Seattle Dance Advance

Training to Transform

~ November 27-29, 2020 ~

Due to studio facility restrictions and for reasons of participant safety related to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, this year’s Seattle Dance Advance has been canceled. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at We look forward to being back in Seattle in the Fall of 2021!


  • Early bird pricing ends March 31, 2020.
  • If enrolling with a 50% deposit, the balance is due prior to October 1, 2020.
  • 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.

Teacher Observer Passes

Teachers are invited to observe classes throughout the weekend. In addition to observation, there will be several workshops planned for teachers or directors only.  A teacher pass must be purchased in advance for $125.

Parent Involvement

Parents are invited to the opening orientation session, the closing session, as well as a workshop or two that will focus on helping young dancers prepare for future study and careers.  The cost of these opportunities for involvement is built into the student registration cost.


The Seattle Dance Advance is limited to intermediate and advanced dancers ages 8-21 only 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.

Space will be limited to up to 150 dancers for the three days (students will be broken into groups of up to 50 per studio based on age). We expect that this program will sell-out.


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 on a rolling basis and a limited amount of scholarship awards will be offered, so it is best to apply early. Please click HERE to learn more about this opportunity and to apply.


9/1 – Early Deadline for Fall Programs

1st round review and priority in awarding scholarships

11/1 – Late Deadline for Fall Programs

2nd round review and awarded from any remaining scholarship funds

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.

Held at the Beautiful, Historic Studios of the Cornish College of the Arts.

This three-day holiday weekend intensive focuses on providing a strong foundation in technique accompanied by diverse movement styles and genres – all for the purpose of unlocking 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.

About the Seattle Dance Advance Intensive

For dancers, the future is what they do 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 potential that exists within. With the introduction of The Seattle Dance Advance Intensive, the weekend following Thanksgiving holiday, master educator and choreographer Francisco Gella returns to the city that ignited his passion for the art form while a student at the University of Washington. Along with his team of expert faculty mentors, Francisco will share his deep knowledge and expertise refined in his 25+ years as a performance artist, gymnastics coach, teaching artist, and dance maker.

Brought to you by Francisco Gella Dance Works and Dance Prodigy Booking, Presenting Sponsor.


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 until we update the schedule closer to the program date. Please note, this schedule is subject to change from year to year.

The daily schedule is as follows:  

  • Friday, 8:30am – 6:00pm
  • Saturday, 9:00am – 6:00pm
  • Sunday, 9:00am – 7:00pm

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


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

Teaching Artists & Mentors



Ballet, Modern, Contemporary, Improv, Choreographer

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

Francisco’s choreographic commissions include Repertory Dance Theatre, Ballet Pacifica, California Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet’s Shut-Up and Dance Production, PHILADANCO’s Danco on Danco program, Laguna Dance Festival, Tucson Regional Ballet, University of Utah Ballet Ensemble, University of Washington Faculty Concert, Irvine Valley College, Ballet East, DANCO/II, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts, Orange County School for the Arts and Douglas Anderson School of the Arts.  His commission ‘Between the Lines’, set on PHILADANCO (The Philadelphia Dance Company), premiered at the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts in April, at the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, and was selected by PHILADANCO’S Artistic Director Joan Myers Brown as the company’s sole performance at the opening to the Democratic National Convention in 2016.  

Among the recognition he has received includes numerous choreography awards at the Youth America Grand Prix International Ballet Competition including Outstanding Choreographer, and the Outstanding Choreography Award at the National Regional Dance America Conference in 2007.  In 2013, Francisco premiered ‘Concentric Harmonies’ at Celebrate Dance in Los Angeles, a work that went on to receive the Grand Prize at the McCallum Theatre Choreography Festival in 2014. In 2014 and 2015, his work ‘Solstice’, performed by the Phoenix Ballet had its world premiere at the 60th Anniversary Gala of the Beijing Dance Academy and its European premiere at Poland’s prestigious Lodz International Ballet Festival. In May 2016, his work ‘Souvenirs de Mouvement’ was selected as a featured performance at the nationally recognized Booker T. Washington High School of the Performing & Visual Arts’ annual ‘Flying Horse Gala’. In 2018, Francisco’s work, performed by the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, was selected for the gala performance at the National High School Dance Festival.  Most recently, Francisco was invited to return as a resident artist at the International Dance Festival Palm Springs in 2020 where he has again been commissioned to premiere a new work. And coming up in 2020 he has been invited to create new works for Ballet Idaho and Brigham Young University.

Francisco is the founding artistic director of NUEVO School of Contemporary Dance and COLABO Youth Dance Collective (2008-2015). As founding Chief Creative Officer of Francisco Gella Dance Works, he has created numerous educational programs; Ballet+ (beyond technique) workshops, the Preprofessional Dancer Institute, New Year’s Training Camp, Seattle Dance Advance, the Ballet Company Intensive, the New Century Dance Project (a youth dance festival), the College Prep program, and Dance 360 – an online educational community that provides ongoing knowledge and support for students, parents, and teachers. Additionally, Francisco is the lead ballet and modern faculty member for the 24 Seven Dance Convention and founding director of ARIA Ballet Intensive produced by Break The Floor. Born in Bacolod City, Philippines, Francisco now resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico.



