Apply to the Dance Academy

smiling students
The Dance Academy is part of the Trudl Zipper Dance Institute, which also includes Youth Dance programs. Led by Dean Silas Farley, the Dance Academy is a rigorous pre-professional ballet training program that both honors the great traditions of classical ballet and embraces the new and contemporary.

Students learn masterworks and deepen their understanding of the great tradition of this art form. They also collaborate with the choreographers of today and develop their own creative voices. Our holistic artistic education shapes dancers as thinkers, artists, and performers as they experience life in the cultural heart of a global city.

The small class size allows for each dancer to develop in their own way, through mentorship and personalized guidance that nurtures their unique gifts and prepares them to join any dance company around the world.

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. Our curriculum is both ballet-focused and includes other dance forms to shape our dancers as well-rounded artists.


Auditions for the 2021–22 academic year will be held on Saturday, August 7. Auditions will be both virtual and in-person at the Colburn School.

Prospective students must preregister and submit a video audition to be considered and invited to participate in our virtual Dance Academy auditions.

Audition Process

Video Audition

Video auditions are accepted up until but no later than Wednesday, August 4 for the August 7 audition. 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:

  • Barre – the following combinations to one side:
  • Plié
  • Tendu
  • Rond de Jambe
  • Adagio
  • Grand Battement
  • Center floor work

Women must include the following, performed en pointe:

  • Adagio
  • Échappé
  • Relevé 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)
  • À la seconde turns

Video Audition Dress Code

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

In-Person Audition

At the in-person 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 petit allegro and grand allegro. Single leg or repetitive turns such as piqué turns on diagonal, fouetté 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 petit allegro, strong and confident grand allegro with double tour en l’air, and à la seconde turns. (Class will be modified for online virtual teaching.)


A year’s tuition is $6,800 plus a $300 activity fee to attend cultivation events which include performances and museum visits. 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.