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"Training the entire person by training the entire artist."


General Information
Path to UNCSA
Preparatory Dance Program Faculty and Musicians
2015/2016 Auditions
Class Schedule
Tuition and Fees
2015 Summer Programs
2015-2016 Calendar
Photo gallery


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A note from director, Matthew C. Donnell:

Welcome to the UNCSA Preparatory Dance Program! We are now celebrating our 41st year of training talented young dancers, and are continually growing by adding more classes, performance opportunities, and community outreach to better serve North Carolina.

I received my start in the Preparatory Dance Program, and I am honored to serve and continue the legacy. In the past year since becoming Director, I have seen the Preparatory Dance Program make incredible advances. We have achieved national recognition in Dance Teacher Magazine, beefed up our schedule to include a wider aray of classes, and have added five new productions for our students. Recently we received excellent coverage by the Winston-Salem Journal, further cementing our place as the Piedmont's preeminent ballet conservatory for elementary and middle school students.

Up until now, the Preparatory Dance Program has been for rising 3rd - 8th graders. New for the 2015/16 school year, we are expanding to include the 9th grade. This will allow advanced students to continue training with us for a year longer, and further help us prepare them for whatever their next step may be.

Our program is in huge momentum. We are "leaping toward the future" with an unstoppable drive. Our faculty is committed and determined to helping our students discover and achieve their highest potential not only as artists, but as strong members of our community. By instilling confidence through discipline, artistry, and the high technical level that the school is known for, we are creating model students who are able to achieve anything.

I invite you to take a close look at what the new Preparatory Dance Program of UNCSA has to offer. Please join us in this exciting time by becoming a part of our future!

If you would like to make a tax free donation to the Dayna Fox Scholarship Fund, or would like to otherwise financially support the fostering of young talent, you can do so by clicking here: UNCSA Foundation Please specify "Dayna Fox Scholarship Fund," "En Pointe for Dance Education," or "UNCSA Preparatory Dance Program" or mail checks to:

UNCSA Foundation, Inc. 1533 S. Main St. Winston-Salem, NC 27127

Click below for an short video about our history featuring our talented students:




Contact Information
Preparatory Dance Program
Matthew C. Donnell, Director
University of North Carolina School of the Arts
1533 South Main Street
Winston-Salem, NC 27127
Telephone (336) 734-2939 

General Information

The Preparatory Dance Program at University of North Carolina School of the Arts is an after-school pre-professional training program whose mission is to prepare students for entry into the UNCSA School of Dance high school division. Students in the Program receive classes in ballet technique, pointe and pre-pointe, men's technique, contemporary dance, jazz technique, character, creative movement, music appreciation, acting, clowning, and dance history.  The Preparatory Program and its faculty are dedicated to nurturing young dancers, providing world-class instruction and helping students reach their full potential.

Special Opportunities for Preparatory Program Students

  • Attend classes in a state-of-the-art facility with live accompaniment
  • Observe classes and rehearsals by UNCSA faculty
  • Participate in special master classes and workshops given by visiting artists and choreographers
  • Audition for children’s roles in UNCSA's annual production of "The Nutcracker"
  • Perform in "Drosselmeyer's Nutcracker Tea" and "Letters to Santa"
  • Perform in the newly added Preparatory Dance Program "Winter Festival"
  • Perform in the Preparatory Dance Program's end of year Workshop Performance
  • Participate in other School of Dance concerts presented throughout the year


Created in 1975, the Preparatory Dance Program was the brainchild of founding Dean of Dance Robert Lindgren, his wife, Sonja Tyven, and Gyula Pandi.  Working in conjunction with the WS/Forsyth County public schools, the Program was designed to seek out gifted children in the community and offer them professional dance classes on the UNCSA campus.  In doing this, it served as a community outreach program while recruiting and training potential students for the School of Dance’s high school division. Many students who began their training in the Program have gone on to perform with major dance companies across the country and around the world.


