Intensive Summer Program

2021 Zoom Auditions

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School is excited to announce our 2021 audition dates! During our ballet auditions, dancers from all across the country and world are invited to audition via Zoom for three exceptional programs– the Intensive Summer Program, “Company Experience” Workshop and year-round Pre-professional Division Program. Students are able to audition live via Zoom or submit a video audition.

Audition Dates

Friday 1/15 Saturday 1/16 Sunday 1/24 Saturday 1/30 Sunday 2/7 Saturday 2/13
6–8 p.m.
Ages 12-15
11 a.m.–1 p.m.
Ages 16+
11 a.m.–1 p.m.
Ages 12-15
12–2 p.m.
Ages 12-15
12–2 p.m.
Ages 16+
12–2 p.m.
Ages 12-15
6–8 p.m.
Ages 16+
2–4 p.m.
Ages 12-15
2–4 p.m.
Ages 16+
3–5 p.m.
Ages 16+
3–5 p.m.
Ages 12-15
3–5 p.m.
Ages 16+
“The teachers and faculty are all so personable and inspiring… I get something out of each and every single class.” — ISP Student

At this time, we are planning for an in person ballet summer intensive at our studios with limited class sizes, however depending on CDC guidelines and State mandates the program may transition to a hybrid or virtual program.

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. Students will gain experience in both classroom and rehearsal settings. These are their steps to success:

  • Dedication: Six days a week, 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, modern and character dance.
  • Passion: These students have chosen to dedicate a large part of their lives to dance, and many aim to go pro. During their time with PBT, they’ll meet peers with similar passions and absorb insights from teachers with extensive stage careers.



ISP classes include:

  • Technique
  • Pointe
  • Men’s class
  • Variations
  • Modern
  • Jazz
  • Character
  • Repertoire
  • Pilates

The program will feature in-person classes with smaller class sizes, combined with virtual educational programming in subjects such as:

  • Social media etiquette
  • Resume writing and building
  • What are companies looking for in a dancer
  • Healthy eating for a healthy body
  • Diversity in Dance
  • Dance History
  • Music Appreciation for Dancers
  • Health & Wellness
  • Preventing Injuries while Dancing at Home
  • Audition preparation tips
  • Media, Online Presence and Dance Photos
  • Performance Preparation Tips from Company Dancers

Additional ISP offerings include Pilates “Reformer” instruction and Musculoskeletal screenings, both by appointment and for an additional fee.


PBT Artistic Director Susan Jaffe returns for her second 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 2021 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.

Esteemed Guest Faculty

Alexander Brady

Alex trained at the Boston School of Ballet and the School of American Ballet before dancing professionally with Joffrey Ballet, Miami City Ballet and Twyla Tharp Dance.  On Broadway, he was an original cast member of Movin’ Out, The Times They Are A-Changin’ and Come Fly Away, all directed and choreographed by Twyla Tharp. He has also danced with Mark Morris Dance Group, The Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Dances Patrelle, the Houston Grand Opera, and in the films Across the Universe and Julie and Julia. Alex has staged Twyla Tharp repertory for dance companies worldwide, and as a guest teacher has taught technique (ballet & contemporary) and repertory at many universities and dance/ballet institutions. Alex started choreographing when he was a soloist at Miami City Ballet in 1997. Now Alex is following creative pursuits and inspiring audiences around the world. Since 2018 he choreographed Nineteen and Seven and Verge for the St. Paul’s School Ballet Company, Shiver for the Concord Academy Dance Project, Tossed for the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and Coppélia for Harumi Hamanaka Ballet School in Tokyo, Japan. He is selected as a choreographer for UNCSA the 2019 Choreographic Institute residency.

Rika Okamoto

Rika Okamoto’s dance career expands from 1990 through 2017, including working with companies such as Martha Graham Dance Company (1992-1999) and Twyla Tharp (1993, 2001-2017).  She has appeared as an original cast in Tharp’s Broadway shows (Movin’ Out and Come Fly Away), Disney’s Broadway musical Tarzan, TV documentaries, award shows, commercials, prints, and films including Across the Universe directed by Julie Taymor.  She was selected for the covers of Dance Magazine in 2010 and 2015. She also worked as a rehearsal director, director of education, administrator, production coordinator, and archivist at Twyla Tharp Dance Foundation. She has been teaching at numerous dance institutions and universities worldwide since 1994.  She holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of the Art in Philadelphia, PA, a Yoga Alliance 500 hour advance teacher certification, and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher certification at the Mindfulness Center at Brown University.

Pollyana Ribeiro

Originally from Brazil, Pollyana Ribeiro began her dance training at the age of three with Hotencia Mollo. She also studied with Tatiana Leskova at the Teatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro. After winning three consecutive gold medals at the Festival de Joenville, she was awarded a scholarship to Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, Florida. In July 1992, Pollyana won the gold medal in the junior division at the International Ballet Competition in Helsinki, Finland. At age 16, she began her professional career with the Boston Ballet and later was promoted to Principal dancer there. Pollyana is a recipient of a trophy in honor of her excellence in the arts, awarded by the Brazilian consulate. Pollyana is  a former member of the PBT School faculty, and is currently the co-artistic director of En Pointe Indiana Ballet in Noblesville, IN.

