Our Academy


NORTHWEST BALLET ACADEMY – History, Tradition, Excellence

Northwest Ballet Academy strives to bring dance awarenss to the community through professional dance training, performances, outreach programs and collaborations with Whatcom County’s performing arts organizations. We provide opportunities for students interested in arts-related careers including choreography, teaching, stage production, publicity, costume design and set construction. Audition opportunities for national dance schools and performing companies are provided for students who are interested in expanding their training. We have made enormous strides in providing for our students and are proud to have students studying and working professionally with dance and theatre companies around the country and abroad.

While continuing the tradition of supportive, nurturing dance education and performing opportunities begun by Morca Academy and Pacific Dance Company, Northwest Ballet has distinguished itself as the premiere ballet school and company in the Northern Puget Sound region.

Students at Northwest Ballet can experience full stage productions of ballets like The Nutcracker, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Giselle and The Firebird. Under the direction of its founder and artistic director John Bishop, Northwest Ballet has brought exciting performances of classical and contemporary repertoire to capacity audiences in Whatcom and Skagit Counties and continues to create dynamic works under the artistic direction of John Bishop. Mr. Bishop and the rest of the Northwest Ballet Academy’s faculty and artistic staff are dedicated to bringing the true art of classical and contemporary dance for many years to come.

School Year Programs

NBA programs present age appropriate material that safely builds strength and artistry through a clear progression of classical ballet technique.  Among the many benefits that our students enjoy are:

  • Nationally and Internationally experienced faculty
  • Comprehensive Vaganova Ballet Syllabus
  • State of the art facilities, sprung dance floors and Pilates equipment
  • Performing opportunities including NBA’s The Nutcracker
  • Live piano accompaniment
  • Classes in ballet, pointe, variations, boy’s class, character, modern dance and lyrical
  • Career and college support

Children’s Program

The Children’s Program offers an introduction to the art of dance by promoting the exploration of creativity and expression through movement.
The Youth Program offers an introduction to the art of dance by promoting the exploration of creativity and expression through movement.  This program supports the development and improvement of motor skills and coordination as well as attention and listening skills, as a preparation for continued study of classical ballet.  No previous ballet training is necessary, our Youth Program is based on age, regardless of prior experience. Students must meet the appropriate age requirement by September 1st of the current school year.  Enrollment in the Children’s Program is ongoing through June.  Students may join at any point throughout the school year.

NEW! Hand in Hand : Ages 1 to 2 ½ years old

Hand in Hand utilizes music and movement structured in a fun routine that helps to improve your toddlers muscle strengthening, balance and coordination.

Creative Dance: Age 3-4 years 

Creative Dance  for children age 3,  is designed to develop large and fine motor skills, coordination, and musical awareness while promoting creativity and imagination.

Pre-Ballet: Age 5-6

Pre-Ballet , for children age 5-6, serves as an introduction to the more formal study of classical ballet.

Classical Ballet Program

The Classical Ballet Program provides the most comprehensive ballet education in Northwest Washington. The quality of training that begins in the Elementary levels establishes the foundation for progression through the Intermediate and Advanced levels. Training follows a carefully designed curriculum allowing each student to progress to their maximum potential. The faculty works to develop the student’s abilities in a safe and supportive learning environment. Upon graduation from the advanced levels of this program, students have mastered a thorough knowledge of the classical ballet vocabulary while gaining supplemental training in modern, character, and other electives, resulting in a well-rounded ballet education. In addition to developing strong technique, students gain valuable life skills such as self-discipline and motivation, creativity, increased critical thinking, confidence and self-esteem. 

Beginner Levels

Beginner level(Ballet I-III) students transition from the Youth Program and enter a more structured class environment. They are introduced to an increased level of formal training consisting of barre and centre work.

Intermediate Levels

Students at the Intermediate levels(Int. I-III) continue to grow in their ballet technique by meeting 2-5 times per week and developing a stronger understanding of the body’s movement. Instructors, students, and parents gain an awareness of the commitment needed to further the dancer’s training.

Advanced Levels (Pre-Professional, Company Level) Advanced level students are attend classes 4-6 days a week and work in a professionalized environment.

Teen and Adult Dance

Teen/Adult Ballet, Modern, Lyrical Workout  This program is designed for students ages 13-19 or adults 20+ who wish to supplement their sports training, get in shape and learn the basics of ballet in a relaxing and fun atmosphere.  No experience in Ballet is necessary.

