Scholarships & Work-Study


More than 50% of ADF Summer Dance Intensive students receive some form of financial assistance. All scholarship recipients assist with operational and administrative work at the festival. Students dependent on a scholarship to attend the ADF School are urged to apply early and explore multiple avenues of financial assistance in addition to ADF’s scholarship offerings. Click here for ADF’s “Self-Help Guide to Financial Assistance”. All ADF scholarships are awarded based on financial need.

scholarship Deadlines & Important Details

Important Dates

March 1:  Scholarship Application Deadline (Early Decision)
March 16:  1st Scholarship Awards Announced
April 1:  2nd Scholarship Application Deadline
April 16:  2nd Scholarship Awards Announced

Submitting Scholarship Documents

Students that want to be considered for a scholarship must complete the online application for the Summer Dance Intensive, and submit the $40 application fee.

Students may submit scholarship application materials by online application (preferred), mail or email. Include your full name, name of scholarship, and the summer program you are applying for on all scholarship documents (if mailing or emailing).

  • Application for all scholarship types: Apply Here (preferred)
  • Mail: ADF School, Box 90772, Durham, NC 27708
  • Email: forms@americandancefestival.or

ADF is not responsible for mail/email that is delayed or lost in transit. Applicants are strongly encouraged to call the ADF office to verify receipt of application materials at least 2 weeks prior to deadlines. Photos of documents will not be accepted.

Important information regarding scholarships

  • Students who are awarded scholarships or work-study positions will only be offered one type of scholarship or work-study position. (For instance, you cannot receive a scholarship of any kind plus a work-study position, nor can you receive a Leadership Scholarship and a Matching Tuition Scholarship.) To increase the chances of receiving financial assistance from ADF, you may apply for more than one scholarship. Please read all of the scholarship descriptions and submission material lists carefully, and remember that applying for a work-study, babysitter, bus driver, stagecraft and/or costume apprentice position requires submission of a separate letter of recommendation and resumé for each.
  • Only students who have submitted all required documents will be considered for a scholarship. Incomplete and inaccurate applications will not be considered.
  • Pursuant to Duke University policies, criminal background checks will be conducted on potential staff assistants and bus drivers. Students who do not pass the criminal background check will forfeit their scholarship.
  • Tax forms:
    • If you are filing your own taxes but your parents still claim you on their taxes, you MUST submit your parents tax forms.
    • Please only submit the first page of the 1040, which lists the adjusted gross income and number of dependants.
    • Please feel free to cross out social security numbers on tax documents.
    • In addition to the tax forms, applicants are welcome to submit supplementary information to help the scholarship committee understand the full spectrum of the student’s financial need. This opportunity is available in the scholarship application, but can also be submitted separately via email or mail.



Leadership Scholarships are offered to students who demonstrate leadership in their character as well as their embodiment of one of the following areas of dance practice: performance/technical skill, improvisation, choreography/creative practice, dance scholarship/research, or community-building through dance. Essential parts of leadership for ADF include personal integrity, fostering collaboration and community, and embodying inclusive practices. Applicants should ensure that they speak to these values in their application materials, in addition to demonstrating excellence in their particular area of dance practice. All applicants must demonstrate financial need in order to be considered for a Leadership Scholarship.


  • Scholarship amounts range from $200 to full tuition.
  • All Leadership Scholarship students will take part in weekly sessions designed exclusively for them, devoted to discussing leadership, sharing best practices, and developing ideas about how to foster ethical leadership within the ADF community and their year-round communities.
  • Leadership scholarship students are responsible for their tuition balance, room, board, and travel to and from Durham, NC.

Click here for submission instructions.

PORTFOLIO requirements

The primary means of auditioning for a Leadership Scholarship is via the submission of an online portfolio. Your portfolio includes a self-interview, a demonstration of you dancing in a modern dance form/contemporary movement practice, and a demonstration of your work in your area of specialization (performance, choreography, improvisation, community practice, dance scholarship).

Your online portfolio requires each of the following:

1. A videotaped self-interview (up to 1.5 minute long) in which you:

  • Share what you believe to be the biggest challenge we face as dance artists working in today’s world.
  • Discuss how you embody any of the following leadership characteristics through your dance practice: personal integrity, the ability to foster collaboration and community, or the embodiment of inclusive practices/respect for difference.

2. 2 minutes of modern technique/contemporary training practices, demonstrating your ability to embody the physical and artistic values inherent in the specific form/practice you have chosen to present. Your dancing should reflect the form’s depth, complexity, and range. Your dancing should reflect the technique depth, complexity, and range. We encourage you to perform exercises/phrases that feature your ability to move with musicality or rhythmic sensitivity, that show the physical coordination necessary for the technique, and that involve moving in place and through space

3. Demonstration of your work in your area of expertise (choose only ONE of the following), submitted in the following formats:

Performance: a 1.5-minute videotaped solo. Please credit the choreographer appropriately or let us know if you are improvising.

