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.
In addition to daily ballet technique classes and performance rehearsal, students will receive training in many other dance disciplines including pointe, variation, character, musical theatre, contemporary, pas de deux, Pilates and more. Classes are taught by a distinguished and diverse roster of world-renowned faculty and guest faculty currently performing with national companies. Students spend a significant portion of their day rehearsing repertoire ballets that are often new works created on them by resident choreographers. Each summer former NYCB prima ballerina and 2014 Kennedy Center Award Honoree Patricia McBride who serves as Chautauqua School of Dance’s Principal repetiteur stages a work by world renowned choreographer George Balanchine, providing insight to the ballet’s history and technique from the perspective of someone who worked closely with him for many years. Former Paris Opera Ballet and NYCB Principal dancer Jean Pierre Bonnefoux, who now serves as the Chautauqua School of Dance’s Principal Resident Coach, will lead small groups in coaching sessions which allow dancers to focus on areas to improve and excel. With guidance from faculty, dancers in the Pre-Professional division have the opportunity to create new works on their fellow dancers and collaborate with students from the Music School during the annual Choreographic Workshop. Wellness Classes will be offered with our Physical Therapist and Carla Körbes, guest faculty. On-site physical therapy is available for each student weekly at no additional cost.
Assisting students on their chosen career path is another important aspect of the program. Chautauqua Dance invites Artistic Directors of major national ballet companies to visit the program throughout the summer. The directors will view our students in class and rehearsal, host Q&A panels, and meet with dancers about future career opportunities.
Several student performances are presented to the Chautauqua community throughout the summer, including an Amphitheater evening with the Music School Festival Orchestra, two Sunday Galas, and in-studio showings. Many Pre-Professional division students have additional performance opportunities with visiting ballet companies. 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 All-Star Ballet Gala serves as a celebration of the exceptional talent consistently produced by the school. Previous galas have included artists from top-tier national and international companies such as NYCB, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, English National 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 All-Stars.
The Chautauqua Dance platform presents a rotating roster of diverse professional dance companies in the Amphitheater during the nine-week summer season, giving students exposure to a wide range of artistic styles both on stage and in the studio in Master Classes with artists from the visiting companies. Companies in residence have included: Stars of American Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Nashville Ballet, Pilobolus, The Washington Ballet, Houston Ballet, and more. Students are required to attend every dance performance as part of the curriculum. 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.
Workshop Division: June 21–29, 2024, 1 week (Ages 11–13)
Festival Division: June 30–August 11, 2024, 6 weeks (Ages 13–16)
Pre-Professional Division: June 21–August 11, 2024, 7 weeks (Ages 16–21)
Workshop Division Mini Intensive: July 20–July 23, 2024, 4 days (Ages 11–14)
Workshop Division Mini Intensive
Chautauqua Schools of Performing and Visual Arts
P.O. Box 1098
1 Ames Ave.
Chautauqua, NY 14722
June 21–August 11, 202
This prestigious program is geared toward advanced dancers either preparing to enter, or having recently entered, the professional dance world. The program has a major focus on individual artistic growth, technical improvement and performance confidence. Some of the dancers training in this program will be asked to perform with visiting professional companies or ballet companies in residence. Dancers will also have the opportunity to choreograph work on their colleagues for an in-studio presentation in collaboration with the Chautauqua School of Music students. Along with the technique training, dancers will be offered individual coaching sessions with Principal Resident Coach Jean Pierre Bonnefoux, an extraordinarily rare opportunity provided at a summer dance program. Additionally, coaching in the George Balanchine style is expertly taught by Patricia McBride both in the form of performance opportunity and variations class. With three performances on the Chautauqua Amphitheater stage, one of which is accompanied by the Music School Festival Orchestra, it is unlike any other summer dance program in the country.
June 30–August 11, 2024
The Festival Division is designed for talented young dancers who are eager to embrace an intense and fulfilling 6-week comprehensive dance program. The program includes ballet, pointe, variations, character, contemporary, Pilates, musical theatre and guest lectures with resident faculty and visiting guest artists. The dancers in this division will perform twice in the world class facilities of the Chautauqua Amphitheater.
June 21–29, 2024
This ballet division for talented young dancers enrolls 20 girls and up to 6 boys for a one-week intensive program designed to introduce the student to the rigors of a complete summer program without the anxiety and burden of being away from home for an extended period. The program includes classes in ballet, pointe, variations, character, contemporary, Pilates and musical theatre with resident faculty and visiting guest artists. This week of intense training will culminate in a studio presentation for family and friends.
“The Chautauqua Festival Program provides an extraordinary range of repertoire taught by outstanding teachers. The program has helped me to better understand what it takes to become a professional; and I saw improvement in my technique over the summer. The program also allows and encourages dancers to connect outside of classes to explore the beautiful grounds which helps to form strong bonds between peers.”
– Riley Smith :: Festival Division 2023
July 20–23, 2024 (non-residential)
In this four-day program, students will have three classes each day with Chautauqua Dance faculty, including ballet, pointe, variations, repertoire, and more. Students also have the opportunity to see the performance of our Pre-Professional Division with the Music School Festival Orchestra in the Amphitheater on Monday evening.
“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