Summer Dance Program

Boston Ballet School’s Summer Dance Program (SDP) offers an unparalleled experience for serious-minded ballet students. Students from around the world are drawn to SDP to immerse themselves in a professional training environment and to develop their passion for dance. The five-week intensive also provides a broader dance experience through exposure to additional styles of dance and a diverse supplemental curriculum. SDP students will develop and grow under the expertise of internationally-renowned faculty and guests

Photo credit: Rosalie O'Connor

Last updated January 21, 2021

Summer Dance Program (SDP) is an opportunity for pre-professional and serious-minded ballet students from around the world to immerse themselves in a rigorous training environment at Boston Ballet School. Under the instruction of internationally renowned faculty, students will develop their passion for dance while expanding their breadth as an artist.

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Boston Ballet School is committed to offering its Summer Dance Program students a rigorous in-person intensive that has been designed with the safety of our students and staff at top of mind. We continue to monitor daily updates from public health agencies, and we will adjust our programming, logistics, and availability accordingly so we provide an SDP environment where everyone can feel safe and secure and operate in a manner that is responsible.

In any event, Boston Ballet School promises the following to our Summer Dance Program families:

  • Your investment is guaranteed. Your enrollment is an investment in our shared future and directly supports the artists, faculty, and staff who make everything you love about Boston Ballet possible. As a non-profit, we rely on your investment now more than ever. When you enroll in Boston Ballet School, you give us the gift of a solid financial foundation upon which to build our upcoming programming. 

  • In the event that our programming changes and you cannot attend, you will be the first to know and will be guaranteed the choice of a full credit, refund, or tax-deductible donation option.

  • Students who are not able or comfortable attending in-person may choose to participate 100% virtually and receive the same curriculum.

HERE, you will find a comprehensive look at how Boston Ballet School has been operating during the current school year. We are immensely proud of the work we have done to keep our students and staff safe while still being able to offer an exemplary dance education. Some of our COVID-19 risk mitigation protocols include: daily health screenings for staff and students, social distancing and masking wearing required at all times, and reduced class sizes. 

Boston Ballet School’s protocols are all created and approved by Boston Ballet’s COVID-19 Taskforce. This Taskforce consults with numerous doctors, infectious disease specialists, epidemiologists, and legal experts in the development and approval of all plans. These experts come from a variety of departments from institutions such as Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and others. The team is specifically designed to address safe dance training during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Taskforce also complies with local and federal safety guidelines as well as CDC recommendations.


Monday, June 28 through Friday, July 30

This year, Boston Ballet School will be offering students two ways to experience our five-week intensive. For the first time, accepted students will have the option to participate either in-person or virtually. We are thrilled to be able to welcome some of the world’s most talented ballet students back into our state-of-the-art studios in Boston and Newton.

This year, in addition to rigorous dance programming, students will be able to choose from a diverse and well-rounded selection of lectures and affinity courses to create a customized supplemental experience. These courses will allow students to both develop their existing interests and introduce themselves to new ones.

Acceptance into SDP is by audition only for students who will be between the ages of 12* and 18** years old on Sunday, June 27. After learning about the program below, sign up for an audition here.

*Students from outside the US and Canada must be at least 14 years old in order to participate in-person.

**Students who turn 19 years old during the program are not eligible to participate in the residential component of our in-person option.


While primarily focusing on classical ballet technique, SDP students will experience a broad range of dance instruction. In addition to their daily technique, pointe, and/or men’s classes, the following courses will be offered over the course of each week:

  • Character

  • Conditioning

  • Modern / Contemporary

  • Repertoire, Ensemble Work, and Variations

  • Partnering (TBD)

Physical Therapy

Due to the intensity at which students train during SDP, physical therapy will be available to students who sustain injuries during the program and will adhere to CDC and state guidelines to ensure the health and safety of the student and physical therapist. 

Physical therapy is included in a student’s tuition. 

Supplemental Curriculum

During 2020’s virtual program, several affinity courses and lectures were introduced to provide students with a more holistic and well-rounded artistic experience. For 2021, we look forward to expanding upon these efforts to support the development of the next generation of creative artists.

