Summer Dance Intensive

Dancer performing

July 15-August 10, 2024

Summer Dance Intensive (SDI) is an intensive summer training program for serious students aged 8-22. Our very own Hartt Community Division faculty are joined by renowned guest teachers to provide a well-rounded curriculum that challenges dancers to push past their limits and grow in their craft.

The Intensive offers training in the following genres:

  • Ballet
  • Character
  • Conditioning
  • Contemporary
  • Jazz
  • Magna PT Workshops
  • Men's Classes
  • Modern
  • Pointe
  • Repertoire
  • Variations 


HCD Dance students currently enrolled in the Ballet Program are not required to audition. They will receive their summer placement in the spring evaluations.

In person auditions will be held February 3 or March 2 at The Mort and Irma Handel Performing Arts Center (35 Westbourne Parkway, Hartford, CT 06112).

  • Audition Class 1 (ages 8-10): 12:30-1:45pm 
  • Audition Class 2 (ages 11-13): 2:00-3:00pm; 3:00-3:30pm (pointe, if applicable) 
  • Audition Class 3 (ages 14-22): 3:45-5:15pm; 5:15-5:45pm (pointe)

To register, please email your completed audition form and audition photos to

To register, please email your completed audition form, audition photos, and a link to your video audition to

Video Requirements

  • Video submission should be approximately 15-20 minutes in length.
  • Videos do not need to be professionally filmed, but should show the student’s full body clearly.
  • Videos can be filmed in a dance studio or home spaces. 
  • At the beginning of the video, you should introduce yourself and state your age, the number of year(s) of ballet/dance study, the number of years of pointe work (if applicable), the name(s) of your current school and teacher(s), and any previous summer intensive programs, festivals, and/or international ballet competitions in which you have participated. 

Dance Requirements

Barre Work (one side only)

  • Plie
  • Battement tendu
  • Rond de jambe à terre 
  • Battement fondu
  • Grand battement jeté

Center Work (one side only)

  • Adagio
  • Pirouettes
  • Petit Allegro
  • Grand Allegro

Pointe Work (based on students level)

  • Relevé
  • Enchappé
  • Pirouttes

Boys and Men

  • Two turning combinations
  • Petit allegro, with beats
  • Tours en l'air, single or double

Younger students may omit the above and submit a video consisting of five minutes of barre work and five minutes of center work appropriate for their level of training. 

*We understand that some students who do not have access to a studio or suitable space may not be able to include all requested exercises. 


Students are encouraged to participate in all four weeks of the intensive (July 15-August 10, 2024), but can choose however many weeks work best for them.  

Morning Program:
Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Afternoon Program:
Monday-Friday, 12:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.


The Mort and Irma Handel Performing Arts Center

Hartt Community Division’s Summer Dance Intensive will be held at:

The Mort and Irma Handel Performing Arts Center
35 Westbourne Parkway, Hartford, CT 06112


There will be a showcase following Week 4 of the intensive, Saturday, August 10. Students must be registered for Week 4 in order to participate in the showcase, however are not guaranteed to participate if only registered for Week 4.


Room and board is not offered or available during the Summer Dance Intensive.

Register by June 1 to receive 20% off!

Morning Program: 
$350.00 per week

Afternoon Program: 
$600.00 per week

If interested in applying for financial aid, please visit the Fund for Access page for details on how to apply.


Registration links have been provided through email to current HCD students and registration links will be provided to outside students following their audition. 

Program Director

Sarkis Kaltakhtchian
Artistic and Education Director
HCD Dance

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2024 Guest Faculty

dale-merrill-640x640.jpgDale A. Merrill

Dale A. Merrill is the Dean and Professor of Dance at The Hartt School at the University of Hartford.  Prior to joining The Hartt School, he was the Dean for the College of the Arts at California State University, Fullerton and at Chapman University.  Dean Merrill has over 40 years of teaching credits and has been a guest teacher for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Backhausdance, Anaheim Ballet, Youth America Grand Prix, Cornish College of the Arts, Saint Joseph Ballet, Washington Contemporary Ballet, Ballet Bellevue, and the American College Dance Festival.  His former students include So You Think You Can Dance contestants Katee Shean, Ade Obayomi and Stephen Boss, aka “Twitch”.  Other former students are performing with the National Touring Company of Wicked and modern dance companies Momix, Shen Wei Dance Arts, Diavolo Dance Theatre and Damagedance.  Prior to moving to Southern California, Dean Merrill was the Artistic Director of Spectrum Dance Theater in Seattle, Washington, a repertory contemporary jazz dance company performing works by Ann Reinking, Lar Lubovitch, Daniel Ezralow, Dwight Rhoden, Trey McIntyre, Lynne Taylor-Corbett and Daniel Buraczeski.  Dean Merrill’s choreography was a part of the Spectrum Dance Theater repertoire for over 20 years and was performed across the country.  Other choreographic credits include Seattle Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Fundraising Events, and Voices Across America starring Paul and Mira Sorvino for Public Television and numerous industrial and musical theatre productions.  Dean Merrill graduated with a BFA in Ballet from the University of Utah and an MFA in Dance from the University of Washington. 

