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Frequently Asked Questions

National Training Curriculum

How do I become an ABT Certified Teacher?

To become an ABT Certified Teacher, candidates must complete intensive training in the ABT National Training Curriculum and successfully pass comprehensive examination(s). ABT Certified teachers are permitted to teach the ABT National Training Curriculum only to the levels in which they have successfully completed the training intensive and required examination.

There are three levels of certification, which must be obtained in succession:


Session #1: Pre-Primary – Level 3

Pre-requisite: Candidates must have reached an advanced or professional level of ballet training, with a minimum of 5 years professional training in classical ballet. While there is no maximum age limit, the minimum age for candidates applying for the teacher training intensive is at least 17 years old by the start of the first training session, with the further pre-requisite of having reached an advanced/professional level of dance training.

This is the foundation of the curriculum and prepares teachers to instruct ballet students ages 3+. Course length is nine consecutive days and culminates an examination with written and oral components.


Session #2: Levels 4 – 5

Pre-requisite is certification in Pre-Primary – Level 3.

This continuation of the course prepares teachers to instruct intermediate and advanced ballet students age 11 – 13+. Course length is six consecutive days and culminates in an examination with written and oral components.


Session #3: Levels 6, 7 & Partnering

Pre-requisite is certification in Pre-Primary – Level 5, along with a 1500–2000 word essay on one of four topics, which will be available upon registration; additionally, teachers must successfully present a minimum of 12 students for ABT Student Examinations prior to attending the Level 6, 7 & Partnering course.

This further continuation of the course prepares teachers to instruct advanced and pre-professional ballet students ages 14+. Course length is six consecutive days and culminates in an oral examination.

What can I expect during the certification exam?

The written section of the exam has multiple choice questions, true/false questions, matching questions, open-ended questions, and Health Guideline questions; and will be based on material covered during the training. For teachers whose first language is not English, a translation device may be used for the written examination only with prior permission.

There is also an oral exam which is given by an adjudicator with an observer in the room. Oral examination questions are reviewed on the first day of the training to allow ample time for the candidate to prepare comprehensive answers within the time frame allotted.

What happens if I do not pass the exam?

Participants who do not pass are encouraged to continue to study the curriculum and repeat the training at their earliest convenience. There is a consecutive two-year time limit to repeat a teacher training session with a retake fee in place of tuition. If a teacher decides to retake the session at a later date, tuition must be paid in full. If the candidate does not pass the exam for a second time, they are no longer eligible to register for that course due to the level of proficiency required as an ABT Certified Teacher. Teachers who do not successfully pass the exam may state on a bio or resumé that they have attended our training session only; they may not under any circumstances advertise or market themselves as an ABT Certified Teacher.

What is the cost of the teacher training sessions?

The cost of each session varies. Below is a breakdown of the cost for each session:

Training Session #1: Pre-Primary Level – Level 3: $1700 + $150 materials fee

Training Session #2: Level 4 & 5: $1550 + $50 materials fee

Training Session #3: Level 6, 7 & Partnering: $1550 + $25 materials fee


The cost of completing the entire program, though a teacher could not complete the whole training in one summer, would be $4800 + $225 for materials.

Is housing provided?

No. Teachers are responsible for finding their own accommodations during the teacher training sessions. A housing resource list is provided by ABT to all participants upon request.

Can I become certified in all levels in one year?

Yes. However, teachers are not advised to take all three sessions back to back within one month. Candidates must pass their qualification exam in Pre-Primary to Level 3 before attending the Levels 4-5 training. Before attending the training for Levels 6, 7 & Partnering, candidates must pass their qualification exam in Levels 4-5 and write a 1,500 – 2,000-word essay on one of four topics.

If candidates register for multiple sessions in a row, registration must first be processed for one session in order to apply for the next session. Tuition must be paid in full for all sessions by the final payment deadline. If the candidate does not successfully pass a session, the following session’s tuition will be refunded.

What benefits are there to becoming an ABT Certified Teacher?

ABT Certified Teachers are provided with the latest curriculum updates, listings of special opportunities, and networking connections with other teachers. They are able to use the ABT National Training Curriculum logo on their websites and in promotional material and to list their credentials in bios and programs. ABT Certified Teachers are listed on ABT’s own website and receive an official certificate listing their levels of certification. There is also an opportunity to become an ABT Affiliate Teacher by presenting students for ABT Student Examinations.

What should I bring/wear to the training?

As you will see on the schedule, there are classes which are intended for attending teachers to take in order to feel the National Training Curriculum for yourself and to translate the terminology to your own movement. There is no need for leotards and tights but do wear comfortable clothing that you can move in and shoes that easily show your feet. Proper teaching attire and footwear is also needed during your exercise presentation for each level and for the oral portion of the examination. It is important for our instructors and examiners to clearly see your arm, leg and foot articulation.

Video and audio recording are not allowed during our teacher training sessions. Feel free to bring laptops, computer notebooks and paper notebooks to retain all the wonderful information you will be receiving.

Is there an age requirement to attend the training?

Yes. While there is no maximum age limit, the minimum age for candidates applying for the teacher training intensive is at least 17 years old by the start of the first training session, with the further pre-requisite of having reached an advanced/professional level of dance training.

