The achievement of a professional career in classical ballet marks the culmination of a student’s training at SAB and signals the achievement of the School’s mission. Approximately 20 students each year sign contracts with companies across the U.S. and around the world, including our partner dance company New York City Ballet. SAB is committed to providing support and guidance to advanced students as they develop their professional and personal goals.
SAB’s Professional Placement Program supports students who are in their final year of training at SAB and preparing to seek professional employment. These students, known as SAB’s “Capstone Class”, participate in a year-long series of programs that prepare them not only to audition for professional ballet companies but to make the transition towards independent living beyond the School. The Professional Placement and Capstone programs are primarily overseen by SAB’s Professional Placement Manager (a member of the permanent faculty} and the Associate Director of Student Life for Residential and Transitional Programming in conjunction with SAB’s Dean of Students.
The Company Audition Process
The Professional Placement Manager provides artistic guidance and support, working with each Capstone student to understand their goals and priorities and helping each to develop a strategy for the upcoming company audition season. The Professional Placement Manager also coaches students and assists in the creation of professional-quality audition videos that can be serviced to professional companies not holding open auditions. The School also facilitates the taking of professional headshots and provides guidance for developing resumes. Throughout the audition season, the Professional Placement Manager provides critical insights as students consider job offers and make strategies for future career success.
During the Capstone year, SAB’s artistic leaders invite numerous outside company directors to teach and observe classes, providing SAB’s students with unique exposure to potential employers outside of open audition calls. SAB’s strong relationships with U.S. and international dance companies is an important factor in our ability to place our many talented students in vibrant companies across the globe each year.
Non-Artistic Personal Development
Alongside the professional development process, SAB also seeks to prepare Capstone students for independent adult living. To that end, the Associate Director of Student Life for Residential and Transitional Programming plans a year-long series of engaging developmental programs for our Capstone class. These programs cover topics such as understanding personal finances and budgeting, finding a new apartment in a new city, understanding income tax, and balancing professional and personal lives.
This series engages recent SAB alums who hold talk backs with students to offer advice on adapting to a new company, audition strategies, and balancing higher education with a new job. At the end of every year, our Capstone students are applauded at SAB’s Annual Workshop Performances for their many artistic and academic accomplishments as SAB students.
SAB Alumni serve as dancers, artistic staff, and choreographers at 80 ballet companies in 15 countries worldwide. Many are passing on Mr. Balanchine’s training to the next generation of dancers as school directors and teachers. We salute all of our alumni, who are making a tremendous impact on our art form.