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Best Performing Arts High Schools in New York City

Best Performing Arts High Schools in New York City

The best performing arts schools are ones that nurture creativity in their students, giving them the ability to not only excel in their desired art form, but in any other sector of the work force, if they so choose.

Nomè S.
Nomè S.
NYC Performing Arts Schools

Lights, Camera, Action! We are all familiar with that feeling when the orchestra begins their tuning, the lights go down and the curtain begins to go up. For me, it felt like butterflies running through my stomach. For my mother, it felt like “I spent a $120 per ticket for this?”

If you're anything like me, then you’re reading this article hoping to learn a few more things about applying to various performing arts high schools that can give you the tools to get up on that stage and do what you love to do. Be it dance, opera, theater, film, or any other art,  artistic training has always been an entry point into knowing, learning, and performing better in your desired art form.

The best performing arts schools are ones that nurture creativity in their students, giving them the ability to not only excel in their desired art form, but in any other sector of the work force, if they so choose. The performing arts schools below have been ranked based on their high college placement rates, notable alumni, and rich arts programming. Some of these schools have an audition requirements and you can find them at this link.

Best Performing Arts High Schools in Manhattan

Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Performing Music & Arts and Performing Arts

100 Amsterdam Avenue, Manhattan

“Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts is a world-recognized institution that nurtures and inspires the next generation of artists, visionaries, and global citizens.” Established in 1963, the “fame” school on the Upper West Side is the home to many notable alumni, some of which include Al Pacino, Nicki Minaj, Vanessa Williams and Timothee Chalamet. At LaGuardia High School, students can pursue dance, fine arts, technical theater, drama and music. Audition required.

Average graduation rate: 99%

Student diversity: A+

Website: laguardiahs.org

Photo Credit: The New York Post

Professional Children’s School

132 West 60th St. New York 10023

“Professional Children’s School is an independent day school enrolling up to 150 students in grades 6-12. Founded in 1914, Professional Children’s School provides a challenging and engaging college preparatory program for busy artists, athletes, and other young people who are serious about their studies.” Some notable alumni include Sarah Jessica Parker, Kieran Culkin, Jane Krakowski, and many more. Professional Children’s School emphasizes the importance of classroom learning while offering the option of a flexible schedule and distance learning, allowing students to balance time in the classroom with outside pursuits. Students are able to pursue majors in Drama, Music and Visual Arts. Auditions not required.

Overall Niche grade: A+

Average graduation rate: 100%

Student Diversity: A

Website: pcs-nyc.org

Talented Unlimited School

300 E. 68th St. Manhattan

Located in the heart of NYC, Talent Unlimited School features prominent programs in arts such as dance,drama, music, and musical theater along with high academic standards. It has 489 students in grades 9-12 with a student-teacher ratio of 14 to 1. According to state test scores, 92% of students are at least proficient in math and 95% in reading. Programs available for study at the Talent Unlimited School include: Drama, Dance, Instrumental Studio, Vocal Studio and Musical Theater Studio. Students do internships with some of the city’s top arts organizations such as the Martha Graham Dance Center. Some extras include but are not limited to Hip‑Hop, Improv Comedy and Gospel Choir. Auditions required.

Average Graduation rate: 95%

Student Diversity: A+

Website: tuhs.nyc

Professional Performing Arts School

328 W. 48th St. Manhattan

“Located in the heart of the theater district in Manhattan, Professional Performing Arts School was created in 1990 to meet the needs of two groups of students - those demonstrating a strong talent and passion for the performing arts and those who were pursuing professional work in the arts.” Admission requires a performance-based audition designed and judged by the individual performing arts departments. This Hell’s Kitchen school counts Alicia Keys, Jesse Eisenberg, Claire Danes and Britney Spears among it’s glittering alums. It focuses on four programs: Music, Dance, Drama and Musical Theater. Students with parts in Broadway, TV or film productions enjoy flexible schedules. Auditions required.

Average Graduation rate: 95%

Student Diversity: A+

Website: ppasnyc.org

Photo Credit: https://www.ppasnyc.org/

Repertory Company High School For Theater Arts

123 W. 43rd St. Manhattan

Repertory Company High School for Theatre Arts is a somewhat hidden gem for those who love musical theater. The school is really small, with about 60 kids per grade, but it has so much to offer! There are many AP and college level courses and the school puts on several productions per year, partly because it the class periods are double the legnth of other schools, so there's actually time to rehearse. It's also a partner school to the Roundabout Theater Company. The arts program is designed for students who aspire to work in the theatre arts field, either as actors or behind the scenes. This lovely institution gives classes in writing, production and movement, as well as providing four years of music and dance. Applicants must audition in one of three performances fields: acting, music, or dance.

Average Graduation rate: 95%

Student Diversity: A

Website: repertorycompanyhs.org

Waldeigh Secondary School For The Performing & Visual Arts

215 W 144th St. NY

“Wadleigh scholars have the opportunity to dedicate their elective credits towards a specific artistic discipline and earn an arts endorsed diploma. In order to reap the benefits of the arts programs, Wadleigh scholars are expected to major in one of the following, and make a commitment to consistent participation: music, theater, dance and visual arts. [ . . . ] Established in 1902, the legacy of Wadleigh is one of living history. Named for Lydia Fowler Wadleigh, the principal of the first public high school for girls, famous Wadleigh alumni include notable playwrights, actors, artists, scientists, and activists including anthropologist Gitel Poznanski Steed, actors Isabel Sanford and Jean Stapleton, artist Lady Bird Cleveland, and activist Evelina Lopez Antonetty.” Auditions required.