Is the ABT National Training Curriculum incorporated into the training programs at ABT?

Yes. All of the training programs for dancers offered at ABT, including the ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School and the ABT Summer Intensive Program, are utilizing the ABT National Training Curriculum.

Is there a cost to maintain certification?

There is a $100 fee per calendar year to cover administrative costs, National Training Curriculum updates, NTC website maintenance and invitations to events exclusive to NTC Certified Teachers. This fee is waived for teachers that have already paid to attend a teacher training, a refresher course, a weekend workshop or presented students for ABT Student Examinations during that year. Should your certification lapse, you will be charged the $100 renewal fee plus a $25 maintenance fee in order to reinstate certification.

I am a current or former ABT Company dancer. How do I become Certified?

ABT dancers and alumni are offered the opportunity to become an ABT Certified Teacher and attend the trainings with their tuition waived. Please contact for more information.

Student Examinations

Who can present students for the ABT Student Examinations?

Only ABT Certified Teachers can present candidates for the ABT Student Examinations, and only up to the ABT NTC level in which the teacher is certified.

Is there a minimum number of classes I should present?

ABT recommends that you present a minimum of three classes in any level. This number of classes can include a master class.

ABT Certified Teachers who have successfully presented at least 12 students for Primary A to Level 3B or at least 10 students for Levels 4A through Level 7, will achieve the status of ABT Affiliate Teacher. Teachers are required to present students once every two years to maintain their Affiliate Teacher status.

For Primary Levels and Levels 1 & 2, 90% of each teacher’s students presented must pass; at Levels 3 & 4, 80% of the students must pass; and for Levels 5, 6 & 7, 75% of the students must pass.

How do I prepare to present my students for ABT Student Examinations?

ABT Certified teachers should start by requesting exams at least 4 months in advance (5 months for exams outside the US) by filling out the Online Request Form. The Presenting Teacher(s) must email their Class Plan Outline(s) to no later than four weeks prior to the examination date, formatted according to the Sample Class Plan Outline. The Class Plans must be designed for the specific needs of the candidates taking the exam, and they must be skill and level appropriate. Please note: Time limits per class are strictly enforced, including theory questions.

The Examination Class must follow the appropriate guidelines for each ABT NTC level. The prepared class should focus on correct alignment and placement, coordination, musicality, technique, port de bras and artistic presentation demonstrated with basic, clear combinations. The exam class should cover the material in the given level. It should be composed of clear, logical and uncomplicated combinations to enhance the technical performance and artistic quality of the candidate(s). Teachers should incorporate the Seven Movements in Dancing and the Movement Fundamentals: Space, Group Work and Focus. The Examination Class must also adhere to the 10 Principles of the ABT NTC. Teachers may follow any Order of the Barre outlined in the curriculum for Examination Classes in Levels 1 – 7. A copy of the scoring rubric is available upon request. Improvisation is required for Primary levels. As outlined in the Class Plan Guidelines, ABT NTC levels may be divided into different sections by age and ability at the teacher’s discretion. Age requirements are strictly enforced.

The Teacher will prepare, set and conduct the Examination Class according to the National Training Curriculum. The lesson must not be improvised on the spot and should follow the class plan. The candidates should have the class memorized: there should be no demonstration of enchaînements except for some cues to start each exercise, for preparations and transitions, especially for Primary exams. Students should transition from one group to the next in an orderly fashion similar to what is expected in a performance.

How can students prepare for ABT Student Examinations?

The examination class is a culmination of the training the students have received throughout the school year and a way for the students to demonstrate their dedication. Students can best prepare for the examinations by:

  • Regularly attending their ballet classes.
  • Adhering to the rigor and ritual required by their program.
  • Committing to learning and memorizing the work presented by their ABT NTC Certified Teacher.
  • Demonstrating a joy in dancing and artistic presentation.z
What uniform should students wear?

Teachers can choose one color and style for students in each level, which may not be mixed in each class. Students must be properly groomed. Students may choose from the following uniforms:

  • Leotard, full-length tights, and ballet shoes. Cap-sleeve, tank, and camisole cannot be worn in the same class, even if leotards are the same color. A skirt (attached, circular or wrap skirt that allows for
    proper arm placement) is required for Primary levels.
  • Male Uniform: Leotard or tight-fitting white shirt with shorts or tights, or unitard; white shoes and white socks, or black shoes and black tights. Male students should all wear the same style in the same class.

Please note: Students receive a presentation score for their examination, including hair and attire.

Is the $100 deposit for the ABT Student Examination request refundable?

The $100 deposit is required for all ABT Student Examination requests. If ABT can accommodate your request, this deposit will be applied to your examination fees. If ABT is unable to accommodate your request, the deposit will be refunded. If you choose to withdraw your request once it has been approved, you will forfeit the deposit.

Can I take photos or videos of the master class?

Video and/or audio recording of master classes is not allowed. Photos are allowed with prior permission from the Examiner and must be sent to for approval before publishing for any promotional purposes.

Can I advertise the master class?

Press and marketing materials are available upon request.