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What Makes Top Professionals Shine in their Formative Years

Teresa D'Ortone, Rock alumna, ABT Studio Company

For over three decades, The Rock School for Dance Education, under the leadership of Bo and Stephanie Spassoff has been developing dancers with a clean, strong technique and artistic refinement.

This power-couple led the school's students to succeed. Rock School dancers are found gracing the stages of a variety of wonderful companies worldwide, enjoying careers as corps, soloists, as well as principals. Companies like the Royal Ballet, New York City Ballet, English National Ballet, Ballet West, San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre, to name just a few.


The school is strategically placed in a vibrant corner of downtown Philadelphia with a loft-style Residence Hall that's been heralded a "home-away-from-home." There are a full-time chef and staff preparing home-cooked meals, keeping the students healthy and happy. The Academics department is directed by 2017 Presidential Scholar Award-winning Teacher, Robert Hodges.

Youth America Grand Prix, the largest ballet competition in the world, has awarded The Rock School "Outstanding School" for an unprecedented 12 years in a row.

Besides the artistic leadership of The Rock School, the directors are also Artistic Coordinators of 'Despertares,' the largest ballet Gala in Mexico headed by Rock School alumnus, Isaac Hernandez.

Isaac Hernandez, Rock alumnus, English National Ballet principal

Bo and Stephanie have seen, first hand, four of the traits that students need to transition into successful professionals.

1. Patience: The art of ballet takes time. Don't rush proper technique. The groundwork is critical to future success. Moving up to the next class level is not the priority in your training. Every student is on his or her own timeline.

2. Perseverance: Stick with it. Don't allow negative thoughts to keep you from your goals. Injuries will heal. Resolve, dutifully, to stay productive during trying times and gratefully acknowledge any progress you have made.

3. Humility: Be gracious with progress and casting selections. Don't compare yourself to peers. Take every opportunity to learn and grow without being haughty.

4. Dedication to Excellence: Go the extra mile in everything—from working on a correction to being supportive of your peers. It's up to you to be the very best you can be.

Christine Shevchenko, Rock alumna, ABT principal

The Directors closing advice of encouragement as Summer Intensive auditions launch, is for students to let their individual personalities come through while auditioning. The Directors do not look for perfection in an audition, but rather focus on seeing the individual dancer and their potential.

Check out The Rock School on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter!

Derek Dunn, Rock Alumnus and Principal, Boston Ballet.

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