Career & College

IB Guidance

IBA’s Guidance Program seeks to fill a need for official documentation, provide much-needed counseling and information to supplement our students’ academic and career goals, and provide community support for parents and students to enhance IBA’s high-caliber training.

What is the Career & College Guidance Program?

  • Have you felt lost or uninformed about the options to pursue an artistic career in a professional company or college?

  • Have you wondered if you are on the right academic path in high school to adequately support your artistic goals?

  • Would you like to be able to earn official credit for your hard work and many hours in the studio?​

  • Do you feel you need guidance wading through new waters in regards to Summer Intensive auditions, College programs, or simply just balancing your dance commitments with life and school?

  • Are you a parent who is wondering how to support your dancer, but feel uninformed yourself?

The IBA Career & College Guidance Program may be just what you need!

Program Cost: $50 per year for 2019-2020; Free for Pre-Professional students.


Guidance Program Members (grades 8-12) receive the following benefits:

  • Individual consultations for students and/or parents with a guidance counselor experienced in counseling students in the fine arts, who can help with course selection in preparation for a dance career or college degree in dance.  Appointments are available upon request. Please email
  • Official transcript of eligible dance and physical ed. courses are taken at IBA available upon request.
  • Letter grades for fine arts credits earned based on feedback from IBA faculty.
  • Help with learning about college dance programs in South Carolina and throughout the US.
  • Frequent information updates regarding auditions, scholarship opportunities, and ways to get the most from your dance training.
  • Information and updates regarding summer programs, master classes, and Youth America Grand Prix participation. 
  • Help with dance resumes and college applications upon request 
  • Guidance on how to be a responsible and determined dancer.
  • Recognition of special achievements.  
  • Students also have the opportunity to earn membership in the National Honor Society for Dance Arts, sponsored by the National Dance Education Organization. (An additional fee may be charged to defray the cost of annual dues, certificates, pins, and tassels.)

Meet the Guidance Program Director: Mrs. Emily Paluszak, M.Ed.


Emily has over 25 years of teaching experience and has worked in a variety of school settings, including private and public schools, independent-study schools, and homeschool co-ops.  She received a Master of Education degree from Converse College and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration/ Accounting from the University of South Carolina in Columbia. She is the owner of Seat of Wisdom Educational Services, which, since 2005, has contracted with an international, accredited, classical independent study school with over 5,000 students in grades K-12 in 50 states and six continents, serving as a guidance counselor, middle and high school teacher, and trainer/ supervisor of faculty. Some of her school clients have been offered contracts with professional ballet companies, including Nashville Ballet and North Pointe Ballet (Cleveland), and others have been accepted to renown summer intensives such as Houston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Bolshoi (NYC), Ellison Ballet,  Joffrey Chicago, Ballet West, and ABT, as well as to college dance programs including Texas Christian University, University of Utah, and University of Alabama. One of her former students placed in the Top 12 at the YAGP finals in NYC in 2018 and several now teach ballet and other forms of dance. Emily has 21 years of experience homeschooling her six children, three of whom now have careers in the arts, and one is a freshman vocal performance major at Furman University. Her son, Gabriel, is a professional dancer with International Ballet and ballet instructor with IBA, and her daughter, Emma, is a dancer with IB’s Senior Company. Emily founded the IBA Career & College Guidance Program in 2014, and she runs IBA and IB’s social media accounts.

Disclaimer: The IBA Career & College Guidance Program is a service we are offering our students to help them in their dance-related pursuits.  However, neither IBA nor Emily Paluszak is responsible for any result from applications, auditions, or interviews, and participation in this program implies no guarantee whatsoever of acceptance to any college, dance program, or company, nor do we make any promise of any outcome whatsoever.  College and dance schools and companies change their requirements frequently, and we cannot possibly be aware of all of these changes. Students and their parents are ultimately responsible for researching college and dance program admission requirements, as well audition and scholarship requirements.  The student and parent must agree that the student will attend all scheduled meetings and individual consultations or pay a missed appointment fee. (See application.) Program fees do not cover extra services such as typing resumes, travel to performances, colleges or auditions, or guidance counseling beyond the basic scope of the program.  Students must be enrolled in at least one ballet class (Levels II-V or adult), and their IBA financial account must be current in order to be eligible for the program. Annual dues for NHSDA not included. All fees are nonrefundable.​​

What is NHSDA?


