The Certificate Program is a three-year program for advanced/beginner to intermediate level students ages 17-23 who have completed their secondary school requirements. This program takes a conservatory approach to dance training, combining technique, dance academics, creative studies, and repertory and performance.
The weekly schedule includes 15 to 17 dance technique and somatic classes. Core curriculum consists of daily classes in ballet which may include classes in Pointe for intermediate/advanced students. Horton and/or Graham-based Modern are taken 5-6 times per week. Supplemental and elective classes include; Taylor-based Modern, jazz, tap, Dunham, West African, barre à terre, yoga, Gyrokinesis®, and body conditioning. Creative courses and dance academics such as improvisation, dance composition, dance history, music, and theater arts are also required.
Acceptance to the 2022-2023 School Year is by submission of the following:
- an online application.
- a $20 application fee.
- an audition* - students may audition in person, OR by video.
In-Person Auditions: Audition cities and dates are posted on our Auditions page.
Video Auditions: An audition Video Demonstration is posted on our Video Auditions page. Students should refer to that video for specifications on video requirements. Videos that do not contain required materials will not be viewed.
*Note: it is NOT necessary to submit a video audition if the applicant is attending an in-person audition. Students are not permitted to do both.
Deadline for submitting Video application:
2022-2023 Academic year - June 1
International candidates residing outside of the U.S. may also apply by video.
Health and Safety Protocols
The Ailey School requires all students who are taking in person classes, living in Ailey sponsored housing, or entering The Joan Weill Center for Dance (The Ailey School) for any reason to be vaccinated for COVID-19 no less than two weeks prior to their first day of entry into the building. All students must submit a negative COVID PCR test no more than 5 days prior to their first day of entry into the building. Please visit the following pages for addition information:
Certificate Program students pursue a three-year structured curriculum that includes a diverse variety of dance technique courses, somatic courses, dance academics, and an integrated performance component.
Certificate Program students must successfully complete all required courses from the School’s established curriculum, as well as several supplemental elective courses. A total of 3060 clock hours and minimum technique levels must be attained in order to graduate with a Certificate of Dance. Students who surpass the minimum technique level requirements may graduate with Honors.
Technique levels are determined for each student individually in placement classes at the beginning of their first year and students are expected to progress technically and artistically in order to advance to the next level each subsequent year. In their final year, students attend a Repertory and Performance Workshop in which they learn original works created specifically for them, as well as select Ailey repertory.
Dance Courses: Technique, Somatic & Performance
- Horton technique
- Graham-based Modern technique
- Taylor-based Modern technique
- Classical Ballet
- Hip Hop
- Dunham technique
- West African
- Barre a Terre
- Body Conditioning
- Ballet and Modern Partnering
- Artist in Residence Repertory Workshops
Dance Courses: Academic
- Dance History
- Music for Dancers
- Fundamentals of Musical Theater
- Dance Composition
- Repertory and Performance Workshop (ASPG)
Evaluation and Advisement
Certificate Program students are guided and mentored by their Program Faculty Advisor, Freddie Moore and meet with him regularly in order to ensure they are making sufficient progress and meeting all program requirements. At the end of each semester, students receive written evaluations and grades from each teacher and meet with Mr. Moore in conference to review their progress and create a schedule for the following year.
Satisfactory Progress Guidelines
Satisfactory Progress Measurements:
As this program is designed to allow the advanced beginner to meet certificate requirements within three years, students are expected to pass 100% of the courses. Should a student fail a course, they will be placed on probation in the subsequent semester. This student is expected to repeat any courses that they have failed. The student will not make satisfactory progress if the courses are failed again, and will not be able to receive financial aid unless satisfactory progress is restored. Certificate Program students are not allowed to extend enrollment into a fourth year.
Appeal Procedure for Academic Probationary Status
You may appeal your probationary status in writing to the Directors of the School. The written conclusions of the Appeal Committee (composed of the Directors of the School and two selected members of the school administrative and/or teaching staff) will be forwarded to you by the office staff within two weeks of the appeal.
For a successful appeal, the following factors are considered in re-determining whether you have made satisfactory progress:
- Unusual circumstances such as extended illness or injury when properly documented.
- Quality of written or oral work in dance academic\theory courses.
- Attitude and participation in courses.
In their final year, mentored by Rehearsal Director Freddie Moore, students gain valuable professional experience performing throughout the New York Tri-State area as the Ailey Student Performance Group (ASPG). In addition, Certificate Program students are offered opportunities to participate in annual performances throughout the school year. Each year, several artists in residence set original works, or re-stage established works, on our students. Students are selected by the choreographers and School Co-Directors by audition to participate in workshops that culminate in the following performances:
- Winter Concert
- ASPG Studio Showing
- Global Harmony Concert
- Spring Concert
- Certificate Program Graduation Performance
*Performances for the 2021-2022 school year are contingent upon COVID safety mandates. Some live performances may not take place.
The Ailey School offers several innovative programs and unique opportunities to further develop the artistry of our students and prepare them for a professional career.
New Directions Choreography Lab (NDCL)
NDCL is a creative residence for emerging and established choreographers created by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Artistic Director Robert Battle. Four artists are selected annually to receive a stipend, access to dancers from The Ailey School, and studio time during which they are free to take creative risks and explore new ideas that they may not have had the financial resources, time, or space to do otherwise. Each choreographer is paired with a Creative Advisor who, as seasoned professionals, serve as an artistic resource offering guidance and feedback during the creative process. Informal studio showings and Q & A dialogue between audience and dancers allows both students and choreographers the opportunity to delve into the creative process and artistic self-discovery.
