About Professional Training Division
The Professional Training Division (PTD) is a comprehensive program for pre-professional dancers, designed to further develop technique, strength and artistry in a rigorous environment. Dancers selected for this program are chosen for their talent and potential to pursue a career in professional dance. Our goal is to grow students into artists and to assist them in their transition to professional dancers with Nashville Ballet, Nashville Ballet 2 or other professional dance companies.
PTD is divided into three progressive levels, Level I, II and III/Trainee. This allows students to build the strength and technique necessary to handle the challenges associated with intense training, while minimizing injuries. Level placement is decided by our professional faculty based on ability and strength rather than age.
Why choose Nashville Ballet’s Professional Training Division?
A pathway to success
Nashville Ballet emphasizes the promotion of current students into our second company (NB2) and our professional company, when possible. Students also pursue careers at other prestigious companies such as Texas Ballet Theater, ABT Studio Company, Ballet West, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Cleveland Ballet, Columbia Classical Ballet, Ballet Nebraska and California Ballet of San Diego. Students have also gone on to attend college programs including Pointe Park University and University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
Access to a professional company staging new and notable repertory
Being a part of a larger organization offers daily inspiration from company dancers performing world-renowned works from choreographers such as Balanchine and Kylián, plus original pieces from Paul Vasterling and emerging choreographers.
Access to staff
Our faculty are some of the most accessible in the field and focus on one-on-one training with dancers.
A remarkable facility
Recently renovated in 2015, The Martin Center for Nashville Ballet was customized to fit the needs of our professional dancers, school students and administrative offices.
PTD dancers perform several times throughout the year: during December in Nashville’s Nutcracker, during October's in-studio showing and during ticketed performances in the spring with NB2. Trainees may also have the opportunity to perform in Community Engagement programs throughout the community with members of NB2.
Education outside of the studio
Recognizing that education is an important part of each student's development, Nashville Ballet has a unique partnership with Belmont University that allows dancers to apply their dance experience in PTD toward a bachelor’s degree. Click here for more information. For high school students, we are partnered with Laurel Springs School, a fully accredited, private online school for students K-12. Click here for more information.
Curriculum includes technique, pointe, variations, partnering and contemporary. Students receive supplemental training on a rotational basis in other disciplines such as floor barre, conditioning, cardio, yoga and Nashville Ballet repertory. They also receive education in dance history, resumé writing, media training, audition tips, nutrition, video observation and other topics relevant to dance professionals.
2018-2019 Daily Schedule:
PTD I: 2 p.m.- 8:30 p.m.
PTD II: 2 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
PTD III/Trainees: 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
This progressive schedule trains a dancer’s body toward dancing a full day while minimizing injury.
Nashville Ballet's Studio A
Fall Showcase features the young artists of our Professional Training Division and NB2, Nashville Ballet's official second company. These future professionals will go on to join the ranks of companies like Nashville Ballet; in fact, over 60% of our current company is made up of artists who were once in NB2. This showcase is your chance to see the promise and talent of Nashville Ballet’s students, trainees, and second company members!
During fall, each performance will be used to help support our School of Nashville Ballet scholarship programs. We currently provide 27 students with full-tuition, need-based scholarships, as well as an additional 50 men who are given the opportunity to study dance tuition-free through the Young Men's Scholarship Program. While tickets are free, we ask for a suggested donation of $10 per ticket, which will allow us to continue providing young artists with the opportunity to pursue their dreams.
Education Outside of the Studio
NEW! Laurel Springs School (K-12)
School of Nashville Ballet is excited to announce our new partnership with Laurel Springs School, a fully accredited, private online school for students K-12. Founded in 1991, Laurel Springs School offers challenging and flexible programs for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. With college prep academics, they have a 91% college acceptance rate. Laurel Springs School graduates enter the most selective colleges and universities of their choice in the U.S. and throughout the world. Click here to view a sample of Laurel Springs School college acceptance list.
Online schools such as Laurel Springs School offer pre-professional dancers who are still in high school the flexibility they need to achieve academic success without sacrificing hours spent training for a career in dance. We have chosen to partner with Laurel Springs School because they allow students and their families to set their own graduation goal, and will work with you to ensure you meet each deadline while being mindful of your requirements as an aspiring professional dancer. To learn more about Laurel Springs School, visit their website or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Brochures and additional information is available upon request.
To enroll in Laurel Springs School, please contact Joe Mobile at Laurel Springs School directly at (484) 653-3445 or via email. Make sure to mention that you are a student at School of Nashville Ballet!
