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Colorado Ballet Summer Intensive 2016


       Audition Schedule     






      Acceptance Packet     




       Young Dancer Workshop      

Tracy Jones by Francisco Estevez

June 13-July 22, 2016

Guest Faculty: Amanda McKerrow, John Gardner, Judy Rice, Daniel Baudendistel and Erica Fischbach

“It’s a pleasure to watch young students train with such focus and determination for their futures. Colorado Ballet Summer Intensive nurtures students beyond the classroom into budding professionals”
– Gil Boggs, Artistic Director of Colorado Ballet

Two, four and six week sessions available (see dates below)
Ages 11-21 on pointe
At Colorado Ballet's home at the Armstrong Center for Dance

1075 Santa Fe Drive, Denver, CO 80204

Under the direction of Valerie Madonia, the Colorado Ballet Academy offers a Summer Intensive program for the serious intermediate dancer through to pre-professional levels. The Academy has a history of transitioning students into the Colorado Ballet Company and into other companies worldwide. With internationally renowned master teachers and our own highly regarded school faculty, our program offers classes designed to provide far reaching improvement for each student. Focus is placed on developing the whole dancer by offering classes according to level in ballet technique, pointe, men’s class, variations, pas de deux, modern, contemporary, character, Pilates, body conditioning as well as lectures on injury prevention, nutrition, Anatomy in Clay ©,  and dance history. * Please note not all class are available for the entire program.
  • Dance in one of eight studios housed in our state-of-the-art studios in the heart of Denver's Art District on Santa Fe.
  • Two, four, and six week sessions are offered to accommodate summer schedules: Two weeks from June 13 to June 25 or June 27 to July 9 ; Four weeks from June 27 to July 22 or June 13 to July 9; Six weeks from June 13 to July 22.  Students wishing to perform at the conclusion of the Program must attend the second four or six week session. Students who are housing with us should arrive the day before their session starts. 
  • Students will be considered for our year-long Pre-professional division as well as the opportunity to join Colorado Ballet’s Studio Company
  • Physical therapy is available to students from the company’s in-house provider.
  • Students must be 11 by the start of the Summer Intensive to audition and must be on pointe by the time of the audition.
  • Admission is by audition only, the Academy gives first preference to students who audition in person.
  • Our highly experienced teaching faculty includes former dancers from American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, and The Joffrey Ballet as well as current Colorado Ballet professionals. We are dedicated to providing superior training to our students in a supportive and encouraging environment.


Students must be on pointe by the time of the audition and be 11 by the time of the start of the intensive. We welcome auditions both in person and via video. Click here to see a complete list of audition dates Audition fees are $30 if paid in advance, $35 if paid at the time of the audition, and $45 if auditioning by video.  Click here to download the registration form.  Please e-mail the completed form to  Video auditions can be submitted at  The video for an individual or class should include the following:

Barre Work one side

  • plies
  • battements tendus
  • rond de jambe a terre
  • grand adagio 
  • battements

Center floor work

  • adagio
  • pirouette combination
  • petit allegro
  • grand allegro

Pointe work

  • echappés
  • pique in arabesque
  • pirouettes en pointe
  • waltz combination

The video should not exceed 15 minutes in length.

* Please wear only leotards (white t-shirt for men), tights and appropriate shoes in the video

Click here for information about the Young Dancer Workshop auditions.


Summer Intensive Students reside on the University of Denver’s beautiful campus. They enjoy the scenic surroundings of Denver while participating in activities including the Denver Art Museum, a Colorado Rockies major league baseball game, a performance at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Denver Botanic Gardens or Denver Zoo. Students are chaperoned at all times by experienced adult counselors familiar with the challenges of being away from home and the rigors of summer dance training.


Once you have been accepted to the Summer Intensive, click here to fill out the acceptance packet.

About Colorado Ballet's Summer Intensive:

Summer Young Dancer Workshop

Click here for information on the Summer Young Dancer Workshop 2016.

Guest Instructors

Amanda McKerrow has enjoyed a career as one of America’s acclaimed ballerinas. She has the honor of being the first American to receive a gold medal at the International Ballet Competition in Moscow in 1981. Since then, she has been the recipient of numerous other awards, among them the Princess Grace Foundation Dance Fellowship and the New York Woman Award for Dance.  

