Program Overview

Chautauqua School of Dance provides an unparalleled pre-professional training experience for talented dance students that includes small classes in a nurturing studio environment, extensive performance opportunities, individual coaching and career guidance in a safe and picturesque lakeside community.

Daily ballet technique classes are supplemented with classes in pointe, variations, partnering, character, contemporary, Pilates, Broadway and more. Classes are taught by distinguished world-renowned faculty and guest faculty currently performing with national companies. Students spend ample time in rehearsal learning full-length ballets that are often new works created on them by resident choreographers. A Balanchine ballet is typically staged each summer by Master Teacher and former NYCB prima ballerina Patricia McBride. Individual and small group coaching with Artistic Director Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux allow dancers to focus on areas to improve and excel. 

Assisting students on their chosen career path is another important aspect of the program. Implemented during the 2020 season, Chautauqua Dance invites Artistic Directors of major national ballet companies to visit the program throughout the summer. The directors view students in class and rehearsal, hold audition simulations, host Q&A panels, and meet with dancers about future career opportunities.  

All Amphitheater performances are costumed by a fully staffed costume shop located in the Carnahan-Jackson Studio complex. Often costumes are designed and created specifically for the students when premiering new choreography. 

Chautauqua School of Dance boasts an impressive list of alumni who can be seen on stage in major national and international companies. Curated by Sasha Janes, the annual Alumni All-Star Ballet Gala serves as a celebration of the exceptional talent consistently produced by the school. Artists from top-tier national companies such as NYCB, San Francisco Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and more join forces for an exciting evening of contemporary and classical dance.  In addition to the performance, alumni host discussion panels and serve as School of Dance guest faculty, graciously sharing their knowledge with the next generation of Alumni All-Stars.

Chautauqua Institution provides an amazing location for aspiring dancers to learn and grow in a supportive, arts-centric community. Students are encouraged to attend performances across disciplines and access to all Amphitheater events is included in the program cost. When not honing their craft in studio or on stage, students can spend their free time biking around the grounds, swimming in the lake, eating ice cream with friends on Bestor Plaza, and enjoying the many summer resort activities Chautauqua has to offer.

Performance Schedule TBD

Tuition, Housing, and Student Life

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Chautauqua Apprentice Dancers

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July 25–August 21 

The 2021 Chautauqua Dance Apprentice program will be open to advanced pre-professional dance students ages 15+ (including collegiate level and second company trainees)Class sizes will be kept small with an approximately 9:1 student/teacher ratio in accordance with safety guidelines and sanitary protocols.  

The four-week intensive will focus on preparing the most advanced students to enter the professional dance world and will have a major focus on working with choreographers in rehearsals leading to performances.Students will have the opportunity to perform on stage in at least two Amphitheater performances on Monday evenings.  

On-campus housing is available for students age 18+. We welcome applications from students under the age of 18, however, they will be responsible for securing housing with a parent or guardian.

“Chautauqua is unlike any summer intensive offered; it is truly a unique and eye-opening experience in the pre-professional ballet world. The opportunity to be taught by such world-renowned faculty for seven weeks and perform full-length ballets multiple times throughout the summer exposed me to what life as a professional will be and taught me so much. I came away from the summer with a whole new outlook and appreciation for ballet and improvement that was the result of such a rigorous yet amazing program.”

– Brigitte Kossuth, Wexford Dance Academy, Apprentice 2019 & 2020

“It was amazing to be surrounded by all the talented dancers, musicians, opera singers, painters, sculptors, and actors that filled my summer experience with inspiration and growth. I will forever be grateful to the Chautauqua Dance program for creating an environment that I believe is helping me and so many others reach our potential as performing artists.”

– Christiana Cecere, The Conservatory at Northeast School of Ballet, Festival 2019, Apprentice 2020

Photo: Jeff Cravotta 

Chautauqua Workshop Dancers

July 21–25 (Wednesday–Sunday)

Ages: 12–14
Faculty: Chautauqua Dance Resident Faculty and Guest Alumni Stars
Students will have a minimum of 3 classes per day including technique, pointe, variations, pilates, yoga and more.
Admission by video audition only. A sample video audition can be found here.
Tuition: $550
Registration Fee: $30 (non-refundable)

Young Dancer Workshop and Mini-Intensive Weekend will return in 2022.

"Chautauqua is a beautiful place filled with kind, supportive dancers and legendary faculty all in a quaint community where everyone loves the arts. The teachers care so much about each dancer and will make sure you achieve your potential while having the best summer of your life!"

– Scarlett Starkey, Cincinnati Ballet Academy, Workshop I 2019

"Chautauqua is an amazing place where you can improve all aspects of dance, including your technique and performance skills. I attended Workshop 2 twice and both experiences were unforgettable. Everyone on the faculty care about each student and make sure they have the best experience possible. You are surrounded by amazing dancers and people who support you through the five weeks no matter what. One of the best parts is the end performance because you get to show your family what you have learned and how much you have improved. "

Elizabeth Bilotti, Manhattan Youth Ballet, Workshop II  2018 & 2019