Ailey Students Ailey Professionals (ASAP) Mentoring Program
The mission of ASAP is to give students the opportunity to build a mentor/mentee relationship with members of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater over the course of three months. Overseen by the Company Rehearsal Director and Guest Artist, Matthew Rushing, the program provides a rare opportunity for students to spend time with their mentors through workshops, professional development sessions, and access to private rehearsals. Additionally, mentors meet with their students in a multitude of activities outside of Ailey to further strengthen the relationship. Students have enjoyed outings to museums, live performances and concerts, coffee shops, and potluck dinners with their mentors.
Each December, students are offered the unparalleled opportunity to perform in Mr. Ailey’s ballet “Memoria”, a touching and powerful tribute to his mentor Joyce Trisler. Twenty-six students are chosen by audition to perform a section of the ballet that was choreographed by Mr. Ailey specifically with students in mind. Over the course of several weeks, students are rehearsed by Ronni Favors, former Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Rehearsal Director and dancer, culminating in several performances with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater during their annual season at New York City Center Theater. Students experience the thrill of performing to sold out audiences of Ailey’s enthusiastic fans in a legendary theater located in the heart of New York’s theater district.
Tuition & Fees
Tuition and fees are subject to change. Refunds are issued according to the School’s published refund policy. Tuition for the current school term is listed below. Fees are listed separately.
2021-2022 Academic Year
$14,678 ($7,339 per semester)
Audition Fee: $20
International Student Fee (new students only): $50
Annual Registration Fee: $50
Physical Therapy fee (fall/spring): $110
Withdrawals, Refunds and Return of Financial Aid
To obtain an official withdrawal, students must submit a Withdrawal Form to their Faculty Advisor, who will then submit it to The Ailey School Directors. The tuition charge will be assessed according to the student's last date of attendance and the School's published refund policy.
Return of Title IV Aid and Early Withdrawal
If you receive Federal Financial Aid you may owe a cash payment to The Ailey School or the Federal Government by withdrawing from school. In short, you have not “earned” the aid you have received until you complete 60% of term in which you receive aid.
The amount of aid that you can keep (i.e., earned) is calculated as follows: Aid You Can Keep = (No. of Days Completed ÷ No. of Days in the Term Including Weekends) x Aid Received
Federal financial aid is available for qualifying Certificate and Independent Study Program students.
Frequently Asked Questions
Students who wish to apply for acceptance to the Scholarship Program, Certificate Program, or Independent Study Program for the 2021-2022 school year must submit a video audition. Students must follow the instructions detailed on the Auditions page.
Students who wish to apply to the Ailey/Fordham BFA Program should refer to the Admissions section of the BFA Program page.
There is a $20 audition fee for all Scholarship Program,Certificate Program, Independent Study Program, and Summer Program auditions. You can sign up for the audition and pay the fee by following the links on the Admissions page of the web site. There is a $35 application fee for BFA applicants, and an audition fee for those applicants who are invited to attend an audition.
You must fill out an online application, pay an audition fee, and upload your audition video by following the instructions on our audition page.
No, we do not schedule private or in-class auditions.
Students may audition once per calendar year. If you are not accepted at your first audition, you must wait until the following year to try again.
Notification of acceptance will be sent by e-mail within three weeks of an audition.
No. The Ailey School does not provide performance critiques or discuss the artistic panel’s decision after an audition.
Students may take both Horton and Graham-based modern even if they have no prior training in those techniques. However, in some cases Faculty Advisors may feel it is more beneficial for a student to concentrate on one technique only. This is decided on a case by case basis between Faculty Advisor and student.
Each student at The Ailey School is placed in levels according to their individual proficiency in ballet, Horton, and Graham-based modern. Levels are determined at the audition or by the department chairpersons during placement classes at the beginning of the students first term of study. Students are advised that levels at The Ailey School may not correspond to the levels at their prior schools. The Ailey School has 7 levels of ballet, 4 levels of Horton, and 4 levels of Graham-based modern. Pointe, Partnering, and Men’s Ballet are offered to students in ballet IV or higher. Students are placed jazz levels according to their ballet levels.
Yes. The Ailey School has limited housing during the academic year at The Ludlow Residence dormitory in lower Manhattan. Housing at The Ludlow Residence is partially subsidized and granted to students based on their financial need and artistic merit.
Yes. The Ailey School offers housing at the nearby Fordham University dormitory for students 15 years and older, and at the Ludlow Residence for students who are 17 year of age and older. Students must be enrolled in the Summer Intensive to be eligible for summer housing.
Auditions for Ailey II are by invitation only. Students from the school's full-time training programs are invited to audition for Ailey II by The Ailey School Co-Directors and the Ailey II Artistic Director.
Only advanced students who are on Threshold or in their last year of study and are preparing to enter the dance field may request permission from The Ailey School Co-Directors to perform outside of the School.
Yes. A limited number of merit-based scholarships are available to students who meet the artistic criteria for acceptance to the Scholarship Program. Scholarships are awarded on an annual basis during the academic year and summer term by audition only. Merit-based scholarships are not available to students in the Independent Study Program or Certificate Program, although those students may apply for need-based Federal Financial Aid.
International students must successfully complete the program in which they are enrolled in order to be eligible for Post -Completion Practical Training: three years in the Certificate Program; one year in the Independent Study Program; and one year in the Scholarship Program. Students who wish to apply for OPT must first have a final evaluation meeting with their Faculty Advisor at the end of their last semester of study. Once it has been confirmed that all program requirements have been met and that there have been no excessive absences, the student may meet with the International Student Advisor to request OPT.
Yes. Professional Division students who are enrolled in any of the full time programs may attend Ailey Extension classes for 1/2 price on weekends only. Students may not attend Ailey Extension classes Monday through Friday.
No. Students are not allowed to take any Professional Division classes other than the classes that have been assigned to them by their Faculty Advisor.