Pre-Professional Dance Intensive Online

June 22 – July 3, 2020
AGES 13-17

Join us for two weeks of online courses in technique and composition that will build your strength, stamina, and creativity, while also offering you inspiring faculty and a community of passionate dancers from all over the world. Come together with your fellow dancers each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to sweat, move, create, and feel your fullest! 

Who can participate in Pre-Professional Dance Intensive (PDI) online courses?

PDI is for dancers aged 13-17. No audition is required to enroll. We recommend that dancers enrolling have a minimum of three consecutive years of prior dance training.

Enrollment overview

  • There are two courses offered during the two-week session. Each course meets three times per week. 
  • Courses offered: Technique (which offers rotating classes in modern/ballet/jazz) & Composition
  • If you register for a course, you must commit to the entire two-week duration. Please come to all class sessions to form a learning community and reap the rewards of full participation!
  • You may take as many courses as you like!
  • Some courses have limited capacity.

Tuition Fees

  • Courses: $80 per course

Click for sign-up steps!

Refund Policy: Once enrolled in a course, tuition fees are nonrefundable.

class schedule

Monday, June 22 – Friday, July 3, 2020


Technique: Mz. G’s Afro-Modern with Michelle Gibson

11:30am-12:45pm EST
  Composition: Creating through Constraints with Momar Ndiaye 2:00pm-3:30pm EST

Technique: Mz. G’s Afro-Modern with Michelle Gibson

11:30am-12:45pm EST
  Composition: Creating through Constraints with Momar Ndiaye 2:00pm-3:30pm EST
Fridays Technique: Masterclasses with Matt Pardo (Ballet & Jazz) 11:30am-12:45pm EST
  Composition: Creating through Constraints with Momar Ndiaye 2:00pm-3:30pm EST


michelle gibson

Choreographer, Cultural Ambassador, Educator, Mother, and Performing Artist received her BFA in Dance from Tulane University and her MFA in Dance from Hollins University/ The American Dance Festival at Duke University. Her teaching practice and choreographic works range from genres of the African Diaspora, Contemporary / Traditional / Afro Modern, Afro Funk, Jazz, and her own New Orleans Second Line Aesthetic. Cultivating her craft over the past years to preserve her culture Michelle has been teaching and creating works that are firmly rooted in New Orleans culture and has defined this idea as her own “Second Line Aesthetics” that she has determined involves both technical and improvised movement, brass music and the embrace of communal ritual. Sharing her culture aboard Michelle was invited to Rennes France teaching her New Orleans Second Aesthetics and Guest Lecture with the Compagnie Engrenage and the festival Le Funk Prend Les Rennes (translated the Funk Takes the Reins).

The festival honored and focused on the brass band culture of New Orleans both music and dance also focusing on Nigerian Afrobeat. A nine-year faculty member with the American Dance Festival and currently a candidate working towards receiving the Katherine Dunham Technique Certification she has had wonderful opportunities teaching her Afro-Modern technique, lecturing on culture inclusion within the arts, and setting choreographic works at various intensives, institutions and universities not to mention choreography for several theater companies and live entertainment organizations locally, in the U.S and internationally. As a freelance artist presently living in Dallas TX and dance faculty member at Booker T. Washington High School of the Performing and Visual Arts, Michelle is dedicated her energies, pedagogical practice, and performance-based research geared toward culturally cultivating and engaging communities and the world aboard. 

momar ndiaye

Momar Ndiaye is an internationally recognized dance artist from Senegal who has taught and toured his work both in the States and abroad. He received his MFA in Dance from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he taught contemporary and traditional African dance forms from Senegal, Guinea, Mali, Congo, etc., as well as video dance documentation. Ndiaye has worked with many well-known choreographers from Africa, Europe, Asia, and America through the program Aex. Corps initiated by the Association Premier Temp in Senegal. Since 2010, Momar has danced for internationally acclaimed choreographer Andreya Ouamba in the Dakar-based company Premier Temps and was selected as a Dance Web participant at Impuls Tanz Festival in Vienna, Austria, in 2012. He has been developing work with his own company, Cadanses, since 2004 and has created and toured several staged contemporary dance works. In 2015, Ndiaye’s evening length piece Toxu was a finalist laureate in the Danse L’Afrique Danse (Africa and Caribbean in Creation) Festival in St. Louis and Senegal and was toured to Europe as part of the Belluard Festival in Switzerland. In 2016, Momar was selected to participate in two intercultural projects, Shifting Realities, supported by Tanz Haus and Hellerau in Germany, and 1space, a collaboration between KVS Brussel, Exodus in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and Alkantara Lisbon, Portugal.

