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Launched in 2015-16, The Portland Ballet’s Career Track program offers well-trained, advanced dancers with professional intent a setting that simulates a professional company experience. Students aged 14-22 who wish to pursue a performance career are eligible to audition for the program. An intense and personal learning environment is fostered, culminating each academic year with a performance comprised exclusively of Career Track dancers.

The CT schedule is rigorous and well paced—starting midday with technique class, followed by rehearsals. In the evenings dancers join the Curriculum classes and rehearsals. Career Track dancers should expect a 25- to 30-hour workweek. In addition to classes, rehearsals and performances, dancers receive supportive one-on-one evaluation and coaching in technique, performance skills and goal setting, as well as tools for auditioning, injury prevention, cross training and nutrition.

Artistic Director Nancy Davis leads the program with assistance from TPB’s rich staff of teachers and choreographers. TPB’s active performance schedule provides Career Track dancers the experience they need to be “company ready” when auditioning for professional companies. TPB’s incomparable staff, spacious facility and industry connections—including the George Balanchine Trust, John Clifford, Tom Gold, Trey McIntyre, Alonzo King, and more—give promising dancers the edge needed to go professional.

Whether your goal is to transition to a major ballet company’s school for finishing, attend a conservatory style collegiate program, or get right into a company in the U.S. or abroad, the Career Track will prepare you to achieve your goals. Recent Career Track students have gone on to apprenticeships with Ballet Idaho, San Diego Ballet, and Pennsylvania Ballet, and have continued their studies on scholarship with San Francisco Ballet School, Ballet Arizona, and at Boston Conservatory.

Note: For dancers who have not completed high school, TPB has information about online and alternative schooling options.

Career Track Quick Facts

  • Company class, rehearsal, & workshops  Monday through Friday 12:30-4:15 pm
  • Level 7 or 8 schedule Monday thru Saturday
  • Four-program performance season annually
  • Technique and performance skills coaching
  • Career counseling
  • Audition video assistance
  • Repertoire – classical, Balanchine, contemporary, modern
  • September 12, 2023 through June 8, 2024
  • Annual Tuition: $7,700

Career Track dancers are featured in TPB’s annual holiday production over Thanksgiving weekend at Portland State University’s Lincoln Hall. Past productions include: The Enchanted Toyshop (Clifford), Petrushka (Gold), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Clifford), Firebird (Clifford), and more. TPB is proud to collaborate with PSU’s Orchestra for live music at every performance.

TPB’s Spring Concert, Current/Classic, is held annually in May at Portland State University’s Lincoln Hall. Current/Classic is a mixed bill performance that often includes works by George Balanchine for advanced Youth Company and Career Track dancers. TPB pulls from its vast repertoire of both classical and contemporary ballets for this program, including works by Marius Petipa, August Bournonville, John Clifford, Tom Gold, Trey McIntyre, Anne Mueller, Dennis Spaight, Josie Moseley, Anton Dolin, among many.

Career Track dancers complete their season with Up Close, a mixed bill performance similar to Current/Classic with repertoire selected specifically for advanced, pre-professional dancers and set in TPB’s Studio Theatre. Up Close regularly includes both world premieres commissioned especially for Career Track dancers and works created in collaboration between dancers and professional choreographers.

Local Tour/Outreach

Career Track Local Touring and Outreach performances have been on hiatus since the COVID-19 pandemic. We plan to restart this program in the 2023–24 calendar year under the leadership of our Community Engagement, Director, Nick Le-Jurica.
The program typically focuses on performances in local schools, community centers and theaters outside the Portland metro area.