The Dickinson College Ballet Certificate Program With Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (CPYB) combines the benefits of Dickinson’s rigorous liberal-arts education with preprofessional ballet instruction at the world-renowned CPYB. It is tailored to serious undergraduate dancers who want to continue high-level ballet instruction and enjoy professional-level studio facilities while also achieving a broad-based education and a degree in another field.

How it works

Students in the certificate program take four one-credit preprofessional-level ballet classes at CPYB, just steps from campus, and four one-credit academic classes. With a focus on preprofessional training onstage or off, certificate students can choose academic classes in dance history, world dance, business and nonprofit management. They also may take advantage of hands-on internship opportunities, drawing from Dickinson’s deep connections in the professional arts world.

Each of the eight ballet-certificate credits count toward Dickinson’s graduation requirements, making it easier to complete the program.

Throughout the academic year, ballet-certificate students are welcome to also get involved with Dickinson’s Dance Theatre Group, and to take studio classes through Dickinson’s dance department, which focuses on contemporary dance genres and issues. Certificate students are required to perform at least two semesters with the Dickinson Dance program.

What are our graduates up to?

Dickinson’s ballet program was founded in partnership with CPYB in 2010 and expanded in 2019. In the years since, some of our dance students have gone on to apprentice with dance companies and pursue choreography careers. Others combined what they learned as science majors and as dancers to forge careers in physical therapy, dance therapy, nonprofit arts management and physics research. Still more work in fields unrelated to their ballet instruction but enjoy continuing to learn and perform.


“Ballet has taught me how to be self-disciplined, what it means to be dedicated and passionate about work, and the critical importance of a supportive and mentoring community, and in both ballet and scientific research, personal drive and dedication along with a close relationship with the larger community are critical components of success.” —Natalie Ferris ’18 (physics, ballet), PhD student in the Harvard/MIT health science & technology program