Dance Advance

November 29 -
December 1, 2024
Seattle, Washington

A Transformative Training Intensive for the Body, Mind, and Soul With an Audition for FGDW Intensives, Scholarships, and the Zeitgeist Dance Theatre Trainee Program Scholarships.

A Thanksgiving Weekend in Seattle You’ll Always Remember.

Almost 30 Hours of Exceptional Training in 3 Days.

Expert Faculty Mentors Led by Master Teacher Francisco Gella.

This three-day holiday weekend intensive focuses on providing a strong foundation in ballet, modern, and jazz techniques, accompanied by diverse movement styles and genres as well as choreographic repertory from Francisco Gella and Yusha-Marie Sorzano. Francisco and Yusha-Marie are Co-Artistic Directors of Zeitgeist Dance Theatre. Our curriculum is designed to unlock the potential that exists within every participant.

Frequently called a ‘breath of fresh air’ by students, parents, teachers and directors alike, every one of Francisco Gella’s programs delivers on a central commitment: To transform hardworking young adults into remarkable young artists regardless of body type or background, and instilling a belief in them that anything is possible with hard work, a sense of purpose, and a willingness to take risks.

SDA returns on
November 29 - December 1, 2024!

To learn about the intensive, please review the program information below. Registration for SDA 2024 Opens in Summer 2024. Join our interest list to receive an alert when enrollment goes live.

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SDA returns on November 29 - December 1, 2024!

Seattle Dance Advance offers different options for enrollment outlined below. We offer enrollment at 50% deposits up to 30 days before the program begins so that you may hold your space in the program. The balance for those enrolling with a deposit will be due on November 1.

Registration for SDA 2024 Opens in Summer 2024

3 Day Enrollment

$695 for Earlybird Registration (expires on September 15)

$765 for Regular General Registration (after September 15)
$445 for College Students Earlybird Registration*

$485 for College Student General Registration
$195 Teacher Observation Passes

*College student discount is available for those students who have already graduated from high school and are currently enrolled as an undergraduate in a university. You'll be asked to verify the institution where you are enrolled as you register.

**A one-time $9.95 convenience fee will be added when enrolling with a 50% deposit.

One Day Passes

$265 One Day Pass

*Day passes may be available no sooner than 1-2 weeks prior to the event and are based on space availability.

Studios and Conservatories

Any studio or conservatory with 10 or more dancers attending, is eligible for a group rate discount. Please contact us in the chatbox below or email us to make arrangements.

Parent Involvement

We embrace parents' involvement in their dancer's journey. In this spirit, parents are encouraged to attend our welcome/orientation session and the closing session. We will also open up selected classes to observe throughout the weekend.


The Seattle Dance Advance is limited to intermediate and advanced preprofessional dancers ages 10-22 due to the rigorous requirements of the program. For the purposes of this workshop, ‘Intermediate/Advanced’ is roughly defined as a student preprofessional having danced for at least one year in a studio as a company member with a minimum of 3 hours of Ballet training per week and 10 hours total weekly of dance classes, or enrolled in a conservatory setting with at least six hours of Ballet a week and a minimum of 10 hours of total weekly dance classes.

Although the above is required, what is most important is that dancers come with a strong desire to be challenged and grow. If you have any questions about eligibility, please reach out. We are happy to discuss and advise on your situation.

Auditions for the Zeitgeist Dance Theatre Trainee Program,FGDW Intensives, and Scholarship Awards

Along with the exceptional training you’ll receive from our faculty, there’s another important reason to attend the Seattle Dance Advance!

Our intensive is a designated audition location for the Zeitgeist Dance Theatre Trainee Program (ages 17 - 24) and the Preprofessional Dancer Institute (ages 13 - 18). Selected dancers will be invited to interview for the Trainee Program and others will be granted early admission to the Institute.

Scholarships will be awarded for Francisco Gella’s Ballet+ (beyond technique) intensive in Miami, the New Century Dance Project Choreographic and Performance Workshop in Santa Fe, New Year’s Training Camp in Los Angeles, and of course, Seattle Dance Advance. All of these programs will be held between June and December 2025. Scholarships will be awarded for each program.

There’s nothing extra you need to do when enrolling in Seattle Dance Advance and there is no extra cost if you’d like to audition. Our staff will reach out to everyone who has enrolled before the program begins to find out if you’d like to register for the audition.

The Joan Myers Brown
Equity Dance Scholarship Fund

A limited amount of scholarships are available for especially deserving dancers. Scholarships will be allocated according to the combined consideration of both merit and financial need. Decisions on scholarships will be made a few weeks after each deadline. Since a limited amount of scholarship awards will be offered, it is better to apply by the early deadline. Please click below to learn more about this opportunity and to apply.

