Tap Dance Performance Ensemble
Program Directors Dormeshia, Michelle Dorrance, & Derick Grant
July 31 – August 20 | At the Pillow
Artist Faculty Dominique Kelley, Sam Weber and to be announced| Festival Artists lead additional classes and talks | Read about the Artist Faculty
For 24 early-career, company-ready, or advanced-level tap dancers; minimum age 16. Dancers will need to meet the Jacob’s Pillow COVID-compliant protocols to be announced in 2023, which will be subject to change pending new developments.
Tap artists Dormeshia, Michelle Dorrance, and Derick Grant create experiences that honor tradition, pay homage to the pioneers, and celebrate the possibilities of now. Rigorous studio work, performing weekly, seeing and discussing classic tap 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.
Studio days feature daily warm-ups for technical skill building, opportunities to collaborate, improv, and develop storytelling and character development material, with emphasis on musicality and working with musicians. Creative development rehearsals include in-depth coaching and mentoring. Workshops with Festival Artists occur weekly and include a discussion session with the artists.
Weekly performances enable dancers to strengthen the artistry needed to meaningfully express choreographic intent. The first and second program weeks conclude with informal Pause-in-the-Process showings in the Perles Family Studio and shared on Instagram Live. The third program week concludes with dancers appearing on the iconic outdoor stage before a live, and live-streamed, Pillow audience on Saturday, August 19.
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 the 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 occur on two stages and across the Jacob’s Pillow grounds.
- Building a Career Network 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 Tap Dance Application Deadlines & Notifications
Participation Requirements & Policies
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 fee waiver requirements. 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 your program application. For more information, see below.
- If you need any assistance, contact firstname.lastname@example.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. 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, 6 minute maximum
- Drills that move through toe/heel rudiments, flaps, shuffles, time steps, cramp rolls, paddle and rolls and other close floor work, pull backs, wings, etc. All in time, all acapella.
- 8 bars each of different grooves/feels/pockets (including a swing feel, a double-time swing feel, a straight feel, a funk feel, a 3/4, a 6/8, and 2-3 examples of any traditional material known). All in time, all acapella.
- 1-2 minutes of improvisation. This can be acapella or with music. If music is used, please make sure the volumes of the music and the taps are balanced.
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
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
Participation Requirements and Policies
- 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 email@example.com.
- Read Participation Requirements & Policies for important eligibility details.
The School at Jacob’s Pillow is committed to awarding Jacob’s Pillow Scholarship Awards to accepted dancers with demonstrated financial need to make their attendance possible. Scholarship Applications are within Program Applications and must be submitted at the same time. Learn more here.
Michelle Dorrance is a New York City based performer, choreographer, teacher, and the Artistic Director of Dorrance Dance. Mentored by Gene Medler (North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble), she was lucky to study under many of the last master hoofers.
Dormeshia is a two-time Bessie Award winner (as a performer and choreographer), a Princess Grace Award winner, and an Astaire Award winner for Best Female Performer in Broadway’s After Midnight. Dormeshia was awarded the 2021 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award.
Derick K. Grant is a native of Boston, MA where he began his training at the Roxbury Center for the Performing Arts. He also studied the “hoofin” style from master tap dancer, Dianne Walker. Derick was an original Broadway company member and Dance Captain of Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk. He is a Princess Grace Award winner, and also received the Helen Hayes Award in Washington D.C. His choreography has been featured on stages worldwide.
Meet Sterling Harris, Tap Program alum & 2021 Lorna Strassler Award recipient, currently a dancer with M.A.A.D. Rhythms:
Get to know Sterling with our interview on the Pillow Blog.
2023 Programs | At the Pillow
The Dunham Legacy Revisited
Choreography Fellows Program
2023 Artist Faculty
The School Experience
Alumni of The School
Perles Family Studio
2023 Workshops & Intensives | Around the Country
Jacob’s Pillow 360
If you have questions or need additional information, we are happy to help. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Explore our online Archive resource, Dance Interactive, to experience an invaluable tool able to support your growth as an artist.