About

The Washington School of Ballet (TWSB) offers full year ballet programs for students ranging from ages 4-19 from September to June. Age ranges are general as each student may move through our syllabus at a different rate. Some students will repeat a year based on a number of factors, but growth is a major consideration. The health of our students is paramount and we find it best to have a student repeat a level that does not demonstrate the strength and correct placement for the next level syllabus.

TWSB NW

The Washington School of Ballet (TWSB) offers full year ballet programs for students ranging from ages 4-19 from September to June.

The NW Campus offers the following: Creative Dance, Pre-Ballet, Lower Division (leveled classes 1A through 3), Upper Division (leveled classes 4 through 8), and a Professional Training Division (PTPA, PTPB, the Men’s Program in PTP, and the Trainee Program)

Learn about School Year Auditions

TWSB also offers:

Summer Intensives  Adult and Teen Classes

TWSB SE

The Washington School of Ballet’s SE Campus provides programming for youth, teens, and adults following The Washington School of Ballet’s leveled curriculum. Classes are offered Monday-Saturday for the following programs: Creative Dance, Pre-Ballet, Leveled classes 1A through 6, Advanced Training Program, Teen Program, and Adult Program.

Youth Program

The Washington School of Ballet curriculum at the SE Campus incrementally progresses children aged 3-18 through Creative Dance, Pre-Ballet 1 through 3, and Leveled Classes 1A through 6.  Additionally, TWSB SE offers classes in Modern, Jazz, Strength Training, and African Dance.

The Advanced Training Program is for serious ballet students. Students will work directly with the key leadership of The Washington Ballet including Artistic Director Julie Kent, Professional Division Head Xiomara Reyes, and Head of School SE Campus Monica Stephenson. Students currently enrolled in Levels 5 and above are eligible to be considered for this program. Advanced dancers who are not members of The Washington School of Ballet are welcome to audition if they have two or more years of experience en pointe.

Teen Program

The SE Campus is a leveled program that takes students ages 11 and up through The Washington School of Ballet Curriculum at a pace that is appropriate for all skill levels. There are three levels of study in the Teen Program: Teen Ballet A for beginning ballet students, Teen Ballet B for students who have completed Teen Ballet A or the equivalent, and the College Prep Contemporary Program for serious students in Teen B seeking a broader dance education with weekly classes in Modern, Jazz, and Contemporary.

Adult Program

The Adult Program at the SE Campus offers classes on a drop-in basis at a $14 rate. The program provides classes during the evenings and weekends. Classes include yoga, ballet, Pilates, and Zumba. East of the River residents in Ward 7 or 8 can receive a 50% discount on drop-in classes and reduced class cards by showing valid id.

View Adult and Teen Classes

About THEARC

Inaugurated in the summer of 2005, Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus (THEARC) hosts The Washington School of Ballet’s Southeast Campus. THEARC is also home to 14 nonprofit partner organizations, including Levine Music, ArtReach, Washington School for Girls, Trinity (DC) University, Children’s Health Project DC, Boys and Girls Club FBR Branch, and Covenant House, making it a widely-used community asset. Beyond the programs in the two original buildings, THEARC houses a 400-seat theater, art gallery, basketball courts and a community garden. In January 2018, THEARC opened a building that hosts an expanded Children’s Health Project, The Community Meditation Center, AppleTree Institute, Bishop T. Walker School for Boys, and a 250-seat Black Box theater.

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Creative Dance (ages 3 - 4)

Creative Dance

Ages 3 – 4 1/2

This new ten week program for children ages 3 to 4 ½ years old is designed to introduce young children to creative movement explorations using props, movement stories and guided improvisation. Children develop body awareness, increased strength and motor coordination. Students will exercise creativity, imagination, rhythm and motion, as they explore early dance concepts in a nurturing and developmentally appropriate environment. This class offers an excellent foundation in early dance explorations and serves as a bridge into our Pre-Ballet Division. Auditions are not required for Creative Dance. Enrollment is by 10 week sessions and classes are 45 minutes.

