Arts Academy Boarding High School: Dance Major

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The Academy Dance Division offers pre-professional and conservatory-based dance training. Academy dance students are taught to be proficient, confident and open-minded individuals who graduate the program prepared for the inevitable challenges of professional careers and higher education in dance.

The Dance Division offers a rigorous dance curriculum for students wishing to pursue careers and higher education in dance.  Highly experienced resident faculty are complemented by nationally renowned guest teachers and choreographers in ballet, modern, jazz, and other idioms.  Five hours per day of class work and rehearsals lead to three fully produced dance productions, two "in studio" performances, and interdepartmental concerts.  At least once a year, the Dance Ensemble performs with the Interlochen Orchestra in a full-length classical ballet. Audition opportunities are provided on campus for college/university programs, professional companies, and summer schools.  The Dance Division works closely with Academic Division Chairs and support services to provide for the educational, emotional, and physical demands placed on young dancers. Specialists in nutritional counseling, dance medicine, and related arts fields work closely with dance faculty.

Core Curriculum 






Fall & Spring

9 - PG

Classical Technique


Fall & Spring

9 - PG



Fall & Spring

9 - PG

Male Dance Technique


Fall & Spring

9 - PG

Pas des Deux


Fall & Spring

9 - PG

Contemporary and Other Genres


Fall & Spring

9 - PG

Dance Repertoire


Fall & Spring

9 - PG

Special Topics in Dance

For information on graduation requirements and academic curriculum, please visit Academy Academics.

How to Apply

Students may begin at Interlochen Arts Academy in ninth grade, or transfer in as a sophomore, junior, senior, or post-graduate.

Though not required, a campus visit is recommended. You can tour the campus, visit classes, and possibly take in a performance. You can meet and talk with students who are living the Academy experience.

Our admission representatives are here to help you in any way they can. If you wish to talk with someone about Academy programs, the application process, a campus visit, auditions, or other topics, they will be happy to work with you. Simply call 800.681.5912 or 231.276.7472 or email

Course Descriptions

All course offerings and schedules subject to change pending programmatic needs.

Ballet Technique:
The Ballet curriculum is designed to help dancers create a strong pedagogical foundation through repetitive movement, of ballet vocabulary, discussion, and exploration. With focus on discipline and technical development, dancers work in a nurturing, pre-professional atmosphere to build confidence and rigor as they learn to coordinate classical movements in tandem with music. Ballet technique classes are intended to provide a foundational approach to movement for all majors with varying levels of intensity based on the students experience and skill-sets as determined by the dance faculty.

The Pointe curriculum is designed to build the strength and technique necessary to properly execute both ballet and neo-classical vocabulary of dance on pointe. Focusing on how to stand on pointe correctly, use of the legs and feet and an appropriate and challenging vocabulary, students gain strength, technique and the cohesive fluidity required for every dance style.

Technique for the Male Dancer:
Technique for the Male Dance is designed as a supplement to ballet technique and focuses on specific information for the male dancer: virtuoso technique, jumps, turns, and building the strength necessary to properly execute vocabulary of today. Strengthening exercises are given and repetition is required. Emphasis is placed on implementation and a disciplined work ethic.

Pas de Deux:
The Pas de Deux curriculum is designed to help dancers learn the art and skill of partnering. Usage of the upper body strength, finding core support, balance and use of weight for coordinated movement quality are addressed. Students acquire partnering technique with the ability to work cohesively for maximum artistic and technical results while also learning repertoire that is pertinent to ongoing performances during the Interlochen Arts Academy season of dance.

The Contemporary curriculum is designed to incorporate movement and vocabulary from both established and relevant resources into a dancer's training and development. Use of weight, space, music and dynamics are addressed in an explorative and disciplined environment. Creativity and discussion are encouraged in a focused and challenging atmosphere.

Whether working in the corps de ballet or as a soloist, dancers are exposed to a variety of styles, choreographers, repertoire and music. The exploration of the process and essence of the art form helps students develop technical skills, artistry and a broader appreciation for all styles of dance as deemed appropriate for the dancer by the dance faculty. Performances offer great opportunities and exposure for students to experience what it is like to be part of major productions while having the possibility to work with guest choreographers and stagers alongside technical and production crew, musicians and costumers.

General Dance for non-dance majors:
General Dance provides a dance overview for students from other arts areas. Students become acquainted with basic technique in ballet, modern, and jazz, as well as anatomical awareness that is pervasive throughout their lives. Gaining movement skills and finding confidence and enjoyment through movement are a focus of this class. No previous dance experience is necessary. Classes are taught by the dance faculty, as well as by the various guests in the dance department. This course may be used for Physical Education credit.

Performance Opportunities

Three fully-produced dance performances are presented each year to the public and surrounding community of Interlochen students, staff and faculty at the Center’s 1000 seat Corson Auditorium. During the holiday season the Dance Division traditionally presents a full-length narrative ballet which features live accompaniment by the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra. The Winter and Spring dance performances feature original choreography and restaged works by faculty and guest artists which are complemented by professional costuming and production design, often also featuring live accompaniment for select repertoire.

Academy Dance Major image gallery


Rachel James

Instructor of Dance and Body Conditioning, Interlochen Arts Academy and Interlochen Arts Camp

M.A., Teaching Artistry in Dance, Wayne State University; B.A., Dance, Mercyhurst University; Teaching Diploma, National Ballet School of Canada; STOTT certified Pilates instructor, International Society of Dance, Canadian Dance Teachers Association

Katie Dorn

Instructor of Contemporary Dance, Interlochen Arts Academy

M.F.A., dance, Hollins University/American Dance Festival; B.F.A./H.S. Diploma, contemporary dance, University of North Carolina School of the Arts

Jurijs Safonovs

Instructor of Ballet, Interlochen Arts Academy

International Teacher’s Seminar at Vaganova Ballet Academy, Sankt Petersburg, Russia; Riga Choreography School, Riga, Latvia.