Matt Pardo

Matt Pardo – M.F.A., AEA.  Experience: Eisenhower Dance Ensemble, River North Chicago Dance Company (apprentice), Pittsburgh Opera, Groundworks Dance Theatre, “Einstein on the Beach” (Olivier Award – Best Opera), Lucinda Childs Dance Company (company member/company class instructor), among others. Dance Europe Magazine selected him as a “Top 100 dancer in the world” for 2010/2011 and called him “an artist to watch”. Pardo is a co-founder of the Pittsburgh-based organization, The Blanket (, which has been featured in Dance Magazine-online, Departures Magazine (American Express), and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Recent choreographic and teaching credits include the American Dance Festival, Point Park University, Elon University, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, Centre National De Danse (Paris), and Slippery Rock University. Recent writing includes an article in the Journal of Dance Education discussing the use of experiential observation in developing a practice of performance and an insert in the Genius Guide to College Dance Programs. Pardo is an assistant professor at James Madison University. (

class descriptions

Course #1: technique (modern/ballet/jazz)

technique: Mz. G’s Afro-Modern, led by michelle gibson

Afro-Modern technique class creates a platform for students to understand dance across cultures that can bring them face to face with the hidden ideologies within other dance techniques. Allowing students to ask why and for what purpose do we dance. Mz. G’s Afro-Modern class will focus on a fusion of contemporary modern practices rooted in diasporic elements. Acknowledging diasporic aesthetics and movement fundamentals contributed to American modern dance styles and techniques. The class will consist of challenging warm-ups, concentration of breathing techniques, center floor exercises, movement phrases, and connection of mind/body/spirit as a movement practice. Afro-Modern class will utilize philosophies of modern dance pioneer Katherine Dunham. Philosophies of this technique will support students’ understanding of movement as function and form, both aesthetic and lifestyle, and exploring cultural dance symbolism within modern forms. Isolation/undulations, core strengthening, dynamics, musicality, and mindful meditative practices will be addressed. 

Let’s commune! Let’s dance! 

Mondays and Wednesdays from 11:30am-12:45pm EST

technique: Ballet & Jazz, Led by Matt Pardo

Ballet (June 26)

This ballet class focuses on the contemporary application of the classical aesthetic on the modern-dance body. The class places a specific focus on the functional use of plié and teaches students how to move transitionally through a position-based genre. Additionally, students in the class will be encouraged and guided to develop a practice of performance inside of the ballet-idiom which they will be able to translate to other areas of their dance training. 

Jazz (July 3)

This jazz class will focus on a mix of classical and contemporary codified jazz dance forms. The warm-up will consist of classical jazz elements to engage students in small aspects of jazz dance’s history, while the center combination will focus on the contemporary aesthetic of the form. 

Fridays from 11:30am-12:45pm EST

Course #2: Composition

Creating through constraints, led by momar ndiaye

This composition course focuses on the process of making solos while using a camera as a mode of transmission. In relationship to the confined spaces we find ourselves in due to COVID-19, students (participants) will learn tools to make solo work while utilizing accessible technology, such as smartphones, to render ideas and choreographic intents. Students will be asked to generate phrase materials in response to their immediate environment and living conditions. As we explore different prompts, scores, and methods, students will be challenged to reimagine the spaces and tools available to them. They will be pushed to evaluate the best ways to deliver their intentions with a device (camera) to their audiences. They will be guided in ways to identify and redefine their value systems and make sure they are reflected in what they make. 

Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays from 2:00pm-3:30pm EST

class needs

Technique (Modern/ballet/jazz)

  • Comfortable clothing, preferably form fitted, and hair pulled back off face.
  • Space:
    • As open a space as possible, with a forgiving floor. Examples of spaces to use are a living room, garage, patio, etc.
    • For modern and jazz, we recommend at least a 10 ft x 10 ft area, and a ceiling that is out of reach when you extend your arms upwards.
    • For ballet, we recommend at least a 4 ft x 4 ft area that allows you to extend your limbs freely.
  • For ballet, we recommend that you have something to hang on to (chair, table, half-wall, staircase bannister, bookshelf, etc.).
  • A journal! A few relevant assignments may be given that would require work outside of class time. Notification will be given early on. 
  • Experience level may vary for participants. Classes are geared towards the intermediate/advanced mover. 
  • We encourage students to come interested in continuing their physical practice while also engaging in personal reflection/dialogue about how they can occupy their own space in movement.


  • Comfortable clothing!
  • No specific space requirement, everything is conditioned by confinement.
  • Work outside of class time may include video editing, viewing dance, journaling, short readings, rehearsal, and making dance.
  • This course will require the use of a computer and cellphone camera or GoPro.
  • Experience level may vary for participants. Classes are geared towards the intermediate/advanced mover. This class focuses on contemporary dance practice.