Childhood Program and continued through the Primary Ballet Program. Its intensive, tiered 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 Preparatory Dance’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 are urged to take as many classes as they can, and artistic as well as financial incentives are in place to enable that possibility. Most importantly, 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. Students take a prescribed set of classes with their cohort throughout the week, and must commit to the entire schedule of classes. To ensure student readiness and support growth, a la carte enrollment is not permitted. Classes take place at all three of our locations on different nights of the week as designated by the specific level. 

Contemporary Dance is introduced as part of the Pre-Professional curriculum in Level 5. In contemporary dance class, students experience movement in a different way, incorporating floorwork, articulations of the spine, and experimentation with different dynamics of movement. These foundational principles supplement and reinforce ballet training, while allowing the dancer to broaden their movement range and versatility. 

Pointe work is introduced in Level 6 when the teacher has assessed the technical and physical readiness of the class. Many factors may affect progress on pointe and are individual to the student. Pointe work is an integral part of the ballet class and may be included throughout the whole class or for just a few minutes, at the teacher’s discretion. 

Students in Level 7 have the opportunity to participate in a ballet repertoire class as part of their required course of study, allowing them to hone their performance skills. This class provides exposure to classical works and variations, as well as participation in new works developed for the students.  
Beginning in Level 8, students are eligible to create a custom schedule by selecting elective classes that meet individual needs and interests. Elective classes include Composition, Contemporary Repertory and Ballet Repertory, as well as additional Ballet, Contemporary, and Pointe technique. These classes are in addition to a required base package of classes, which increase in length and intensity to support advancement through the program in the upper levels. Exposure and training in these creative process classes allows advanced students to become articulate, expressive, and mature performers.  
It is important to note that a level 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 is guided more by a student’s physical facility and quickness in digesting and retaining technical information than by the demands of a pre-ordered syllabus. A student will be placed where the faculty feel they 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 progress, hard work, and dedicated attendance.  
The Pre-Professional Program in ballet and contemporary dance is organized in “packages” which provide the required minimum number of classes per week for Levels 5 through 10.  

Level 5 – 5.25 hours of instruction per week: Two, 90-minute Ballet classes, One 75-minute Ballet Class, and One 60-minute Contemporary Class 

Level 6 – 6.5 hours of instruction per week: Three, 90-minute Ballet classes, One 30-minute Fundamental Pointe Class, and One 90-minute Contemporary Class 

Level 7 – 8.5 hours of instruction per week: Three, 90-minute Ballet classes, One 30-minute Pointe Class, One 30-minute Ballet Repertory Class, and Two 90-minute Contemporary Classes 

Level 8, 9, 10 – Base Package of 6.5 instructional hours per week in addition to 2-4 Elective Classes. Base Package includes: Two, 90-minute Ballet classes, One 30-minute Pointe Class, and Two 90-minute Contemporary Classes 

Students enrolled in the Pre-Professional Program have multiple performances opportunities throughout the year, which increase with the level. All Pre-Professional students will be eligible to participate in the end of year story ballet, where students in this program will have both a Ballet and Contemporary part. Other performances include a winter performance at the Walters Art Museum, the Spring Showcase, and the Student Choreography Showcase. Participation in different elective courses will prepare students for these performances and are typically by invitation only. 

If your family would like to join our program, or learn more about what we offer, please email the Peabody Dance Office ([email protected]) and Sr. Department Chair, Franki Graham ([email protected]) and/or sign up for a placement class. We would be happy to answer your questions and assist you with registration.