Ballet, Modern, Contemporary, Improv, Choreographer

Yusha Marie Sorzano, Associate Director for Community Engagement at Francisco Gella Dance Works – Originally from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Ms. Sorzano received her primary instruction from New World School of the Arts, Thomas Armour Youth Ballet, and The Dance Theater of Harlem. In her senior year, she received an award for outstanding choreography from New World School of the Arts, as well as an award in dance from the National YoungArts Foundation. She went on to attend the Ailey/Fordham BFA Program and in her junior year was invited to join Ailey II. Ms. Sorzano has been a member of Complexions Contemporary Ballet, The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Morphoses, TU Dance, BODYTRAFFIC, and Camille A. Brown and Dancers. She has also performed as a guest artist with Benjamin Millepied’s LA Dance Project. Ms. Sorzano has performed in principal roles with the Ailey company and in a wide variety of concert works, including works by noted choreographers Ulysses Dove, Maurice Béjart, Hofesh Shechter, Kyle Abraham, and Mauro Bigonzetti. Additionally, she has performed alongside recording artists Wynton Marsalis, Sweet Honey in the Rock, and Rihanna. Her theater, television, and film credits include being a guest artist on “Dancing with the Stars,” principal dancer in Chicago’s acclaimed Goodman Theater’s “Crowns,” and principal dancer in the independent film “You, Me & The Circus”.Deeply passionate about the powerful role that educators play in the lives of young artists, Ms. Sorzano enjoys teaching both nationally and internationally. From Trinidad to the United States and beyond, Ms. Sorzano has had the pleasure of teaching at esteemed educational institutions and festivals around the world, including the Ailey School, Lines Ballet/Dominican Universities BFA Program, TU Dance, Contemporary Choreographers’ Collective, New World School of the Arts, The Windward School, Brasil’s Mostra Danca, and Italy’s Danzainfiera. Ms. Sorzano currently serves as the Artistic Director of the Joffrey Ballet Schools Dallas summer intensive and as an Associate Director for Program Development with Francisco Gella Dance Works.



Contemporary, Improv

Karl Watson grew up outside of Cleveland, Ohio. After training at local studios, he attended Butler University, graduating in 2012 with a B.F.A. in Dance Performance cum laude. Following his graduation, Karl worked with Luna Negra Dance Theater in Chicago. He then joined Visceral Dance Chicago as a founding member. Karl currently works in Seattle with Whim W’him, under the direction of Olivier Wevers. Karl has had the opportunity to perform works by a wide range of contemporary choreographers, including Ohad Naharin, Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, Nacho Duato, Robyn Mineko Williams, Banning Bouldin, Fernando Melo, and Sidra Bell. In addition to his work as a performing artist, Karl is actively involved as an educator. In Chicago, he was the Associate Director of Visceral Studio Company. Karl now teaches throughout the Seattle area and is an adjudicator for VIP Dance.



steven sofia
Musical Theatre, Jazz, Pilates

Steven Sofia is presently teaching Dance and Pilates at Chapman University. Prior to joining the faculty at Chapman, he spent three years as an Artist-in-Residence at the University of Washington for the Musical Theater Program.  Steven is a Broadway performer, dance captain, choreographer and dance and Pilates teacher. His Broadway and National tour credits include Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life, Chicago, Kiss Me Kate, Beauty and The Beast, Guys and Dolls (‘92 revival), and Jerome Robbins’ West Side Story. Some other credits include: A Chorus Line at Olney Theatre (Helen Hayes Award winner for the Best Musical in 2013), An Evening with Betty Buckley at Carnegie Hall, Applause at City Center’s Encores, Susan Stroman’s Contact with Sarasota Ballet at Asolo Rep. Theatre, and several Tony Awards and Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade presentations. He also danced with The American Dance Machine where he worked with such choreographers as Ron Field, Agnes DeMille, Buzz Miller, and Gwen Verdon, to name a few. He has been an assistant to Broadway choreographers Tony Stevens and Chris Chadman. Steven restaged the National Tour of Chicago for Troika, a number for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with Andy Williams, productions of Pippin, Anything Goes and 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at the UW, a production for the Wings Theater, and directed and choreographed Pippin for NYU’s Cap21. Steven has been on the dance faculty with NYU, Cap21, SUNY Purchase, Marymount College, Broadway Dance Center and Steps on Broadway. Steven is also a certified classical Pilates instructor.

More teaching artist announcements coming soon!

Program Location

Cornish College of the Arts

The original Cornish School building built by Nellie Cornish in 1921, today’s Kerry Hall houses the Dance and Music departments. Off the tree-shaded courtyard on the east side of Kerry is the entrance to the 200-seat PONCHO Concert Hall. Rehearsal rooms and departmental offices take up the bulk of Kerry’s space. The building’s top floor includes some spectacular dance studios. Named for Mrs. A. S. Kerry co-founder of the Music and Art Foundation that saved the Cornish School and ran it as a non-profit, Kerry Hall is a linchpin of the Capitol Hill’s Harvard-Belmont Historic District.

The Kerry Studios at Cornish are located at 710 East Roy Street, Seattle, WA.


We arranged for a limited number of discounted hotel rooms for dancers and their families traveling from a distance.  You’ll want to make your reservation early since there is a limited number. Please check back closer to the program dates for details. For other hotel recommendations close to the studios where the program will be held, please search for downtown Seattle Hotels near 710 East Roy Street, Seattle, WA.

CANCELLATION/REFUND POLICY: No full refunds will be issued for registered participants. A 50% refund will be issued up forty-five 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, 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 under 30 days, a 50% refund will be issued by check 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 must be submitted before a refund will be considered.  

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