Fancy footwork could help you box step toward scholarships for dance students that save precious tuition dollars.
Dance majors typically lead to BFA or MFA degrees for artists inspired by the movements of Gene Kelly, Anna Pavlova, Michael Jackson, Isadora Duncan, and other greats. Studying dance involves training the mind and body to artfully express emotion through diverse styles from ballroom to hip-hop. Creative, self-disciplined students attend NASD-accredited universities nationwide with the dream of hitting Broadway or the Los Angeles Dance Theater.
According to the BLS, hiring among dance companies is projected to increase by 5 percent through 2024 for roughly 1,100 new roles. Get the financial funding to perfect your technique and edge out the competition by choreographing a search through these 25 great dance scholarships.
1. Against the Grain Artistic Scholarship
Deadline: May 31st
Against the Grain Productions awards the Artistic Scholarship for $1,000 annually to graduating high school seniors or current undergraduates who are pursuing full-time majors in the visual and performing arts, including dance. Eligibility criteria requires being at least 50 percent Asian or Pacific Islander, permanently residing in the United States, carrying a cumulative GPA above 3.0, displaying leadership in extracurricular activities, and submitting a high-quality portfolio.
Against the Grain Artistic Scholarship
3839 McKinney Avenue Suite 155-231
Dallas, TX 75204
2. Arts for Life! Scholarship Fund
Deadline: February 1st
Established by First Lady Columba Bush in 1999, the Arts for Life! Scholarship Fund bestows $1,000 awards upon 25 college-bound high school seniors across Florida each year. The College Matching Program can provide $1,000 extra from select schools like Palm Beach State, Miami Dade, and Florida Southern. Eligible incoming freshmen must submit a personal essay and creative portfolio in the five disciplines: dance, drama, music, visual art, and writing.
Arts for Life! Scholarship Fund
P.O. Box 10691
Tallahassee, FL 32302
3. Beverly Miller Dance Scholarships
Deadline: October 28th
As a dance fashion retailer in New Jersey, Costume Gallery has provided the Beverly Miller Dance Scholarships since 1999 when her 50-year dancing and teaching career ended after a breast cancer battle. Annually, one $1,000 and 18 $500 scholarships are given to wonderful artists from age 12 through 21 who are enrolled in public or private dance programs. Interested U.S. and Canadian citizens must submit a 150-word statement about their dancing passion.
Beverly Miller Dance Scholarships
700 Creek Road
Delanco, NJ 08075
4. CBC Spouses Performing Arts Scholarship
Deadline: April 21st
Partnered with Heineken USA, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Spouses Foundation awards the Performing Arts Scholarship for $3,000 to African Americans who are enrolled as full-time undergraduates with majors in drama, dance, music, opera, and theatre. Suitable applicants must legally reside in the United States, be community service leaders, excel academically with a 2.5 GPA or better, provide a two-minute visual recording sample, and send two recommendations.
CBC Spouses Performing Arts Scholarship
1720 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20036
5. Cyril McNiff Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: December 10th
The Irish Dance Teacher’s Association of North America (IDTANA) gifts the Cyril McNiff Memorial Scholarship for $750 to $2,500 to students who excel in the classroom and dance studio. Graduating high school seniors with Irish dance experience who are enrolling in accredited bachelor’s programs, especially for the performing arts, can apply. Current recipients attend top-notch schools like Yale, Stanford, Dartmouth, Elon, and Clemson full-time. Don’t forget a recommendation from a TCRG-certified dance teacher.
Cyril McNiff Memorial Scholarship
6826 Olney Laytonsville Road
Laytonsville, MD 20882
6. Dizzy Feet Foundation Scholarships
Supported by celebrities like Miley Cyrus and Jenna Elfman, the Dizzy Feet Foundation was started in 2009 by So You Think You Can Dance producer Nigel Lythgoe. Each year, several scholarships, including the Gene Kelly Legacy Scholarship, provide $10,000 to talented young adults aged 15 and older who are perfecting their dance at accredited studios and colleges nationwide. Nominees are judged based on technical skill, artistic expression, financial need, and professional promise.
Dizzy Feet Foundation Scholarships
5455 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 2020
Los Angeles, CA 90036
7. Dr. Edward and Anne Link Scholarship
Deadline: February 15th
The Community Foundation of Shelby County grants the Dr. Edward and Anne Link Scholarship for $2,500 annually to Ohioans who are working towards bachelor’s or master’s degrees in the visual and performing arts. Qualified dancers must live in Shelby County for 12+ months, complete at least their freshman year, attend accredited U.S. universities, possess a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, and attach two letters of recommendation.
Dr. Edward and Anne Link Scholarship
100 S. Main Avenue Suite 202
Sidney, OH 45365
8. Elizabeth Furber Fellowship Program
Deadline: July 15th
The American Indian Graduate Center (AIGC) awards roughly $1.2 million in scholarships annually, including the Elizabeth Further Fellowship Program. For up to $5,000, Native American or Alaskan Native women with one-fourth Indian blood must be enrolled full-time in master’s programs for the arts, such as dance and dance education. Online applications must include a transcript showing a minimum 3.0 GPA, Student Aid Report (SAR), Tribal Eligibility Certification (TEC), and typed 250-word essay.
