The School of Performing Arts Pre-Professional Dance Track is for serious students interested in pursuing dance at a college level or the possibility of a career path in the dance arts.

The pre-professional track is open to all motivated dance students level Ballet II+. Placement auditions for the pre-professional track will be held on April 21st. Current pre-professional students are to attend for level placement. For further questions, please contact

Class Requirements

The dancers will be carefully leveled each year by the faculty and Artistic Director for appropriate level placement. Age is a guideline only. 

Ballet ll  (Ages 8 - 9)              

  • 1.25hrs technique class 2x’s per week
  • .5hr stretch and strength 1x per week

Ballet lll (Ages 9 - 11)             

  • 1.5hrs technique class 3x’s per week
  • 1.5hr jazz/contemporary 1x per week
  • Pre-pointe (.5hrs) and/or pointe (.75hrs) 1 or 2 x’s per week - optional                                                       

~Dancers pursuing contemporary dance are not required but are encouraged to take pointe

Ballet lV (Ages 12+)              

  • 1.5hrs technique class 4x’s per week
  • 1.5 hrs contemporary* 2x’s per week                                       
  • .75 hrs pointe w/ variations 3x’s per week- optional

Ballet V (Ages 12+)               

  • 1.5 hrs technique class 5x’s per week
  • 1.5 hrs contemporary* 2x’s per week                                     
  • .75 hrs pointe w/ variations 3x’s per week - optional

*Contemporary Class will include classes in jazz, modern, improv, partnering and specialty classes pertinent to today’s dance vocabulary

 **The above classes listed are MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS. Only students in level lV and V will have unlimited classes and can register for any other classes on the schedule as long as requirements are met.


All pre-professional students will receive free admission to the Master Class Series. This class will be a weekly interdepartmental master class series and will be open to all SPA students.  The classes will cover everything from make-up techniques, dance nutrition or history, to dynamic classes led by Chicago’s leading teachers and choreographers in the industry. The students will be encouraged to attend the music and theater master classes as well.

Students may reach out to faculty for private coaching and choreography in order to prepare for competitions etc. As always, they will need approval by the Artistic Director. 


Dance students must attend all classes in appropriate attire stated below or requested by the teacher.

Female Dancers: Ballet, Pointe black leotard, pink tights, pink ballet shoes, pointe shoes when applicable, hair in bun and pinned away from face.

Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary tight-fitting dance shorts or pants, tight fitting tops, jazz shoes, hair needs to be pulled back.

Male Dancers: Ballet white T-shirt, black tights, black ballet shoes.

Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary t-shirt, black pants or shorts that allow for movement but are not baggy. Please wear tank under T-shirt.


Performance Opportunities

Pre-professional students will participate in two repertory performances annually as well as the end of year SPA Dance Concert.

We will encourage and help any of our students to pursue Nutcracker opportunities if they so choose.

This track offers an optional performing Ensemble for levels IV, V, and III by invitation


Pre-Professional Dance Ensemble - (levels IV, V & III by invitation)

The repertory will range in styles and include ballet, contemporary, jazz and modern choreography.

Dancers must participate in the Pre-professional track and meet all class requirements for their level.

The students will participate in at least two performances annually and select works may be chosen for competition at the discretion of the AD.

The students may choose to compete individually with the permission and guidance of the Artistic Director. (YAGP, Dance Competitions, Etc.)

Rehearsals will take place outside of class time. These rehearsals will be posted one month in advance on the online calendar.

All dancers are eligible to dance in any of the other SPA Open Contemporary Ensembles as long as they audition for proper placement and meet all class requirements.

*See SPA Pre-Professional and Open Contemporary Dance Ensembles at a Glance

Mary Howenstine