Summer Dance Program

Held at the Boston Ballet headquarters in the South End of Boston and at our state-of-the-art Newton Studio, the 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 5-week intensive also provides a broader dance experience through exposure to additional styles of dance, a choreographic project, 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

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.

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 Boston and Newton Studios while also expanding upon the success of 2020’s virtual program.

Beyond the choice between in-person and virtual participation, we are excited to offer students an expanded experience this year in the following ways:

  • All students will take classes at both our Boston and our Newton Studios over the course of each week, having an opportunity to work with the full roster of SDP faculty members and guests.

  • Students will be able to design their own supplemental experience each week, choosing from a diverse and well-rounded selection of lectures and affinity courses to create a package that develops existing interests while introducing new ones.

  • Our residential program will be consolidated at Boston University, placing all students on one campus with easy access to Boston’s rich history and culture.

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.



Monday, June 28* through Friday, July 30**

*Residential students must be available to move in on Sunday, June 27.

** Residential students may move out on the evening of Friday, July 30 or the morning of Saturday, July 31.

Each week, all SDP students will take classes at both our Boston and Newton Studios. Regardless of which location a student goes to on a given day, they will experience a full, well-rounded curriculum facilitated by our world-class faculty members. Through this dual-campus programming, we are excited to provide all SDP students with the full Boston Ballet School experience.


Dance Curriculum

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

  • Student Choreographic Project

  • Partnering (TBD)


Physical Therapy

Because of the intensity at which students will be training during SDP, in-house physical therapy is available to students at both the Boston and Newton Studios. Additionally, virtual consults will be available to those students who do not attend in-person.

While this physical therapy is free of charge, it is intended to only be taken advantage of for injuries sustained during the program.


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 contributing 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


At both the Boston and Newton Studios, classes will run Monday through Friday 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 making efforts to minimize the number of idle 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 will 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.

Beyond supplemental programming, students will also have the following options for how to spend their free time each day:

  • On-site physical therapy appointments

  • Lunch at Boston University or the surrounding area

  • Catch up on laundry

  • Explore Boston Common with friends

  • Explore local museums

  • More!

Residential Component

This year, for the first time, all SDP students will be housed in one of two dormitories at Boston University. We are thrilled to consolidate our residential program in a single location where all students have easy access to the rich culture and history of Boston.

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 by participating in several on-site programs as well as chaperoned off-campus weekend outings. 

The residential program will be overseen by a single Residential Director in addition to one Residential Counselor (RC) for every ten students. 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.

Each day of the program, the Residential Life office is staffed by an RC between the hours of 8 am and midnight. These RCs in the office are available for both students and parents to contact with any questions and needs.

The residential student meal plan consists of breakfast, lunch, and dinner Monday through Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, brunch and dinner are provided. The dining hall is a short walk from both residence halls that SDP will be using and is equipped to accommodate students with a variety of allergies and dietary restrictions.

Weekend Activities

If it is deemed possible to do so in a safe and healthy manner next summer, Boston Ballet School will also plan optional weekend outings that are available for residential and commuter students. These trips will be chaperoned by RCs and transportation will be provided.

In the past, activities have included:

  • New York City Ballet performances at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center

  • Broadway national tours at the Boston Opera House

  • Boston Red Sox games at Fenway Park

  • Dinner dance cruises on Boston Harbor

  • Local attractions around the city of Boston

  • Trips to local beaches

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): Sunday, June 27
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
Boston University: 575 Commonwealth Avenue (HoJo Dormitory), 100 Bay State Road (Marciano Dining Hall), Boston, MA 02215

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.

Frequently asked questions

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 pool of faculty and guests. We are truly offering one single program in two different formats.

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 in the same dance classes. 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.

What is the difference between the Boston and Newton campuses? 
For the first time ever, all SDP students will train at both our Boston and Newton campuses over the course of each. Between the two campuses, students will have the opportunity to learn from the full team of Boston Ballet School faculty members. 

While some classes may only be offered in Newton and others may only be offered in Boston, all students will experience the full curriculum over the course of a week.

Are there different levels within the program? How and when does level placement happen?
There are different levels that students will be placed into. Level placements are determined based on a placement class that occurs on the first day of the program, and students will begin taking classes with their levels on the second day.

Is there 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 there 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?
While our residential program at Boston University is strongly recommended to ensure students have a fully immersed summer experience, students may choose to commute from home or find alternate housing on their own. Being a residential student provides you with many additional benefits including:

  • Access to public transportation to and from both the Boston and Newton campuses

  • 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 at Boston University?
Students are assigned to rooms based on age, gender, and mutual roommate requests. 
Prior to the start of the program, all students will be sent a Supplemental Survey Form to complete. It is on this form that residential students may request a roommate. Please note that requests are not guaranteed and that a request cannot be honored unless the students in questions have mutually requested each other. 

How do residential students commute between Boston University and the Boston Ballet studios?
Whether they are going to the Boston Studio or the Newton Studio, students will use Boston’s subway – the “T” – before walking a short distance. Residential students are provided with prepaid “T” passes at the start of the program. Students can see their commute to Boston here and their commute to Newton here.

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