Hilda-Morales-640x640.jpgHilda Morales

Hilda Morales started studying ballet and flamenco dancing at the Ballet de San Juan School and Company in Puerto Rico. At the age of 13 she received a Ford Foundation Scholarship to study at the School of American Ballet in New York City. 

Principal dancer with the Pennsylvania Ballet and soloist with American Ballet Theatre, and artist-in-residence with the Colorado Ballet. She has appeared in the film "The Turning Point" (as Sandra) directed by Herbert Ross, Michail Barishnikov's televised "Nutcracker" (Chinese doll), Live from Lincoln Center Presents American Ballet Theatre's Production of the "Sleeping Beauty", "Swan Lake", and "La Bayadere". On Broadway starred as the Acid Queen in the ballet version of the rock opera "Tommy", choreographed by Fernand Nault of Les Grand Ballet Canadien. Guessed with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Normandy, dancing the "Black Swan" pas de deux with Lawrence Rhodes. It was the first time this prestigious orchestra had accompanied dancers. 

Morales worked with such distinguished choreographers as Antony Tudor, Agnes de Mille, Peter Gennaro, Ana Sokolow, Alvin Ailey, John Butler, Eugene Loring, Peter Darrel, John Neumeier, Rudolph Nureyev, Lynne Taylor-Corbet, Enrique Martinez, Edward Caton, William Dollar, George Verdak, Jean Paul Comelin, Michael Smuin, Jean Grand-Maitre.  And has performed works by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Jose Limon, Frederick Ashton, Kenneth MacMillan, and Jeffrey Holder.  

She has taken ballet pedagogy teaching seminars by world renown teacher David Howard, and Susan Brooker (examiner of the Cecchetti Society and the ABT Curriculum). Ms. Morales is a Certified Teacher for the ABT's National Training Curriculum (under the direction of Franco de Vita and Raymond Lukens). 

She has taught at the ABT School (Patricia Wilde, Director),  Ballet Academy East, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (Marcia Dale Weary, Director), The Ballet Hispanico Center for Dance and Latin Culture (Tina Ramirez, Director), Colorado Ballet, Vassar College, Purchase University, Indiana University, Hartford Ballet, and currently teaches for the BFA Dance Degree at the Hartt School of the University of Hartford. 

Erica-Cornejo-1.jpgErica Cornejo

Erica Cornejo trained at the Arts Institute of the Colon Theatre in Buenos Aires. At age 14, she won a gold medal at the Second International Ballet Competition in Argentina and was immediately invited to join Julio Bocca's Ballet Argentino. She was featured as Bocca's partner in many principal roles. Cornejo joined American Ballet Theatre's Studio Company in 1998 and later that year became a member of ABT's corps de ballet. She was promoted to soloist in 2002.

In 2006 Erica joined Boston Ballet as a Principal Dancer. Cornejo had been honored as a Messenger of Peace by Unesco. She also received a medal of honor from the U.S. chapter of Institute Belgraniano as one of Argentina's leading dancers. Cornejo has been featured on the cover of Pointe Magazine and Dance Magazine. In 1998 Erica and her brother, Herman Cornejo, were invited as guest artists to dance at a special tribute held at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York honoring both President Bill Clinton and Argentinean President Carlos Menem. In 2005, Erica danced for President George Bush at the White House.

Cornejo has created leading roles in Within You Without You: A Tribute to George Harrison and Lar Lubovitch's ". . .smile with my heart". She has performed with Corella Ballet in Spain and worldwide at festivals and ballet galas in Italy, Spain, Greece, Egypt, Israel, Portugal, Japan, Korea, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay, Brazil, Gala des Étoiles du XXI Siècle in Paris and Canada, and Gala du Diamonds in Moscow.

Her diverse repertoire includes Anna-Marie Holme’s Corsaire, Agnes de Mille’s Rodeo, Paul Taylor’s Black Tuesday and Airs, Mark Morris’s Gong, Clark Tippet’s Bruch Violin Concerto, Mikko Nissinen's Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet, Rudolf Nureyev's Don Quixote, August Bournonville's La Sylphide, Maina Gielgud's Giselle, Val Caniparoli's Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion and Lady of the Camile, George Balanchine's Emeralds, Donizetti Variation, Apollo, Coppélia, Theme and Variations, Ballo della Regina and Four Temperament, Michel Fokine's Le Spectre de la Rose, Florence Clerc's Bayadère and Les Sylphide, James Kudelka's Cinderella, Twyla Tharp's In the Upper Room, Antony Tudor’s Dark Elegies, William Forsythe's The Second Detail and The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude and Jiří Kylián's Sechs Tänze, Petite Mort, No More Play, Falling Angels, and Bella Figura, Jorma Elo’s Bach Cello Suites, Jerome Robbin’s Antique Epigraphs, Hans van Manen’s Black Cake, Angel in John Neumeier’s Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler, Leonid Yakobson’s Pas de Quatre, Tatiana in John Cranko’s Onegin.

