Intensive Summer Program


Intensive Summer Program: June 27 –  July 29, 2022

“The teachers and faculty are all so personable and inspiring… I get something out of each and every single class.” — ISP Student

Pre-professional ballet students from across the country and abroad will converge for an immersive five-week training program led by Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School faculty, PBT artistic leaders and high-profile guest instructors. Over the course of five weeks, students will gain experience in both classroom and rehearsal settings. These are their steps to success:

  • Dedication: Students stretch, strengthen and dance their way to stronger technique and stage presence. As they work with PBT artists and instructors, they’ll learn more about the professional dance world and about themselves as artists.
  • Versatility: In preparation for the classical to contemporary spectrum of today’s dance companies, students learn to adapt to a diverse curriculum ranging from ballet technique and pointe to jazz and modern.
  • Passion: These students have chosen to dedicate a large part of their lives to dance, and many aspire to a professional career. During their time with PBT, they’ll meet peers with similar passions and absorb insights from teachers with extensive stage careers.

Dancers from all across the country and world are invited to audition for three exceptional programs – the Intensive Summer Program, “Company Experience” Workshop and year-round Pre-professional Division Program. Students are able to audition in-person, via Zoom or submit a video audition.

National Audition Tour 2022

Video Audition Requirements


PBT Artistic Director Susan Jaffe returns for her third PBT School ISP!

Susan will be instrumental in the program, bringing with her the expertise of her illustrious professional dance career with American Ballet Theatre and years of experience as a leader in dance education. Dancers in the 2022 ISP may be considered by Susan Jaffe for apprentice positions with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre company.

Susan will be joined by School Director Marjorie Grundvig and other School Faculty members who bring unique perspectives from a diverse range of professional dance companies and experiences.

2022 Intensive Summer Program Artistic Team:*

Susan Jaffe, PBT Artistic Director
Marjorie Grundvig, PBT School Director
Janet Popeleski, School Principal
Eun Young Ahn, School Principal
Christopher Budzynski, School Faculty
Erin Halloran, former PBT Principal Dancer, current School Faculty
Christine Schwaner, School Faculty
Jamie Murphy, Modern and Contemporary
Yoland Collin, Company Pianist
Ellen Gozion, Full Time Pianist
Kuan-Yi Lu, Full Time Pianist & Music Coordinator
Juliet Winovich, Full Time Pianist
And more!

Guest Faculty

Carrie Cheng

Carrie Cheng was born in Miami, Florida and started her training with Thomas Armour of the Miami Conservatory. She continued her training under Dulce Anaya and the Jacksonville Ballet Theater. She earned a BFA in ballet from the University of Utah with a full four-year scholarship. She has danced professionally with numerous companies including the Utah Ballet, Eugene Ballet, Ballet Theatre of Boston, North Atlantic Ballet and Ballet Concerto and has made guest artist appearances throughout the United States, Mexico and Taiwan. She has been a guest teacher for summer ballet programs such as Texas Ballet Theater, Pittsburgh Ballet, Atlanta Ballet and Ballet Theatre of Boston. Internationally, she has taught in Taiwan and Macau, China. Cheng has been adjunct ballet faculty at Texas Christian University, Tarrant County College and has served on the board of directors for the Dance Council of North Texas and currently The Talon Cultural Foundation. Cheng is the Director of Ballet at Fort Worth Country Day and Artistic Director of The Ballet Conservatory of Fort Worth Country Day. She received a National Honor Roll’s Outstanding American Teachers Award in 2005-2006 and Teacher of the Year award at Texas Ballet Theater School in 2013 and 2015. Carrie is an ABT* Certified teacher who has successfully completed the ABT* Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 5 of the ABT* National Training Curriculum. In 2017 she was awarded the FWCD Master Teacher award in Fine Arts for distinguished teaching in the Arts.

Li-Chou Cheng

Mr. Cheng was born in Shanghai, China. He started his professional training at the age thirteen at the Beijing Dance Academy.  In 1961 he joined the Beijing Central Ballet and in 1975 he served as a company ballet master and rehearsal director. After immigrating to the United States in 1980 he held position as Assistant professor at the University of Utah and Arizona State University. In 1988, he was invited by Bruce Marks to join Boston Ballet as a Principal teacher for both the company and the school. Mr. Cheng served as Ballet Master in residence at TCU since 1990. In 2006 he was promoted to Professor of Professional Practice in Ballet and in 2018 he retired after he worked for TCU 28 years. In 2020 he served as a visiting Professor of Ballet at Texas Tech University. Mr. Cheng is in demand nationwide as a master teacher. He has frequently worked with many ballet companies and their summer dance programs such as Pittsburgh Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Texas Ballet Theater, Ballet West, Ballet Met, Ballet Austin, Indianapolis Ballet, Eugene Ballet, Ballet Oregon, Lexington Ballet and Walnut Hill School of Arts. He also taught for many universities such as Bucknell University, Butler University, Brigham Young University, North Carolina School of the Arts, University of Iowa, Richmond University, University of Wisconsin, University of Wyoming and Virginia Commonwealth University. His international teaching experience includes the The Beijing Dance Academy, National Ballet School of Canada, Mexico Institute of Arts, Taipei National University of Arts, Taiwan Cloud Gate Dance Company, Taipei Dance Forum, Pen-Wa School of Ballet in Macau. In 2019 he taught for the Beiing Central Ballet and restaged a classical pas de deux for the company. He was invited as a Master teacher work for the America College Dance Festival Association and the America Regional Ballet Festival. He has been an adjudicator for the Southeast Regional Ballet Competition. He received the Larry White Dance Educator Award from Dance Council in 2007.

