About

The Washington School of Ballet (TWSB) offers full-year ballet programs for students ages 5-19 from September to June.

COVID-19 Update
We remain dedicated to providing the best training possible. TWSB will continue to closely monitor the DC Dept of Health updates and directives in accordance with the CDC. At this time TWSB is planning for fall/winter classes to be held in our studios. Safety policies will be reviewed and updated as needed before the start of the school year.

Performance Opportunities

Enrolled students at each campus, in levels Pre Ballet 3 and up, may audition October 3 for TWB company production of The Nutcracker held at the historic The Warner Theatre November 27- December 26. Lower and Upper level students may be considered for other company productions. Levels 1A and up may choose to participate in the end of year Spring Performance held at THEARC Theatre.

Please use the tabs to the left to browse various levels and programs. Age ranges are general; 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 if they do not demonstrate the strength and correct placement for the next level syllabus.

Photo by XMB Photography

TWSB NW

The Washington School of Ballet (TWSB) offers full-year ballet programs for students ranging from ages 5-19 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)

TWSB also offers:

Summer Intensives  Open 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.

TWSB SE uses a sliding fee scale based on household income and family size to determine tuition. To register for classes at SE, please fill out the registration packet and return to Kayla DeShields at kdeshields@washingtonballet.org.

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 Teen Program 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. For more information about the Teen Program and to register, please email Kayla DeShields at kdeshields@washingtonballet.org.

Open Classes

Open Classes are currently only being offered online and in-studio at our Cathedral Commons location.

View Open 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 3.5 - 5)

Creative Dance

Ages 3.5–5

This 10-week program for children ages 3.5 to 5 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.

NW Creative Dance Schedule 2021/22:

  • September 13–November 21, 2021 (10 Weeks) Tuesdays at 2:30PM
  • September 13–November 21, 2021 (10 Weeks) Saturdays at 1:00PM
  • January 3–March 13, 2022 (10 Weeks) Tuesdays at 2:30PM
  • January 3–March 13, 2022 (10 Weeks) Saturdays at 1:00PM
  • March 14–May 22, 2022 (9 weeks) Tuesdays at 2:30PM
  • March 14–May 22, 2022 (9 Weeks) Saturdays at 1:00PM

 

There are no make up classes for Creative Dance.

Register for NW Creative Dance

For additional information about Creative Dance through our NW Campus, please contact Alexandra Schools, School Manager, Lower Division.

SE Creative Dance Schedule 2021/22:

  • September 13–November 21, 2021 (10 Weeks) Thursdays at 4:15PM
  • September 13–November 21, 2021 (10 Weeks) Saturdays at 9:00AM
  • January 6 – March 10, 2022 (10 Weeks) Thursdays, 4:15-5:00PM
  • January 8 – March 12, 2022 (10 Weeks) Saturdays, 9:00-9:45AM
  • March 17 – May 26, 2022 (10 Weeks) Thursdays, 4:15-5:00PM
  • March 19 – May 28, 2022 (10 Weeks) Saturdays, 9:00-9:45AM

Register for SE Creative Dance

For more information, please email Kayla DeShields at kdeshields@washingtonballet.org.

We remain dedicated to providing the best training possible.  TWSB will continue to closely monitor the DC Dept of Health updates and directives. 

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Pre-Ballet Division (ages 5 - 8)

Pre-Ballet Division

Ages 5–8

Photo by XMB Photography

The Pre-Ballet Division is led by Pamela Bjerknes. 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

The Washington School of Ballet Pre-Ballet classes will be offered for the academic year beginning September 2021.

Pre-Ballet 1: For children ages 5–6 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 6–7 years old. Children will build on the knowledge of movement concepts acquired in Pre-Ballet 1. Class begins with stretching 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 an increasing awareness of proper ballet posture and movement concepts.

Pre-Ballet 3: For children ages 7–8 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 an 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.

Pre-Ballet at NW Campus Schedule 2021/22

  • All Pre-Ballet Classes will take place at 4200 Wisconsin Ave, NW
  • *The colors listed represents the time and day of class
  • Pre-Ballet students attend class one day a week
  • Pre-Ballet registration opens the week of July 1, 2021

Pre-Ballet 1
(Age 5 by September 1)
Tuition: $1,020

  • Tuesday (Blue): 4:15–5:00PM
  • Thursday (Silver): 3:45–4:30PM
  • Friday (Green): 3:45–4:30PM
  • Saturday (Red): 9:15–10:00AM
  • Saturday (Orange): 12:30–1:15PM

