San Francisco Ballet School

The dream of becoming a professional ballet dancer may begin with Nutcracker. But the real work starts here, at San Francisco Ballet School.

The oldest professional ballet school in the United States, San Francisco Ballet School offers a challenging curriculum, taught by faculty members drawn from the ranks of SF Ballet and companies around the world. The School benefits from its close relationship with the Company. In fact, the School is a fundamental part of the institution—more than half of the Company’s dancers are graduates. We emphasize strong classical technique, a flow of movement and athleticism that suggests a sense of energy, freedom, and joy. This style—which reflects the kind of dancing favored by SF Ballet—adapts to meet the demands of any choreographer, any company, and any type of movement.

Under the combined leadership of SF Ballet School Director Helgi Tomasson and SF Ballet School Associate Director Patrick Armand, the School has a dual mission: to train classical ballet dancers capable of joining the ranks of SF Ballet and other world-class companies; and to offer young children and adults in the Bay Area an introduction to classical ballet and the joy of moving to music.

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Upcoming Events


Our Pre-Ballet classes are designed to put the fun in the fundamentals of ballet. Geared for the littlest dancers, Pre-Ballet classes teach the basics of ballet to boys and girls—but they’ll be too busy running, leaping, and having a great time to notice they’re learning. Along the way, your energetic youngster will learn teamwork, discipline, and creativity, all in a safe, fun, and supportive environment.

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When you are serious about ballet, start here. For children who are excited about ballet and students who dream of a life onstage, SF Ballet School offers a ballet curriculum of increasingly demanding classes designed to provide a pathway to a career as a professional dancer.

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Summer Sessions

SF Ballet School’s Summer Session offers dedicated ballet students the opportunity to deeply immerse themselves in an intensive program. Designed to address the technical and artistic needs of each student, the program also prepares young dancers for the next level of training at SF Ballet School or other top training institutions. Auditions are required for participation in a Summer Session.

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Trainee Program

Established in 2004, the Trainee Program is an invitation-only, pre-professional learning experience comprised of students selected from the School’s highest levels. This program eases the transition from student to professional dancer by offering advanced training, extensive performance opportunities, and individual attention in a small and nurturing environment. Trainees are selected by Helgi Tomasson and Patrick Armand. 

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Master Classes

One-of-a-kind Master Classes provide opportunities for professional and pre-professional dancers to study, literally, at the feet of a master. Master Classes are taught by Ballet School faculty, SFB Company dancers, and Artistic Staff and are designed for dancers who want access, insight, and personal attention from some of the best ballet teachers in the world.

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Adult Ballet Classes

Take a ballet class and you’ll walk a little taller, sit a little straighter, and move with a newfound sense of grace and strength. Led by former Company members who teach the same exercises to SF Ballet dancers, our Adult Ballet classes offer a great workout. Best of all, they're open to anyone who wants to experience the beauty, energy, and elegance of ballet.

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SF Ballet Soloist Koto Ishihara, SF Ballet School alumna

"What makes SF Ballet School special is its diverse training that brings together prominent instructors from all over the world. The different perspectives I was exposed to make me who I am today; the School helped me figure out what works for my body, and consequently, led to my development as an artist of the Company."

Alumni & Testimonials

Lead sponsor of San Francisco Ballet School