Pre-Professional Program & Ensemble


Are you ready to take your dancing to the next level? Our Pre-Professional Program is an exciting step for young dancers into some of the most formative years of their advanced classical training, including pointe!

The Pre-Professional Program

Our Pre-Professional Program encompasses our ballet levels 3A, 3B, 4A, and 4B. Dancers accepted attend ballet technique and pointe 3-4 evenings per week. Pre-Professional program classes teach crucial, foundational building blocks for advanced classical ballet training using our Vaganova-style ballet training syllabus. In addition to training in classical ballet, supplementary classes such as modern and jazz shape a versatile, well-rounded dancer.

As part of the Pre-Professional Program, dancers are guided through a year of "pre-pointe" training and their first few years of their dancing en pointe. The process begins with a year classes that focus exclusively on training muscles in the foot and ankle, and strengthening of the core muscles needed for balance and proper placement of the entire dancer's body en pointe. Students who pass their pointe readiness test progress to beginning pointe classes the following school year. 


Performing Opportunities in Ensemble 

The Ensemble Program, open to dancers in Pre-Professional ballet levels 3A-4B, is a very unique aspect of Ballet 5:8 School of the Arts: it allows dancers to perform throughout the school year while also developing crucial professional skills specific to learning choreography, navigating the rehearsal process, and performing. 

Performance opportunities in Ensemble include many different roles in Ballet 5:8 School of the Arts' two full-length original productions each year, and in outreach performances held in settings such as local festivals, nursing homes, and more. We believe that performing in both theater and outreach settings are crucial aspects of a dancer’s training, helping them grow into well-rounded dancers. Most importantly, participation in the Ensemble Program and Ballet 5:8 performances 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."

Why Dance with Ballet 5:8?

Our goal is to provide the highest quality classical training, in a nurturing environment where students thrive. 

Ballet 5:8 is a place you want to be! We 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. Our staff and dedicated program directors are always a call or an email away and are happy to set up a meeting anytime.

Students in Ballet IIIB technique with Ballet 5:8 Artistic Director Julianna Slager

Our dedicated team of instructors are current or former professional dancers, bringing a wealth of experience to the classroom. Moreover, our Pre-Professional Program classes are based on a comprehensive teaching syllabus: this ensures that concepts, steps, and coordinations within classical ballet are introduced in a structured manner that promotes the best long-term learning outcomes and dancer health.

Most importantly, as we challenge each dancer to reach their fullest potential, it is our goal to maintain a positive, nurturing environment in our school based in the overarching joy that comes from our basis in faith. This allows students to not only gain skills in dance, but the opportunity to thrive physically, emotionally and spiritually in conjunction with their training.

Why Attend a Pre-Professional Program? 

Pre-Professional Program graduates will have developed skills like physical fitness, poise, posture, a deep sense of self-discipline, drive, and a wholehearted work ethic that will serve them well in any career field they choose to pursue!

Very practically, Pre-Professional training in classical ballet signifies that the training offered is with the intent of preparing students for the future. The goal of our Pre-Professional Program is to provide students with a solid technical basis that can equip them to pursue careers in professional dance performance and pursue a variety of careers in dance and related fields. Training in the Pre-Professional Program can prepare students for entry into college level dance programs or can be used as a stepping stone to more advanced training programs such as the Conservatory and the Ballet 5:8 Trainee Program.


New Students

Welcome! If you are interested in attending the Pre-Professional and Ensemble programs, we'd love to talk with you. 

Contact us at (708) 329-8773 or click on the button below to request additional information and to schedule an evaluation class. We are committed to ensuring that new dancers meet minimum technical requirements in strength, flexibility, coordination, familiarity with classical ballet vocabulary, and overall proficiency in order to participate in a safe and beneficial manner. We also recommend registering for our Summer Intensive to receive consideration for our year-round programs.

Additional Information

Sample Class Schedules

Remember, this is just a sample! Actual schedules vary slightly each year.

Ballet 3A 

Ballet Tech 5:00-6:45pm
Pre-Pointe 6:45-7:15pm
PBT 7:30-8:15pm
Seasonal Rehearsal, 7:00-8:30pm

Ballet Tech 5:00-6:45pm
Jazz 6:45-7:30pm
Seasonal Rehearsal, 7:00-8:30pm

Ballet Tech 5:00-6:45pm
Pre-pointe 6:45-7:30pm
Seasonal Rehearsal, 6:30-8:30pm

Ballet 4A


Ballet Tech 5:00 - 6:45pm
Pointe 6:45-7:30pm
Contemporary 7:30-8:30pm

Ballet Tech 5:00-6:45pm
Pointe 6:45-7:30pm
Pilates 7:30-8:15pm
Seasonal Rehearsal, 7:00-8:30pm

Ballet Tech 5:00-6:45pm
Pointe & Variations 6:45 - 7:30pm

Ballet Tech 5:00-6:45pm
Modern 7:00-8:00pm
Seasonal Rehearsal, 7:00-8:30pm

Level Placement

Level placement is determined by ability, not by age! Dancers must complete each level of syllabus and pass their comprehensive classical ballet examination before moving to the next. Examinations measure student proficiency in a wide range of areas including proper placement, coordination, knowledge of the syllabus material, ability to correctly perform the syllabus material, musicality, and artistic performance.


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.


Full-Term Enrollment

Enrollment 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.   


We are proud to be a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with a commitment to keeping our programs accessible to aspiring artists from all backgrounds and walks of life. We work to keep operational costs as minimal as possible and rely on the generous support of donors and foundations, as well as ongoing school-wide fundraising activities in order to keep tuition low. Our tuition rates for dancers in the Pre-Professional and Conservatory programs, who attend between 5-25 class hours per week, can be as much as 1/2 that of similar ballet training programs. Detailed tuition and payment information is available by request


Some financial aid, work, men's and merit scholarships are available. New applicants will be notified of any men's or merit scholarships that they may apply and/or qualify for. New students wishing to apply for aid based on financial need must submit our financial aid application form.* Because available financial aid is limited, new applicants are encouraged to apply no later than June for the following school year. 

*Application for financial aid is not a guarantee that any aid will be awarded.


In addition to ongoing corrections in class, dancers in each level receive individualized evaluation from their instructors periodically throughout the year. Near the end of the school year, instructors formally evaluate student progress against syllabus standards in each level during Exam Week. Exam results are graded and distributed to students and parents along with individual feedback and level placement for the following year.


Click below to read/download the current handbooks:

Pre-Professional Program and Ensemble