San Francisco Ballet School trainees // © Chris Hardy



ready for a professional career in ballet?

Established in 2004, the San Francisco Ballet School Trainee Program is a one- to two-year pre-professional program comprised of students chosen from the School's advanced levels as well as from the School Year auditions. This comprehensive program provides the experience necessary to ease the transition from student to professional dancer, while offering personal attention in a close, nurturing environment.

SF Ballet School students who wish to pursue a career as a professional ballet dancer are hand-picked by the School Director to join our Trainee Program. These chosen few can expect a demanding curriculum that requires 100 percent commitment. Accordingly, we offer Trainees a financial package that removes some of the pressures of paying for tuition and finding housing.

Who is this for?

Pre-professional students


Trainees receive full tuition scholarships and housing assistance.




455 Franklin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102


Trainees participate in daily ballet technique class, as well as pointe, batterie, and pas de deux classes taught by SF Ballet School faculty members. Trainees rehearse and perform works staged especially for them, and from the classical and contemporary repertory of San Francisco Ballet. Trainees also participate in workshops on teaching a ballet class, choreography, and stagecraft.


Trainees perform from October to June throughout the San Francisco Bay Area in schools and community centers, at corporate and special events, and they are presented in dedicated full-evening performances. They understudy and dance in many SF Ballet full-length productions including Christopher Wheeldon's Cinderella, George Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Helgi Tomasson's Romeo & Juliet; as well as works such as Alexei Ratmansky's The Seasons and Balanchine's Diamonds. The year culminates with the SF Ballet School Spring Festival performances in May.

San Francisco Ballet School Students in Brew's quicksilver. (© Lindsay Thomas)


Participation is by invitation from Katarina Wester, Interim Director, SF Ballet School and Trainee Program. Trainees are selected primarily from the advanced levels of the School as well as from the School Year auditions.



The Trainee Program is a crucial part of maintaining the legacy and extending the reputation of SF Ballet. Sixty-five percent of current SF Ballet dancers joined the Company through the Trainee program. While not every Trainee will be asked to join the Company, we’re proud to report that 100% of our graduates have gone on to dance with professional ballet companies around the world including:

  • National Ballet of Canada
  • Boston Ballet
  • Houston Ballet
  • Royal Swedish Ballet
  • Royal Danish Ballet
  • English National Ballet
  • The Joffrey Ballet
  • Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet
  • Cincinnati Ballet
  • Vienna State Opera Ballet