CLI Conservatory Pairs Diverse Dance Training With Real-World Skills
When Teddy Forance founded the CLI Conservatory, he knew he was doing something no one had done before. Curated for students 17 and up, the 10-month program in Southampton, Massachusetts, combines high-level technical training with a unique focus on practical career skills designed to ultimately launch well-rounded dancers’ careers. “This is a dream come true to see our students finding themselves as artists and confident human beings,” Forance says of the program. After almost a decade leading CLI Studios’ online training program, he created the CLI Conservatory, which welcomed its first students in 2021.
CLI Conservatory dancers train in every major style with more than 75 working choreographers, while learning real-world multimedia, arts, and entrepreneurship skills. Faculty for the 2023–24 year includes Brian Friedman, JBlaze, Chaz Buzan, Mike Tyus, Robert Green, Kathryn McCormick, Brian Nicholson, Al Blackstone, Liana Blackburn, Talia Favia, Spenser Theberge, Lex Ishimoto, Marty Kudelka, Jason Williams, Ethan Colangelo, Kenichi Kasamatsu, Nina McNeely, Candace Brown, Tony Testa, Dana Wilson, Andrew Winghart, Riley Watts, and more.
“We’re able to provide our dancers with the tools and training they need to be prepared for their careers in a fraction of the time at a fraction of the cost,” Forance says, emphasizing that the CLI Conservatory welcomes dancers of all styles to apply, whether their background is in classical, commercial, or concert dance styles. Many students graduate with professional dance or agency contracts in hand.
Forance built the program with a keen understanding that he’s preparing students for the dance world of the future: Performance opportunities include both stage and screen; students graduate with a ready-made portfolio; and the Conservatory facilitates auditions with major agencies onsite. “We continue to provide career support to our alumni with exclusive training and audition opportunities in New York City and Los Angeles,” Forance says. “This is just one additional benefit of training at the CLI Conservatory—you’re a part of our CLI family, and we want to help you in your career for years to come.”
Program size: 200 dancers; students train in groups of 25–50.
Age range: 17+
Tuition: $25,000 for the 2023–24 school year, with payment plans available for every student.
Room/board: Apartment-style housing is available 10–15 minutes from the CLI Conservatory.
Daily schedule: While no two days are exactly the same, here’s what a typical day might look like: 9–10:30 am, ballet, yoga, Pilates or a wellness session; 10:30 am–12 pm, contemporary with Chaz Buzan; 12–1 pm, lunch; 1–2:30 pm, hip hop with JBlaze; 2:30–4 pm, heels with Liana Blackburn; 4–5:30 pm, improvisation/composition with Teddy Forance. Several days a week, a dance class is swapped for special opportunities like vocal lessons, choreographer Q&As, photography sessions, dance on film classes, student choreography projects, and more.
Performance opportunities: End-of-year showcase with choreography by industry-leading faculty, choreographer-directed creative film projects, student choreography showcases, student film projects, assisting in CLI Studios’ class content and in-studio demonstrations.
Additional opportunities: Career coaching, personal branding mentorship, one-on-one multimedia shoots, DEI training, mock auditions, and auditions for agencies and professional dance opportunities hosted onsite at the CLI Conservatory.
Alumni: Over 90 percent of the CLI Conservatory’s first-year alumni were teaching, assisting, choreographing, or dancing professionally within months of graduation. Over half signed to top dance talent agencies, including Bloc LA/Bloc NYC, Clear Talent Group, and Go 2 Talent. Conservatory dancers have booked jobs on world tours with major recording artists, movies, TV shows, commercials, music videos; contracts for professional dance companies and cruise ships; and work assisting at dance conventions or guest teaching and choreographing at studios.
- Class of 2024—May 1: Audition deadline; September 2: Move-in day; September 6: first day of classes
- Class of 2025—September 1: Auditions open; November 1: Early admissions deadline; January 1, 2024: Priority admissions deadline; May 1, 2024: Audition deadline
- Summer Intensives (13–18 year olds): July 17–22, July 24–29