Improvisation: a 1.5-minute videotaped improvisation: solo, duet, group, or contact. Please let us know any scores you are working from/with.

Choreography: a 1.5-minute video excerpt of a work you choreographed, performed by yourself or other dancers. Please let us know the title of the work and whether it is a work-in-progress or a finished product.

Dance on film/Dance video: a 1.5-minute excerpt of a work you created for video. Please let us know the title of the work.

Community practice: videotaped discussion, print materials, or a combination of both. Video should be no longer than 1.5 minutes and could include a clip of you working in a community; a clip of a community-based practice or performance that you created; a brief self-interview in which you discuss a specific project you are developing/have recently implemented; or any other content that adequately represents your work. Print materials could include lesson plans, promotional materials you developed for a program, or other documentation of that nature. Please submit all print materials in Word or PDF form, and limit your submission to 3 pages.

Dance scholarship (dance history, interdisciplinary studies, dance criticism, etc.): videotaped discussion, print materials, or a combination of both. Video should be no longer than 1.5 minutes and could include a clip of you discussing the specific area of dance scholarship you are interested in and how your physical dance practice informs that work; your long-term interests in dance scholarship; or any other content that adequately represents your work. Print materials could include an excerpt of your writing in your area of interest. Please submit all print materials in Word or PDF form, and limit your submission to 3 pages.

  • We prefer that you edit your video materials into one video to send us via one link, but we will accept up to 3 video links. 

  • Ensure the recording is good quality and has appropriate lighting so we can see you. A general rule of thumb is to make sure you are facing the light source, otherwise you are backlit and will be in shadow. If filming with your smart phone, please use landscape orientation. 

  • You should be the only person in the video. Do not send videos of yourself in a class or performance with other dancers. The notable exception to this rule is choreography submissions, which may feature other dancers. In which case, clearly identify yourself in the clips if you are not the only person in the shot. 

  • At least one of the clips used in your portfolio should be no more than 1 year old. 

  • Indicate when and where the clip/s are recorded. 

  • There are many accessible and free editing programs available on your computer and device. iPhones: iMovie, Splice, InShot. Android: Adobe Premiere Clip, Free Video Editor. Mac: iMovie. PC: Windows Movie Maker. There are many more- do your research! 

  • Upload to YouTube or a password protected Vimeo account. Provide us with the exact web addresses and access codes in the online application. 

  • Note: If your video clip contains copyrighted material, YouTube or Vimeo may not allow it to be posted. In that case, please mail a dvd copy as soon as possible.

Leadership Scholarship Application Guide


Starting in 2018, ADF is encouraging all students to submit their Leadership Scholarship audition via video. For students that wish to attend a live Scholarship Audition, there are two opportunities listed below.

Sunday, November 12, 2018
Master class followed by audition
Ohio State University Department of Dance
Sullivant Hall 390
Sign up here

Live Audition Overview:

Check-in: Arrive early! Check-in will usually begin approximately 30 minutes before the audition. At check-in, students will need to fill out an online application if not previously completed (using their own smartphone, tablet, or laptop; limited tablets will be available), and obtain an audition number.

The Audition:
Class: An ADF audition consists of a short, 15 to 30-minute class based in a contemporary movement form. Please come to the audition warmed up and ready to begin dancing fully.

Sharing of your area of expertise: Each dancer will have 1.5 minutes to present their area of expertise.  Suggestions of what to present based on area of expertise follow.

  • Performance: An excerpt of a piece you have performed, a class phrase that you know well, an improvisatory score or physical practice that highlights your skill as a performer and dancer. 
  • Choreography: An excerpt of a solo that you have created and can perform.
  • Improvisation: Any improvisational structure based on the values of the dance tradition you are working with.
  • Community practice: A presentation using dancing, speaking, and/or video to share the ways you have created community-based dance programs or events.
  • Dance scholarship: A reading of an excerpt of a paper you have written, or a discussion and embodiment of the way you are investigating specific ideas through physical research.

If you are attending a live audition, be sure that you can present your area of expertise in a live context. Depending on your content, it might be more beneficial to submit an online portfolio. Please come prepared to the audition with music and any other materials loaded on your computer, phone, or tablet. A stereo with an mp3 hookup will be provided. Ensure that you do not need WiFi in order to access these materials, as we cannot guarantee that you will have WiFi access.  A musician will also be available to play with you.  

