Mark Morris Shadow Program

"The Mark Morris Shadow Program was a wonderful opportunity to gain insight into the interactions between an established institution and individual dancers within the context of a professional setting. The attention to detail at the intensive, both somatically and artistically, has provided me with a window into dancing at the most genuine level. The Mark Morris Shadow Program was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I was extremely privileged to take part in. Being able to explore New York City and make connections with other artists across the country was a treasure in and of itself. Being able to communicate, collaborate, live, and dance with other artists was an amazing gift, and the Mark Morris Shadow Program provided the ideal venue."

—Anna Clarke

"I found the MMDG Summer Intensive to be both inviting and challenging, as well as vigorous in working my mind and body. The faculty and company members created an environment that welcomed the exploration of technique, choreography, somatic work, etc. As someone who has had little experience with summer programs, I greatly appreciated the intimate size of classes and the opportunities that that provided. Not only do I feel as though I became a stronger technician, but I now have resources and connections to build upon within the dance community. The relationship between MMDG and that of our department is incredible and unique, and I highly advise anyone and everyone to take advantage!"

—Alison Rhoades

The Program

The Mark Morris Shadow Program, sponsored jointly by the Mark Morris Dance Group, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, and Dance at Illinois, provides a singular opportunity for students to interact with this renowned professional company. During MMDG's Krannert Center spring residency, students take company classes, attend rehearsals, join in outreach activities, watch performances, and spend informal time with company members. Shadows are also invited to take part in the MMDG Summer Intensive.

Once selected, students continue through the program during their time as dance majors. Free tuition for the MMDG Summer Intensive is offered for all Shadows, and additional funding may be available to cover other costs.

Community Outreach

One Shadow with interest and experience in teaching and community outreach is chosen specifically to assist the company members in their engagement programs. If you are interested in this position, please indicate your desire to participate in educational programs on your application and detail your background in teaching and outreach.


The Mark Morris Shadow Program is open to sophomore and junior dance majors in good standing. The committee consisting of Rebecca Nettl-Fiol (chair), Linda Lehovec, and Endalyn Taylor will choose the students for this extraordinary chance to interact with a professional company.

Selection Criteria

  • Maturity and ability to work on a deep level in class
  • Technical and artistic ability
  • Proven dedication to classes and rehearsals
  • Quality of application narrative and relevance of the program to future goals

Submit your application online.


Mark Morris Shadows Relate Their Experiences

"As a Mark Morris Shadow, we were given the opportunity to experience a professional dance company from multiple points of view. As a dancer, we took company technique classes surrounded by dance professionals while Mark Morris instructed the class. By taking class with the MMDG, we experienced how company members interacted with each other, as well as Mark's relationship with his company members. There was a sense of welcoming into their community that could be received only by physically moving with the other dancers. As a choreographer, watching the spacing rehearsals in a professional theatre was an amazing experience to understand how a show is produced. We were able to interact with all members of the company, including the stage directors, lighting designers, and costume crew members—all of whom answered questions about the production of the show and logistics of taking a professional dance company on tour. Many functional elements of the tour, from booking the hotel to keeping the company fed during long rehearsal days, were revealed throughout this Shadow Program. As dance teachers, we had the opportunity to interact with the MMDG outreach programs in the neighboring communities. The fantastic encounter between the children and company members revealed an aspect of the company different from its performance position. Finally, as public viewers, we were able to attend the company's performance that tied all of the viewpoints together. From class to the performance, we participated in every moment as if we were members of the tour. The knowledge gained from interacting with each member and engaging in every event is of immeasurable proportion. The Mark Morris Shadow Program gave me a real-life understanding of becoming a professional dancer."

—Katherine Roarty

"This was the second year I went to the intensive and I enjoyed it more the second time around. The days are full of dancing and there are meetings during the lunch break when former and current company members talk about different experiences they've had in the professional dance world. It's a fairly small intensive, about 80 students, and that gives it a nice, intimate feel and also really gives you a chance to get to know the teachers and have them get to know you."

—Annie Flaherty

"Through talking to the company members, taking class with them, and learning from Mark Morris himself, I feel like I got a glimpse into professional dancers' lives. It is so interesting to see the way that the company members take class and their approach to movement. They were all so welcoming to us as well, which I really enjoyed."

—Stephanie Azzaretto

"Being a part of the Mark Morris Shadow Program exposed me to a variety of experiences that I otherwise wouldn't have had the opportunity to do. Taking company class from Mark Morris himself and observing rehearsals provided me with great insight into company life. I was able to talk with company members on a personal level, asking about their training background and how they got started with the company, among other things. Through the scholarship I received, I was also able to take my first trip to New York, which was an incredible experience in itself. The intensive was full of different and interesting classes taught by former Mark Morris dancers. It was also great to learn the repertoire from the people who had danced it themselves."

—Kathryn Williams