Throughout the world, there are thousands of dance schools and repertoires that span a breath of styles from ballroom to ballet. Judging from critical reviews, performance level, breadth of styles, history and famous alumnus, here is a list of the top international dance schools. The list spans coasts, countries and genres, but the schools on it share one thing in common: their prestige.
American Ballet Theatre
Headquartered in New York City, the American Ballet Theatre offers a premier dance technique education program. Known for its Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School's preprofessional programs, this school breeds the best dancers in the world. Famous alumni include Tony Award-winner David Alvarez, a former lead in "Billy Elliot the Musical."
American Ballet Theatre: abt.org
Bolshoi Ballet Academy
Dating back to 1776, The Bolshoi Ballet Academy is one of the oldest and best ballet companies in the world. The theater is the parent company of The Bolshoi Ballet Academy, a world-leading school of ballet. Famous alumni of the academy include Maya Plisetskaya, one of only two Russian ballerinas who was awarded the ultimate ballerina title, "prima ballerina assoluta."
Bolshoi Ballet Academy: bolshoiballetacademy.com/index.htm
Brent Street Schools
Brent Street is an Australian performing arts school based in Sydney. The school started in 1986 and since then has expanded its range of styles to ballet, jazz, hip-hop, tap, musical theater, singing, drama and acrobatics.The school now holds modern dance studios, a theater and a recording studio and rehearsal space for their subsidiary program through the Talent Development High School. With more than 1,000 students, this school is the premier dance studio in Australia. Many of the school's alumni have gone on to compete in Australia's "So You Think You Can Dance" and various Broadway acts.
Brent Street Schools: brentstreet.com.au
Joffrey Academy of Dance
The Joffrey Academy of Dance is a New York City- and Chicago-based contemporary ballet school that continues to push the standard of excellence in dance education and performance. The Academy focuses on ballet training and offers challenging classes for children, preprofessional and adults divisions. In more than 50 years of existence, many of the Joffrey company began as students of the Academy division.
Joffrey Academy of Dance: joffrey.com/academy_registration_main.asp
Kirov Academy of Ballet
Another American ballet company, the Kirov Academy of Ballet, is a school based in Washington, D.C. that offers part-time and full-time instruction to children from grades 7-12. The Academy is distinctive among professional dance schools in that it has its own in-house academic and residence program, fostering the growth of young ballerinas. Kirov alumni include Danny Tidwell, Sascha Radetsky and many other Broadway and dance stars.
Kirov Academy of Ballet: ubacademy.org
The Royal Ballet School
The Royal Ballet School is a division of the Royal Ballet Company, based in London. The school provides rigorous classical ballet training, in hopes to place graduates in famed ballet companies worldwide. Famous alumni include Alessandra Ferri, Dame Margot Fonteyn and Dame Beryl Grey, among many other famous ballerinas.
The Royal Ballet School: royal-ballet-school.org.uk
Paris Opéra Ballet School
Based in Paris, this ballet school is the official ballet company of the Opéra de Paris, or "Palais Garnier." The company's origins date back to the mid-1600s, when King Louis XIV reigned as king of France. The school has bred famous ballerinas, including Agnes Letestu and Nicolas Le Riche.
Paris Opéra Ballet School: operadeparis.fr/cns11/live/onp
The Juilliard School has become a historical benchmark in performing arts. This New York City school produces big-name dancers and performers, including Siena Cherson Sigel and Paul Taylor. The school features precollege and college divisions in dance genres ranging from modern, tap, jazz, contemporary and more.
Juilliard School: juilliard.edu/about/faqs.html
National Performing Arts School
This Dublin-based performing arts school offers classes in dance, drama and singing for ages ranging from toddlers to adults. The National Performing Arts School is run by Jill Doyle and actor Collin Farrell's brother, Eamon Farrell, and its beginnings date back to the early 1990s. Dancing classes offered include street dance, Bollywood, hip hop, musical theater, funk and more.
National Performing Arts School: npas.ie
Salzburg International Ballet Academy
Salzburg International Ballet Academy is based in Salzburg, Austria, and features a range of genres, including classical ballet, contemporary, modern dance, jazz and choreography. This school's mission is to refine the young dancer's personal skills and improving performing experience through producing four galas a year.
Salzburg International Ballet Academy: sibaacademy.com
Allison Gray is a communications consultant based in Chicago. She has worked in communications for five years at Meet Minneapolis, Rasmussen College and New School Communications. Published in USAE and PCMA, Gray began writing professionally in 2007. She received a B.A. in strategic communications from the University of Minnesota.