Apply to the Dance Academy

smiling students
The Dance Academy is part of the Trudl Zipper Dance Institute, which also includes Youth and Adult Dance programs. Led by Dean Jenifer Ringer and Associate Dean James Fayette, the Trudl Zipper Dance Institute is dedicated to developing the talent and ambitions of its students.

Prospective Students

Attending the Colburn Dance Academy requires a high level of commitment and passion. We require applicants—between the ages 14 and 19—to have already studied ballet for a minimum of four years. Female dancers should be able to exhibit excellent pointe work; although our curriculum is ballet-based, students should be prepared to explore different dance forms.


The second and final round of auditions for the 2020–21 academic year will be held Sunday, August 16 at 1 pm PDT in our online Virtual Studio.

Due to the conditions caused by the pandemic, this year’s audition will be online and is by invitation only. Prospective students must submit a pre-recorded video no later than August 15 in order to be considered for an invitation to our virtual audition. After we have reviewed the video, you will receive an invitation to attend our online audition. Requirements for your video submission are below.

Please note that the Colburn Dance Academy program for 2020–21 academic year will continue to be conducted online in our Colburn Connected Virtual Studio beginning in the fall and continue online until further notice.

Audition Process

At the audition, Dance Academy artistic staff will give and observe a full ballet technique class. The class is taught in the Balanchine style and will run between 90 minutes and two hours.

Women will take the full class in pointe shoes and are expected to demonstrate strong and articulate pointe work with proper placement throughout the class along with accomplished double pirouettes both en dehors and en dedans as well as clear petite allegro and grand allegro. Single leg or repetitive turns such as pique turns on diagonal, fouettes or arabesque turns may be required. (Class will be modified for online virtual teaching.)

Men are expected to demonstrate strong and correct placement throughout the class along with secure double to triple pirouettes both en dedans and en dehors as well as clear petite allegro, strong and confident grand allegro with double tour en l’air, and a la seconde turns. (Class will be modified for online virtual teaching.)

Video auditions are accepted up until but no later than August 13. Videos should be uploaded to a privacy-enabled video sharing service including YouTube, Vimeo, Dropbox or other similar platforms, and emailed to Videos should include the following content with a preferred limit of 15 minutes in length.

In the event you are unable to provide a video that includes any of the following required class elements, please submit your most recent performance video or any other video content that demonstrates ballet technique.

All students must include the following:

  • Complete barre with one side only (dancer’s preferred side per combination)
  • Center floor work

Women must include the following, performed en pointe:

  • Adagio
  • Echappe
  • Releve in arabesque
  • Pirouettes both en dehors and en dedans
  • Diagonal turning combination
  • Petit allegro
  • Grand allegro

Men must include the following:

  • Adagio
  • Pirouettes both en dehors and en dedans
  • Diagonal turning combination
  • Petit allegro
  • Grand allegro
  • Double tour en l’air (may be part of grand allegro)
  • A la seconde turns

Video Audition Dress Code

  • Women: black leotard, pink or skin tone tights, pointe shoes
  • Men: black tights and white t-shirt


A year’s tuition is $6,800. A limited number of merit scholarships are granted and financial aid is available. Please contact Gavin Kelley at or 213-621-1085 for more information regarding financial aid.


Colburn offers excellent access to academics on-campus through Oak Crest Academy, a third-party private school. The academic program requires a separate and additional tuition, but is not a requirement of the Dance Academy.

However, students must attend an academic school to meet their state-mandated academic education requirements. Dance Academy classes, which are scheduled for the early part of the day, typically interfere with traditional high school hours, so students must consider alternative academic programs if Oak Crest is determined to not be an option.


Contact Gavin Kelley at or 213-621-1085 to inquire about residential availability.