Register

NW Campus:

Session 1: September 9-November 17, 2019 (10 weeks)
Session 2: January 6- March 15, 2020 (10 Weeks)
Session 3: March 16- May 17, 2020 (8 Weeks)

  • All classes that fall on a Monday holiday can make up in the following Tuesday Creative Dance Class.
  • If there is a class cancellation due to inclement weather there will not be a make up class.
  • There are no make up classes for Creative Dance, unless we are closed for a holiday.

For additional information, please contact Alexandra Schools, School Manger, Lower Division.

SE Campus:

Session 1:
Mondays, 3:15-4:30PM, September 9-November 25, 2019 (10 Weeks)
Thursdays, 4:15-5:00PM, September 9-November 14, 2019 (10 Weeks)

Session 2:
Mondays, 3:15-4:30PM, January 6-March 16, 2020 (10 Weeks)
Thursdays, 4:15-5:00PM, January 9-March 12, 2020 (10 Weeks)

To register, please contact Margaret Williamson at mwilliamson@washingtonballet.org 

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Pre-Ballet Division (ages 4 - 7)

Pre-Ballet Division

Ages 4 – 7

The Pre-Ballet Division is led by Molly Hohlt. Children are placed by age and development during an open house or placement class. Classes are held once a week. Learn about our Pre-Ballet faculty.

The goals for dancers in Pre-Ballet are to:

  • Introduce children to the fundamentals of ballet and classroom etiquette
  • Prepare students for further formal ballet instruction
  • Share the joy and appreciation of dance

Pre-Ballet 1: For children ages 4 ½ and 5 years old. Children continue to explore basic dance principles in a creative, though progressively structured environment where ballet etiquette is first introduced. Children are guided through a more formal progression of exercises beginning with stretch and strength exercises and progressing to gross-motor activities including skipping, galloping, marching and jumping. Students are first introduced to basic ballet posture and classical movement concepts.

Pre-Ballet 2: For children ages 5 and 6 years old. Children will build on the knowledge of movement concepts acquired in Pre-Ballet 1. Class begins with stretch and strength exercises, and continues with the gross-motor activities introduced in Pre-Ballet 1, with emphasis on differing musical tempos and combinations of increased length and difficulty. The introduction of formal ballet steps such as plié and tendu are practiced with beginning work at the barre, commencing in the second semester. Children learn dance sequences as individuals, and in pairs, as they demonstrate increasing awareness of proper ballet posture and movement concepts.

Pre-Ballet 3: For children ages 6-7 years old. Children will continue to build upon the knowledge of movement concepts, ballet posture, steps, and etiquette acquired in Pre-Ballet 2. Class commences with stretch and strength activities intended to promote leg, foot, core and back development and progresses to basic barre work. Center exercises are aimed at increasing coordination, musicality, and proper body placement. This class offers a structured ballet setting with the emphasis on building technical fundamentals such as strength in the supporting leg, proper transfer of weight, and a demonstrated understanding of proper ballet posture in positions and steps. By the end of Pre-Ballet 3, children should be cognitively and physically prepared to undertake comprehensive ballet instruction beginning in Level 1A.

NW Campus:

For additional information please contact Alexandra Schools, School Manger, Lower Division.

SE Campus:

For additional information, please contact Kelsey Arrington, SE School Manager.

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Lower Division (ages 7-12)

Lower Division

Ages 7 – 12
Levels 1A – 3

The Lower Division is overseen by Pamela Bjerknes. Class placement in the Lower Division is based on age and ability. Classes are held twice a week for Levels 1A – 2 and three times a week for Level 3. Learn about our Lower Division Faculty.

Goals for students in the Lower Division include:

  • Building the foundation of classical ballet technique
  • Focusing on correct posture, placement, discipline, coordination, strength, and musicality

Level 1A: For students 7-8 years old; attendance is twice a week. Building on the class structure learned in the Pre-Ballet levels, students in Level 1A are introduced to the foundation of classical ballet technique including exercises at the barre and center. The focus is on correct placement, ballet vocabulary, strength, and musicality.

