The Cincinnati Ballet’s Otto M. Budig Academy is a pre-professional training program for students who want a future in dance.

Located in Over-the-Rhine on Central Parkway is the Cincinnati Ballet’s Otto M. Budig Academy. Catering to children from the ages 2 to 17 and adults from the age of 18 and up, the academy is a pre-professional training program for students who want a future in dance. 

There are three divisions that make up the academy: the children’s division for ages 2 to 7, the main division for ages 8 to 17 and adult classes for ages 18 and up. 

The children’s division has different levels, which students are placed in by age, and students in the main division are placed in levels after a placement class.

“The connection our academy has to the Cincinnati Ballet Company makes us unique and allows us to offer a different type of education,” says Ginger Johnson, director of academy operations. “The company members train a lot of our students so that offers a different element for them.”

Many of the students also get opportunities to perform in company productions, which expand their horizon in dance. Productions in the past have included The Nutcracker and Alice in Wonderland.

Students in the academy also get to perform in the annual spring production at the end of the school year. All students get to participate and members of the public can buy tickets to attend. 

Students are exposed to diversity in dance and dance style at the academy. In the higher levels of the main division, students are required to take an elective along with ballet practice. Some electives offered include modern styles of dance, musical theater, jazz, contemporary ballet, body conditioning and more. 

“These electives are meant for students to expand their dance knowledge and ability,” says Johnson.

The school-year divisions serve 400 to 500 families, but the summer programs also serve about 200 to 300 families. 

“Summer is intensely busy for us,” says Johnson. “There are eight summer programs in eight weeks, so there is a lot to do.”

One program in particular has gained the academy national attention: the Summer Intensive program. “This is our biggest and nationally renowned program,” says Johnson. “We have students audition from all over the country and one student who is joining us this summer from Japan.” 

The faculty teaches the program and students have intensive training for seven hours a day. There is also a very strong connection to the company; two dancers were hired as trainers from the program recently, says Johnson. 

Along with the programs and divisions for children, there are also classes for adults. The adult division has levels for former professional dancers who want to stay in shape and first-time dancers. 

The classes are flexible and do not require pre-registration, says Johnson.