Scholarship Application Deadlines


Deadline for Fall Programs


Late and Final Deadline for Fall Programs

About the Seattle Dance Advance Intensive

For dancers, the future is shaped by the choices they make now to prepare for their success. When given the proper information and tools, dancers, as well as their parents and teachers who support them, have the keys to unlock the full potential that exists within every human.

It is in this spirit that the Seattle Dance Advance Intensive - always held the weekend following the Thanksgiving holiday - was introduced in 2016 by master educator and choreographer Francisco Gella. Bringing this world-class training program to the Pacific Northwest is a result of Francisco’s desire to return to the city that ignited his passion for the art form while a dance student at the University of Washington. Along with his team of expert faculty mentors, Francisco will generously share his deep knowledge and expertise refined in his 30+ years as a student, professional dancer, gymnastics coach, teaching artist, and choreographer.

Highly-acclaimed choreographer and dance educator Francisco Gella has introduced his revolutionary philosophy and approach to dance training to thousands of dancers around the world through intensives, masterclasses, and individual instruction. For seven years since the introduction of our program in Miami, young dancers have had the opportunity to spend eight-days with Francisco and his team through this innovative program called Ballet+ (beyond technique).

Ballet+ is much more than an intensive. It’s a powerful idea and a transformative experience. The program is based on his extensive thirty-year dance career and his background in gymnastics coaching. With an integrated teaching approach, he incorporates spirituality, psychology, physiology, and kinesthetic awareness – all toward developing dancers into holistic and versatile performers and most importantly, human beings. The results are astounding.

Our carefully designed curriculum accelerates the learning of children, youth, and pre-professionals, and assists them in being fully prepared and motivated for a successful summer of dance experiences – whether going to an intensive, a national competition or staying at your home studio to train in preparation for a college dance program or professional audition.

With the guidance and knowledge of expert faculty mentors, each with years of experience dedicated to education, training, performance, and choreography, young dancers quickly become more aware of their own body and the mind’s connection to it. Regardless of how long they’ve been dancing, participants grow more than they likely ever believed they could and get closer to realizing their full potential.

Sample Schedule

To help you prepare for the experience, here is a downloadable PDF of last year’s schedule as an example of what you can expect this year. We will provide the 2024 class schedule closer to the program launch in November.


Friday: 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM


Saturday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM


Sunday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Student dancers are required to participate for the entire three days of the program to experience the desired results.

Class Size & Age Groups

Space will be limited to up to 150 dancers for the three days and dancers will be broken up into three groups based on the following age groups. Grades 10 – College; grades 7-9; and grades 4-6 (subject to slight adjustments).

Class size will be limited to approximately 50 dancers. Although classes will be based on age group, faculty reserve the right to move a student to a different class if it is clear they will benefit from the change.

Based on enrollment history, we expect that this program will sell out.

Teaching Artists & Mentors

Francisco Gella (he/him)

Founding Artistic Director & Core Faculty

Ballet, Modern, Contemporary, Improv, Choreography

Francisco Gella’s distinguished thirty-year career as a compelling dancer, award-winning choreographer, and widely recognized dance educator, began when he took his first formal dance class during his freshman year at the age of nineteen. His innovative choreography and highly effective teaching methods are sought after by professional companies, universities, arts high schools, ballet conservatories, and studios across North America and around the globe.  

In addition to a successful performance and choreographic career, Francisco is a renowned educator, artistic director, and arts entrepreneur. He is the founding co-artistic director of Zeitgeist Dance Theatre launched in January of 2020. He is also the founding artistic director of NUEVO School of Contemporary Dance and COLABO Youth Dance Collective (2008-2015). As Chief Creative Officer of Francisco Gella Dance Works, he has created numerous influential educational programs; Ballet+ (beyond technique) workshops, the Preprofessional Dancer Institute, New Year’s Training Camp, Seattle Dance Advance, the New Century Dance Project (a festival for choreography and performance) and the College Dance and Career Prep program. Additionally, Francisco is the lead ballet and modern faculty member, and adjudicator for the 24 Seven Dance Convention.

Yusha-Marie Sorzano (she/her)

Core Faculty

Ballet, Modern, African Based Movement, and Rep

Yusha-Marie Sorzano is an Afro-Caribbean immigrant hailing from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. She is a relentless, dynamic performing artist, choreographer, director, and educator who has worked in concert dance, theater, opera, television, and film. Ms. Sorzano is an alumna of Armour Dance Theatre, Dance Theatre of Harlem, and New World School of the Arts, and she is a Winner in Dance from YoungArts. She graduated from the Ailey/Fordham BFA program, and in her junior year, she joined Ailey II on invitation.