Level 1B: For students 8-9 years old; attendance is twice a week. A continuation of Level 1A with the introduction of more complex vocabulary and combinations. The focus is on correct placement, expanded ballet vocabulary, strength, and musicality.

Level 1 Foundation: For students 8-11; attendance is twice a week. This class is designed specifically for students beginning their formal ballet training after age 7. Following TWSB’s syllabus, the class moves at a quicker pace allowing older beginners to study ballet with students their age. The goal of the program is to facilitate a transition into the next appropriate level for students to continue their studies. The class introduces a strong foundation of classical ballet technique that includes exercises at the barre and center. The focus is on correct placement, ballet vocabulary, strength, and musicality.

Level 2: For students 9-10 years old; attendance is twice a week with longer class times. Building on Level 1B syllabus, Level 2 students will focus on alignment and coordination with the introduction of more advanced port de bras. For advancement to Level 3, the pre-pointe year, students in Level 2 must demonstrate correct leg alignment.

Level 3: For students 10-12 years old; attendance is three times a week, two hours a class. Level 3 is the pre-pointe year with the introduction of pointe work and turns. Students begin the year in flat shoes with preparation for pointe at the barre. Demi pointe shoes are introduced by October/November. Emphasis will be on the use of correct muscle groups and correct alignment. Level 3 will hone their focus and learn to use imagery as a tool for development. Each class group will move to fully shanked pointe shoes by spring. For advancement to Level 4, students must demonstrate strength and correct placement of positions on pointe at barre and demonstrate knowledge of syllabus combinations in flat.

NW Campus:

For additional information please contact Alexandra Schools, School Manger, Lower Division.

SE Campus:

For additional information, please contact Kelsey Arrington, SE School Manager.

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Upper Division (ages 11-18)

Upper Division

Ages 11 – 18
Levels 4 – 8

The Upper Division of The Washington School of Ballet is overseen by Kristina Windom. Class placement is based on age and ability. Classes are held four times a week for Level 4 and five times a week for Levels 5-7. Learn about our Upper Division Faculty.

Goals for dancers in the Upper Division include:

  • Continuing to develop strength, artistry, creativity, and discipline
  • Allowing for broader studies of contemporary dance
  • Continuing to expand ballet technique
  • Preparation for dance in college/further studies

Level 4A:  For students 11-13 years old; attendance is four times a week for technique class followed by pointe class three times a week, and one day of contemporary or jazz. Level 4 introduces more advanced exercises and allegro, with a great emphasis on prepping for more difficult center work. The general focus continues on building core muscles. Students must demonstrate knowledge and aptitude of syllabus work with correct alignment and strength. This level also stresses the importance of physical coordination along with musical sensitivity.

Level 4B: For students 11-14 years old; attendance is four times a week for technique, pointe, repertoire, contemporary or jazz. Level 4B builds on the syllabus of 4A in preparation for Level 5. At this level, students focus on refining the fundamentals of correct classical ballet placement in movement. Increasing speed and clarity are emphasized. Students continue to build strength in pointe work, center turns, and allegro while developing the coordination to add grand allegro steps to their vocabulary. Adagio, petite, and grande allegro center work to build strength and coordination.

Level 5: For students 12-14 years old; attendance is five times a week for technique class, followed by pointe five days a week with one supplemental class a week such as contemporary, jazz, flamenco or character. Level 5 students are expected to consistently demonstrate correct alignment and vocabulary of previous years. Focus is on coordination as exercises in allegro and adagio become more challenging.

Level 6: For students 13-15 years old; attendance is five times a week for technique with pointe five days a week, including repertoire class. In addition, Level 6 will have two supplemental classes each week such as contemporary, jazz, flamenco, or character. Emphasis is on developing a more mature approach and understanding of the classical vocabulary. Classes become increasing more challenging and students are expected to demonstrate the technical skill and stamina required for this syllabus.

