PRE-PROFESSIONAL DIVISION

Ages 13+

The Pre-Professional Division trains the next generation of professional dancers with a career-track curriculum inspired by the realities of a professional ballet company.

Admission to the Pre-Professional Division is by audition only. 

PBT School’s program is distinguished by many elements that make it one of the nation’s finest schools for dance education and training:

  • Our diverse student body comes to us from across the country, around the world and from right here in Pittsburgh.
  • Students train six days a week in a classically based curriculum supervised by Head of Pre-Professional Division Marjorie Grundvig and School Dean Raymond Rodriguez.
  • Faculty members bring perspectives from a diverse range of professional dance companies and work closely with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Artistic Director to instill a style that reflects their vision and adapts well to the demands of a professional ballet company.
  • Pre-Professional dancers have the benefit of regular exposure to PBT’s professional Company dancers and artistic leadership.*
  • More than 100 former PBTS Alumni dancing professionally in 23/24 company seasons

“Dancers in the Pre-Professional program receive instruction, coaching and personalized attention from faculty who have been immersed in the artform for decades. With their support and guidance, dancers advance through a versatile dance curriculum, a wide array of performance opportunities and exposure to choreographers and guest teachers. In this division, we continue to nurture a deep appreciation for and understanding of dance, music and the fine arts as a whole.

In tandem with this exceptional dance training, our seminar programming focuses on creating confident, well-rounded young adults. No matter where a dancer’s path ultimately takes them, the Pre-Professional program equips them with the skills for success, in ballet and beyond.”

– Marjorie Grundvig, Head of Pre-Professional Division

Curriculum Overview

In addition to the rigorous dance training described below, all Pre-Professional students take part in music theory classes, seminars and workshops.

Graduate

This two-year program helps students elevate their training and bolster their resumes with repertoire ranging from Serenade and Swan Lake to original new choreography including their own. Graduate students represent Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in performance and promotional appearances throughout the city. Graduate students may be offered opportunities to rehearse and perform with the Company. 

Each year, many Graduate students are offered contracts and apprenticeships with

prestigious companies around the country, and more than half of PBT’s current company dancers are PBT School alumni.

 

Level 8

 

Training becomes more immersive and students learn more advanced repertoire with the opportunity to develop their own choreography. The curriculum includes ballet technique, pointe, variations, men’s class, pas de deux, repertoire, contemporary dance, modern, jazz and Pilates mat classes.

Level 6 and 7

Students refine their technique into an expressive language. Classes accentuate the clarity of classical line, intensity of pointe work and increased speed and accuracy as a natural extension of existing technique.

Curriculum includes ballet technique, pointe, variations, repertoire, modern, jazz and pilates mat classes.


Class Schedule and Tuition

Please view our PBT School Family Resources page for the 2023-2024 Pre-Professional Division school year calendar and dress code information.

Graduate Program

Tuition: $7,000| Registration Fee: $45 | Deposit: $500

The Graduate Program schedule typically runs Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. with additional rehearsals as called from 3-6 p.m.

Level 8

Tuition: $7,350 | Registration Fee: $45 | Deposit: $500

Monday-Friday 8-9:30 a.m. 

Monday, Wednesday-Friday 3-6 p.m.

Tuesday 3-5:30 p.m.

Saturday 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Level 7+

Tuition: $6,150 | Registration Fee: $45 | Deposit: $500

**In addition to Level 7 classes listed below.

Tuesday & Thursday 8-9:30 a.m.

Level 7

Tuition: $5,700 | Registration Fee: $45 | Deposit:$500

Monday 4-6 p.m.

Tuesday-Thursday 4-6:30 p.m.

Friday 4-5:30 p.m.

Saturday 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Level 6

Tuition: $5,390 | Registration Fee: $45 | Deposit: $500

Monday 4-6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Friday 4-5:30 p.m. 

Wednesday-Thursday 4-6:30 p.m.

Saturday 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m.