Discussing leadership: We will engage in a conversation about leadership. Come prepared to discuss what you believe to be the biggest challenge we face as dance artists working in today’s world, as well as your ideas about how you embody responsible leadership/what responsible leadership looks like in dance practice. 

Find out about ADF: Following the formal audition, we’ll talk about the ADF School. You’ll have time to ask questions and find out more details about the Summer Dance Intensive and scholarship opportunities.

WORK-STUDY positions


Work-study position recipients receive partial (50%) or full-tuition scholarships in exchange for working between 10-20 hours a week during the festival. These positions are designed for mature and responsible students who have skills to help with the operations of the festival, want to be part of a team, and want to learn more about how the festival works. Job assignments include areas of administration, babysitting, production, box office, school operations, archives, and hospitality/events. Students will be assigned positions based on their skills, experience, and ADF needs. In addition to gaining experience through working at the festival, work-study students have the opportunity to create connections that can pave the way for future employment in the dance world. Work study students who demonstrate excellence in their work can request a letter of recommendation from their supervisor for use in the future.


  • Responsibilities include weekend and evening duties.
  • Many positions require students to bring a car to the festival to use for work-related tasks.
  • Work-study scholarship students are responsible for their tuition balance, room, board, and travel to and from Durham, NC.
  • Work-study positions are contingent on passing a criminal background check.
  • Due to legal and insurance restrictions, most students eligible for these positions must be at least 21 years old.
  • Work-study scholarship students will be asked to arrive on Tuesday, June 12, and depart on Tuesday, July 24.

To be considered for one of the Work-study Positions listed below, click on the Work-study Application Guide for details on how to apply.

Work-Study Application Guide

Click here for submission instructions.


Students receiving a partial tuition scholarship (50% of tuition) position may take a full Intensive course load (3 classes); however, a handful of positions will preclude students from participating in repertory projects. Students may take drop-in WFSS classes only as their schedule permits.

Partial scholarship positions include working in the following areas/departments:

  • Box office
  • Marketing/Merchandising
  • School operations
  • Drop in schedule/WFSS
  • Studios
  • Performances
  • Archives
  • Reception
  • Memory for Movement Assistant


Students receiving full tuition scholarship (100% of tuition) positions may take only two classes and will be able to participate in repertory projects depending on our needs. These positions include babysitters, bus drivers, and stagecraft and costume apprenticeships.

In order for our faculty to come to Durham every summer, they sometimes need to bring their family. Babysitters play an integral role in helping faculty, musicians, and staff fulfill their important roles during the festival by providing childcare during classes and performances. ADF babysitters receive a full-tuition scholarship in exchange for providing childcare up to 20 hours a week and are guaranteed class choices within their designated class-taking time blocks.

Daily bus transportation is needed to transport students to off-campus studios and to the theaters where performances are held. ADF bus drivers receive a full-tuition scholarship in exchange for driving the ADF buses up to 20 hours per week and are guaranteed class choices within their designated class-taking time blocks and location restrictions. Bus drivers must have a Commercial Drivers License by the time they arrive at ADF.

Stagecraft apprenticeships are awarded to students with interest and experience in the technical aspects of dance production. Apprentices act as an integral part of the technical crew in the preparation and running of performances by the visiting companies. The work involved is strenuous and requires maturity and responsibility.

ADF also seeks costume stagecraft apprentices. This apprenticeship is similar to the stagecraft apprenticeship; however, experience working in costume design and construction is required. Costume apprentices work with the ADF Costume Designer to design and construct costumes for the Footprints repertory pieces. Costume apprentices are extremely busy towards the end of the festival and may be required to miss class.



ADF will match up to $500 from sponsoring organizations and businesses. Sponsorships may come from:

  • Dance Studios
  • Colleges or Universities
  • High Schools
  • Arts Organizations
  • Businesses or Corporations


  • Matching scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Only a limited number are available.
  • Matching scholarships cannot be combined with any other ADF scholarships.
  • ADF will only match a maximum amount of $500, but there is no limit for sponsorship award amounts. For example, your school’s dance department can award you $1,500 towards tuition, and ADF will match $500, bringing your total matching scholarship to $2,000. However, if your school only awarded $100, ADF would match $100, bringing your total matching scholarship to $200.
  • Matching Scholarships may only be used to towards ADF tuition.
  • Matching scholarship awards are contingent upon sponsorship agreement. Matching scholarships from ADF will not be allocated until the school office receives sponsorship agreement and funds. Students are strongly encouraged to reach out to their possible sponsors EARLY, before indicating interest in the matching scholarship to ADF.
  • The sponsoring organization will need to complete and submit a short application. Click here to download and print application. Their applications may be submitted via:

Click here for submission instructions.