Level 7 (NW Campus only): For students 14-17 years old; attendance is five times a week for technique with pointe five days a week with two supplemental classes each week such as contemporary, jazz, flamenco, or character. Level 7 students will have body conditioning or Pilates each week. This level continues a higher expectation and knowledge in strengthening a foundation for classical dance. The emphasis at this level is honing and grasping the difficulty of the syllabus with coordination and musical maturity.

Level 8 (NW Campus only): For students 13-19 years old; attendance is five times per week (with optional once a month master class), technique with pointe and supplemental classes. Level 8 students will focus on refining their technique and artistry with a diverse offering of movement with TWSB’s instructors and guest teachers. A variety of dance and performance enrichment opportunities will be offered such as showcase and spring performance, in conjunction with community volunteer and performing programs and events. Academic senior year students, upon completion, will also graduate from TWSB with a certificate from TWSB’s highest Upper School Division completion, Level 8.

NW Campus:

For additional information please contact Kourtney Ginn, School Manager of the Adult Program and Upper Division.

SE Campus:

For additional information, please contact Kelsey Arrington, SE School Manager.

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Professional Training Division

The Professional Training Division

Professional Track Program A (PTPA)

The Professional Track Program A (PTPA) is an audition/invitation only, upper level program with classes six days a week: Monday-Friday, 9:30AM-4:00PM (times may vary) and Saturday, 11:30AM-4:00PM. PTPA is designed to prepare the student for a professional career in ballet by refining the classical foundation and honing artistry. PTPA students have three mandatory school performances and one company performance, The Nutcracker. In addition, PTPA students may be considered for corps work with The Washington Ballet Company throughout the season. Xiomara Reyes, Head of the Professional Training Division, and Rinat Imaev, Senior Faculty Member and Company Teacher, work closely with this level. Educational seminars are offered to help guide this pre-professional level.

The Professional Track Program B (PTPB)

The Professional Track Program B (PTPB) is an audition/invitation only, upper level program with classes six days a week: Monday-Friday, 3:30PM-7:30PM and Saturday, 9:30AM-1:30PM. PTPB is a comprehensive program for students who aspire to the next level and for students planning to continue dance in college. A diverse offering of supplemental dance classes, in addition to daily classical ballet training, such as Flamenco, Broadway and mime, augment a strong ballet foundation. PTPB join PTPA in three mandatory school performances and The Washington Ballet production of The Nutcracker. Educational seminars are offered to help guide this pre-professional level.

Men’s Program in PTP

Under the direction of international master teacher and coach Rinat Imaev, TWSB Men’s Program prepares young male dancers for a career in classical and contemporary ballet. Mr. Imaev comes to TWSB after 16 years as a company teacher with ABT. Additional men’s faculty will include TWB Company Dancers Rolando Sarabia and Oscar Sanchez and TWSB Faculty member and choreographer Mimmo Miccolis for contemporary work. In addition to the regular classes of each level, male students will also train in the following: Strength training, partnering skills, men’s classical repertory, jumps, and turns.

Male PTP students will attend men’s technique class with Trainees and Studio Company members.

The Trainee Program

The Trainee Program is by audition/invitation only by the artistic staff of The Washington Ballet. Students in PTPA and summer students are considered for this level, as are dancers at international competitions where our artistic staff may judge. As there are only a few spots available each year, the artistic staff prefers to see prospective Trainees in person. Trainee spots are not offered at school auditions. Trainees demonstrate passion for a professional career in ballet and are expected to maintain the highest artistic standards of The Washington School of Ballet. Trainees attend classes six days a week and work with the senior faculty of the school, including Xiomara Reyes. By working on soloist roles of the classical repertory, Trainees continue to develop their technique and artistry. All Trainees will be considered by Julie Kent, Artistic Director, and the artistic team of The Washington Ballet for Studio Company and Company positions.