Performance Opportunities

Performance opportunities play an important role in the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School curriculum. Students in Levels 6 through Graduate perform in the school’s annual Pre-Professional Showcase and Spring Performance in downtown Pittsburgh. 

Level 8 and Graduate program students may have the opportunity to perform in PBT Company productions. PBT Pre-Professional students have been featured in recent company productions of The Nutcracker, La Bayadere, Swan Lake, Le Corsaire, The Sleeping Beauty and Giselle, among others. 

Additionally, dancers perform in family observation and in-studio demonstration weeks throughout the year. Students may elect to participate in the fall and/or spring Pre-Professional Choreographic Showing to gain experience in facilitating their own rehearsal process and exploring their own choreography by setting work on their peers in the division.

Hear from current PBT Apprentice, Ariana Chernyshev, as she recounts her experience working in Susan Jaffe’s Swan Lake.

Read More

Hear from Graduate Program students who performed in Open Air: A Series in Celebration of the Performing Arts.

Read More


Seminars and Workshops

PBT School is dedicated to providing opportunities that enrich each student’s experience, both inside and outside of the studio. Rooted in this approach to whole-dancer health, PBT School invites guest speakers for seminars in key areas including diversity in dance, gender identity and inclusivity, mental health, stress management, physical wellness, healthy relationships, career readiness and more.

During the first semester of the program, our Pre-Professional students have participated in the following seminars:

Injury Prevention with Catherine Vargo, UPMC Sports Medicine

Positive Psychology, Stress Management and Mindfulness Tools with Zoe Beard and Emiko Hunt

Nutrition and Meal Planning with Chef Kristen Palmer

Owning and Communicating Our Emotions with Lindsey Gainey

Creating Your Own Path with Elizabeth A. Sullivan

Performance Nutrition with Michael DiBiasi, UPMC Sports Medicine

Personal Safety and Empowerment with SETPoint

PBT School is committed to the PBT Company’s vision of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. This commitment is woven into the curriculum throughout the year via a series of workshops with guest artists in varying dance genres, allowing students to broaden their training and knowledge with experience in African dance, hip-hop, modern, improvisational techniques and more. 


Sports Conditioning Programs

Pre-Professional students enjoy access to medical experts from the UPMC Center for Sports Medicine, which staffs a residency at PBT Studios. In addition to sports medicine facilities, students also attend seminars on stress management, sports psychology, injury prevention and nutrition, among other topics.

PBT School works with UPMC physical therapists and athletic trainers to offer musculoskeletal screenings, when possible, to help dancers screen for and correct risk factors for injury. The UPMC Center for Sports Medicine is known for its Musculoskeletal Research Center and is the preferred healthcare provider for Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Pittsburgh Penguins.


Scholarships and Financial Aid

Scholarships and financial aid are available for Pre-Professional students. Please view our scholarships and financial aid page here.


Housing and Academics for Level 8

For more information on housing, please visit our housing page here.

Housing

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School does not hold academic accreditation, so the following resources are intended to help full-time high school students strike a balance between their academic and artistic pursuits:

  • Correspondence or Cyber Courses: Some high school students opt to arrange correspondence courses with their resident or home high school. Others enroll in cyber school programs, which allow them to take full-time classes at PBT School during the week.
  • Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School: Pennsylvania residents can enroll in The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School (PA Cyber), an accredited high school degree program designed to provide a compelling alternative to traditional public and private schools.  Residents of Colorado, Florida, Kansas, New Mexico, Ohio and Wisconsin may be able to enroll in a PA Cyber affiliate program.

Please note that PBT School is available only to provide suggestions and support for students in finding an academic program and is not able to provide direct assistance with this process. Students and their families are ultimately responsible for a student’s academic enrollment.


International Students

PBT School is authorized to issue M-1 student visas. Students must register with PBT School before beginning the application process. Please contact pbtschool@pittsburghballet.org for student visa inquiries and information.