Elizabeth Furber Fellowship Program
3701 San Mateo Blvd. NE Suite 200
Albuquerque, NM 87110
9. Emma Sue Gibbons Scholarship
Deadline: December 1st
At Texas A&M University-College Station, the Emma Sue Gibbons Scholarship awards $1,000 from the College of Education & Human Development to talented dancers entering the B.S. in Kinesiology Dance Science program full-time. Qualified undergrads must carry a minimum major GPA of 3.0, score at least 1000 on the SAT or 24 on the ACT, participate in the Teen Summer Dance Intensive, and enroll in DCED Modern Dance I or above.
Emma Sue Gibbons Scholarship
540 Ross Street Suite 4222
College Station, TX 77843
10. Florence Lemke Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: March 1st
Worth $1,000, the Florence Lemke Memorial Scholarship is administered by the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Washington to support the children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren of honorably discharged veterans from the U.S. Armed Forces. Graduating high school seniors from the “Evergreen State” must be enrolling in accredited colleges for fine arts majors, such as music, theatre, dance, architecture, and photography. Three recommendation letters attesting to candidates’ academic merit and character are required.
Florence Lemke Memorial Scholarship
3600 Ruddell Road SE
Lacey, WA 98503
11. Forest Foundation Dance Scholarships
Deadline: February 1st
The Forest Foundation Dance Scholarships grant $1,500 annually to two full-time students at Columbia College Chicago who are earning the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Dance. Accepted applicants must already hold 12+ college credits, possess a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, demonstrate outstanding talent, and participate actively in the Chicago dance community. The application process involves writing a one-page essay and choreographing a maximum four-minute performance.
Forest Foundation Dance Scholarships
600 S. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60605
12. Gregory Hines Youth Scholarship
Deadline: September 4th
Named after the Tony Award-winning dancer who performed in Jelly’s Last Jam, White Nights, and more, the Gregory Hines Youth Scholarship is distributed by the American Tap Dance Foundation (ATDF) yearly. It’s intended to cover half of tuition for youth tap classes and weekend intensives for dancers between 13 and 19 years old. Preference is given to future stage performers of underrepresented minority groups and low socio-economic status.
Gregory Hines Youth Scholarship
154 Christopher Street #2B
New York, NY 10014
13. Iowa Scholarships for the Arts
Deadline: March 1st
Located in Des Moines, the Iowa Arts Council Board provides multiple $1,500 scholarships every Spring to college-bound high schoolers who are pursuing artistic professions, including dance, music, theatre, and painting. Future artists must live within the “Hawkeye State,” gain admission at accredited in-state institutes, and demonstrate strong artistic quality. Online applications via SlideRoom must have one reference letter, five video dance recordings, and a 500-word career aspirations essay.
Iowa Scholarships for the Arts
600 E. Locust Street
Des Moines, IA 50319
14. Jean Lee/Jeff Marvin Scholarships
Deadline: January 15th
Affiliated with SHAPE America, the Indiana Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (IAHPERD) gifts six Jean Lee/Jeff Marvin Scholarships for $1,000 each year. Suitable applicants will be full-time undergraduates carrying 12+ credits at Indiana post-secondary institutions for relevant academic majors, including dance. After considering scholastic merit, financial need, professional potential, faculty recommendations, and campus participation, judges will announce the recipients in April.
Jean Lee/Jeff Marvin Scholarships
14059 Old Mill Circle
Carmel, IN 46032
15. Joci Awards Performing Arts Scholarships
Deadline: February 10th
Founded in 1988 within San Antonio’s Majestic Theatre, the Las Casas Foundation has awarded nearly $700,000 total with its Joci Awards Performing Arts Scholarships. High school students in grades 9-12 audition each Spring in five musical theatre categories: vocal music, acting, dance, best lead actress, and best lead actor. Finalists can receive up to $10,000 for attending U.S. undergraduate institutions with diverse majors from business to pharmacy.
Joci Awards Performing Arts Scholarships
222 East Houston Street
San Antonio, TX 78205
16. Kate Neal Kinley Memorial Fellowships
Deadline: December 3rd
The College of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has one of America’s most lucrative scholarships for dance students. The Kate Neal Kinley Memorial Fellowship honors the Alpha Chi Omega sorority founder by providing $20,000 to high-achieving students declaring full-time majors in architecture, art, dance, landscape design, theatre, music, and urban planning before their 25th birthday. Fellows are selected based on academic marks, moral character, and seriousness of purpose.
Kate Neal Kinley Memorial Fellowships
608 E. Lorado Taft Drive
Champaign, IL 61820
17. MAHPERD Emerging Leaders Scholarship
Deadline: May 20th
Dancers who are enrolling full-time in teacher preparation programs for dance education could benefit with at least $1,000 from the Maryland Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance’s (MAHPERD) Emerging Leaders Scholarship. Eligible “Free State” residents must rank in the upper half of their graduating class, enter an accredited U.S. institution, possess a cumulative GPA above 2.5, show evidence of leadership skills, and excel in extracurricular dance activities.