Performance opportunities include consideration for Company productions and studio company performances.

Learn about our Professional Training Division Faculty.

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International Students

International Students

Auditions

International students may audition via a video link. Recorded audition should be NO LONGER THAN 10 minutes and include the following in your audition:

Introduction: name, age, years and place of study. Only one side of combinations at the barre include: plies, battement tendu, adagio, grand battement. In center (ladies on pointe) adagio, pirouettes en dehors and dedans, petit allegro, grand allegro and a variation of choice. Gentlemen include tour en l’air (single or double depending on your age and ability level) and allegro that includes beats and grand pirouettes.

Videos should be submitted to: Donna Glover, Director of School Operations.

To register for the video audition please click here. At step #4, please choose the VIDEO option. Audition results will be sent by email.

Student VISA
The Washington School of Ballet does offer a F-1 student visa.

Once an international student is accepted we will ask for specific information including a photo of the student’s passport. Our administrative offices will then provide an I-20 form from the SEVIS system and include information about where to go online to pay the I-901 fee ($200) for the student visa. Once the I-901 fee is paid online, an accepted student may contact the US Consulate for an appointment. The processing time varies country to country.

Student Housing
The Washington School of Ballet does not offer student housing. Students in our Professional Track Program (PTP) reside in shared apartments near the school. TWSB is located in a lovely neighborhood with many apartments that will allow a nine month lease and will provide a lease for each student individually. It is important to note that a lease is a binding contract; the rent must be paid even if a student leaves the school. The lease agreement is between the apartment management and the student’s family. TWSB does not handle lease agreements but our staff will provide contact information for nearby apartments that enjoy housing our students. All suggested buildings are a short walk to the school. Our neighborhood offers many amenities with easy shopping so that our students do not need to use daily public transportation.

Student Medical Insurance
All students at TWSB must have medical insurance. There are many options available online. Be sure that you choose a plan that covers hospital emergency room visits.

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Home School Program at TWSB SE

Home School Program at TWSB SE

TWSB SE Campus offers daytime classes geared specifically towards home schooled dancers aged 5-10 with four levels of study of The Washington School of Ballet syllabus: Pre-Ballet 2, Pre-Ballet 3, Level 1A, and Level 1B. These classes follow the same syllabus and format as all evening classes of the respective levels. This program allows home schooled dancers to train at a time that is convenient for them in a small, intimate class setting.

Class Descriptions:

Pre-Ballet 2: For children ages 5-6 years old. Children will build on the knowledge of movement concepts acquired in Pre-Ballet 1. Class begins with stretch and strength exercises, and continues with the gross-motor activities introduced in Pre-Ballet 1, with emphasis on differing musical tempos and combinations of increased length and difficulty. The introduction of formal ballet steps such as plié and tendu are practiced with beginning work at the barre, commencing in the second semester. Children learn dance sequences as individuals, and in pairs, as they demonstrate increasing awareness of proper ballet posture and movement concepts.

Pre-Ballet 3: For children ages 6-7 years old. Children will continue to build upon the knowledge of movement concepts, ballet posture, steps, and etiquette acquired in Pre-Ballet 2. Class commences with stretch and strength activities intended to promote leg, foot, core and back development and progresses to basic barre work. Center exercises are aimed at increasing coordination, musicality, and proper body placement. By the end of Pre-Ballet 3, children should be cognitively and physically prepared to undertake comprehensive ballet instruction beginning in Level 1A.

Level 1A: For students 7-8 years old; attendance is twice a week. Building on the class structure learned in the Pre-Ballet levels, students in Level 1A are introduced to the foundation of classical ballet technique including exercises at the barre and center. The focus is on correct placement, ballet vocabulary, strength, and musicality.

Level 1B: For students 8-9 years old; attendance is twice a week. A continuation of Level 1A with the introduction of more complex vocabulary and combinations. The focus is on correct placement, expanded ballet vocabulary, strength, and musicality.

