Princeton Ballet School is the Official School of the American Repertory Ballet
What Sets Us Apart
Founded in 1954 by Audrée Estey, Princeton Ballet School is one of the nation’s finest non-profit dance schools. Many things set Princeton Ballet School apart from the usual dance school, the most important being: our philosophy; our faculty; our affiliation with a professional ballet company; our dedication to live music in the classroom, and our facilities.
Princeton Ballet School is known for nurturing developing dancers in a safe and progressive way. We teach age and developmentally appropriate ballet technique classes from a syllabus that allows younger students more time for movement exploration while providing advanced students with the tools to become professional dancers, if they so choose. As a result, all of our students develop self-esteem, self-discipline, and a strong fitness level that will provide a powerful edge in any future endeavor.
Princeton Ballet School has more than 30 specialized faculty members. Many have attained graduate degrees in dance education and have won major teaching awards. All are committed to our philosophy of dance education and to helping students achieve their best. Members of our outstanding faculty have performed professionally with companies including: American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet, New York City Ballet, and American Repertory Ballet. For more information about our faculty, please visit our Faculty Biography Page.
Our ballet classes have live musical accompaniment. This is particularly fun for the children’s classes, where frequent improvisational exercises provide an opportunity for students to interact and collaborate with our staff of professional musicians.
Princeton Ballet School has studios in Cranbury, New Brunswick, and Princeton, New Jersey. All studios are wheelchair accessible, and feature state-of-the-art dance floors that are shock absorbent and slip proof. The striking Princeton and Cranbury facilities were designed by the late Ralph Lerner, an internationally known architect and former Dean of the School of Architecture at Princeton University. For more on our facilities and studio locations, please visit our Locations Page.
Academic Year Programs Overview
Children’s Division: starts with movement classes for the youngest children (age 3), and more formal beginning ballet classes for older children. Special classes for boys are available.
Student Division: Once a student has the basics of ballet technique under their belt, the program moves on to a more focused study of ballet, with emphasis on safe work habits, personal responsibility, and concentration. Students are placed by level, not age, but generally, this division begins around age 9. The PLUS program is an enrichment program for young dancers in the Student Division aspiring towards a professional career. Students progress on to the Advanced Division which builds on the previous foundations. Admission is by placement.
Advanced Division and Professional Training Program: For high school students with a serious commitment to dance, with performances in American Repertory Ballet Workshop.
Trainee Program: This program, melding Princeton Ballet School and American Repertory Ballet, creates a bridge from ballet training to performance work with American Repertory Ballet. Princeton Ballet School is authorized under federal law to enroll non-immigrant students in this program.
Rider University/Princeton Ballet School Dance Program: This unique partnership allows Rider University dance majors and minors to complete their studio course requirements at Princeton Ballet School. Students often double major combining dance with Elementary Education, Theater, Communications or Business.
Adult Classes: Our teen and adult open enrollment classes, for students ages 13 and up, offer classes in all levels in such diverse disciplines as ballet, modern, hip-hop, Spanish dance, theater dance, and Pilates.
Summer Programs Overview
Summer Intensive: is a program which attracts advanced students from all over the globe interested in studying with our distinguished faculty. Mary Pat Robertson, Director, conducts auditions throughout the United States and Europe to select 100 students for the program. For students ages 13 and up, classes are held at the Princeton Studio location with optional housing at Princeton University.
Princeton Ballet School offers many performance opportunities to its students. As the official school of the American Repertory Ballet, students have the opportunity to audition to perform with the company in its annual production of The Nutcracker in theaters throughout New Jersey. At the end of the school year, students may participate in a school production of a classical ballet. For more on these and other opportunities, please visit our Performance Opportunities Page.
Many dance schools place students in classes based solely on age. At Princeton Ballet School, age is only one factor in determining a student’s placement. This placement process allows us to place each student in an ability-appropriate class
This evaluation process continues throughout the student’s time at Princeton Ballet School with written evaluations at the end of each school year.
Princeton Ballet School has established a staff position of Dean of Students to help families with student placement and advisement. Former ARB company dancer Lisa de Ravel taught for Princeton Ballet School for many years before assuming this role.
To inquire about a placement class, visit our New Students Page or Email Lisa de Ravel for more information.
Alumni of Princeton Ballet School have gone on to dance with and direct many outstanding dance companies around the world. For more on our alumni, recent graduates and our Wall of Fame, or to send us news as an alum, visit our Alumni Page.
Princeton Ballet School's Mission
is to create and train professional dancers and to provide age and developmentally appropriate dance classes to the general public for students ranging from recreational beginners to professional artists. Visit our Mission and Values Page for more on this mission and how we have fulfilled it since 1954.