The Pre-Professional Program ranges from first intermediate Level 5 to the most advanced 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 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 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 with special potential and commitment 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 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 5. In the upper levels, classes start to address the special technique requirements of the male dancer.
Pointe work is introduced at Level 5. Students begin pointe when the teacher has assessed their technical and physical readiness. Many factors may affect progress on pointe. Pointe work is an integral part of the ballet class and is not scheduled separately. At the teacher’s discretion, pointe work may be included for the whole class, and for other instances, just a few minutes.
Beginning in Level 6, each student creates a custom schedule with the faculty to meet individual needs and interests. The selection and intensity of the classes increase in each level to support advancement through the program. The faculty and the Director will assign students to the appropriate contemporary dance, repertory and variations classes. Improvisation, composition, and repertory classes are built into upper-level schedules, and continued training in ballet and contemporary dance technique is required. Following this dedicated, often difficult path to advanced fulfillment is the way students can 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 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.
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.
In keeping with its philosophy, all Peabody 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. Additional classes may be taken at the Peabody (downtown) or Towson campuses. Some students who attend all of their required classes and are doing exceptional work may be invited by faculty to take additional classes in a higher level than their own.