Student on floor tying ballet shoe laces
Youth and Adult Dance

Music naturally inspires people to express themselves through dance, which is why dance classes have been a tradition at the Colburn School since our beginning more than 65 years ago.

I really love Colburn because of the community. It’s like a giant family and everybody is super supportive and we all get to do what we love together. Brooke McDaniel, Dance

At Colburn, our dance students participate in specific and rigorous progressive learning programs in ballet, tap, and modern dance that are designed to develop their artistry and technical skill. All students are required to audition for admission. For those invited for admittance, we ask them to attend at a level appropriate for their abilities and age. If you’re interested in creative dance or musical theater, we have classes in those styles, too.

Our faculty ensure that students understand core technique and movement theory, as well as the history and tradition of each style they study. Creative performance is also highly encouraged with most classes offering opportunities to dance on stage in front of peers and the public.

Academic Year August 28, 2023 to June 2, 2024

Welcome to the Trudl Zipper Dance Institute (TZDI) at the Colburn School. Led by Dean Margaret Tracey and Associate Dean Darleen Callaghan, TZDI includes both our Youth Dance and Dance Academy programs. Our mission is to honor and extend the great traditions of ballet, modern, and tap dance. This is accomplished by forming students of all ages as collaborative agents who will take the art of dance forward.


The Early Dance, Children’s Dance, Young Adult Dance and Adult Dance Programs at Colburn are all part of the Trudl Zipper Dance Institute (TZDI), which also includes the Dance Academy, a rigorous ballet training program for young people ages 14–18. Led by Dean Margaret Tracey and Associate Dean Darleen Callaghan, the Trudl Zipper Dance Institute is dedicated to developing the individual gifts, talents and interests of each of its students. 

Please click on a program heading name to see the various class offerings per genre: 

Dance Academy

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. 

Learn More

Meet Our Faculty

Margaret Tracey
Dean of the Trudl Zipper Dance Institute

Tracey continues to dedicate her efforts as a dance educator with a strong commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access to champion change. She has served on panels for MoBBallet’s annual educational symposiums (2019, 2020, and 2022) and has worked with colleagues at Dance USA School Directors Affinity Group to share learning around culturally responsive teaching practices to better support faculty.

Jenifer Ringer
Visiting Artist, Trudl Zipper Dance Institute

One of the most celebrated dancers of her generation, Ms. Ringer has contributed to the field of dance in many ways.

Robyn Gardenhire
Faculty Trudl Zipper Dance Institute

At age 16, Gardenhire became the youngest African-American to be offered a contract with Joffrey II where she performed at City Center and Jacobs Pillow.

Denise Scheerer
Chair, Tap and Musical Theater

In Seattle, Denise Scheerer founded and performed with That’s Jazz, a Seattle-based jazz dance company.