MAHPERD Emerging Leaders Scholarship
828 Dulaney Valley Road Suite 8
Towson, MD 21204
18. Mary Doctor Performing Arts Scholarship
Deadline: March 16th
Created by Blumenthal Performing Arts to honor an astute North Carolina philanthropist, the Mary Doctor Scholarship Fund presents two $10,000 awards yearly to graduating high school seniors from the Charlotte metropolitan area. It’s designed to lower tuition at accredited U.S. undergraduate institutions for taking 12+ credits per term in performing arts majors, including music, dance, theatre, and technical stage production. Applicants’ CD or DVD portfolios must include four minutes of artistic performance.
Mary Doctor Performing Arts Scholarship
130 North Tryon Street
Charlotte, NC 28202
19. Merck Respiratory Will to Win Scholarship
Deadline: April 30th
Merck Respiratory started the Will to Win Scholarship Program to bestow two $5,000 awards in five separate categories, including performing arts for dancers, singers, and actors. Eligibility criteria requires being diagnosed with asthma, graduating from a public or private U.S. high school, entering the college freshman year this Fall, upholding a minimum average of 3.5, and showing outstanding artistic achievement despite breathing struggles.
Merck Respiratory Will to Win Scholarship
P.O. Box 6503
Carlstadt, NJ 07072
20. National YoungArts Foundation Scholarships
Deadline: October 16th
Promising artists aged 15 to 18 years old could receive the National YoungArts Foundation’s elite scholarships by submitting portfolios for one of the 10 accepted disciplines, including dance. Recipients are honored with $10,000 cash awards, master classes, lifetime mentoring with choreographers like Debbie Allen, and eligibility for the U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts. Dancers must pass technique auditions in their chosen style: ballet, hip-hop, jazz, modern, tap, or world dance forms.
National YoungArts Foundation Scholarships
2100 Biscayne Blvd.
Miami, FL 33137
21. NYCDA Foundation College Scholarships
Deadline: June 15th
Ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 each, the New York City Dance Alliance (NYCDA) Foundation’s College Scholarships have been offered since 2011 for dancers who will pursue performance-based majors at accredited U.S. colleges. In July, high school juniors and seniors audition at the Sheraton NY with ballet and contemporary workshops. Recruiters from top dance schools like Point Park, Mercyhurst, Montclair State, Hartt, and Manhattan Marymount will also attend.
NYCDA Foundation College Scholarships
602 W. 66th Street West
New York, NJ 07093
22. Oregon DDCA Dance Scholarship
Deadline: February 10th
The Oregon Dance & Drill Coaches Association (DDCA) provides a $1,000 Dance Scholarship annually to members of in-state high school dance teams who are pursuing higher education. Qualified recipients must hold senior academic standing, participate in at least two DDCA sanctioned competitions, maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or better, and be accepted at accredited universities. Finalists must audition a ballet, contemporary, or jazz piece in mid-February at Canby High School.
Oregon DDCA Dance Scholarship
4736 Royal Avenue Suite 120
Eugene, OR 97402
23. Princess Grace Foundation Awards
Deadline: May 1st
Emerging artists can pursue the Princess Grace Foundation Awards for up to $30,000 within the playwriting, theatre, dance performance, choreography, or film categories. Dancers must be affiliated with nonprofit colleges or dance companies, have been dance majors for 12+ months, legally reside in the United States, and display artistic excellence. Nominees submit online portfolios with a resume, personal statement, high-resolution photo, and two solo dance compilations.
Princess Grace Foundation Awards
150 East 58th Street
New York, NY 10155
24. Shelton Hall Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: May 8th
Sponsored by the Arts Council of Fairfax County, the Reston Community Players gifts the Shelton Hall Memorial Scholarship for $1,500 to Northern Virginia high school seniors who are pursuing higher education in the performing arts, including music, theatre, and dance. Applicants primarily in Reston and Herndon counties who are committed to theatrical achievement can apply each Spring with a transcript, personal statement, and video recording. There’s also the Bruce Marson Memorial Scholarship for $1,000.
Shelton Hall Memorial Scholarship
266 Sunset Park Drive
Herndon, VA 20170
25. St. Olaf Dance Merit Scholarship
Deadline: January 15th
Valued at $4,000 to $8,000 per year, the Dance Merit Scholarship at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, is awarded to full-time undergraduates who exhibit exceptional dance talent. The renewable, four-year program seeks dance and non-dance majors who will participate in the Dance Department’s performing company or movement-intensive classes. To receive an audition in the Dittmann Center, applicants must submit an online application and detailed dance resume.
St. Olaf Dance Merit Scholarship
1520 St. Olaf Avenue
Northfield, MN 55057
Formal studio training is quite expensive with private dance lessons costing $45 to $125 on average. Prices rise exponentially in higher education with dance programs charging mean yearly tuition of $9,410 at public and $32,410 at private universities. Financial aid is essential to build your professional dance portfolio without breaking your budget. Scholarships, grants, and fellowships are free funding opportunities that won’t incur debt off-stage. Whether you’re a ballerina or tapper, these scholarships for dance can help you leap towards your performance goals.