Ailey/Professional Performing Arts School

Ailey/Professional Performing Arts School

In 1995, The Ailey School and the Professional Performing Arts School (PPAS) joined forces to provide superior dance training to public high school students.  Under the co-direction of Tracy Inman and Melanie Person, The Ailey School offers deserving students a fully-subsidized, diverse dance curriculum of the highest caliber.  PPAS, an intimate magnet school committed to fostering excellence in the performing arts, provides a high quality academic curriculum in conjunction with superior instruction in dance, vocal music, drama and musical theater. 

Jointly, The Ailey School/PPAS high school curriculum provides a solid foundation in fulfilling the requirements of the New York State Regents' Diploma, while preparing students to pursue careers as professional dancers. The two institutions, conveniently located within 7 blocks of each other in New York City's theater district, have formed a vibrant and dynamic venue for superior interdisciplinary education in academics and dance.

Graduates of The Ailey School/PPAS program have gone on to study in such prestigious conservatories as the Juilliard School, North Carolina School of the Arts, and the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA.  One of the first graduates of the program, Clyde Archer, became a member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

Parent Observation Week at The Ailey School: April 7 - 11, 2014
 

Program Description 

In The Ailey School/PPAS Program, 90-100 Dance Majors attend academic classes every morning at the Professional Performing Arts high school from 7:45am to 1:20pm. In the afternoon, a school bus takes them to The Ailey School where they attend two dance classes from 1:45pm to 4:30pm. 

Students are placed in one of four technique levels at a placement audition at the beginning of the school year. Each level takes in a broad curriculum of 7 to 10 classes each week that includes ballet, modern dance, West African, Jazz and other techniques. The curriculum is designed to promote consummate technical progress appropriate for each student's age and stage of physical development.
 

The weekly schedule is supplemented by regular workshops and lectures on dance history, nutrition, anatomy, injury prevention, body conditioning, music for dancers, West African dance, improvisation, career transition, college preparation, and audition practice.  Workshops are taught by the distinguished faculty and staff of The Ailey School. 

Dance Major Courses

  • Ballet
  • Horton
  • Graham-based Modern
  • West African
  • Jazz
  • Limon
  • Pointe
  • Repertory

Sample 9th Grade Curriculum

Morning Academics

  • English
  • History
  • Algebra I
  • Earth Sciences
  • Spanish I

Afternoon Dance Classes

  • Ballet
  • Horton
  • West African

Sample 10th Grade Curriculum

Morning Academics

  • English
  • Social Studies
  • Geometry
  • Biology
  • Spanish III

Sample 11th Grade Curriculum

Morning Academics

  • Humanities
  • Global History
  • Pre-Calculus
  • Forensic Sciences
  • Chemistry

Afternoon Dance Classes

  • Ballet
  • Horton
  • Jazz
  • Graham-based Modern
  • Pointe

 

Sample 12th Grade Curriculum

Morning Academics

  • Humanities
  • Public Policy
  • Economics
  • Senior Writing Workshop

Afternoon Dance Classes

  • Ballet
  • Horton
  • Jazz
  • Graham-based Modern
  • Pointe
  • Repertory
  • Improvisation

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Program Requirements

Students interested in the Ailey/PPAS program are expected to meet the following criteria:

Dance

  • Superior talent and potential for a performing career as a dance artist
  • A toned, flexible, well-proportioned body
  • Musicality
  • Energy, eagerness, dedication, and determination to excel
     

Academic

  • Evidence of academic talent necessary to complete a high school Regents diploma

Support Services and Scholarships

The Ailey School/PPAS Program has a dedicated faculty who work to create a space in which the growth and progress of each student as an individual is fostered. The Ailey School / PPAS Coordinator communicates with PPAS staff and faculty to insure that the students are equally supported in their academic pursuits and in their dance endeavors.

The Ailey School's on-site physical therapist is available with permission from parents to supplement student education on healthy anatomical practice and usage.
The most advanced students 15 years and older are encouraged to audition for Junior Division Fellowships. These scholarships provide serious pre-professional dance students the opportunity to attend The Ailey School Junior Division Program as an enhancement to the PPAS dance major program. In addition, selected seniors may be invited to take class in the Professional Division in order to deepen their understanding of the discipline and effort necessary to enter the professional dance world.

Performance Opportunities

While The Ailey School / PPAS program focuses primarily on training, performance opportunities are offered for students in all grades and levels as an essential component of the professional learning process.  Students in all levels participate in the End-of-Year Concert held at the Ailey Citigroup Theater. In addition, students participate throughout the year in School Performance Assemblies such as the Holiday Celebration and Black History Month Assembly.

Additional performing opportunities include participation in the following performances in The Ailey Citigroup Theater:

  •     January Explosion
  •     Global Harmony
  •     Junior Division Spring Concert at a New York City Theater

Admissions Procedures

Entry requirements to specialized high schools are mandated by the New York City Department of Education.  Students may apply to enter The Ailey School/PPAS program at any time in the 9th or 10th grade, but must begin the application process prior to the beginning of the school year for which they are applying.  An audition is required of all potential students and is held two times at The Ailey School every fall.

Prospective students who have met the artistic criteria for acceptance are interviewed by the PPAS Dean of Students. The purpose of this interview is to ascertain the students' level of commitment, discipline, and the seriousness of his/her intention to enter a Performing Arts school.  After review of their academic transcripts, students may be accepted to the Ailey/PPAS dance major program.  Late applicants are allowed but they must still go through the application/audition process described above.

Get more information about PPAS at the NYC Department of Education.

Contact the Professional Performing Arts High School.
 

Audition Procedures

Two years of previous ballet training 3 or more days weekly is required.  The audition consists of two or three combinations in ballet and modern dance.  The combinations are taught, observed, and assessed by Ailey/PPAS faculty panelists. Solos are not required.

Audition Attire

Girls should wear a leotard and tights that convert to bare feet.  Boys should wear a form-fitting T-shirt and tights or leggings. Both girls and boys should bring ballet shoes. Hair should be neat and pulled away from the face; no jewelry or accessories are allowed.

Program Leadership

Guillermo Asca, Ailey/PPAS Program Coordinator
The Ailey School

Keith Ryan, PPAS Principal
Humanities Faculty, PPAS

Chuck Vassallo, PPAS Performing Arts Director
Musical Theater Faculty, PPAS

Carlos Taylor, Ailey/PPAS Program Associate
The Ailey School