Selected UNCSA alumni who began their training in the Preparatory Dance Program
Rebecca Massey
Isaac Stappas
Kelley Potter
Brian Waldrep
Jerome Johnson
Claire Kretzschmar
Matthew Donnell
Lauren Alzamora
Daniel Cooper
Ashley Jackson
Jacqueline Oakley
Brian Gephart
Sara Havener

American Ballet Theatre
American Ballet Theatre
ABT II / Boston Ballet / American Ballet Theatre
ABT II / Houston Ballet
New York City Ballet
New York City Ballet
Kansas City Ballet
Eliot Feld / Ballet Aspen / Ballet Hispanico
San Francisco Ballet / Boston Ballet / Pennsylvania Ballet
North Carolina Dance Theatre / Alonzo King's "Lines"
National Ballet of Canada
Houston Ballet / The Joffrey Ballet / Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada
Royal New Zealand Ballet


Path to UNCSA

The Preparatory Dance Program is an accelerated training program and consistent attendance is crucial to each student’s success.  Parents must be committed partners with the School of Dance, dedicated to bringing their child to every class. Students are evaluated throughout the year and must be invited to return the following year.  Parents receive bi-annual reports on each student to keep them informed of their child's class performance and progress. Students who complete the Preparatory Dance Program are uniquely well positioned to audition for entry into the School of Dance’s full-time high school program.  UNCSA offers a complete academic program leading to the North Carolina high school diploma, and at the same time provides a conservatory atmosphere that fully develops each child’s potential as a dancer. This includes intensive classes and a large range of performing opportunities.

The Preparatory Dance Program at UNCSA is committed to the equality of educational opportunity and does not discriminate against applicants, students or employees based on race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, or sexual orientation.

Preparatory Dance Program Faculty

Matthew C. Donnell, Director

Matthew Donnell  Matthew Donnell, a native of Mt. Airy, NC first attended UNCSA in 1991 as a student of the Preparatory Program where he trained for three years before entering the high school department. (class of '99) He went on to train at the Rock School, and while there, he performed with Pennsylvania Ballet and placed second regionally in the innagural season of Youth America Grand Prix. From there, he enjoyed a ten-year career with the Kansas City Ballet where he performed soloist and principal roles to critical acclaim and was named "30 under 30 artists to watch" by the Kansas City Star. Following his time in Kansas City, he moved to New York City to focus on acting. His theater credits include Kansas City Starlight Theatre, numerous productions with Kansas City New Theatre (where he also served as Dance Captain and Assistant Choreographer), Houston Theatre Under the Stars, and the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF). In 2014, together with partner Alana Niehoff, he wrote, produced, and performed in his first one-man clown show The Chapeau Show in NYC benefitting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. His silent short film series, The Adventures of Jim has been screened in film festivals based out of Winston-Salem and Los Angeles. He is a contributing writer for the online publication DIY Dancer, and currently sits on the board of governors for the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA), the union that represents ballet and opera performers. As an instructor he has taught for and rehearsed professional ballet companies and schools across the country including UNCSA, Steps on Broadway, Broadway Dance Center, The University of Alabama, Kansas City Ballet, Montgomery Ballet,and Alabama Dance Theatre. He is an ABT® Certified Teacher who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 3 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. His passion for teaching has brought him full circle, and he is thrilled to begin his second year as Director of the UNCSA Preparatory Program. <>

