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Ballet Boarding Schools

Ed McPherson

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I know this is a very opinionated question but, if there was one answer i would already have it! so here it goes, and please elders who believe they have a valid opinion let me know!


What do you think are the best 7 or so ballet bording schools in the world that train pupils for a carrer in big name classical ballet company?


I am thinking along the lines of



North Carolina School of the Arts

National Ballet School of Canada



but after that i draw up blanks


thanks to everyone who contributes, I hope this is helpful to someone besides me!

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  • Victoria Leigh


  • Mel Johnson


  • Ed McPherson


  • Rubies


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Ed, one of the Moms suggested Royal Ballet School and Paris Opera Ballet. Some others are Kirov Academy, Harid, Walnut Hill, Nutmeg, and Rock.

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And as long as we're worldwide, why not consider the Vaganova Choreographic Institute in St. Petersburg? :)

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I would put SFBS up there with SAB. They had 15 students get jobs last year!


My list:

SAB and SFBS (tied)

Royal Ballet School



National Ballet of Canada


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Rubies, SF and Houston are not ballet boarding schools. Very fine schools, but not boarding and academic academies.

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  • 2 weeks later...

worldwide, well in England, Royal Ballet School as mentioned but also there is Elmhurst which is connected to Birmingham Royal Ballet. And for age 16+ dance and academics, perhaps Central School of Ballet.

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I happen to disagree. If traditionally a "boarding" ballet school would have a dorm and in-house academic school, then is SAB a boarding school? It has a program worked out with Prof. Children's School, but this is not in-house.

SFBS has a relationship with Independence High School in San Francisco and requires its students to graduate. Eventhough Houston does not have a set program with particular high schools, it does have a high school requirement. These programs also help students find suitable, local housing. Eliminating these programs from discussion (which I have noticed frequently on the boards ) just because they do not provide traditional dorms seems outrageous. In fact, many times these two programs provide students with living stipends to help with housing.

It's sad that programs without official dormitories get discarded from discussion just because they are not a traditional program. It's not easy to build dorms for a small, elite number of students in large urbanized areas. I wish that people's opinions of what a ballet "boarding" school wouldn't limit considerations of other programs.

Ruby W.

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Ruby, we are not eliminating them, but they are just not the same thing as a school which has dormitories and inhouse or arranged academics. They are two very different situations. For young students who are still in school, they need dormitory situations because they are too young to live on their own. SAB does have a dormitory, therefore has not been eliminated from our discussions. Houston does not. It is a wonderful school, but it is not a place for students under 18 to go unless they live in that area. I believe the same is true for SF.

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The problem that I have with your definition is that you apply it to certain schools and not others. You claim that a boarding school provides both dormitories and academics within it's system. However, you define SAB as a ballet boarding school, but while it has a dormitory, it only provides arranged academics. SFBS has the same type of academic arrangement with Independent HS in SF, but it does not have dorms. So is your main qualification for a boarding school the traditional dormitory lifestyle? If so, why not discard the academic portion of the requirement alltogether? And when you rate the "boarding school", what information do you have to rate them based on the dormitory portion? Or are these ratings based on the ballet instruction with the dorm/academic situation barely considered?

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How about "very good professional ballet schools?"

Then we can get away from that "seems to be splitting hairs..." tendency that this thread seems to be concentrating on. Unless I am very much mistaken, the original question was geared toward getting lists or information on ballet schools which provided professional-calibre training.


while we are at it, I would add Pacific Northwest Balelt School to the list of v.g.p.b.s. They do not have dormitories, but no one would argue that they do not provide professional training.


As an aside, the Professional Children's School is not the only academic program with which SAB is affiliated...students have worked with SAB personnel to accomodate a variety of academic needs over the years. The Kirov Academy, likewise, does not solely provide training to students who do their academic studies there.


If students have a particular need, the schools will usually bend over backward to give information about their particular offerings in order to get the right fit between student and training .....:)

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Thanks, Juliet. That is a good idea to use v.g.p.b.s.


Ruby, the original question was about boarding schools. Boarding means that the schools house the dancers. I did not mean to confuse the academic situation, but meant that most schools with boarding facilities also have either inhouse or arranged academics for their students. That would include SAB and Harid, along with Kirov, Nat'l. Ballet, NCSA, Walnut Hill, and any others that have dorms and academics.


And I do not RATE them. I only list them.

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Ok, so HOW does one get into a school? What are they looking for? How do you get a scholarship? I heard that there are LOTS of girls with GREAT technique and many who are BEAUTIFUL, so what exactly does it TAKE to get in?


For someone who has been very well trained technically (passed r.a.d. advanced I with distinction), what would you suggest?


I need to be somewhere full time. Please HELP!



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I would suggest calling, writing, and emailing the school; ask to speak to whoever is in charge of admissions. If that person is not available when you call, ask when would be a good time to call and speak with someone about attending their program and how they prefer you to apply. You offer to send a video, if that is what they suggest. Audition for the summer intensive, if possible.


One cannot tell you what they are looking for. It is a combination of training, artistry and those indefinable things which go to make up an artist. There *are* many many talented people out there--it doesn't mean that you shouldn't be one of them.


Best of luck--

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Hi, Kate, and welcome to the Young Dancers' Forum at Ballet Talk here at Ballet Alert! Online!:)


The steps usually involved in being admitted to a school usually run:


  • Fill out all the necessary paperwork they send you.
  • Do all the physical labor they tell you to do, including making a video.
  • Attend the audition, if that is an unwaivable requirement.
  • Make sure you have the necessary money for tuition, room, board, and so forth.
  • If you don't have the money yourself, determine if the school offers "need-based" scholarships.
  • If they don't, apply for a "merit scholarship" - make sure that you are as good as you think you are for this one. Not making it can be an awful blow to the ego.
  • If neither of these economic avenues is open to you, apply through local service clubs like Rotary or Lions, to see if they offer grants for specialized education.
  • Apply for that!
  • Either get accepted, or rejected. If the latter, start the whole process over again with another program.

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Ahhhhh, this thread is why ballet talk is so priceless. Seriously, I never thought that it would get this many replys. Thanks everyone! I could have phrased the qustion more specifically, please excuse the vageness of it all.


I said bording school only because I know that I and many other people my age 9-12 grade, especially people on the younger side would not be safe or feel comfortable living by themselvs in a city like San Fransisco. I would crack under the preassure of having to buy food for and cook 3 healthy well rounded meals a day, keep an apartment tidy, and get to ballet on time each day. I am from the bay area, I cant imagine what it would be like for someone from another part of the counrty. I am going to a very structured bording school now becuase i felt i needed to ease myself into living alone, away from home.


Kate, I am currently at a bording school if you have questions feel free to private message me and we can get in touch.


Let me just say, and this is quite random. It has been my experiance that financial standing is generally not a problem, so many people look at the cost and just say, "nope cant do it." But I'll be the first to tell you, the financial aid paper work you end up filling out is very complex and fairly prossesed. And if you are accepted they will do as much as they can to accomidate your needs. With all that said, its really just plain and simple, dont let the price tag discourage you. get out there and apply, if you go, it WILL change your life as you never imagined possible.

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