Robert Moore

Robert Moore began his dance training in Indianapolis with the White River Ballet Company.  He furthered his training there with Jordan Academy of Arts at Butler University.  Robert was accepted to the Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, Florida.  After he graduated from Harid, he was invited to join Boston Ballet II in 1996.  In 1998 he was promoted to the Boston Ballet Company.   Mr. Moore’s professional teaching experience includes Hotencia Mollow School of Ballet’s summer program in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Harvard University Master Classes, Jacksonville University summer program, Boston Ballet summer program, and Eastern Connecticut Ballet’s summer program.  Mr. Moore has professionally danced classical ballets including Giselle, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, Dracula, Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella, Le Corsaire, and Carmen.  In addition, Mr. Moore’s professional contemporary ballet experience includes:  Daniel Pelzig’s Passage (World Premier)and Nine Lives, Rudi van Dantzig’s Four Last Songs, Mark Morris’ Maelstrom and Drink to Me, Christopher Wheeldon’s Corybantic Ecstasies, Firebird and The Four Seasons,  Balanchine’s Four Temperaments, Theme and Variations, Serenade, and Rubies, MacMillan’s Winter Dreams,  Van Caniparoli’s Lady of the Camellias,  Paul Taylor’s Company B,  Twyla Tharp’s Waterbaby Bagatelles, and Lila York’s Celts and Ode to Joy. Robert is  a former member of the PBT School faculty, and is currently the co-artistic director of En Pointe Indiana Ballet in Noblesville, IN.

Li-Chou Cheng

Li-Chou Cheng started his professional training when he was 13 at the Beijing Dance Academy in China. At the age of 19, he joined the Beijing Central Ballet as a dancer and soloist and served as a Ballet Master and Rehearsal Director for the company. Since immigrating to the United States in 1980, Cheng has served as Assistant Professor at the University of Utah and Arizona State University. In 1988, Cheng was named the Principal teacher for both the Boston Ballet Company and School. Recently retired, Cheng was Professor of Professional Practice in Ballet with the School for Classical & Contemporary Dance at Texas Christian University for 28 years. As a guest teacher in demand nationwide, he has worked with many ballet companies and their summer dance programs, including Pittsburgh Ballet, Boston Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Ballet West, Ballet Met, Ballet Austin, Indianapolis Ballet, Eugene Ballet, Ballet Oregon, North Carolina School of the Arts, and Walnut Hill School of Arts. His international teaching experience includes Beijing Dance Academy, The National Ballet School of Canada, The National Institution of Arts in Mexico, the Taipei National University of Arts, and the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre in Taiwan.

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. Cheng 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. She has made guest artist appearances throughout the United States, Mexico and Taiwan. She has been a guest teacher for summer ballet programs for schools such as Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, Texas Ballet Theater, Atlanta Ballet, and Ballet Theatre of Boston. Internationally, she has taught in Taiwan and China. Cheng has been adjunct ballet faculty at Texas Christian University and Tarrant County College and served on the Dance Council of North Texas Board of Directors. She was an instructor in ballet for Texas Ballet Theater School in Fort Worth from 2008-16 and is currently the Director of Ballet at Fort Worth Country Day. Cheng received a National Honor Roll’s Outstanding American Teachers Award in 2005-06 and teacher of the year for Texas Ballet Theater School for 2013-14 and 2014-15. In October 2017, she was awarded The Fine Arts Chair for Distinguished Teaching in the Arts at Fort Worth Country Day. Cheng 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.

2021 Intensive Summer Program Artistic Team:*

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

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 $2,440 for the ISP.

Supervised dormitory housing is available for students at our dormitory partner, Chatham University. Housing is $2,550, 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 will be placed in our Byham House dormitory – assignments for which will be communicated in late March. Learn more about Byham House here.

Move-in and orientation meeting will be held: TBD.

PBT School recognizes that housing availability may change depending on the state of the pandemic in 2021 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 for the ballet summer intensive are awarded at the discretion of the School Directors.  Limited financial assistance / work study is 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 can expect to receive notification within two weeks of their summer intensive audition. Each candidate is evaluated on an individual basis; students who submit their audition on or near the same date could receive their results on different dates. If you expressed interest in our school-year program, this notification may be sent at a later date.

What will my level assignment be?

Levels are not assigned before the start of the program. All students will take a placement class on the first day of the program. Students will be placed in an appropriate level relative to the skill set of the entire summer intensive 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 summer 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?

Students must submit a video audition by Feb. 19 or participate in a live Zoom audition with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School faculty. In addition, PBT School often schedules a Pre-professional Division audition. 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 and other members of the artistic team. “Company Experience” takes place two weeks prior to the start of the ballet summer intensive, and offers an effective complement to the full five-week program.

Order Summary

Plan Your Summer with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School

All students accepted to the Intensive Summer Program will need to complete an ISP Order Summary Form. Intensive Summer Program attendees can find all necessary forms, excursion details, deadlines and further information on the form. The link to the form will be posted soon and all participating students will be notified by e-mail.

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

While our intention is to present an in-person 2021 Intensive Summer Program, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School continues to stay informed by COVID-19 guidance from local, state and federal public health authorities, as well as applicable orders and regulations from the governor and relevant federal agencies. Should there be continued or increased risk for a full, in-person summer program, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School will evaluate additional options including limited groups in-studio, hybrid and virtual formats, so that we can provide ballet education in an environment we feel is safe for all students, faculty and staff.

Please contact the PBT School office at for more information and program availability.

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