Alana Niehoff

Alana Niehoff  Alana Niehoff is a native of Aurora, Colorado. As a child she trained and tested in the Royal Academy of Dance, Cecchetti, and Vaganova Ballet Techniques. In 1998, at the age of 15, she was one of four American's chosen to compete at the Prix de Lausanne in Switzerland. Upon arrival home, she was invited by Wes Chapman to join the Alabama Ballet where she performed soloist and principal roles. Following her time in Alabama, she was selected by John Meehan to join the American Ballet Theatre Studio Company in New York City. While there, she also performed with the main company during their Metropolitan Opera Season. After ABT, she became one of the World Famous Radio City Rockettes and performed with the company for eleven years. As a Rockette she appeared on various national television shows and was featured in Dance Spirit Magazine. Additionally, Alana has performed with Lemon Sponge Cake Contemporary Ballet in Colorado and alongside stars such as Liza Minnelli, Richard Simmons, Tim Gunn, Jane Lynch, and the Cast of Ugly Betty. She received her acting training at T. Schreiber, and William Esper Studios in NYC, and appeared in the world premier of Maury Yeston's Hans Christian Andersen with Maine State Music Theatre. She has taught and choreographed across the United States for almost two decades. Since joining the faculty of the UNCSA Preparatory Dance Program as Primary teacher for Levels 2, 3, and 4, Ms. Niehoff has also co-directed, written, and choreographed new works Drosselmeyer's Nutcracker Tea, Letters to Santa, and Winter Festival - UNCSA Prep's first ever mixed-rep performance. She is an ABT® Certified Teacher who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 3 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. Alana is excited to begin her second year with the UNCSA Prepartory Dance Program. For more information, visit: <>

Jan Adams
Ms. Adams studied ballet at the North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) and was a member of the North Carolina Dance Theater.  She served as dance captain for the national touring company of “A Chorus Line”, and as Ballet Mistress for the Ballet Theater of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas, USVI.  Ms. Adams has been teaching in the WS/Forsyth public school system for over 20 years and recently renewed her National Board Certification as a Middle Childhood Generalist.  She is also an A+ Fellow with the nationally acclaimed A+ Schools Program, working with teachers to develop comprehensive arts-based educational programming.  She currently teaches at the Arts Based Elementary School in Winston-Salem and serves as the primary instructor for the Preparatory Program’s entry-level class.

Lynn Messick
Ms. Messick is a native of Winston-Salem, NC and holds a Bachelor of Music Degree cum laude from Salem College. She attended graduate school in dance and music at UNC-Greensboro. She has studied and taught many styles of dance along with her work in music, including extensive study in International and American ballroom and Latin dances, folk and period style dances. She was included in Who's Who Among America's Teachers three years in a row. Lynn came to UNCSA as a dance musician. She planned and developed music courses for the dancers starting in 1980 and was made faculty in 1991 as the first Music Director for the School of Dance where she remained in that position until her retirement in 2011. She has accompanied many guest artists at the school in both ballet and contemporary, performed in productions and taught music classes for many conventions, dance festivals and summer schools including UNCSA, the Preparatory Dance Program, and American Ballet Theatre. She serves on the board of directors for the Winston-Salem Festival Ballet and volunteers for the Humane Society of Davie County. She continues to accompany classes for UNCSA and teach music courses for the Preparatory Dance Program.

Dayna Fox, guest faculty
Ms. Fox is a member of the ballet faculty of the UNCSA School of Dance and was the Director of its Preparatory Dance Program 1989-2014.  She began her training at Ballet Met in Columbus, Ohio and has studied under such illustrious teachers as the late Melissa Hayden, Duncan Noble, and David Howard.  For 10 years, Ms. Fox was a featured dancer with the North Carolina Dance Theater and performed extensively throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe, including appearances at the Kennedy Center; Brooklyn Academy of Music; the American Dance Festival; the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina; and the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy.  During her tenure with NCDT, Ms. Fox performed soloist and principal roles in an eclectic repertoire including such works as Salvatore Aiello’s Piano Concerto #1; George Balanchine’s Pas de Dix, Allegro Brilliant, and Scotch Symphony; August Bournonville’s Napoli; Senta Driver’s Resettings; and Vicente Nebrada’s Di Pentemento. She has been guest instructor at Wake Forest University, Ballet Met, and UNC Greensboro, and was a founding faculty member at the Virginia School of the Arts.  Ms. Fox holds a B.F.A. in Dance from the North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA).



UNCSA Preparatory Dance Program students have the opportunity to dance to live accompaniment for many of their classes. We are fortunate to have expert musicians.


Eric Schwartz
Mr. Schwartz relocated from New York City in 2011 to become Music Director for the UNCSA Dance Department.

