Cali Hollister, 2020 Lorna Strassler Awardee; photo Sargent Images
Cali Hollister, 2020 Lorna Strassler Awardee; photo Sargent Images

About the Award

Each spring, dancers from all across the United States and abroad apply to study at The School at Jacob’s Pillow. Only one will earn the Lorna Strassler Award for Student Excellence.

Founded in 2004 by former Jacob’s Pillow Trustee, Lorna Strassler, and her husband, this prize provides a full scholarship and a $2,500 cash prize. Lorna Strassler Award recipients are selected based on performance skill excellence, a demonstrated unwavering dedication to the arts, and vision of their role in dance.

About the 2020 Recipient

Lorna Strassler Awardee Cali Hollister
Cali Hollister; photo Sargent Images

Cali Hollister is a native of Springfield, Virginia and began dancing at the age of two. She graduated from Thomas A. Edison High School in 2018 and will be entering her third year at The Juilliard School in the fall. She has performed the works of Jamar Roberts, Marcus Jarrell Willis, Paul Taylor, Michelle Dorrance, and Carmen Rosezstraten. Well versed in both modern and contemporary dance, she has had the opportunity to train with Ohad Naharin, Terese Capucilli, Risa Steinberg, Bobbi Jene Smith, and Alicia Graf Mack. She has been accepted to summer programs including Joffrey Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance, Alonzo King LINES, Arts Umbrella and Orsolina 28. Hollister has learned the repertoire of Tricia Brown, Crystal Pite, Nacho Duato, Robyn Mineko Williams, Florian Lochner, Sharon Eyal, and Ohad Naharin. She participated in the Jacob’s Pillow Contemporary Program online this summer, where she was chosen as The Lorna Strassler Award recipient for Student Excellence at Jacob’s Pillow.


Past Recipients Include:

  • 2019 Adriana Ogle (Tap) Subject:Matter 
  • 2018 Ariel Triunfo (Musical Theatre Dance) Mercury Theater, freelance choreographer and performer
  • 2017 Madison Embrey (Musical Theatre Dance) freelance performer, SAG-AFTRA member
  • 2016 Eoin Robinson (Ballet & Contemporary) Staatsballett Berlin
  • 2015 Therese Davis (Ballet) Pennsylvania Ballet
  • 2014 Amber Pickens (Contemporary) Kickback & Chat with Amber Pickens talk show, Art Belongs to the People founder, and ensemble performer for Muny’s The Wiz and Savion Glover’s Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope
  • 2013 Samantha Barriento (Contemporary) dance teacher, freelance performer
  • 2012 Theresa J. Murray (Jazz/Musical Theatre) Actor’s Equity Association Member, American Guild of Variety Artists Member, Disneyland Resort performer, Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ Oklahoma! performer, and West Coast-based freelance dancer, actress, and singer
  • 2011 Craig Black (Contemporary) Hubbard Street Dance Chicago
  • 2010 Calvin Royal III (Ballet) American Ballet Theatre, soloist
  • 2009 I-Fen Lin (Contemporary) Taipei National University of the Arts faculty member, and PhD candidate in Dance, and teacher at the National Performing Arts Center/National Theatre & Concert Hall in Taipei, Taiwan
  • 2008 Lindsey Holmes (Contemporary & Jazz) The Lion King
  • 2007 Christi Shannon Kline (Jazz/Musical Theatre) author, poet
  • 2006 Min Li (Contemporary) Guest dance teacher, costume designer 
  • 2005 Avichai Scher (Ballet) Freelance journalist for Dance Magazine, The New York Times, HuffPost, and NBC News; Nonprofit Finance Fund
  • 2004 Winston Dynamite Brown (Contemporary) Camille A. Brown & Dancers and TheDynamitExperience founder