Musical Theatre Performance Ensemble

Choreographer/Directors Sekou McMiller, Luis Salgado, and Karla Puno Garcia
July 29 – August 18 | At the Pillow

Artist Faculty | + Festival Artists | Read about the Artist Faculty

For 24 early-career, professional or advanced-level musical theatre performers; all dancers must be at least age 16 on arrival day; no exceptions possible.

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The School at Jacob’s Pillow offers an unparalleled opportunity for musical theatre performers to form artistic connections with Choreographer/Directors who are workshopping and developing dance-driven material for musicals in development. The Musical Theatre Performance Ensemble lives and works alongside the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival international artist community. This immersion experience leads to artistic growth, insights into multiple theatrical storytelling approaches, and a vision into the possibilities that exist within a performing career. 

Each week, the Ensemble performs as part of the Festival before in-person and livestream audiences. Rigorous artistic practices, from training sessions to independent study/rehearsal to daily rehearsals, build the skills and connections necessary to be cast in coveted roles, and regarded as an exceptional performer-collaborator with a distinct artistic voice in the field.

Daily dance technique, improvisation, vocal training, or acting-based classes will start each morning. Afternoons, plus some evenings, are dedicated to creative development rehearsals with the choreographer/directors and are where performers receive in-depth coaching into the multiple roles they expect of performers from the studio to the stage. 

Three distinguished Choreographer/Directors will be exploring and developing material for musicals they are developing during the program. This includes Sekou McMiller’s work to illuminate New York City’s Palladium nightclub history, Luis Salgado’s revelations about the work and life of Brazilian composer and body percussionist Fernando Barba, and Karla Puno Garcia’s work on a new dance-driven theatre piece in creative development.

Weekly workshops by Festival Artists and the Ensemble’s Artist Faculty enable dancers to embody and investigate the movement languages and choreographic approaches of diverse dance makers as well as explore their own creativity. Seminars and discussions with Festival Artists, Artist Faculty, and School Alumni offer further insights into the expectations, professional standards, and industry practices sought by today’s choreographers and artistic directors.

The Ensemble performs weekly for Pillow audiences to strengthen performance skills and the artistry needed to meaningfully express choreographic intent. The first and second program weeks conclude with an informal Pause-in-the-Process sharing in the Perles Family Studio. On the final program day, the Ensemble appears on the iconic outdoor stage to share the range of works entrusted to them as performers. The in-person and livestream Pillow audience includes School-invited artistic directors of companies the Ensemble performers aspire to work with in the future.

All Performance Ensemble dancers:

  • Attend Festival performances, scholar-led talks, and other events after the studio day. These take place at the Pillow’s two stage venues and across the Jacob’s Pillow grounds.
  • Participate in career-building seminars and discussions led by Festival Artists, Artist Faculty, and Pillow Alumni. Career topics focus on wellness practices, contract negotiations and decisions, dance citizenship, and strategies to achieve the momentum needed to confidently and resiliently forge one’s own path in the field.
  • View Pillow-available-only digital dance works connected to Artist Faculty, Festival Artists, or Ensemble curriculum.
  • Complete program assignments which may include improvisational studies, collaborative movement invention, journal writing, and research in the Jacob’s Pillow Archives, where dancers also draw from a wealth of material that aligns with their personal dance interests.
  • Build a Career Network from the seamless daily interactions at the Festival with peers, staff, Artist Faculty, artistic directors, company members, dance supporters, audiences, community members, and visitors. Dancers depart the program as members of the global and influential Jacob’s Pillow Alumni Network, with friendships that can last a lifetime.

The Jacob’s Pillow School Experience is a day-to-evening conservatory style curriculum, designed to instill the stamina, perseverance, entrepreneurial, and collaborative voracity required to live and work as a creative dance artist. 

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2024 Musical Theatre Application Deadlines & Notifications

Jan 29 at 11:59pm EST | Priority Deadline | $45 processing fee
Feb 26 at 11:59pm EST | Regular Deadline | $50 processing fee
After Feb 26 at 11:59pm EST | Rolling Basis* | $55 processing fee

Acceptd offers financial assistance to applicants who meet Application Fee Waiver requirements. Application Fee Waivers are subject to approval by the Acceptd Support team and are granted based on proper documentation, when provided in advance of an application submission. Contact Acceptd Support when you set up your portal.

*Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis by Program Directors and School staff; with admittance status sent by email on a rolling basis if spaces are available.

Want free streaming access to a full-length performance from the 2023 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival?
Submit your application by the priority deadline, and you’ll receive free access to stream the Martha Graham Dance Company‘s 2023 performance on Jacob’s Pillow On Demand from January 8 through February 4, 2024.

  • Clicking BEGIN YOUR APPLICATION takes you to Acceptd, our application portal where you will upload materials described below.
  • Review the Application Guidelines located there in order to submit a complete and competitive application.
  • Before submitting, review your work carefully, as only complete applications are considered for acceptance. Scholarship applications, if applicable, must be submitted with you program application. For more information, see below.
  • If you need any assistance, contact school@jacobspillow.org.

Required Program Application Materials to Upload

1. Audition Video

Footage must be of clear viewing quality and preferably shot within SIX months, or as recent as possible, prior to submission. Videos shot outside of a studio, perhaps in a home, garage, or other setting are fine. Media-enhanced, highly edited, or promotional type videos are not reviewed. Adjudicators prefer one concise video with a table of contents; multiple videos will be viewed if contents are properly identified. Use one of the following file types to successfully upload your video(s): MP4, M4V, AVI, FLV, MOV, WMV, MPG, MPEG, M2V, MKV, and WEBM.

  • Verbal self-introduction, 1 minute maximum
    • Your name and current affiliation
    • Why this program is important for you this year
    • What you are showing on your reel
  • Technique sampler, 8 minute maximum. Individualize to your strengths and training; show technique in the foundational genre(s) you train in.
    • Center floor and across-the-floor combinations should include a demonstration of proficiency in the dancer’s techniques such as isolations, travel steps, grooves, footwork, technical tap work, extensions, balances, turns, jumps, and leaps. If you use heels or other footwear in your preferred genre(s), include work in this footwear.
    • Think of this portion of your video as a sample of foundational elements you are most trained in; demonstrate your competence in the various skills needed to execute these genres.
    • Sing 16 bars of two songs, from either standard or contemporary musical theatre works, using only the microphone on video camera.
    • Monologue or spoken word of your choice (1 min)
  • Performance sampler, 8 minute maximum
    • In-studio footage is preferred over performance footage
    • Provide a table of contents, identifying names of works and choreographers for 2-3 variations, improvisations, and/or repertory excerpts
    • In group footage, please identify how viewers will know which dancer to observe
    • Excerpts should demonstrate a range of dynamics, levels, tempos, and styles
    • 30-sec freestyle movement, and include a “speciality” move or dance if applicable, show off your strengths as a dancer: street or popular dance styles, body percussion, mime, fire twirling, Cyr wheel, jump rope, etc.
2. Written Statement, in 500 words or less, please share:
  • Influences on your current dance work and artistic goals 
  • Career aspirations and experiences desired to reach them
  • How you envision this program impacting your vision of yourself as an artist
3. Résumé/C.V.
4. Photos
  • Headshot (required)
  • Dance Shot (optional)
5. If 17 or younger, a Letter of Recommendation is required
  • You will be asked to list the name, title, phone, and email of a dance teacher or artist who has agreed to write a Letter of Recommendation. On receipt of an email, he/she/they should be prepared to address the following:
    • Technical and performance artistry
    • Stamina to participate in rigorous, professional level classes, rehearsals, performances before the public, and evening responsibilities
    • Ability to interact, and live, responsibly as a professional in a diverse artist community

APPLY NOW
Clicking APPLY NOW takes you to the Acceptd website, our application portal.

  • Read Program Fees & Scholarships for program costs and all scholarship opportunities.
    • The Scholarship Application is found within the Program Application.
    • If you are a dependent, all financial information provided must be for your parent/guardian(s).
    • U.S. and international dancers are eligible for scholarship awards.
    • If you need any assistance, contact school@jacobspillow.org.
  • Read Participation Requirements & Policies for important eligibility details.

BEGIN YOUR APPLICATION
Clicking APPLY NOW takes you to the Acceptd website, our application portal.