Ms. McKerrow was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and began her ballet training at the Twinbrook School of Ballet in Rockville, Maryland, where she completed the syllabus of the Royal Academy of Dance. She then spent two years at the Metropolitan Academy of Dance where she studied the acclaimed Vaganova syllabus. She then studied at the Washington School of Ballet, under the direction of Mary Day,  where  she danced with the company for two years, touring extensively throughout the United States and Europe. 

Ms. McKerrow joined American Ballet Theatre in 1982 under the direction of Mikhail Baryshnikov. She was appointed Soloist in 1983, and became a Principal Dancer in 1987. Her repertoire included  the leading roles in Cinderella, Giselle, Romeo and Juliet, Manon, La Bayadere, Coppelia, Don Quixote, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, La Sylphide, and The Nutcracker. She has received acclaim for her performances in shorter works by Antony Tudor, George Balanchine, Sir Frederick Ashton, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Jerome Robbins, and Juri Killian. Ms. McKerrow has created roles in ballets by choreographers such as Agnes DeMille, Twyla Tharp, Mark Morris, Clark Tippet, Choo San Goh, and James Kudelka. She has also appeared extensively as a guest artist with ballet companies around the world. 

In 2000, after having worked closely with him during his lifetime, Ms. McKerrow began staging the works of Antony Tudor for the Antony Tudor Ballet Trust. She also stages the ballets of Agnes DeMille and Benjamin Millepied, as well as the full length classics such as, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, and Don Quixote. After retiring from performing in 2006, she devotes the majority of her time to teaching, coaching, and staging ballets for professional companies around the world. Among  them, American Ballet Theatre, Royal New Zealand Ballet and Colorado Ballet. She is married to fellow dancer and repetiteur, John Gardner. 

John Gardner was born in Lafayette, Louisiana, where he began his ballet training with Gwen Ashton. He subsequently trained at the National Academy of Dance in Champaign, Illinois, under the direction of Michael Maule. He received a scholarship to the American Ballet Theatre School summer program in 1977, and was invited to join the second company thereafter.   

In 1978 Mr. Gardner joined the main company of American Ballet Theatre, and was promoted to the rank of Soloist in 1984. Mr. Gardner’s diverse repertoire included many Soloist and Principal roles, represented an extensive range of styles, and afforded him the opportunity to work with many of the master choreographers of the twentieth century, including Antony Tudor, George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Agnes DeMille, Martha Graham, and Twyla Tharp. 

In 1991 Mr. Gardner was invited to dance with Mikhail Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project. He danced with the company for five years, and worked closely with many acclaimed modern dance choreographers, most notably Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor, Mark Morris, Lar Lubovitch, and David Gordan. Mr. Gardner created numerous roles during his time with White Oak Dance Project, and toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, South America, and Australia. He returned to American Ballet Theatre as a Soloist in 1996, and continued to perform with the company  until 2002. 

After retiring from the stage Mr. Gardner began to pursue a career as a teacher and coach. He taught the graded level program at Ballet Academy East in New York City for three years. During this time he also taught at various dance studios around the city, including Broadway Dance, where he had the privilege of working as a substitute teacher for the Master Teacher David Howard upon his request. Mr. Gardner has enjoyed his development as a teacher, coach, ballet master, and choreographer over the years, and has worked extensively at both the professional and student levels. He is a sanctioned repetiteur for the Antony Tudor Ballet Trust, and also stages the ballets of Agnes DeMille and Benjamin Millepied. He has been invited to work in these many capacities for ballet companies and schools around the world, including American Ballet Theatre, Colorado Ballet, Ballet West, Houston Ballet, Royal New Zealand Ballet, and Washington Ballet. Mr. Gardner is married to fellow dancer and repetiteur Amanda McKerrow.

Erica Fischbach enjoyed a 20-year professional ballet career with the American Ballet Theatre and the Pacific Northwest Ballet. She has been the Artistic Director and principal ballet teacher of Southhold Dance Theatre in South Bend, Indiana for the past nine years. Ms. Fischbach is an American Ballet Theatre Curriculum certified teacher as well as a certified Gyrotonic instructor. She is an annual teacher at the Cecchetti Council of America summer program.

Ms. Fischbach began her training in Ballet and Highland Dance with Theresa Bullard’s Kalamazoo Ballet Company at the age of seven. When she was 12, her family moved to Milwaukee, where she studied on scholarship at the Milwaukee Ballet under the direction of Ted Kivett and Basil Thompson, and trained privately with former Israeli Ballet principal Mariana Sachs Laufer. At 15, Ms. Fischbach was awarded a scholarship to attend the North Carolina School of the Arts for three years where she studied primarily with one of Balanchine’s most important muses, Melissa Hayden, as well as former NYCB principal Mimi Paul, ABT’s Fanchon Cordell, and Ballet Russe’s Duncan Noble.