2019.20 School Year Schedule:

  • Pre-Ballet 2: Wednesdays 10:45-11:30AM
  • Pre-Ballet 3: Mondays 10:30-11:30AM
  • Ballet 1A: Mondays & Wednesdays 11:30AM-12:45PM
  • Ballet 1B: Mondays & Wednesdays 12:45-2:15PM

Enrollment Process:

For consideration for the Home School Program, please visit our School Year Audition Page to view upcoming audition dates at the SE Campus.

For more information on the Home School Program, please contact Margaret Williamson, mwilliamson@washingtonballet.org, Full-time Faculty, The Washington School of Ballet SE Campus.

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Uniforms

Uniform Requirements

Uniforms must be purchased according to ballet level. Please visit the TWSB desk for a fitting if you are unsure or call 202.362.3606 (NW) or 202.889.8150 (SE) for more information.

Ladies:

Pre-Ballet 1: Capezio Tank Style CC 201C in pink, white ankle socks (no ruffles, no athletic style) and pink ballet slippers.

Pre-Ballet 2: Capezio Tank Style CC 201C in lavender, white ankle socks (no ruffles, no athletic style) and pink ballet slippers. 

Pre-Ballet 3: Capezio Tank Style CC 201C in light blue, white ankle socks (no ruffles, no athletic style) and pink ballet slippers.

Level 1A, B: Capezio Tank Style CC 201C in royal blue, pink tights, and pink ballet slippers.

Level 2 and 3: Capezio Tank Style CC 201C in black, pink tights, and pink ballet slippers with ribbons.

Levels 4, 5, 6 and 7: Motionwear Camisole Style 2522-497 in black, pink tights, pink ballet slippers, pointe shoes, character shoes, and jazz shoes.

PTP: Motionwear Camisole Style 2522-497 in black, pink tights, pink ballet slippers, pink pointe shoes, and character shoes. Skirts allowed for pointe classes only. No shorts!

Colored leotards are permitted on Saturdays.

Gentlemen:

Pre-Ballet: white fitted t-shirt, black bike shorts, white lightweight socks, white ballet shoes.

Level 1A and up: white men’s cap-sleeve leotard, grey tights from M. Stevens, white lightweight ankle socks, and white ballet shoes, fitted white shirts are also allowed for class but each boy must have at least one leotard for performance and photos.

Notes:

  • Ladies’ hair must be secured in a bun at ALL times. If hair is short, a white headband will be necessary. No hair accessories (scrunchies, bun-covers, or bows) should be on or around your bun. Students should have extra hair pins, hair elastics, and hair gel/spray to secure their hair.
  • No jewelry allowed except stud earrings. Do not bring valuables to the studio! TWSB is not responsible for lost or stolen items.
  • Ladies in pointe shoes MUST have a needle, thread, scissors, water-proof tape, and band aids with them AT EVERY pointe class. Students must be able to get into their shoes within a 5 minute time frame. PRACTICE!
  • From Level 2 up all ballet slippers must have ribbons, both flat and pointe.
  • Students must wear street-clothes cover-ups AT ALL TIMES outside The Washington School of Ballet building.
  • Please do not wear ballet slippers outside the building as they carry street dirt into the studio.
  • No nail polish or tattoos

SE Campus supplemental classes:

  • JAZZ: Black leotard (Ladies), black shirt (Gentlemen), ankle length black jazz pants, and black jazz shoes
  • AFRICAN: Ladies Black short sleeved leotard, black bike shorts, Lappa (to be purchased during the first week of class at TWSB SE) and no shoes/bare feet Gentlemen Black short-sleeved t-shirt, black bike shorts and no shoes/bare feet.
  • MODERN: Black leotard, black dance pants and no shoes/bare feet

Should a student forget any mandatory items for class work, the teacher may ask the student to sit and observe class. This is for the student’s safety and at the teacher’s discretion.

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