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Summer Study

The Department of Dance offers a range of entry-level technique courses during the University of Washington’s summer terms. Most Department of Dance majors use the summer months to take advantage of dance intensives in the Seattle area or near their hometowns.

Summer Workshops and Festivals

Why a summer program?

  • Summer programs give students an opportunity to be exposed to other artists and classes not offered at the university.
  • There is nothing like sleeping, eating and breathing dance 24 hours a day to push a dancer to a new place.
  • Studying outside the university will teach students different explanations and strategies to achieve the same goals they have been working towards at the UW.
  • Networking! Summer programs are excellent opportunities to connect with choreographers, dancers, musicians, etc. Workshops are often a way to gain access to a company or a way to meet people with whom you would like to work. Often people meet another dancer or a musician they feel a connection with and want to collaborate with. Partnerships can be born!
  • Because, in some cases, they are in really beautiful locations.
  • Because some great festivals happen locally.
  • Because there are also opportunities to learn lighting design, production/stage management, archiving, and more.

How do I go?

Posters will be posted in the hallways of Meany Hall starting in the fall through the spring about national and international workshops and festivals. Pay attention to a few things (when in doubt go to their website!)

  1. The application deadline
  2. Is there an audition and are they coming to a place near by? If not, is there an online audition?
  3. Is there scholarship funding and if so, what is the procedure?

Most workshops offer some sort of partial scholarship. It may be in the form of work/study or it may be actual funding relief. Requirements frequently include letters of recommendation from faculty. Some of the scholarships are in the form of internships with lighting designers, stage managers, archivists, etc.

Apply early! Some festivals are first come, first served. They fill up fast!

Where are these workshops and festivals?

Here are some festivals and workshops to watch for (this is a tiny sample - there are dozens all over the world). Check out their websites for more information:

  • American Dance Festival

    The oldest and most famous festival in the country. Like an appetizer tray of multiple forms of dance and kinds of choreography from all over the world. SIX weeks, concerts almost every night by famous and emerging choreographers/companies, and classes and repertory taught by some of the most renowned, respected, and sometimes controversial (in a good way) artists working today. Duke University in North Carolina.

  • Bates Dance Festival

    Four weeks. Similar to ADF in terms of the level of artists but more intimate and concentrated. Attendees work with one or two choreographers/ teachers intensively among other things. Bates College in Maine.

  • B12 Dance Festival

    This is a newer festival in Berlin. Contemporary dance and performance art. Multiple companies in residence. The 2019 site is not up yet but should be soon.

  • ImPuls Tanz

    This is a fantastic festival in Vienna, Austria. This is a competitive festival and unique in many ways. We have had a few alums and students go and it is a life changer.

  • Jacob's Pillow

    Another old and revered festival with exposure to many forms of dance and amazing choreographers and performances. They also have an archive that is becoming quite famous and offer scholarships for people who want to work in the archives, in exchange for taking classes. Lee, Mass.

  • Springboard Danse Montreal

    Fantastic festival for dancers and emerging choreographers. Some course offerings: improvisation, contemporary technique, Gaga, repertory from major companies and choreographers such as Batsheva Dance Company, Kidd Pivot/ Crystal Pite, William Forsythe, to name a few.

  • Strictly Seattle

    This is one of the best festivals around and in our city, run through Velocity Dance Center. It is three weeks in July and very reasonable.

  • SFDI- Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation

    Again, in Seattle. Wonderful week of classes that are both drop in and full time, concerts and jams all week. Some of the most well-known and respected teachers from all over the globe. It is not just about improvisation.

  • Staibdance Summer Festival

    Jen Salk teaches at this fantastic festival in beautiful Sorrento, Italy. George Staib has a dance company in Atlanta and teaches at Emory University. You will have exposure to many styles of contemporary dance, Gaga and Batsheva repertory with a member of Batsheva Dance Company, Countertechnique, composition repertory, and be on the ocean. Workshop culminates in an outdoor performance.

Companies often offer their own summer intensives so keep an eye out for them. Companies like Doug Varone and Dancers, Mark Morris Dance Group, Miguel Guittierez, Shen Wei, Limon Dance Company (west and east coast workshops), BANDALOOP (Rachael Lincoln is the Assistant Artistic Directory of this company), and many, many more! If you are in love with a kind of movement or have seen a company you want to explore more, check out their site for workshop information.