Frank Partridge
Mr. Partridge moved from New Jersey to Winston-Salem in 1975 and has been a UNCSA faculty dance musician since 1980.

Sally Kimel
Ms. Kimel, originally of Fayetteville, NC has been a UNCSA faculty dance musician since 1985.

Jefferson Dalby
Mr. Dalby began his career at Texas Christian University, and came has been a UNCSA faculty dance musician since 1992. Check out his website

Ela Gabitov
Ms. Gabitov hails from Kazan, Russia, and has been a UNCSA faculty dance musician since 1993.

John C.B. Wilson
Mr. Wilson, a Winston-Salem Native has been a UNCSA faculty dance musician since 1998.



Auditions for the Preparatory Dance Program are held in May and August in studio A on the UNCSA campus (see map). Children must be rising 3rd thru 9th graders to be eligible.  No previous training is required for 3rd and 4th grade students, as acceptance is based on the child’s potential and natural facility for classical dance.  Older students must demonstrate rudimentary knowledge of classical ballet in order to be placed into our more advanced levels. 

If accepted, students are placed into one of four class levels based on age and ability.  Class level will determine the number of days per week students attend classes and tuition.  All classes are held weekdays in studios on the UNCSA campus between the hours of 4:00 and 7:45pm.



Saturday, May 7, and Saturday, August 6, 2016
9:30am -10:00am - Open registration for all students*
10:00am – 11:00am – Audition for rising 3rd – 5th grade student - led by Jan Adams
11:00am – 12:30pm – Audition/Master Class for rising 6th – 9th grade students $15 fee

Students who have had no previous training may wear a T-shirt and shorts with bare feet at the audition. Older students should be dressed in dance attire for ballet class.

*You may pre-register for the audition date of your choice by downloading the form below.  There is no fee to register. Please mail completed pre-registration forms to Program Suzanna Watkins, Educational Outreach and Summer Programs UNCSA , 1533 South Main Street, WS, NC, 27127-2188

*All dates and times subject to change

Pre-registration form (PDF) 

Class Schedule - Fall Semester

Class Schedule 2015-2016 (PDF) 

For questions concerning the schedule, contact Matthew C. Donnell

Tuition and Fees

Preparatory Dance Tuition (PDF) 

Summer Programs

The Preparatory Dance Program offers a 3-week Summer Intensive for Young Dancers, which is designed specifically for children ages 9 thru 14.  No audition is required, however students must have had some level of previous training in classical ballet (NO beginners).  Students are placed in the appropriate class level based on their ability. Classes meet Monday thru Friday from 9:00am – 2:00pm in the dance studios on the UNCSA campus. Students who attend the Intensive receive a minimum of 4 classes a day, which may include ballet technique, pointe/pre-pointe, modern, creative movement, jazz, character dance, body conditioning, repertoire, music appreciation, and other dance related subjects. Students may choose to attend one, two, or all three weeks of the Intensive.  An informal performance is presented at the end of each week's session. 

Questions, please contact Director, Matthew C. Donnell

First Session: July 20 - 24
Second Session: July 27 – July 31
Third Session: August 3 - 7

1 week -   $250.00
2 weeks - $425.00
3 weeks - $575.00
Siblings will receive a 10% discount on their tuition

Space is limited! 


If you have any difficulty or questions, please contact Sharon Fogarty at 336.734.2848




2015-2016 Calendar of Preparatory Dance Program Performance Events


Saturday, September 26, UNCSA Community Day

Saturday, December 5, Drosselmeyer's Nutcracker Tea Stevens Center

Friday, December 11 Nutcracker Campus night

Saturday, December 12 Letters to Santa



Sunday, February 21, Winter Festival Performance

Sunday, May 1, Preparatory Dance Program Workshop Performance


*Detailed schedule for the year including breaks, holiday, rehearsals, etc. will be distributed to students and parents who are enrolled in the 2015-16 Preparatory Dance Program at orientation



Photo Gallery