Pre-Ballet 2
(Age 6 by September 1)
Tuition: $1,020

  • Monday (Orange): 3:45–4:30PM
  • Tuesday (Silver); 3:45–4:30PM
  • Tuesday (Yellow): 5:15–6:00PM
  • Saturday (Indigo): 10:15–11:00AM
  • Saturday (Gold); 12:00–12:45PM

Pre-Ballet 3
(Age 7 by September 1)
Tuition: $1,250

  • Monday (Silver): 4:00–5:00PM
  • Tuesday (Yellow): 4:45–5:45PM
  • Tuesday (Gold): 6:00–7:00PM
  • Wednesday (Green): 4:00–5:00PM
  • Saturday (Orange): 9:15–10:15AM
  • Saturday (Red): 11:15AM–12:15PM

NW Campus Registration:

Registration will begin July 1, 2021. Alex Schools, School Manager at aschools@washingtonballet.org for more information. 

Register for Pre Ballet

Pre-Ballet at SE Campus Schedule 2021/22

  • All Pre-Ballet Classes will take place at 1901 Mississippi Ave, SE
  • Pre-Ballet students attend class one day a week
  • Pre-Ballet registration is currently open, please see contact information below

Pre-Ballet 1
(Age 5 by September 1)
Tuition: $1,020

  • Tuesday: 4:15–5:00PM
  • Saturday (Silver): 10:00–10:45AM

Pre-Ballet 2
(Age 6 by September 1)
Tuition: $1,020

  • Saturday: 11:00–11:45AM

Pre-Ballet 3
(Age 7 by September 1)
Tuition: $1,250

  • Tuesday: 5:15–6:15PM
  • Saturday: 12:00-1:00PM

SE Campus Registration:

TWSB SE uses a sliding fee scale based on household income and family size to determine individual tuition. To register for classes at SE, please fill out the registration packet and return it to Kayla DeShields at kdeshields@washingtonballet.org.

COVID-19 Update
 TWSB will continue to closely monitor the DC Dept of Health updates and directives. All classes are scheduled to be held in our studios. 

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Lower Division (ages 8-12)

Lower Division

Ages 8 – 12
Levels 1A – 3

Photo by Kelsey Arrington

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.

Upcoming School Year Auditions

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 8-9 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 9-10 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 2: For students 10-11 years old; attendance is three times 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 11-12 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:

Learn about upcoming auditions here. For additional information please contact Alexandra Schools at aschools@washingtonballet.org.

SE Campus:

Learn about upcoming auditions here. For additional information, please contact Kayla DeShields at kdeshields@washingtonballet.org.

COVID-19 Update
We remain dedicated to providing the best training possible.  TWSB will continue to closely monitor the DC Dept of Health updates and directives. Fall/Winter classes will be held in our studios. 

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Upper Division (ages 11-18)

Upper Division

Ages 11 – 18
Levels 4 – 8

Photo by Kelsey Arrington

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 5-8. Learn about our Upper Division Faculty.

Upcoming School Year Auditions

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 a 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 12-14 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 12-15 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 13-16 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 increasingly 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 14-19 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:

Learn about upcoming auditions here. For additional information, please contact Kourtney Ginn at kginn@washingtonballet.org.

SE Campus:

Learn about upcoming auditions here. For additional information, please contact Kayla DeShields at kdeshields@washingtonballet.org.

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Professional Training Division

The Professional Training Division

Photo by XMB Photography

 

Upcoming Auditions

Professional Track Program A (PTPA)

The Professional Track Program A (PTPA) is an audition/invitation-only, upper-level program with classes Monday-Friday, classes beginning alternately 9:30 or 11:15 to 5:00 or 7:00 and Saturdays 11:30-5:00. 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 Monday-Friday, 3:30-7:30PM, Saturdays from 9:30-5:00. 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 PTD (Professional Training Division)

Photo by XMB Photography

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 an illustrious career as a principal dancer and 16 years as a company teacher with ABT. Additional men’s faculty will include TWB Company Dancer Rolando Sarabia, TWSB Faculty member Damien Johnson, 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 PTD students will attend men’s technique class with Trainees and Studio Company members.

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 PTD 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 a 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 five to 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

Photo by XMB Photography

 

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 may be uploaded on our data site or submitted to: Donna Glover, Director of School Operations after registration.

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 ($350) 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 from country to country.

Student Housing
The Washington School of Ballet does not offer student housing. Students in our Professional Training Division (PTD) 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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Uniforms

Uniform Requirements

The Washington School of Ballet is committed to ensuring that all students have uniform options that honor their unique selves and enable them to feel confident and comfortable while dancing. For our students who prefer to wear skin-tone tights and shoes, many mainstream dancewear brands, including Capezio and So’Danca, now offer products that can be purchased in a variety of skin tones.

Photo by XMB Photography

Uniform Requirements

 

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