More esteemed guest faculty to be announced soon!

Tuition & Housing

Tuition and Housing

A $500 non-refundable tuition deposit, applicable towards total tuition, is required with completed registration form. The program tuition is $2,690 for the ISP.

Supervised dormitory housing is available for students at our dormitory partner, Chatham University. Housing is $2,990, and includes room, meal plan, laundry, and daily transportation to and from PBT Studios for classes. Housing is limited and awarded on a first-come basis to enrolled students upon receipt of a $500 non-refundable housing deposit.

Students 21 years and older must find alternative housing.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School reserves the right to modify housing arrangements based on the needs of the program. Approximately 20 students between 17-20 years of age may be placed in our Byham House dormitory – assignments for which will be communicated in late March. Learn more about Byham House here.

ISP move-in will be: June 26.

PBT School recognizes that housing availability may change depending on the state of the pandemic in 2022 and what we determine is a safe option for students. PBT School reserves the right to modify housing arrangements based on the needs of the program.

About Chatham University Housing

Chatham University is situated on 35 park-like acres in Pittsburgh’s popular Shadyside neighborhood. ISP students are housed in Fickes and Woodland halls, both of which are supervised by PBT School staff and open to students 12+. Both halls offer residents use of study areas, lounge, residential computer lab and laundry facilities on each floor. Room types include singles, doubles, triples and quads. Students housed at Chatham also enjoy access to its state-of-the-art Athletic and Fitness Center, featuring a heated indoor pool, weight room, training center, gymnasium and dance studio. The campus is located just 2.1 miles from PBT School. Take a virtual tour here.

Scholarship & Financial Aid

Merit-based scholarships are awarded at the discretion of the School Director and faculty.  Limited financial assistance / work study is also available.  Applications are only considered after successful registration and payment of non-refundable $500 tuition deposit. Deposits and  tuition and housing payments are non-refundable after each payment due date has passed.


When will I be notified about my audition results?

Students typically receive a letter within three weeks of their audition date. Each candidate is evaluated on an individual basis, so students from the same audition could receive their evaluation letter on different dates. If you expressed interest in more than one program, you may receive this information on a separate date.

What will my level assignment be? 

Levels are not assigned before the start of the program. All students will take a placement class within the first two days of the program. Students will be placed in an appropriate level relative to the skill set of the entire ISP group – a benchmark that faculty members believe provides the most challenging and comprehensive program for the individual student. Level placement is at the discretion of the school directors.

How can I spend my free time during ISP?

The Intensive Summer Program follows a rigorous, comprehensive curriculum over the course of five weeks. But, PBT School believes it’s important to balance the intense curriculum with opportunities to unwind. The program offers planned outings on Sundays to destinations ranging from theaters and dances to amusement parks and sporting events.

How do I apply for the school-year Pre-professional Program? 

During our National Audition Tour, participants may elect to be considered for our year-round Pre-professional program by checking the appropriate box on the audition registration form. In addition, PBT School often schedules a Pre-professional Division audition week. Contact the PBT School office for more information.

What’s the difference between the “Company Experience” workshop and the Intensive Summer Program?

Our Company Experience workshop gives students a two-week preview of the life of a professional dancer. This highly selective program is designed for dancers 16+. In addition to daily technique class, dancers learn new choreography and repertoire and work closely with company dancers, PBT Artistic Director Susan Jaffe other members of the artistic team, and special guests. Company Experience takes place two weeks prior to the start of the Intensive Summer Program, and offers an effective complement to the five-week program.

We look forward to seeing you at PBT Studios this summer!

Our planning continues to be informed by guidance from local, state and federal public health authorities, as well as applicable orders and regulations from the governor and relevant federal agencies. Given the evolving nature COVID-19 recommended guidance, please understand that we will be constantly responding to continuing developments. Updates will be communicated by email and through our website. We all must commit to the actions and precautions we can take as individuals to protect our PBT community. It will require all of us to show care for their friends, peers, colleagues and neighbors to keep our community healthy.

For questions and more information, please contact the PBT School office at

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