During her first months as a professional dancer, Ms. Fischbach had the privilege of dancing Balanchine ballets as a principal under the direction of Edward Villella. She then moved to Pacific Northwest Ballet where she quickly rose to soloist rank. While there, Ms. Fischbach performed principal roles in many Balanchine ballets as well as in works by the world’s foremost choreographers including Anthony Tudor, Paul Taylor, Lar Lubovitch, Jose Limon, and Lynn Taylor-Corbett.

After nine years with PNB, Ms. Fischbach took two years away from company life and freelanced as a principal guest artist, guest teacher, and taught Pilates and Gyrotonic based classes. In 1996 she was invited to join the American Ballet Theatre under the direction of Kevin McKenzie, where she danced until 2005. There she danced soloist and principal roles in ballets by Balanchine, Mark Morris, Lar Lubovitch, Jiri Kylian, Twyla Tharp, Agnes DeMille, Paul Taylor, and Anthony Tudor. Ms. Fischbach had roles created for her in world premier ballets by Lar Lubovitch, Mark Morris, Twyla Tharp, Paul Taylor, and Kevin McKenzie. She also enjoyed featured roles in the full classical repertoire including Swan Lake, La Bayadere, Romeo and Juliet, Don Quixote, Giselle, Coppelia, Raymonda, and Le Corsaire. On September 8, 2001, Ms. Fischbach was featured as a principal guest artist for Twyla Tharp performing Tharp’s “Sinatra Suite” at the World Trade Center in New York City. Ms. Fischbach has been featured in several Dance in America films, the PNB Nutcracker, and Center Stage.

During Ms. Fischbach’s tenure at Southold Dance Theater, the school and youth company became a prominent presence at the prestigious Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) competition. Since 2009, the Southold Youth Company dancers have won 1st place in the Pas de Deux, Classical solo, Contemporary solo, and Ensemble categories, in addition to top three, top six and top twelve placements in all categories at YAGP.

Ms. Fischbach has been recognized for her outstanding instruction. In 2013 and 2015, YAGP honored Ms. Fischbach with the “Outstanding Teacher” award. Her graduating students have been accepted into professional companies and the top ranked collegiate dance programs in the country. Her current students have been accepted into prestigious summer intensives and year round programs, many on full scholarship, to professional schools including American Ballet Theater, School of American Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Pacific NW Ballet, Ballet West, San Francisco Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Orlando Ballet, Gelsey Kirkland Academy, Complexions, and Paul Taylor. In addition to directing Southold’s school, youth company, and world-class summer intensives, Ms. Fischbach has been on the faculty of some of the country’s leading professional summer schools including American Ballet Theatre, Colorado Ballet, and the Cecchetti Council of America.

Ms. Fischbach has been praised for her choreography and adaptations of the famous Classic Ballets to incorporate dancers of all ages for Southold. She has choreographed versions of The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Giselle, Coppelia, Sleeping Beauty, and over fifteen concert pieces for community performances.

Judy Rice is a graduate of the National Ballet School of Canada and has performed extensively across the U.S. and Canada including the Joffrey Ballet, the National Tap Dance Company of Canada and American Ballet Comedy.  She has 20 years experience teaching for regional companies and festivals as well as Company Dance, DMA, DEA, CNADM, SADM, 3D Dance Network, The Joffrey Ballet School, The Joffrey Ballet, Steps and the Dance Teacher Magazine Summer Conference.  Rice has been a judge for ADA, HEADLINERS and has been on the faculty for Dance Masters Teacher Training School and CNADM training school.  She was a contributing writer to GOLDRUSH magazine.  

In May of 2000, Rice co-founded Behind Barres with pianist Paul Lewis and producer Rob Martens and to date they have produced 11 albums of ballet class music, which was featured on ABC’s hit show Lost, and have released 7 educational DVD’s.  Rice’s television credits include Fame, All My Children, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and The Great American Dance Challenge.  Since 1990 she has been an associate professor of performing arts at the University of Michigan and has been on the faculty at Broadway Dance Center, Pace University and Peridance in NYC.  Rice has also been an ambassador for lululemon athletica.  Most recently she has served as private ballet coach for Katie Holmes and Amy Adams and as collaborator to Tyce Diorio for his choreography for Fox television's So You Think You Can Dance.

Photo: Tracy Jones by Francisco Estevez


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