Cornejo danced with Boston Ballet as a Principal Dancer from 2006 until 2017, She is still dancing as freelance. Erica has taught at the Boston Ballet, American Ballet Theatre Summer Programs as well as for many others. She is a certified teacher by the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum for the levels Primary to III and a certified teacher in Progressing Ballet Technique for Junior, Senior and Advanced programs.

Miss Cornejo is the co-founder Artistic director of “INTEGRARTE “ a Dance Art Movement Center first stablished in Boston- USA and now relocated in Spartanburg SC, married to former Boston Ballet principal dancer Carlos Molina and is the sister of ABT principal dancer Herman Cornejo.

Carlos-Molina.jpgCarlos Molina

Carlos Molina was born in Cali, Colombia. He started his studies at the age of 10 at the Instituto Colombiano de Ballet Clasico “Incolballet” in Cali, where he obtained his Certificate as a Professional Dancer after 8 years of training. He also trained at the Houston Ballet Academy in Texas for one year.

In 1992 Carlos joined The Ballet de Cali Company in CaliColombia, where he danced as part of the Corp de Ballet. In 1994 he joined the the Hartford Ballet in CT USA as a Principal Dancer and danced with the company for 4 years. Carlos is the Winner of the first Igor Youskevitch Award given at the New York International Ballet Competition in 1996. During the 1997-1998 season, while still with the Hartford Ballet, Carlos also danced with American Ballet Theatre in NY. In 1998 he joined American Ballet Theatre full time, promoted to soloist in 2001. In 2004 Carlos joined the Boston Ballet as a principal dancer where he danced for 6 years. Mr. Molina has been a freelance principal dancer since 2010.

Along his long career Carlos has danced with many companies and in several events around the World. He has been recognized by many choreographers and directors as an incredible partner and artist. His wide and mixed repertoire as a principal dancer includes ballets such as:

Giselle, Swan Lake, La Sylphide, Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, Eugene Onegin, Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet, Fire Bird, Cinderella, The Nutcracker, Raymonda, Don Quixote, An Afternoon of a Faun, Spectre de la Rose, Les Sylphides, Le Beches, Etudes, The Dream, Variations for Four, Three Virgens and a Devil, Billy the Kid, Pillar of Fire, Offenbach in the Under World, Leaves are Fading, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Apollo, Western Symphony, Serenade, Who Cares?, The Four Temperaments, Ballet Imperial, Symphony in C, Divertimento # 15, La Valse, Jewels, Theme and Variations, Polyphonia, Sin and Tonic, Bruch Violin Concerto # 1, Belling The Slayer, Paramour, Ancient Airs, Weren’t We Fools, Petit Mort, Six Dances, Sarabanda, Diversion of Angels, Without Words, Black Tuesday, In the Middle Some What Elevated, In the Upper Room, Brahms Haydn Variations, Diana and Acteon Pas de Deux, Flames of Paris, Don Quixote Pas De Deux, Pas D’esclave Pas de Deux, including his own Spartacus, Jeu D’Amour, Carmen… as well as many other works from fantastic and well known Choreographers such as:

John Cranko, McMillan, Petipa, George Balanchine, Fokine, Nijinsky, Bronislava Nijinska, Anton Dolin, Antony Tudor, Harold lander, Agnes De Mille, Ashton, Kirk Peterson, Ben Stevenson, John Neumeier, Maina Gielgud, Kevin McKenzie, Bournonville, Mikko Nissinnen, Jiri Kylian; Lar Lubovitch, William Forsythe; Nacho Duato; Martha Graham; Paul Taylor; Twayla Tharp; Choo San Goh, Jean Grand Maitre, Graham Lustig, Jorma Elo, Christian Holder, Christopher Wheeldon among others.

Carlos is a Certified Ballet Teacher by The American Ballet Theatre’s National Training Curriculum since 2008-2009.

In addition, Mr. Molina is a Licensed Massage Therapist and Body Worker Has done studies in CranioSacral Therapy with The Upledger Institute, Reflexology, Arvigo Mayan Abdominal Massage, Visceral Manipulation with The Barral Institute, Active Isolated Stretching and Strengthening (AIS) with Mr. Aaron Mattes, Cross Core Training, PBT Progressive Ballet Technique and is also a Certified Gyrotonic Instructor.

Carlos is the Co-Founder and Director of “INTEGRARTE” Dance Art Movement Center, first stablished in Boston-USA and now relocated in Spartanburg SC.

He is Married to former Boston Ballet’s principal dancer Erica Cornejo.


Meet Our Team

Dale A. Merrill
Dean's Office for Art
Dean's Office for Hartt

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Sarkis Kaltakhtchian
Artistic and Education Director
HCD Dance

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Tyler Caisse
HCD Dance

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Pamela Glauber
HCD Dance

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Janelle Holmes
HCD Dance

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Felicia Isotti
HCD Dance

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Matisse Madden
HCD Dance

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Payton McGrew
HCD Dance

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Alisa Nipp
HCD Dance

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Rene Olivier
HCD Dance

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Alyssa Parnell
Faculty; Dance Education Outreach Coordinator
HCD Dance

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Cameron Whitney
Faculty; Dance Coordinator
HCD Dance

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