Overall Niche Grade: C

Average Graduation rate: 85%

Student Diversity: A

Website: wadleigharts.org

Gramercy Arts High School

40 Irving Place New York, NY

“Gramercy Arts High School prides itself in enrolling students and employing teachers that are committed to building a strong, equitable, purposeful, scholarly, and artistic community that prepares all students to succeed in a college of their choice and beyond.” Students will have the opportunity to major in either the visual arts or the theatrical arts. Auditions required.

Overall Niche Grade: B-

Average Graduation rate: 92%

Student Diversity: A

Website: gramercyhs.org

Best Performing Arts High Schools in Queens

Frank Sinatra High School of Performing Arts

35-12 35th St., Queens

Founded by Tony Bennett in 2001, this state of the art Queen’s gem aims to integrate the arts with rigorous academics, instill commitment to community service, and help students cultivate a lifelong love and dedication to their artistic passions and crafts. Students can focus on drama, dance, music, fine art, or film, with electives in stage hand, jazz band, and musical theater. They also do arts-related internships, apprenticeships, cultural projects and community service. Auditions required.

Average graduation rate: 94.8%

Student diversity: A+

Website: franksinatraschoolofthearts.org

Best Performing Arts Schools in Brooklyn

Dr. Susan S. McKinney Secondary School of the Arts

101 Park Ave. Brooklyn

Nestled in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, just steps from the historic Brooklyn Navy Yards and scenic Fort Greene Park, “McKinney Secondary School of the Arts focuses on a comprehensive education for each student driven by data to identify each individual’s strengths and challenges in the classroom.” Students are offered an array of art classes including drama, chorus, dance and visual arts. Auditions are required.

Average Graduation rate: 65%

Student Diversity: B+

Website: mckinneyssa.com

Brooklyn High School of the Arts

345 Dean St. Brooklyn.

“Brooklyn Arts is a dual-mission high school dedicated to providing aspiring artists and scholars with an academically rigorous pre-college course of study and a comprehensive, four-year pre-conservatory arts program.” Art studios include visual arts, music, dance and drama. Auditions are required.

Overall Niche Grade: B-

Average Graduation rate: 92%

Student Diversity: A

Website: brooklynartshs.nyc

Best Performing Arts High Schools in the Bronx

Fordham High School for The Arts

500 E. Fordham Rd, Bronx

“Fordham High School for the Arts is a school that is housed in the Theodore Roosevelt Educational Campus at 500 East Fordham Road, Bronx, New York 10458. The school is centrally located in Bronx County, across from Fordham University”. Fordham High School for The Arts offers a foundation in dance, drama, music and studio art. It’s weak on academics, however. Auditions required.

Average Graduation rate: 95%

Student Diversity: A-

Website: fordhamhighschoolforthearts.org

The Theater Arts Production Company School

2225 Webster Ave., Bronx

“At The Theater Arts Production Company School students learn the collaborative and self-management skills required for success in the 21st century world of the arts enabling them to continually evolve and exel in college, career, and life.” Students major in one of two areas in arts studio or Media & Communications. These art studios include dance, theatre, visual arts, and music (Instrumental and Vocal). Auditions required.

Average Graduation rate: 82%

Student Diversity: B+

Website: sites.google.com/schools.nyc.gov/tapconyc/

Photo Credit: Impact Broadway

How do you choose the best performing arts high school for you? Here are your expert tips!

Many factors come into play when choosing the best school for you. Things to consider are artistic training, financial limitations, and something I personally think is necessary for growing: a sense of belonging. That feeling of belonging doesn’t always happen on the first day, so be open to that feeling growing and blossoming over the course of your time at desired artistic education institution.

The swankiest schools might not always be the best fit and vice versa. Consider the opportunities you might be hoping to attain after graduation. Will the institution assist you in garnering such opportunities? Is there a college that you dream of attending? Does the high school have current or past alumni that have attended this college? Last but not least, are you ready to commit the next four years to rigorous, demanding but massively fulfilling artistic training?

How do you get into the best performing arts high schools?

Performing arts high schools require a pre-recorded or in-person audition. Check each school to make sure whether in person or an uploaded video is required. The best way to ace your audition is to practice, prepare and practice some more.

Ivy Tutors has an array of tutors that can help you with this. Our tutors will work with you in picking your monologues as well as the performance of them. We will collaborate with you in finding what might be your best pieces - the pieces that bring out your specific, individual sparkle! And once that is found, we will work diligently with you in bringing your character to life in the most profound way. We are here for you! Your success is our success.

Auditioning can be hard and nerve wracking. It doesn’t have to be. As an actor myself, the one I’ve found that combats those tacky audition nerves is hard work. We are nothing if not the result of our hard work and training. With Ivy Tutors Network, the only way to go is up!


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