The National Honor Society for Dance Arts is a program of the National Dance Education Organization, created to recognize outstanding artistic merit, leadership, and academic achievement in students studying dance in public and private schools in

K-12 education, dance studios, cultural/community centers, performing arts organizations, and post-secondary education.

The NHSDA offers three levels of induction: The Junior Program for grades 6-8, The Secondary Program for grades 9-12, and The Collegiate Program for students in college or university dance programs.

International Ballet Academy maintains two chapters of the National Honor Society for Dance Arts (NHSDA), a Secondary Chapter for high school students and a Junior Chapter for students in grades 6-8. Inductions of new students into the chapters occur annually at the IBA End-of-the-Year Demonstration in May at the Peace Center’s Gunter Theatre.
Additionally, current members who keep up their NHSDA membership by earning a minimum number of points each year are recognized at the Demonstration.

Chapter Sponsor


The IBA Chapter Sponsor is Emily Paluszak, Director of Career & College Guidance. Contact Emily at

NHSDA Officers for 2019-2020

President: Gabrielle Brown

Vice President: Madalin Beam

Secretary: McKaela Rowland

Treasurer: Joanna Henn

Junior Chapter Representatives: Sophia Brown, Emma Paluszak

Qualifications for NHSDA Membership


Students earn membership by accumulating points awarded for their courses, activities, volunteer experiences, awards, performances, and attendance at performances related to dance.  Students must have a 3.0 cumulative GPA (or B average for middle school students), pay annual dues ($20 per year for students not in IBA’s Pre-Professional Program; Pre-Professional students receive a 50% discount.), perform volunteer service for the chapter, and be of good character.

(Students who have been expelled from a dance institution are not eligible for NHSDA membership.)


Beginning in 2017-2018, all inductees and current members must annually log at least 4 hours of dance-related volunteer service for the IBA Chapter. The chapter sponsor can help you find service hours if needed.


  • Inductees receive an honor pin and a certificate of achievement from the national NHSDA.
  • Members earning 10 or more annual points receive a certificate of achievement from the IBA Chapter. 
  • Graduating seniors receive a blue & white honor cord to wear with their cap & gowns at their graduation ceremonies. 
  • All NHSDA members & inductees are recognized at the IBA End-of-Year Demonstration and are listed in the program.
  • NHSDA members may list NHSDA membership on their college & scholarship applications and dance resumes.


Applications for NHSDA Membership for 2019-2020 are due by March 15. (March 1 for Pre-Professional Students)

(Points to be earned after March 15 but before the IBA Demonstration may be marked “pending.”)

Dues must be paid to the IBA Office by April 15. (Make checks payable to IBA.)

(Only inductees and members pay dues. No dues are required to carry-over points. )

Carryover points for future membership (earned between June 1, 2019, and May 31, 2020) are due June 20, 2020.

Points not carried over will expire after this date.  

(Please note that 8th graders may only carry over 5 points per year of Junior Chapter membership to 9th grade to earn Secondary Chapter membership.)

Disclaimer: Since NHSDA requires its members to be of “good character,” IBA reserves the right to reject any membership application if the chapter sponsor, along with the academy directors, determines that the student is not worthy of the designation of “honor student.”  An example of this might include a student who is caught using drugs, viewing pornography, or bullying or harassing a fellow student on IBA property; or a student who is convicted of a felony offense in a court of law. Furthermore, the chapter sponsor may require verification of points submitted on the application, and she makes the final determination of the value of points awarded. IBA and the Chapter Sponsor do NOT keep points records once the student has been inducted, except a record of the number of points to carry over into the preceding year.  Applications and paperwork used to determine eligibility for membership are not official documents and are destroyed once the student has been inducted. Students should not use NHSDA as a way to personally document achievements. Students are encouraged to maintain dance portfolios and resumes for documenting dance achievements. There may be additional policies regarding the IBA NHSDA chapters that are not listed here, and NHSDA national or chapter rules and requirements are subject to change at any time.

Non-Preprofessional students, please email Emily Paluszak at to request a 2019-2020 application. The application will be made available on February 1, 2020.

Preprofessional students (IB company members) will have their applications automatically emailed to them in February 2020.



Become Part of the Circle

Support the Ballet