This year, we want the students to be in charge of designing their own supplemental experience. From a diverse and well-rounded selection of classes and lectures being offered, each student will have the ability to pick and choose the ones that are of most interest to them each week. This will give students a chance to dive deeper into topics familiar to them while also exploring subjects that may be new.

Some of the topics covered in the various courses and lectures students can choose from may include:

  • Artists as Activists

  • Careers in the Arts

  • Dance History

  • Dance Pedagogy

  • Dancer Wellness

  • Injury Prevention and Awareness

  • Meet the Artist

  • Music Theory

Studio Location

Boston Ballet School is lucky enough to have two state-of-the-art, custom-designed dance studios: the Boston Studio in Boston’s South End neighborhood, designed by renowned architect Graham Gund, and the Newton Studio, which just opened its doors in 2017 and is where Boston Ballet School holds most of its year-round programming.

In the past, students have been accepted to one studio or the other, but this will not be the case this year. Instead, students are being accepted to the program as a whole.

Some early messaging about our 2021 program indicated that students would be training at both the Boston and the Newton campuses over the course of the program. However, due to operational complexities related to COVID-19, the specific campus or campuses where any SDP students will train have not yet been determined. These decisions will be primarily informed by the local health and safety regulations that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts advises for summer programs. Regardless of where students attend their classes, though, they are guaranteed to train with our world-class faculty in a state-of-the-art facility.

Final details on campus placements will be determined later in the spring based on CDC and state guidelines.


At both the Boston and Newton Studios, classes will run between approximately 9 am ET and 6:30 pm ET, with students having roughly 4-5 hours of class each day. 

This year, in consideration of the health and safety of all those that train and work at our studios, we will be minimizing the number of students in the building at one time. To facilitate this, students will have all their dance classes for the day during a morning shift or an afternoon shift. The shift that a student is in may change day to day.*

*To accommodate students participating from different US time zones, virtual students will always have their dance programming in the afternoon shift.

Although dance programming will be consolidated to morning and afternoon shifts, it is likely that some supplemental programming may be offered virtually (to all students) during the shift that a student is not dancing. Additionally, some supplemental programming may happen in the evenings, after all students have finished their in-person classes.

Health & Safety

Boston Ballet School has developed an expansive COVID-19 Risk Reduction Strategy in accordance with CDC and Massachusetts guidelines and requirements that continue to evolve.  This strategy was approved by Boston Ballet’s COVID-19 Taskforce, which consults with numerous doctors, infectious disease specialists, epidemiologists, and legal experts in the development and approval of all plans. These experts come from a variety of departments from institutions such as Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and others.

Requirements laid out by our Risk Reduction Strategy include social distancing, frequent handwashing, reduced class capacities, and frequent disinfecting. Boston Ballet has also invested in Sterile-Aire Light systems to the rooftop air handlers. Additionally, Boston Ballet has engaged an Air Balancing service to ensure the optimum amount of fresh air is being introduced to the environment. We require everyone entering the building to self-screen at home prior to arriving, and all parents are required to attest to student and household health prior to their admittance to the building. Masks are to be worn at all times, including during class.  Additionally, we are closely monitoring community activity and taking the advice of many health experts, including our partners at Boston Children’s Hospital and will be updated towards the start of the program.

Participation in SDP includes possible exposure to and illness from infectious diseases, including but not limited to COVID-19, which is extremely contagious and is believed to spread mainly from person-to-person contact. Boston Ballet has put in place enhanced safety and sanitation protocols (outlined in the BBS COVID-19 Safety Guidelines) to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, but participation in BB Programming could increase the risk of contracting COVID-19.

Residential Component

Taking advantage of our residential option will provide students with a safe and supportive environment to experience personal growth while forming lasting friendships with like-minded peers. 

The residential program will be overseen by a Residential Director in addition to a team of Residential Counselors (RCs). Theses RCs are an integral part of the student experience, serving as mentors and resources for students and offering friendly support during the adjustment to life away from home. In order to provide a consistent experience from the dorm room to the dance studio, the residential staff is hired and trained directly by Boston Ballet School.

The Residential Life office is staffed by an RC who is available for both students and parents to contact with any questions and needs.

Residential details such as housing assignments, roommates, dining hall operations, weekend and evening social activities, and transportation to/from the residence hall and Boston Ballet School studios will be determined later in the spring based on CDC and state guidelines.

