Professional Division

Laying the foundation for a professional career

© Angela Sterling

Students invited to the Professional Division concentrate on perfecting technique and developing artistry through intensive full-day instruction. Professional Division curriculum includes workshops and resources designed to help students transition from student to professional dancer.  The School assists students with resume writing and audition photos. Professional Division students have frequent opportunities to perform in Pacific Northwest Ballet productions.


Participation in the Summer Course is required in order to be considered for admission into the PD program. Admission to the PD program is by invitation only, and students are notified of acceptance to the program before the end of Summer Course.

Summer Course students in Levels VII and VIII receive application materials for the PD program prior to Summer Course. Students interested in applying for the program must submit the necessary paperwork by July 30th, to allow sufficient time for faculty and staff to identify and review the applicants during Summer Course. The application requires information from the prospective student, his/her parents, a recommendation from the student’s current ballet instructor, and financial assistance paperwork (if financial aid is necessary). Prospective students and their parents must consider living arrangements (PNB does not offer year-round housing) as well as academics. PD program candidates who have not completed high school must have a plan to continue academic studies while attending PNB School. Students are notified verbally of their acceptance to the PD program before the end of Summer Course, followed by written confirmation before the new school year begins in September.


Once invited to participate in the Professional Division program, students attend an orientation with PNB staff before the end of Summer Course. Each student receives a packet with paperwork outlining School policies/procedures and a number of forms to return to the School before classes begin (registration form, physical exam report, medical insurance info, etc.).  A second orientation meeting is held after the school year begins in September, introducing School staff and reviewing School policies, procedures, and expectations of Professional Division students.


Communication with the School is vital to the success of each student. Students should contact the School office with any and all questions, issues, concerns, etc. These often can be addressed by front desk staff. Students are welcome to schedule a conference at any time throughout the school year to discuss day-to-day concerns (class work, schedule, auditions, roommate issues, etc.). Mr. Boal is available, but due to his limited schedule students are asked to speak with someone in the School first.


Conferences with Mr. Boal are held in the winter to discuss student progress, options for summer programs and the following school year, and audition tour plans.


As the first ballet school in the United States to institute a consulting staff, PNB School takes pride in our leadership educating young dancers. Strong advisory and consulting programs are in place to assist and guide students and parents on an individual and group basis. The consulting staff includes a nutritionist, psychologist, podiatrist, kinesiologist and dance historian.

PNB School is committed to promoting the healthy emotional development of its students. First year Professional Division students are required to meet with the Nutritionist individually at the beginning of the School year to record weight, discuss eating habits and any other questions or concerns. Follow up appointments may be scheduled as needed. Our Consulting Psychologist is available free of charge for short-term counseling, intervention services and professional consultations to students who seek additional support in personal development or wish to discuss (in confidence) thoughts and concerns related to PNBS classes, academic school and/or family and social issues. Any information discussed with the Consulting Psychologist will be strictly confidential. Contact information for PNB School Consultants is on page 4.


A healthy living seminar is offered in the fall for Professional Division students. Staff and students discuss living away from home and staying healthy. Students receive information on prevention and treatment of illnesses, how to prepare in the event of an illness or injury, when to call a doctor, and a checklist of supplies for self-treatment as well as emergencies.


Professional Division students have the unique opportunity to join PNB Company dancers in taking Seattle University Courses taught by SU faculty at the Phelps Center. Each academic year, Seattle University provides three courses for the partnership, one per quarter, generally meeting one night per week. More information on the PNB/SU partnership is available to students at orientation.


Artistic Director Visits: PNB School is firmly committed to providing as many job placement opportunities as possible to Professional Division students. Artistic Directors from ballet companies throughout the United States and Canada are invited each year to visit PNB in the winter months to watch class and consider Professional Division students for positions with their respective companies. All PD students are expected to participate in these classes.

Company Rehearsals: PD students may be called to PNB Company rehearsals. If called, students are expected to attend all scheduled rehearsals, whether or not they are cast to perform. The School office must be notified if rehearsals conflict with School classes. School dress code is required in rehearsals.

Company Performances: PD students perform in Nutcracker. A select number of students may be cast in other productions throughout the season. Performance rules and expectations for Professional Division students are provided in the PD orientation meeting prior to the start of the school year.

School Performance and Next Step: PD students are involved in both the Annual School Performance and Next Step. The School Performance showcases a progression of Pacific Northwest Ballet School students in Levels I-VIII and the Professional Division. Recent School Performances have featured PD students in works by George Balanchine (Cortege Hongrois, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, Chaconne, and Western Symphony), as well as original works by PNB Company members. Next Step, PNB's choreographers' showcase performance, features PD students in world premieres of ballets choreographed by PNB dancers. Rehearsals for the School Performance and Next Step begin in February and continue through spring, culminating with performances in June.

Teacher Assistants: PD students may be selected to assist with Children’s Division and Student Division classes. Teacher Assistants gain valuable experience working with PNB School instructors, learning to manage children in a classroom setting through demonstration and verbal instruction.


(More specific dates and information are provided to students prior to the start of the school year)

Professional Division Classes begin the Tuesday after Labor Day. A second orientation meeting will be held on this day.

Nutcracker is underway in December, and Professional Division students are expected to continue with all scheduled classes during this time.

A resume writing and audition tour planning workshop is held, mandatory for all PD students. Students have the option to have photos taken for resume packets in early December at a special student rate (schedule and pricing TBA in November)

Professional Division students should use these months to plan their next year. They are expected to attend all company auditions held at PNB. Students who are interested in companies that do not hold auditions at PNB may need to plan an audition tour. Audition tours must be scheduled around the School/Company schedule and all plans must receive approval from the School prior to finalizing travel arrangements.

Students also need to be thinking about summer programs and training for the next year. Admission to PNB School’s Summer Course is not automatic for current PD students; nor is admission to the Professional Division program for the next year. Students should have a back-up plan in place prior to their conference.

Professional Division students perform in the School’s Petite Finale performances, held the first two weekends in May.

The School year comes to an end with the Annual School Performance and Next Step.

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