The Rock School for Dance Education Personalizes Each Dancer’s Training for Ultimate Success

Sponsored by The Rock School
December 9, 2022

The Rock School for Dance Education’s Professional Program focuses on the development of the whole dancer, enabling students to attain high standards of technique and artistry in a supportive environment. While valuing the elevation of the art form, The Rock School sees all dancers as unique and creates educational plans individualized to every dancer’s needs. The school’s values have proven successful, as graduates perform as leading dancers in companies such as New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet and Houston Ballet. Students follow a structured yet diverse ballet curriculum. “Having the exposure to all of those different styles has set me up for success, particularly in a company that offers such a versatile repertoire,” says Rock School alumnus and Boston Ballet principal dancer Derek Dunn. “I am eternally grateful for my time at The Rock School.”

The Rock School’s roots reach back to 1963, when it was founded as the School of Pennsylvania Ballet. In 1992, The Rock School separated from Pennsylvania Ballet and assumed its current name while continuing to train dancers for professional success. Current faculty include former Bolshoi Ballet soloist Natalya Zeiger and Cuban coach Magaly Suárez. President and director Peter Stark is a renowned coach and former dancer with New York City Ballet and Boston Ballet. He was the director of Orlando Ballet School and founding director of Next Generation Ballet. Before joining The Rock, Stark was the associate director of Boston Ballet II for seven years. His students are leading dancers worldwide.

Students uphold a long tradition of receiving top honors in the Prix de Lausanne, Youth America Grand Prix, World Ballet Competition, USA International Ballet Competition, Moscow IBC and Berlin Tanzolymp. In addition to core dance classes, students at The Rock School for Dance Education receive private coaching to prepare for such prestigious competitions. The daily schedule is designed to prioritize ample time for both dance and academic work to ensure success in all areas of each dancer’s education. On-site teachers track student progress and provide assistance when necessary. For boarding students residing in the secure residential building—located next door to the dance studios—the emphasis is on community through care and individualized attention. The safe, nurturing environment is overseen by two full-time resident managers and a chef who prepares healthy meals in the on-site café; weekly field trips for cultural and recreational experiences build the sense of community among boarders. Over $1.2 million in annual student scholarships are awarded and are available for tuition, room, board and academics. A portion of scholarship funding is directed to the summer program.

Program size: 75–90 dancers
Age range: 12–18
Performance opportunities: The Nutcracker, YAGP, spring showcases, RockReach program
Tuition: $7,240 for September to early June; $3,900 for late June to early August
Room/board: $21,200 for September to early June; $4,488 for late June to early August
Daily schedule:

  • Mens M1: 8:30–10:30 am, academics; 10:45 am–12:15 pm, M1 technique; 12:15–1:15 pm, lunch; 1:15–2:45 pm, academics; 3–4 pm, M1 jumps and turns; 4–4:30 pm, conditioning; 4:30–5:30 pm, partnering; 5:30–7 pm, rehearsals
  • Ladies Level 7: 9–10:30 am, Level 7 technique; 10:45 am–12:15 pm, academics; 12:15–1:15 pm, lunch; 1:15–2 pm, pointe/variations; 2–3 pm, partnering; 3–4:30 pm, academics; 4:30–7 pm rehearsals

Alumni: Leading dancers in companies worldwide, such as Boston Ballet, Houston Ballet, New York City Ballet and San Francisco Ballet. Graduates have also performed on Broadway and London’s West End.
Important dates in 2023: January 1: Summer Intensive video auditions accepted; April 14: Summer Intensive registration deadline for all students; June 26: Summer Intensive begins; September 6: school year begins

The Rock School for Dance Education’s Professional Program continually strives to provide dancers with personalized attention from faculty who are regularly advancing their dance, health and child-development knowledge. For more information on how you can train at The Rock’s state-of-the-art facilities, visit the Professional Division webpage.  

A group of students, with their hair in ballet buns, sitting at desks in an academic class.
The daily schedule includes time for both academics and dance training. Photo courtesy The Rock School.