Important Dates, Costs, and Addresses

Tuition: $3,200 (plus $60 registration fee)
Food/Housing (residential students only): $3,400

First day of classes: Monday, June 28
Last day of classes: Friday, July 30

Move-in day (residential students only): To be determined based on the local guidelines for quarantine and testing protocols in place closer to the start of the program, could be 2-5 days in advance of the start of classes
Move-out day (residential students only): Saturday, July 31 (or evening of Friday, July 30)

Boston Studio: 19 Clarendon Street, Boston, MA 02116
Newton Studio: 153 Needham Street, Newton, MA 02464

Financial assistance is available. Students who would like to apply for financial aid should reach out to upon being accepted to the program. Please note that we are only able to offer financial assistance to students from the United States.


Are auditions required for the virtual option?
Yes, to participate in either the in-person or virtual options, a student must audition and be accepted.

Is it possible for a student to be accepted to participate in the virtual option but not the in-person option, or vice versa?
No. Based on auditions, students will either be accepted to the program as a whole or not. Once accepted, it is up to the student to decide between the in-person and virtual options. 

What is the difference between the in-person option and the virtual option? 
All students, regardless of whether they choose the in-person or virtual option, will be offered a similar curriculum, modified for safe at-home training, taught by the same team of faculty and guests. We are truly offering one single program in two different formats. While the curriculum will be similar, modifications will be made for safe in-home instruction.

Can a student participate virtually some weeks and in-person other weeks?
No, students must choose to participate either fully in-person or fully virtually at the time of registration.

Because the program can be taken either in-person or virtually, will classes be hybrid? Or will in-person students and virtual students take class separately?
In order to offer all students maximum attention from faculty, virtual and in-person students will not be placed into the same levels. For supplemental programming, however, it is possible that in-person and virtual students will take class together.

Is the tuition the same for the virtual and in-person options?
Yes. Students who register to participate virtually should expect the same curriculum and the same quality of classes and instruction as those participating in-person. Our faculty members are prepared to support all students, regardless of whether or not they are joining us in the studio, and provide a high level of personal feedback. In order to allow students to be able to make their decision based solely on their comfort level, we have intentionally designed the program so that the curricular experience will be the same for both modes of participation.

Are there different levels within the program? 
Yes, there are different levels that students will be placed into based on a placement class.

Is financial assistance available?
Yes; please email upon acceptance into the program to receive an application. All completed applications must be received by Monday, March 5, 2021. Please note, we are unable to offer need-based aid to international students or to students who have already been awarded merit-based scholarship. 

In the interest of making Summer Dance Program as inclusive as possible, we encourage all accepted students with financial concerns to apply for aid upon registering for the program. If we are unable to offer enough assistance, students are able to withdraw and get a full refund of their tuition deposit.

Are scholarships available?
A limited number of merit-based scholarships are available. These scholarships will be awarded based on a student’s audition, and students will be notified of any scholarship they’ve received with their acceptance into the program. 

Please note, students must participate in our in-person option to redeem any merit-based award they have been given.

Do I have to live in the residence hall?
No; while our residential program is strongly recommended to ensure students have a fully immersive summer experience, students may choose to commute from home or find alternate housing on their own. Being a residential student provides you with many benefits including:

  • Transportation to and from our studios

  • Meals provided

  • 24/7 access to support staff

  • Participation in evening activities and events throughout the week

  • Built-in support network of like-minded students

Can I request to room with a specific person in the residence halls?
No, due to the complexity of possible CDC and state guidelines regarding traveling and quarantining, BBS will most likely not be able to accept roommate requests this year.

Can my child be considered for Boston Ballet School’s year-round program after attending SDP?
SDP is the first step for enrollment into Boston Ballet School’s Professional Division at Walnut Hill, and all SDP students will be evaluated for potential admission.

As the audition and admissions process for Walnut Hill’s 2021-22 schoolyear will take place before SDP 2021, students who would like to audition for Fall 2021 should begin the process now.


Our artist/athletes are always pushing themselves to the edge. That passion and energy is what makes watching them so exhilarating.

Mikko Nissinen, Artistic Director