Summer Dance Program

NBA offers  a 4 week, residential, summer intensive training program in classical ballet with a comprehensive curriculum designed for the serious ballet student ages 10 and up. NBA also offers 2-week summer dance camp programs for children ages  4-9 years.

Our Educational Philosophy

While excellence in technical training is crucial to our mission, our job as arts educators goes well beyond technique as we support the development of the whole student.  NBA’s philosophy strives to create and maintain a nurturing environment for all our students.  We have high expectations for our students to learn, to grow and to achieve so they can reach their full potential. Our faculty work hard to foster our student’s individual development, to correct and guide along the way and to thoughtfully communicate progress in a positive and supportive manner.  Each student will grow and develop at his/her own rate, in his/her own time, and we truly celebrate each individual’s unique journey through our school.

NBA’s goal is to provide excellence and access to the art form of ballet through a dance education.  NBA strives to:

  • Deliver comprehensive ballet training to a broad-based student body with our unique model
  • Instill value, life-skills and health benefits through the educational process specific to the study of dance, emphasizing and celebrating the process and experience.
  • Create life-long dance and arts lovers, advocates and audience members
  • Train future professionals for NBT and the field of dance

Meet the Faculty

NBA’s renowned reputation and direct affiliation with Northwest Ballet Theater continues to attract some of the most highly trained professional dance teachers in the dance arena.  Many of the instructors employed by NBA have enjoyed celebrated performance careers both nationally and abroad. The collective wisdom and experience of the entire staff encourages the exploration of innovative and effective teaching methods that help students learn in a lively, stimulating environment.

Amanda Alexander    Rachel Pringle       John Bishop     Debbie Jones         Heather Goble         Heather Turner         Ryann Lewis          Caitlyn Ward


Dear Parents and Students!

Please take a minute to read the exciting changes for this year at Northwest Ballet Academy.  We are committed to giving your students a world-class dance education and wonderful performance opportunities in a supportive, caring environment.  In keeping with this, we have made some changes for this year–many based on your feedback.

Our professional teaching staff:  We have a wonderful staff of professionally-trained and caring instructors for this season. They are all committed to fostering growth in your child’s dance experience.  See all of their full bios on the faculty page.

  • Student reviews:  We will have regular, verbal and written student reviews throughout the year.  This is a chance for a pupil to get one-on-one feedback on their progress, and for parents to stay involved in their child’s progress.  Reviews will be sent home to be read and signed.
  • Schedule finalizations:  See the schedule for this year’s classes attached.  Please note that if a class doesn’t fill or we need additional space we still might move things around during the year. But . . . we will try to not make any inconvenience for anyone!
  • Tuition: Now parents who would like to pay monthly or receive a discount on paying for 3, 4, 6 and 10 month installments can do so by check given to Mieko or John in the office Tuition is due by the 1st of each month.
  • True world-class entertainment:  This year we’ll be having a total of 5 Nutcracker performances. This year our spring production will be the full-length A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Wow!  Please help our Parent Annual Fund Campaign, Scholarship Fund to support our season!  We have plans for many more improvements to our curriculum and will be striving more than ever to make the new academy in Lynden a great success.  Your support is crucial for that success.  ,

Our volunteers and a handful of wonderful parents are making every effort to help the studio in these five important areas and also need your help:

1. Enrollment. We need to increase our present enrollment so that the academy will be sustainable.

2. Performances. By attending and helping to sell tickets to the  performances, we will get the community EXCITED and we will give our dancers nice audiences to perform for.

3. Volunteering. We have a volunteer committee but we need more volunteers to help us in promoting the Academy and our Nutcracker performance and volunteering to help backstage, make-up, hair and sewing. If each parent can volunteer to help with one area(on the volunteer sign-up list) we will be set.

4. Support of NBT. Since our productions require costs for backdrops, costumes and more we established NBT as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that could accept tax-deductible donations.

5. Advertising. In our Nutcracker programs we include ads of different sizes by local businesses that help in turn to cover costs for printing, postage and other promotional outlets. Please considerplacing an ad, or, become a Friend of the Ballet(any $ amount) and be listed in our playbills.  

Thank you Everyone!