Preparatory Dance FAQ

Do I have to audition?

For the Pre-Ballet classes (ages 4-7) and Ballet Levels 1 and 2, students may join at any time before March 1st, space allowing and in consultation with the CPDP director.

For Ballet Levels 3 through 7, students must have previous training and will be assessed by the CPDP Director for placement in the appropriate level. Placement is determined by ability, not by age or level at a previous ballet school. Students who have been placed en pointe in another program will be assessed for consideration to study pointe work, as well as for placement in the appropriate level in the Preparatory Dance program.

To inquire about a placement class to enter our program, please fill out the form HERE.

At what age do students perform in The Nutcracker?

CPDP students may perform in The Nutcracker when they are enrolled in Ballet at the Primary level and above. Students must maintain excellent attendance for both classes and rehearsals and be able to actively listen and work as part of a group. Parents of performers support the rehearsal schedule by ensuring performers attend all rehearsals and also support the performance process through volunteer activities.

What is the time commitment for this training?

The time commitment starts at 60 minutes per week for students in Creative Dance and increases to 11–15 hours per week for high school students who choose to participate in elective classes and the Cornish Preparatory Dance Company, in addition to their ballet technique classes. Here is a more detailed breakdown of the time commitments:

Creative Dance /Pre-Primary/Primary, ages 4 – 7: 1 day/hour per week

  • Level 1, ages 7–9: 1 – 2 days/hours per week
  • Level 2, ages 8–11: 2 days/hours per week.
  • Level 3, ages 9–13: 2 days per week; 1.5 hour classes
  • Level 4 & 5, ages 10–14: 3 days per week; 1.5 hour classes
  • Level 6, ages 14–18: 3 days per week; 1.5 hour classes
  • Level 7, ages 15–18: 4 days per week; 1.5 hour classes

Please note: With the addition of Jazz and Modern classes and Company participation, the commitment for Advanced students could increase to 6 days per week (15 hours).

Are there any male students?

Yes, there are male students training in Preparatory Dance, and we always welcome more!

What age is a good age to start ballet?

The Preparatory Dance Program offers creative movement classes to children ages 4 and up. For the young dancer who is mature enough to understand the structure and demands of a ballet class, Ballet 1 (for students 7 to 9 years of age) is offered once and/or twice a week

When do you start pointe work?

Pointe work is the end result of slow and gradual training of the whole body and pointe readiness is contingent upon many factors. Students entering Ballet 5 may be considered candidates for pointe work.

However, the faculty assesses each student independently to determine if the student is a candidate for pointe study. Physiologic development, anatomic facility, strength of technique, hypermobility of the feet and ankles, length and frequency of study, attendance habits, maturity and past injury are all taken into consideration. Students often begin pointe work at around 12 years of age. Please note: The study of pointe is not a requirement for advancement through the levels or participation in the performing company.

How many performance opportunities are offered?

The Cornish Preparatory Dance Company (CPDC) 1, 2 & 3 performs The Nutcracker in December.

CPDC 1 & 2 performs a mixed-repertoire concert in the spring. CPDC 3 does not perform in the spring repertoire concert.

All CPDC students may participate in our Year-End Demonstrations in the Poncho Concert Hall.

What is your attendance policy?

The CPDP is designed for the serious dance student. The acquisition of skill, endurance and the understanding of dance vocabulary cannot be achieved without consistent attendance.

Advancement in the program and Company participation and opportunities are affected by attendance. We do take daily attendance and hold students accountable for their ability to progress and succeed in the program. In the event of illness, family emergency or extenuating circumstances, we ask that parents call the office and notify us of a student’s absence. Make-up classes during the semester are encouraged.

Do you have a dress code?

Students at each level of the program are required to wear the appropriate leotard style and color assigned to their level. Ballet tights are worn at all levels, except in the Creative Dance, Pre-Primary and Primary levels. See Dress Requirements page under Helpful Links on the right sidebar.

Children in Creative Dance, Pre-Primary and Primary level wear pink anklet socks. Long hair must be neatly tied back in a bun. Boys wear black tights, white short-sleeved t-shirts or leotards and white ballet slippers with white socks. CPDC members are required to wear canvas split sole ballet slippers in performance.

Recommendations for purchasing apparel?

Please visit Dress Requirements page under Helpful Links on the right sidebar for a list of dance boutiques in the Seattle area that sell items that adhere to our dress code requirements..

Do you have an open house?

We encourage new students and their parents to make an appointment to take a tour of our facilities and get an orientation to our program at any time. Please contact preparatorydance@cornish.edu or 206.726.5186.

Do you have observation days?

Twice yearly we open the studios to family for class observations.

How do I register?

A placement class for all new students is required. Please fill out the Placement Class Request form HERE.

Students coming into the program in the fall can receive a placement class in either the summer program or the first week of classes in the fall. Students coming into the program mid-year must participate in a scheduled class for assessment so they can be placed in a level appropriate for their skills. As the Preparatory Dance program does not discriminate, we always accommodate the student who is interested in investing in our program if they are able to meet the demands of the schedule and have the appropriate skills to participate fully.

Is there an individual evaluation process for each student?

All students in the program receive a written evaluation after the fall semester (halfway through the school year). Ballet 3 and 4 students also receive a conference with their instructor. In addition students may schedule a conference at any time with the director of the program.

Once students reach high school, we provide additional counseling for students who are interested in pursuing a career in dance or who wish to continue their training at the college level. This mentoring helps prepare students for the next phase of their dance lives.