Ballet West’s Professional Training Division Preps Students for Company Life

Sponsored by Ballet West
January 13, 2023

For dancers ready to level up their ballet training, Salt Lake City–based Ballet West offers a year-round Professional Training Division for dancers 14 to 20 years old. “Students at the Ballet West Academy are immersed in a professional environment, and experience firsthand the rigors of a professional career,” says Ballet West artistic director Adam Sklute. The Professional Training Division acts as a pathway into Ballet West’s main company; in fact, 75 percent of company dancers come through the Ballet West Academy. Admission into the Professional Training Division is by audition only, and dancers spend 23-plus hours a week in classes, which include ballet technique, pointe, pas de deux, and other genres such as contemporary and flamenco. The Academy has a strong men’s program (led by former Ballet West principal dancer Jeffrey Rogers) that hones the technique specifically needed for masculine roles.

The faculty at Ballet West Academy is committed to helping students achieve their goals, and guidance doesn’t stop once class ends. “We have an open-door policy with students and are available to them as they need to answer questions and mentor them in their dance journey,” says Evelyn Cisneros-Legate, director of Ballet West Academy. Likewise, Sklute says, “the entire faculty and staff work tirelessly to find employment for all professionally bound students.”

Since classes take place during the school day, Ballet West has relationships with educational institutions to ensure that students can complete their high school education, either through traditional classroom instruction or online schooling.

For out-of-town students, Ballet West will start to offer apartment-style housing for dancers in the Professional Training Division in August 2023. The complex will provide a safe, affordable and convenient housing option and offer a sense of community among students. Located near the Ballet Centre in downtown Salt Lake City, the apartments are also near grocery stores and community centers.

A class of male and female ballet students in tendu devant.
Ballet West Academy dancers. Photo by Beau Pearson, courtesy Ballet West.

Program size: Professional Training Division: 100 maximum capacity (three women’s levels and two men’s levels); Trainees: 23–30
Age range: 14–20 (Professional Training Division); 17–21 (Trainees)
Performance opportunities: Three Academy performances: Winter Showcase, Contemporary Showcase, Spring Showcase. Academy students also have opportunities to perform with the main company in repertoire such as The NutcrackerSleeping Beauty and Cinderella. Ballet West’s Family Series features an Academy-only student cast.
Tuition: $7,025 for the 2022–23 school year
Room/board: Available in August 2023, pricing TBD
Daily schedule: Depends on placement. Professional Training Division: Monday–Friday, 1:30–5:30 pm; Saturday, 10:30 am–4 pm. Trainees: 9 or 10 am–1:30 pm, with company rehearsals as needed in the afternoon; Saturday, 10:30 am–12 pm.
Additional opportunities: Contemporary Performing Group (audition during the first week of the session). Opportunities for advancement into Trainee program and professional company.
Alumni: Graduates perform with companies throughout the country and all over the world, including many in Ballet West and Ballet West II. Notable alumni include Megan Fairchild (New York City Ballet) and Robbie Fairchild (New York City Ballet, Broadway).
Important dates: January 8: Audition tour begins; June 12: Downtown Salt Lake City summer intensive programs begin; August 21: Trainees begin; August 28: School-year session begins

Ballet West has four campuses in the Salt Lake City, Utah, region. Professional Training Division students train at the Ballet Centre Campus in Salt Lake City. Click here for more information about the program and how to audition.

A line of dancers at the barre with their legs progressively lifted higher to the back.
Ballet West Academy dancers. Photo by Beau Pearson, courtesy Ballet West.