The Training Division: Is It Right For Me?

Turning Pointe Dance is committed to providing excellence in dance and theater instruction while cultivating hearts of worship and nurturing creativity. We specialize in beginners of all ages and offer training through pre-collegiate levels, from first class to graduation – and for students who wish to pursue dance beyond our walls, the opportunity to further their pre-professional experience through the Training Division. Interested in studying classical ballet in college and beyond? Read on to find out if Turning Pointe’s Training Division is right for you or your dancer!

What is the Training Division?

The Training Division’s mission is to bring high quality, technically focused and faith-centered ballet instruction to students who are passionate about dance. In the division’s structured program, students prepare to pursue dance in college, and gain the ability to springboard into additional training for a professional career. With experienced teachers, cohesive programing and mentorship, students are inspired to become their best self for their family, community and for God. In this division we focus on readying students for dancing at the college level.

 “Training dancers get more time in the studio, focused attention on the details of technique in ballet (which propels the dancer forward in ALL types of dance), outreach performances, the opportunity to learn time management skills, the opportunity to learn how to work in a group, and encouragement to take on the responsibility of their personal dance education/journey.”

—    Sara Murdaugh, Director, Training Division

What are the requirements?

 Placement in the Training Division is available to students age 10 years and older.

During the regular season, Training dancers are required to attend a training division ballet technique class three times per week, plus one non-ballet elective (jazz, worship, modern, musical theater, etc.). More electives can be added, but at least one is required.

Over the summer, a minimum of one mini-mester Training class (which meets twice weekly) and one summer intensive are required, and additional classes are strongly recommended.

What makes the Training Division different from my other ballet classes?

 The main difference between the Training program and recreational dance classes is the intensity level and its focus on prepping students for collegiate dance. Training classes are a bigger time and financial commitment with each step and experience geared toward students who are serious about dancing long-term.

While non-Training classes are also taught by professional teachers, and students still receive quality training and development, most students in recreational/recital classes split their focus among other activities or different styles of theater or dance rather than focusing exclusively on a career in ballet. 

How do I get into the Training Division?

An audition, essay and pre-training class (or intermediate teen/adult class) is required for entrance into the program. For pre-training class, students must be at the ballet 2B level and receive a teacher invitation to attend. Students will take this class in addition to their regular ballet class (totaling two ballet classes per week). 

Will I still dance in the recital if my only classes are in the Training Division?

Training students perform two dances in the annual recital: One classical ballet piece and one worship dance. They will buy one costume, and if they are new to Training, they will buy a required leotard and skirt (we’ll order this for you and can be used in class and year after year).

Once I’m in the Division, how do I advance through the program?

Students are placed in a certain level within the division according to their current technical and physical needs based on a placement class. This not only helps ensure that they continue to improve, but also gives them the building blocks for many years down the road. Even if you’ve been in ballet for years, you may still be placed in Training 1 as an opportunity to go back and master the basics. It also provides a pathway to develop the strength and endurance necessary for the Training Division in a slower, more healthy way to avoid injury.  

Once placed, dancers will progress through each level at their own pace. It’s important to remember that everyone’s dance journey is different, and everyone’s body is different. As such, not everyone will progress at the same rate or in the same way. Our job is to ensure that students move along in a way that is best for each person’s body and current abilities. The higher the level, the more there is to learn and master before moving on – this means more time spent in that level. 

“I think Training has many benefits, but the main ones that stick out to me are the community, the challenge, and the extra ministry opportunities. I think Training also forces to you become more mature and learn how to better manage your time. Training prepares you for the next step in your dance career, and I think when I first started Training, I didn’t really believe that. However, once I started attending conventions and other dance events on my own, I realized just how much I had grown in dance due to Training.”
—   Abby Woodford, Student, Training Division

Auditions for the 2019-20 season will be held Monday, March 18, from 4-5:15 p.m., and Wednesday, May 22, from 5:15-6:45 p.m. For more details, including what to wear to auditions, student contracts and expectations, visit

 Want more information? Join us this Saturday for an informational meeting, March 2, from 11:15 a.m. – Noon.