|The Rock School for Dance Education|
The Rock School for Dance Education is a classical ballet school located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, along the city's Avenue of the Arts. The school offers dance training for students age three and older, with pre-professional programs for students beginning at age twelve. Rock School alumni dance in companies worldwide, including Pennsylvania Ballet, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, and English National Ballet.
The Rock School was founded in 1963 as the School of Pennsylvania Ballet. Barbara Weisberger, a protégé of George Balanchine, was inspired to bring classical ballet to Philadelphia. Bojan Spassoff has been director since 1986, joined by Stephanie Wolf Spassoff in 2000. In 1992 the Rock School parted ways with the Pennsylvania Ballet and became an independent institution.
The school's facilities at 1101 South Broad Street opened in 1988, when Dr. Milton Rock memorialized the school in memory of his late wife, Shirley Rock. In 2000 the Rock School purchased and renovated the building, followed by another renovation in 2007 which included the Ballet Bistro and Rock Academics room.
The 2011 documentary First Position followed Rock School alum Michaela DePrince as she trained for and competed at Youth America Grand Prix. Some scenes were shot inside the Rock School building. Longtime directors Bojan and Stephanie Spassoff also appear in the film.
The Rock School teaches classes for students ages 3 and up. Ballet instruction is divided into Children's Dance, Elevé, and Professional training divisions. While the focus is on classical ballet, the school also offers Creative Movement, Pre-Gymnastics, and Hip Hop lessons. In addition to classes throughout the academic year, the school teaches a summer ballet intensive program.
The Rock School offers residence accommodations for professional ballet students, as well as an academic program for students in grades 7-12. Academics students utilize online schools to allow them the flexibility that professional ballet training requires.