Spring Audition FAQ

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What is the purpose of SAB’s spring auditions?

SAB holds auditions in April to identify new students between the ages of 6 and 10 for the upcoming Winter Term, which begins in September and ends in June.

Does my child have to be experienced in classical ballet to audition for SAB?

No.  Children between the ages of 6 and 10 do not need to have had any formal dance training to qualify for admission to SAB’s beginner’s classes.

What is the difference between auditioning at SAB or at a Community Audition location?

Children will have the same audition experience whether they attend an audition at SAB’s Lincoln Center headquarters or a Community Audition in Harlem, Chinatown, Bronx, Queens or Brooklyn.  Children wishing to attend the audition at SAB’s Lincoln Center headquarters are required to pre-register online and pay a $35.00 audition fee.  Children attending one of the community locations are encouraged to pre-register online but it is not required, and there is no fee charged at the Community Audition locations.

Can I change my audition location if I have already pre-registered?

Yes, if you have already pre-registered, you may change your audition location in advance of the audition date by sending an email to auditions@sab.org with your request.  Please do NOT complete a new pre-registration form.  Note that refunds will not be provided for anyone who initially registers for an audition at SAB but later switches to a free Community Audition location.

How old does my child have to be to audition?  

Children must be at least six years old by October 1 to audition and enroll for the Winter Term beginning the same year.  Note that children who are not old enough to audition in 2019 might be age eligible for SAB’s Little Dancers program, which does not require an audition.  Children who are 11 or older as of September 1 are eligible at attend SAB’s fall audition.

What should my child wear to the audition?

Girls should wear any color leotard or one-piece swimsuit.  Tights and ballet slippers are optional.  Boys should wear a solid-colored t-shirt and shorts or tights/leggings.  Ballet slippers are optional.  Children are not required to purchase any ballet attire for the audition.  All children with long hair should wear it pulled back in either a ponytail or bun.  Children should not wear long pants or jeans for the audition.

When should I arrive for the audition?

Children auditioning at SAB’s Lincoln Center headquarters should arrive forty-five minutes before their audition appointment time.  (Note that children/caregivers will not be granted access to SAB more than forty-five minutes before their scheduled audition.)  Students auditioning at a Community Audition location should arrive at the audition time listed on sab.org for their age group.

How long is the audition?

Most auditions last 20-30 minutes.  This can vary slightly depending on the number of children in each audition group.

If my child will be a different age in April than in September, what age group should she or he audition with?

Children should audition in the age group that corresponds with their age on the day of the audition.  All five years old (who will be six by September 1) should audition in the 6- (or 6-7) year-old group.


What do I need to bring to the audition?

All parents/caregivers are required to show proof of birthdate for the auditioning child.  Any government-issued ID, such as a birth certificate, passport or state ID, will suffice.  Copies of the documents are acceptable as proof. (SAB will not keep copies of your documents.)

What happens at the audition?  Does my child need to do any advance preparation?

When you arrive at the audition location, you will be checked in and your child will be given an audition number to pin to the front of their shirt or leotard.  Our staff will line up each group of children in number order and lead them into our audition studio (without parents).  Children will be asked to sit quietly in the audition studio while SAB teachers spend time with each child one-by-one.  Children will each be asked to stand in first position, point their feet and stretch their legs to the side and back.  After these individual assessments are complete, music will be played and children will be asked to skip, one at a time, across the room to the music.  Children with prior dance training will be allowed to demonstrate any step of their choosing to the music instead of skipping.  No preparation, training, or prior experience is needed for any component of the audition.  Occasionally, a small number of children will be asked to stay in the audition studio after the larger group has been dismissed so that the teachers can conduct a more detailed assessment.  The fact that a child has been asked to stay at the audition longer is not an indication of a positive audition result.

On what criteria are the audition results based?

SAB faculty look for children with an anatomical structured suited to the demands of classical dance: a well-proportioned, flexible, coordinated body, legs that easily adopt the turned-out condition, and a high instep.  Children must also possess musical aptitude.

When and how will my child receive their audition results for the 2019-20 Winter Term?

