Contemporary Ballet Performance Ensemble

Program Director Annabelle Lopez Ochoa

June 19 – July 2 | At the Pillow

Choreographers Andrew McNicol and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa| Artist Faculty Maurice Causey, Julia Erickson, and Stephen Mills | Festival Artist lead additional classes and talks | Read about the Artist Faculty

For 22 early-career, company-ready, or advanced-level ballet dancers; minimum age 16. Dancers need to meet the Jacob’s Pillow COVID-compliant protocols to be announced in 2023, which will be subject to change pending new developments. 


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

The 2023 Contemporary Ballet Performance Ensemble will premiere ballets created on them by choreographers Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and Andrew McNicol before live and livestreamed Festival audiences. Rigorous studio work, performing weekly, seeing and discussing a range of dance works, being a Festival participant, and living and working onsite as a dance artist collectively builds the skills and connections necessary to become an exceptional performer-collaborator in the field, with a distinct artistic voice.

Performance Ensemble Sample Schedule

Studio days begin with ballet technique classes led by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Maurice Causey, Julia Erickson, or Stephen Mills. Next up are artist-led workshops to embody and investigate a choreographer’s specific creative development approaches, including Forsythe improvisational technologies. A discussion session with the artists follows the workshops once or twice a week. Afternoons are spent in new work creation rehearsals, where dancers receive in-depth coaching in the multiple roles choreographers expect of them from studio to stage.

Weekly performances on Pillow stages strengthen performance skills and the artistry needed to meaningfully express choreographic intent. Post-performance, dancers articulate the impact of living and working as an artist at Jacob’s Pillow with audience members, funders, or social media fans. Dancers premiere Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s new ballet on Saturday, June 24th, for the Festival Season Opening Gala. On Saturday, July 1st, dancers appear on the iconic outdoor stage in works created on them before a live and live-streamed Pillow audience, including invited artistic directors of companies the dancers hope to work with in the future.

In addition, expect to participate in:

  • Career-building seminars and discussions led by Festival Artists, Artist Faculty, and Pillow Alumni that focus on dance citizenship and achieving the momentum needed to confidently and resiliently forge ahead in the field.
  • Assignments connected to choreographic processes that include improvisation, collaborative movement invention, or research in the Jacob’s Pillow Archives, where time to pursue personal dance interests also occurs.
  • Viewing Dance Works curated from the Jacob’s Pillow Archives that are available pre-arrival and/or assigned for discussion.
  • Attendance at Festival performances, scholar-led talks, and other events that occur on two stages and across the Jacob’s Pillow grounds.
  • Building a Career Network that evolves seamlessly from interactions with peers, staff, artist faculty, artistic directors, company members, dance supporters, audiences, community members, and visitors.

The Jacob’s Pillow School Experience is a day-to-evening conservatory style curriculum designed to instill the stamina, perseverance, entrepreneurial, collaborative, and creative voracity required to live and work as a dance artist. As dancers work alongside the Festival’s international artist community they discover artistic growth, multiple artistic points of view, and a vision of the possibilities that exist in dance. On departure as Jacob’s Pillow Alumni, an influential global alumni network helps to advance your work in dance, as well as adds friendships that can last a lifetime.


Open the sections below for materials needed for a complete application.

2023 Contemporary Ballet Application Deadlines & Notifications

Jan 23 at 12am/midnight EST | Priority Deadline | $40 processing fee
Feb 27 at 12am/midnight EST | Regular Deadline | $45 processing fee
After Feb 27 at 12am/midnight EST | Rolling Basis* | $50 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.

*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 performance from Festival 2022? Submit your application by the priority deadline, and you’ll receive free access to stream New Zealand-based Black Grace‘s 2022 performance on Jacob’s Pillow On Demand from February 6 through March 19, 2023.

  • 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


Required Program Application Materials to Upload

1. Audition Video

Footage must be of clear viewing quality and preferably shot within three months, or as recent as possible, prior to submission. 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
    • Anything you wish to share about your footage: title/choreographer(s) of performance footage, why footage date not as preferred, etc. Remember, we are looking at who you are as a dancer, not where you are dancing.
  • Technique sampler, 5 minute maximum. Women must be in pointe shoes
    • Center floor: Tendus, adagio, pirouettes, 1 petit allegro with batterie, 1 grand allegro, tour en l’air for men
    • Across-the-floor: include a waltz, pirouettes, jumps, and leaps
    • Required: Adagio and a petit and grand allegro; Men include tour en l’air
  • Performance sampler, 6 minute maximum
    • In-studio footage is preferred over performance footage
    • If performance or group footage, identify who is to be viewed
    • Identify names of works and choreographers for
      • 1 classical variation or repertory excerpt
      • 1 contemporary ballet improvisation or variation
    • Excerpts should demonstrate a range of dynamics, levels, tempos, and styles
2. Written Statement 500 words or less
  • 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
  • Classical position of your choice in leotard, women should be on pointe
  • Headshot
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


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

  • Read Program Fees & Scholarships for program fees 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 scholarships.
    • If you need any assistance, contact
  • Read Participation Requirements & Policies for important eligibility details.


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