NYCB Apprentice Program
Nearly all of the current members of New York City Ballet received training at the School of American Ballet and entered the Company through the Apprentice Program, which is jointly administered by NYCB and SAB. Only students enrolled at the School are eligible for apprenticeships. NYCB does not hold auditions.
Each year, NYCB Ballet Master in Chief Peter Martins invites a small number of advanced students, usually ranging in age from 16 to 18, to become apprentices, providing the first stage of their professional careers. Apprentices take class and rehearse with the Company six days a week at NYCB’s Lincoln Center facilities. SAB’s home, the Rose Building, houses three of NYCB’s rehearsal studios as well as the NYCB Education Department and Costume Shop. Additional rehearsal space is located across the Lincoln Center plaza in the New York State Theater, where the Company performs for 21 weeks each year.
Apprentices learn roles in a wide array of works from NYCB’s vast repertory and may perform in up to eight ballets per season in addition to the full five-week season of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker. Among the ballets apprentices have performed in recently are Jewels, Swan Lake, Union Jack, Romeo + Juliet, Stars and Stripes, and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Apprentices are paid the equivalent of a first-year corps member’s salary, which is prorated according to the number of performances danced each week.
Apprentices sample life as Company members while enjoying all of the benefits of remaining students including continued scholarship support (covering room & board, tuition and academic stipends), safe and convenient housing in the School's residence hall, and access to all services provided by the School, including Pilates, physical therapy, and nutrition and psychological counseling. The School's director of Student Life continues to monitor academic progress and provides the necessary guidance to ensure that academic goals and requirements are met during the apprenticeship.
By the end of a maximum one-year period, the Company and apprentices are required by union regulations to decide whether or not the dancer has a permanent future with NYCB. Apprentices who are invited to join the Company (which employs almost 90 dancers) receive assurance of over 9 months of rehearsal and performances per year, one of the longest regular employment schedules of any ballet company in the world. New Company members benefit from continued options for living in the SAB residence hall, providing each individual adequate time to make a smooth transition to a fully independent, professional life in New York City.
NYCB dancers who are interested in pursuing higher education simultaneously with their careers may enroll at Fordham University (located adjacent to Lincoln Center), which has a special degree program offering a class schedule compatible with NYCB’s work week.
Learn more about the School of American Ballet's unique relationship with New York City Ballet