Levels I – VIII
The Student Division consists of Level I through VIII, beginning at age 8. Auditions are required for Level I and above or for students age 8 years or older. Classes in this division are carefully graded by age, physical strength and development. Students are introduced to progressive levels of ballet technique as described in the School Syllabus. They are promoted according to individual progress in acquiring technique and strength. Entrance by audition only.
Students invited to the Professional Division concentrate on perfecting technique and developing artistry through an intensive full-day, 40-week, comprehensive program. Professional Division curriculum includes technique, pointe, variations, men’s class, adagio, modern, choreography, Pilates apparatus classes, essential barre, strength training, and seminars on such topics as nutrition, personal safety, and life skills. This 1 to 2-year program is designed to help students transition from student to professional dancer. PNB School assists students with career planning by offering workshops and resources on resume writing and the audition/job search process, providing contacts for audition photos, and through individual counseling/conferences. Selected Professional Division students may also have frequent opportunities to perform in Pacific Northwest Ballet productions throughout the year.
Professional Division students are responsible for making their own housing arrangements during the school year, as PNB School does not have year-round housing available. Students often choose to live with a roommate; most roommate situations are established before the end of Summer Course. Many students have recommended searching online at Zillow.com to find prospective apartments in the vicinity of PNB (visit Zillow.com and click on “Rentals” for Seattle. It shows available rentals, location, and cost).
Conferences with Mr. Boal and Ms. Bolstad 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 in 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, and physical therapist.
PNB School is committed to promoting the healthy emotional development of its students. First-year Professional Division students are required to meet with Peggy Swistak, PNB’s Consulting 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, Toby Diamond, 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.
Pilates & Strength Training
Originally designed for PNB dancers and students, PNBConditioning uses the Pilates method to develop core strength and stability, promote long, lean muscles, and increase flexibility. PD students may sign up for free weekly apparatus sessions on a space-available basis. Please speak with Andrea Abercrombie about scheduling sessions.
PD women participate in weekly Essential Barre classes; a 50 minute workout that integrates musical rhythms, small props, and ballet barre.
PD Men participate in a bi-weekly Strength Training Program to strengthen the upper body and core muscles in order to enhance partnering ability, shape and sculpt muscles, and avoid injury. Each class utilizes bodyweight, free weight, and mat exercises to focus on specific muscle groups in the chest, shoulders, back, arms, abdominals/core, and legs to gain the strength, power, and stability necessary for the physical demands of a professional male ballet dancer.
Seattle University Educational Partnership
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.
PNB School is firmly committed to providing as many career planning resources and job placement opportunities as possible to Professional Division students. A resume workshop/audition seminar is held in early December to help students begin the process of writing a resume and searching for a job in the dance field. Photographer contacts for audition portfolios are available to students, as well as an annual directory which provides extensive information on approximately 40 ballet companies in the United States, a useful resource in planning auditions. Individual counseling and advice on careers in dance and/or college dance programs are also provided.
Artistic Director Visits: Artistic Directors from ballet companies throughout the United States and Canada are invited each year to visit PNB in the winter months (typically January and February) to watch a class and consider Professional Division students for positions with their respective companies. All PD students are expected to participate in these classes.
Offsite Company Auditions: Absences for company auditions outside of PNB must receive prior approval from the Managing Director and the Artistic office before any travel arrangements are made.
2017-18 Professional Division Job/College Placement
Total enrolled 2017-18: 33 Women 13 Men
Students received job offers or college acceptance for the 2017-18year at the following organizations/universities:
Alberta Ballet, Ballet West II, Carolina Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet II,Columbia University,Kansas City Ballet,Lines Ballet, Los Angeles Ballet, Minnesota Dance Theatre, Nevada Ballet Theatre, Oregon Ballet Theatre II, Pacific Northwest Ballet,Penn State University,Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Graduate Program,Texas Ballet Theatre,Tivoli Ballet Theatre
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 George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®. A select number of students may be cast in other productions throughout the season. Please refer to “Performance Rules for Professional Division Students” and the “Message to all PDs from Wardrobe/Costumes” for more information regarding Professional Division student performance expectations. This information is included in the Professional Division student fall registration
NEXT STEP: PD students may be selected to participate in NEXT STEP, a choreographic showcase where PNB School’s Professional Division students perform an all-premiere line up of works created just for them by PNB Company dancers. This one-night-only performance on Friday, June 14thcontinues PNB’s commitment to bringing new works to the McCaw Hall stage. Not all PD students are cast in NEXT STEP.
PNB Annual School Performance, held at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall on Saturday, June 15: Professional Division students perform original choreographic works and excerpts from PNB’s repertory.
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. Please see Ms. Siegel if you are interested in this opportunity.
“Fourteen years ago my daughter embarked on a journey with classical ballet and PNB that has forever changed and enriched her life.”
“Just being in the wings, watching the Company dance has inspired me to be a dancer. Being onstage and dancing with a real live orchestra playing and an audience watching gives me the drive and strength to work hard all year.”
“The School is where dreams are started. The Company is where you can fulfill them.”