All applicants will receive a notification email containing their results on May 3.  If you do not received a notification email by the end of the day on May 3, please send a message to webhelp@sab.org with the applicant’s name and age in the subject line of the email.

May I request detailed feedback on my child’s audition?

No.  Individual audition critiques are not provided.

I pre-registered and paid the audition fee for one of the auditions taking place at SAB’s headquarters but my child can no longer attend.  Can I get a refund?    

No, we are not able to provide fee refunds to students who do not attend an audition that they have signed up for, regardless of the reason.

What kinds of classes are offered at SAB?

SAB offers classes in classical ballet technique only.  There are no classes in jazz, modern, hip hop or tap.  SAB does not offer academic schooling.  All students attend regular public or private academic schools in addition to training at SAB.   

If my child is accepted, how often will she/he attend classes and when?

SAB’s beginning children (between the ages of 6 and 10) attend two 60-minute or 90-minute classes per week.  The exact class schedule depends on the class level to which a child is assigned, but most classes will start at 4 p.m. or later and end by 7 p.m. on weekdays, and some class levels have a class on Saturday mornings.  Attendance is mandatory and only excused absences are allowed.  All classes take place at SAB’s Lincoln Center headquarters in the Samuel B. David Rose Building (at 165 W. 65th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam, Manhattan).

If my child is accepted will they need to audition again next year?

Children who enroll in the Winter Term do not have to re-audition each year.  Instead, they are evaluated internally on an ongoing basis and will learn each May if they have been invited to re-enroll for the subsequent school year.  Children who are not accepted after spring auditions are welcome to audition again the following year as long as they remain age-eligible.  Audition results can change from year to year depending upon a child’s growth and development.

What is the annual tuition cost?

SAB strives to ensure that all students who pass our audition are able to enroll.  A substantial scholarship program is available for female students with need, and all boys attend tuition-free for approximately the first four years of enrollment (beginning at the Prep level).  The 2018-19 tuition for most first-year beginner females was $3,450. (Rates for the 2019-20 Winter Term will be set in April 2019.) SAB invites parents of female students to submit a financial aid application at the time of acceptance and communicates scholarship award decisions in early June before each family’s enrollment deadline.  All students pay a $90 registration fee.  

How can I apply for Financial Aid?

SAB has a substantial scholarship program for families with need.  Financial applications are not available prior to the enrollment period.  All children who are accepted to enroll in the 2019-20 Winter Term will receive a financial aid application in their enrollment materials.   

If my child misses the Spring Auditions, are there opportunities for make-up auditions over the summer?

No.  All auditions for children ages 6 to 10 are completed in the month of April.  As we generally fill our available openings with children invited from spring auditions, we typically do not offer late auditions.

What is SAB’s relationship with New York City Ballet (NYCB)?

SAB is the official academy of New York City Ballet, and both organizations are based at Lincoln Center.  Almost all of New York City ballet’s dancers train at SAB before joining the company.  NYCB and SAB share the same artistic leadership, and almost all of SAB’s teachers are current or former dancers with New York City Ballet.  NYCB features a number of ballets with roles for children (such as George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker and The Sleeping Beauty), and all of those children’s roles are cast from SAB’s student body. Not every student enrolled at SAB gets to perform with NYCB, but many do.

If accepted to SAB, when will my child have a chance to perform with New York City Ballet in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker?

NYCB casts children’s roles based on age and size.  Generally only certain SAB class levels (and age ranges) are eligible to perform in any given ballet.  Most Nutcracker children are aged 9-12 and have been at SAB for at least one year of training.  Children from eligible levels are invited to attend Nutcracker casting sessions in late-September.

My 10-year-old student is attending the New York Junior Session in June and wants to be considered for enrollment in the Winter Term.  Do they still need to attend a spring audition?

Yes.  Students enrolled in the NY Junior Session who are locally based and interested in the Winter Term should attend a Spring Audition.  The Winter Term audition result will not affect a child’s standing in any of SAB’s upcoming summer programs.

If my child is accepted to the Winter Term, are there any additional SAB programs they can enroll in over the summer?

No.  SAB holds summer programs for 10-18-year-olds, but all auditions for these programs were completed in January.