To date, Ms. Sorzano has performed in 8 renowned dance companies, including Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, TU Dance, Morphoses, BODYTRAFFIC, and LA Dance Project. She is currently a member of Camille A. Brown & Dancers, having been an original cast member of both the Bessie-nominated Black Girl: Linguistic Play, and Ink, the 2nd and 3rd installments of Brown’s acclaimed trilogy. Ms. Sorzano is currently co-leading and choreographing a new musical titled We Won’t Sleep, and she is a special faculty and a mentor at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in the School of Dance. She will rejoin CalArts in Fall 2022 as Director of the BFA Program in the School of Dance.

Courtney Ortiz (she/her)

Teaching Artist
Jazz Technique and Musical Theatre

Courtney Ortiz is a New York City based professional dancer, educator, adjudicator and proud YoungARTS award winner. Her professional dance and teaching career has allowed her to travel the world performing in places such as: Dubai, Canada, Mexico, Spain, Germany, Australia, and France. Her career spans from stage to screen with credits including: the Broadway National Tour of Finding Neverland, Lin Manuel Miranda’s In The HeightsThe Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring The Rockettes, and the first ever revival in 30 years of Jerome Robbins’ Broadway at The Muny’s 100th Season! You can also catch Courtney’s feet tap dancing in the hit FX series, “Fosse/Verdon”, where she was the dance double for Young Bob Fosse! One of her favorite and most memorable credits was performing original Jerome Robbins’ choreography throughout Europe on the International Tour of the classic musical West Side Story.

Outside of performing, Courtney is an international dance educator and in-demand dance adjudicator. She has been teaching on faculty with numerous dance conventions for over 10 years. Courtney is on guest faculty at the legendary Steps on Broadway and currently serves as the audition choreographer for RWS Entertainment Group where she travels worldwide to audition dancers for future opportunities on cruise ships. Courtney is also the proud owner of Impact Dance Adjudicators and the host of their popular dance podcast Making The Impact - A Dance Competition Podcast. This season, she will be on tour with The Streetz Dance Convention as their jazz faculty and teacher judge! She absolutely loves sharing her passion for dance with the next generation and encourages all dancers to do what they love and live their dream! Follow her on Instagram @courtney.ortiz and tune in to her dance podcast on Apple Podcasts and Spotify!

Benjamin Peralta (he/him)

Teaching Artist
Ballet, Contemporary, Yoga

Benjamin Peralta (he/him)

Teaching Artist

Ballet, Contemporary, Yoga

Benjamin Peralta (he/him) grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, where he danced competitively and trained at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts. In 2018, Peralta left home to pursue a BFA in dance at the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance as part of the Class of 2022. While studying at USC Kaufman, Peralta performed the works of artists such as William Forsythe, Jiří Kylián, Ohad Naharin, Barak Marshall, Bret Easterling, and more. Peralta was an inaugural company member of Zeitgeist Dance Theatre under the direction of Francisco Gella and Yusha Sorzano (2020-2021). In 2022, Peralta had the honor of staging William Forsythe’s ‘The Barre Project’ alongside Jodie Gates and William Forsythe at the Dance Theatre of Harlem, New York. He is currently a company member with Ballet BC in Vancouver, BC. During his time here, he has performed works by Medhi Walerski, Sharon Eyal, Johan Inger, and Roy Assaf, to name a few.

Kirsten Cooper

Kirsten Cooper (she/her)

Teaching Artist
Contemporary Jazz

Kirsten Cooper trained in Washington State then moved to Los Angeles when she was nineteen years where she primarily trained at Edge Performing Arts Center with Rhonda Miller, Liz Imperio, Jeff Amsden, Bill Prudich, Randy Allaire and many more. She also assisted and performed with/for Rhonda Miller, Jeff Amsden and Liz Imperio in class, conventions and various projects. While in Los Angeles she worked in film, video and stage. Kirsten danced on Costa Cruise Lines, toured demonstrating with Los Angeles Dance Force and Jeff Amsden instructional videos, Sony Disc Industrial Film and numerous ABBA hair shows.

Kirsten now teaches full time in the Seattle area as well as traveling the U.S. to do choreography and master classes. She regularly teaches at Westlake Dance Center and is the director of their pre-professional company. She does monthly master series classes throughout the Pacific Northwest and loves connecting with so many students. She was honored to teach in Bulgaria at the Iliev Dance Art Foundation Spring Dance It intensive in 2016-2018. Kirsten also teaches in the summer at the Pacific Northwest Summer Program as well as guest teaching for Pacific Dance Project and SpoDance convention. 