Recognizing that education is an important part of each student's development, Nashville Ballet has a unique partnership with Belmont University that allows dancers to apply their dance experience toward earning a bachelor’s degree while dancing in Nashville Ballet's Professional Training Division. Dancers can pursue a degree through part-time enrollment and flexible class schedules. Click here for more information.
Admission & Tuition
Admission to the Professional Training Division is by audition only. Auditions are available through our Audition Tour, by appointment or by video. Students may be accepted directly into the Professional Training Division at the audition or after attendance at our Summer Intensive. Tuition ranges from $5,000 - $6,000 annually depending on if a student has attended the Summer Intensive. Limited merit-based scholarships are available and distributed in conjunction with acceptance.
On average, how many students are in the Professional Training Division?
The three divisions of PTD have 45 students total, an average of 15 per level.
Are payment plans available?
Payment plans are available on a case-by-case basis. Contact Erin Tillson, School Registrar, at (615) 297-2966 x203 or by email at email@example.com. Final payments for the year are due at the beginning of May. Outstanding balances will be automatically charged to payment cards provided by May 5, 2019.
I am not local to Nashville. Where do out-of-town PTD students live?
PTD students who move to Nashville seek out their own living arrangements around the city. Anna Pepper works with us as a resource for dancers transitioning in to pre-professional or professional life. Among other services, she offers connections to local realtors who help dancers and their families find affordable housing. Dancers often find roommates when participating in our Summer Intensive. If you did not participate in Summer Intensive and do not know anyone in Nashville, we have a Facebook group for posting/seeking roommates and housing for incoming PTD and NB2 dancers.
I have not graduated high school yet. What are my options?
School of Nashville Ballet has partnered with Laurel Springs School, a private online, accredited school for students K-12. An online school such as Laurel Springs School allows dancers who are still in high school the flexibility they need to achieve academic success without sacrificing hours spent training for a career in dance. We have chosen to partner with Laurel Springs School because they allow students and their families to set their own graduation goal, and will work with you to ensure you meet each deadline while being mindful of your requirements as an aspiring professional dancer. Additionally, they have a 91% college acceptance rate, ensuring that your academic future is in good hands. To learn more about Laurel Springs School, visit their website or call (484) 947-2074. Make sure you mention you are a student at School of Nashville Ballet. Alternatively, some universities offer online high school programs, such as Brigham Young University and University of Nebraska. Metro Nashville Public Schools is another good resource for online curriculum. If you are unsure, we also encourage students to talk to their current high schools about options such as finishing your degree early, remotely or with other online schools.
How quickly do students progress through the levels?
Students progress at their own rate. The goal is to advance through each level of PTD, to NB2, to apprentice and finally to the company. Promotions occur within the limitations of space and budget.
Is it possible to advance at any point during the year?
Yes, within the limitations outlined above.
What involvement does Mr. Vasterling have with the PTD students?
Mr. Vasterling takes an active interest in ensuring that the school is doing its job to train dancers for work as professionals. He considers it a priority for the entire organization, and part of its mission. In the past, he has set aside time to teach the Professional Training Division for several weeks in January.
Do all PTD students dance in Nashville’s Nutcracker?
Some students elect not to participate in Nashville’s Nutcracker. Additionally, some roles do require a student to be selected by the artistic staff. However, it is an option for all PTD students.
What additional repertoire can PTD students expect to perform in?
PTD students have their own rep that they perform in the fall and the spring. It will include company work that is already in our rep, full-length classical work plus original contemporary and classical works created specifically for the PTD program.
What do students do in the case of injury?
Is there a resident physical therapist at Nashville Ballet?There is not a resident PT at Nashville Ballet. However, we work very closely with Susan Underwood Physical Therapy. They also provide support to the PTD students in lecture and information sessions, educating them on what is going on with their bodies as dancers.
What about orthopedists or other doctors/hospitals?We work closely with massage therapists, chiropractors and sports doctors in the area. Information is available upon request at the front desk or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
When recovering from an injury, are students allowed to observe and participate in the non-dance aspects of the program?Students are encouraged to watch and participate in non-dance aspects as they are able.
Are there opportunities for part-time employment with Nashville Ballet, such as teaching or administrative work?
What arrangements are made for re-entry or refund if there is unforeseen illness, significant injury or other extenuating circumstances requiring a leave of absence?
Students are given the time necessary to complete their recovery program until they are able to dance again. Refunds due to injury are considered on a case-by-case basis, with mitigating and aggravating factors taken into consideration, such as the cause and severity of the injury.
If you have any additional questions, please email email@example.com or call (615) 297-2966 x203.