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.

Certificate/Pre-Professional Application Requirements 

Please submit the following information, in addition to your completed Common Application. Biographical information and multimedia should be submitted via SlideRoom.

Biographical Information:

  • Current ballet school (name, city and state) 
  • How many years have you studied BALLET? (Do not include pre-ballet or pre-school dance classes.)
  • How many BALLET classes do you take per week?‚Äč
  • Have you attended a CPYB program in previous years?

Video Audition Requirements:

The dancer on the video must be clearly and fully visible at all times. The video must be filmed from the front and center of the studio, except for the barre portion. The video should be no more than 20 minutes in length and include:

  • Barre: plié, tendu, dégagé, développé, grand battement
  • Center: adagio, pirouettes (en dehors and en dedans), petit allegro and grand allegro if space permits.
  • Pointe: two combinations including relevés and pirouettes

Please submit your video via SlideRoom. Men, please submit Barre and Center only.

If you are recording the video at home instead of a studio and need to omit anything for safety reasons, we totally understand. If we should need to see additional exercises, we will let you know.

Two Required Photos:

  1. Tendu a la second en face
  2. First arabesque

Please submit the photos via SlideRoom.

Email Director of Dance Sarah Skaggs at skaggss@dickinson.edu with any questions.


Dickinson CPYB Scholarship

  • Two half-tuition Dickinson CPYB Scholarships are available each year for eight semesters of full-time study at the college (including off-campus study in a Dickinson program or partner program).
  • Recipients are top performers who have participated in at least one CPYB program.
  • Any student who applies for the pre-professional program (via SlideRoom) AND has participated in a CPYB program in the past will automatically be considered for this scholarship.

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