Alejandra Preciado (she/her)

Guest Teaching Artist
Contemporary Technique, Contemporary Rep

Alejandra Preciado (she/her)

Guest Teaching Artist

Contemporary Technique, Contemporary Rep

Alejandra (Ale) Preciado (she/her) is originally from Panama City, Panama where she started dancing at three years old. After her family relocated to Salt Lake City, Utah she began training in ballet, contemporary, jazz, hip-hop, and ballroom. She finished her training at Ballet West Academy, and through the mentorship of Francisco Gella she attended the Alonzo King Lines Ballet B.F.A. Program at Dominican University. During her time there, she worked with many different choreographers, including Gregory Dawson, Brett Conway, and Alice Klock. After graduating college in 2019, she began freelance work in San Francisco with multiple organizations such as SFDANCEWORKS. In 2021 Ale joined NW Dance Project as a company artist where she has performed works by Sarah Slipper, Ihsan Rustem, Yin Yue, Joseph Hernandez, Caroline Finn, Bryan Arias, and many more choreographers. In her time at NW Dance Project Ale has also taught at their intensives and school. She is eager and passionate to share her experiences with the next generation.

Venue Information

University of Washington

Meany Center for the Performing Arts
Seattle, Washington

Program Location

Seattle Dance Advance will be held at the University of Washington.

University of Washington


SDA staff have arranged for a limited number of discounted hotel rooms close to the University of Washington campus for dancers and their families traveling from a distance. You'll want to make your reservation early since there is a limited number.

Discounted Hotel Block Details:

  • Graduate Seattle: 4507 Brooklyn Avenue NE, Seattle, WA, 98105
  • 139.00per night + tax
  • Rooms available at this rate from Thursday, November 28 check-in until Sunday, December 1check-out.
  • Double Queen Rooms

There is no onsite self-parking but there are some lots closeby that will be less expensive. The hotel is a great choice for your stay as it's only a short 8-10 minute walk to the Meany Hall dance studios on the University of Washington campus. There is a light rail station just outside the SDA hotel. For those flying into Seattle, you will not need a car. It's roughly a $5 ride on the light rail from SeaTac Airport to the Graduate Hotel. There are many walkable food options in the University Ave. District (where the hotel is located). The light rail also takes folks to numerous other areas in the city.

About Seattle, Washington


Seattle is a city of many neighborhoods: eclectic, urban, outdoorsy, artsy, gritty, down-to-earth, or posh—it's all here, from the quirky character of the Seattle Waterfront and the eccentric "Republic of Fremont," to hipsters walking baby carriages past aging mansions on Capitol Hill. There's something for just about everyone within this vibrant Emerald City.

Indeed, part of Seattle’s diversity lies in the topography: the city is a feat of environmental engineering. When the Denny party arrived on its shores, "Seattle" was a series of densely forested valleys covered by Douglas fir, Western hemlock, and red cedar. Where SoDo (the stadium district south of Downtown) currently is was nothing but mudflats. Pioneer Square was actually an island of sorts where Duwamish tribespeople crossed to the mainland over sandbars.

Indeed, part of Seattle’s diversity lies in the topography: the city is a feat of environmental engineering. Once Seattle started to grow, its residents literally changed the landscape. Massive Denny Hill once occupied the Belltown neighborhood, but it simply had to go. The multistage "regrade" started in 1899 and was completed 32 years later. The Denny Hill Regrade was just one of dozens of projects; another equally ambitious earth-moving mission was the construction of the canal that links Lake Washington to Puget Sound. Today, the city is once again moving a lot of earth around with the construction of a light-rail line across the city; it’s changing the look, feel, and energy of neighborhoods as a result.

It's hard to think of Seattle as anything but natural, though. After all, the city owes much of its appeal to its natural features—the myriad hills that did survive settlement offer views of mountain ranges and water, water, water. Outside Downtown and other smaller commercial cores, Seattle's neighborhoods fan out in tangles of tree-lined streets. Massive parks like Discovery, Magnuson, and Washington Park Arboretum make Seattle one of the greenest and most livable cities in the nation. From the peaks of the Olympics or Cascades to an artistically landscaped garden in front of a classic Northwest bungalow, nature is in full effect every time you turn your head.

Taking a stroll, browsing a bookstore, or enjoying a cup of coffee can feel different in every one of Seattle’s neighborhoods. It's the adventure of exploring that will really introduce you to the character of Seattle.

(Taken from 'Fodor's Travel Guide’)

Cancellation & Refund Policy

No full refunds will be issued for registered participants. A 50% credit to another program will be issued with cancellations made up to sixty days prior to the start of the program. An exception will be made for documented medical or health reasons due to an unforeseen injury or illness. For dancers with an injury or illness that prevents them from participating, 100% of the tuition will be refunded up to thirty days prior to the start of the program. If the illness or injury reported to the program director is under 30 days, a 50% refund will be issued no more than five business days after the completion of the program and the other 50% may be used as a credit for another program in the next twelve months that is produced and owned by Francisco Gella Dance Works. In the case of any injury or illness, a documented note or letter from a licensed physician on their letterhead must be submitted prior to the start of the program, before a refund will be considered. Injuries or illnesses taking place after the program begins, or are that are reported after the program begins, are not eligible for a credit or refund.

Feel free to contact us in the chatbox below or email us if you have any questions.