Pre-Professional & Conservatory

In the Pre-Professional Program and Conservatory, students gain the comprehensive classical training needed to enter careers in professional dance performance, be accepted to college level dance programs, and pursue a variety of career opportunities in dance-related fields. 

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Are you ready to take your dancing to the next level? Our nationally-recognized Pre-Professional and Conservatory programs are for you! 

Dancers accepted attend ballet technique and pointe 3-5 times per week, working toward mastery of the intermediate and advanced levels of our Vaganova-style ballet training syllabus. Additional supplementary classes shape a versatile, well-rounded dancer. Our dedicated team of instructors are current or former professional dancers, bringing a wealth of experience to the classroom. Moreover, as we challenge each dancer to reach their fullest potential, their physical and emotional health is always a priority. 

Classes take place in Ballet 5:8's spacious 7,000 square foot building with four studios, ample mirrors and professional marley flooring. The year-round training program is attended by over 40 students from a range of Chicagoland communities and from across the nation. In addition to earning membership with Regional Dance America MidStates, students have regularly received admission and scholarships at prestigious Summer Intensive programs including at The Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet, Orlando Ballet, The Kirov School, the Joffrey Academy of Dance, Boston Ballet, Houston Ballet, Charlotte Ballet, and others.

We also boast a family-like atmosphere with small class sizes to promote individual attention for each student. We believe in the importance of maintaining open lines of communication between students, their families and our staff and all times. The Ballet 5:8 School of the Arts Ballet Mistress, Ms. Laura Schlatter, is always a call or an email away and is happy to set up a meeting anytime.

Megan Acke, 


Because of the physically demanding nature of intensive classical ballet training, dancers must meet minimum technical requirements in strength, flexibility, coordination, familiarity with classical ballet vocabulary, and overall proficiency in order to participate in the Pre-Professional and Conservatory programs in a safe and beneficial manner.

New students must attend an evaluation class in order to request admission. Entry and placement is conditional upon available space and the recommendation of program staff.

Men and Boys

Some scholarships are available for male dancers ages 12-16 years. Dancers interested should apply for admission and will be considered for scholarships at the time of their evaluation class.

Program Levels







Performing Opportunities 

Pre-Professional & Conservatory students participate in two full-length ballet productions and a variety of outreach performances.

For Levels IIIA-IVB, performance participation requires a commitment to the Ensemble Program, including attending evening and weekend rehearsals in addition to technique classes. In the Conservatory, rehearsals as part of the Ballet 5:8 Studio Company are incorporated into the dancers' regular weekly schedule. Performance participation teaches crucial skills specific to choreography, rehearsal and performance and challenges dancers use their craft as a way to share beauty, joy and meaningful stories with audiences in a way that looks "out instead of in."

The Pre-Professional & Conservatory Program is also a proud member of Regional Dance America MidStates.

Regional Dance America is a National Association of Dance Companies fostering the growth and education of dancers, choreographers, directors and dance companies in every community across the United States and Canada. Pre-Professional Program students in levels IV and higher have the opportunity to attend and perform at the RDA the regional and national conferences each year - read more

Additional Information


Our instructors and staff are all current or former professional dancers. They bring ample technical knowledge and performing experience to their classrooms, but importantly, are also trained in the art of teaching. 



Full-Term Enrollment

Enrollment in the Pre-Professional & Conservatory Programs is by full-term only, or two full semesters (36 weeks of classes). To allow for maximum student benefit, families are asked to commit to the entire class term at registration. As a result of attending classes consistently throughout the year, students have the opportunity to learn, review and repeat concepts taught in classes in a manner that promotes longterm retention and the best possible return on your investment! Students are also required to attend a minimum number of summer classes and intensive programs in order to maintain their level placement and level promotions from one year to the next. 


Registration is open May - August for the term beginning in August; mid-year applications are handled on a case-by-case basis as space permits. Registration links are available via email upon acceptance to the program. 


In addition to ballet technique and pointe, program classes may include classical variations, pas de deux, contemporary, jazz, port de bras, conditioning, improv, and Flamenco. Supplemental classes other than ballet technique and pointe are subject to rotation.


Click below to read/download the current handbooks: