The 10 Best Dance Scholarships for High School Students

Anyone who pursues a dance education knows that success only comes through passion and a desire for self-expression.

But even the most dedicated dancer also needs money to fund their dreams. More specifically, they need finances to pay for classes and materials to improve their craft. 

Most dancers would follow their dreams for free, but it can be very expensive to go to dance school.

Fortunately, many organizations recognize the importance of dance and provide scholarships to support such artists. These scholarships exist to encourage artists and to give them the finances they need to continue learning.

In some cases, the scholarships pay a portion of classes and fees. In other cases, the amounts can cover an entire class or program.

The application processes can be equally diverse, as some involve letters of recommendation and essays while others just want a video of your best work.

No matter what needs your young dancer may have, there’s a scholarship available for them. This list covers the ten best dance scholarships for high school students, covering a variety of forms and possibilities.

By looking at these offerings, high schoolers can quickly find the funding they need so they can get back to their real passion, continuing their love for dance.

High School Dance Student
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Irish Dance Teachers Association Scholarships

If your favorite form of dance comes from the emerald isle, then the Irish Dance Teachers Association Scholarships may be for you. 

High school seniors with a history of success in Irish dance and entering a two or four-year undergraduate program are invited to apply.

Applications must include an academic transcript, an application form, and standardized test scores. But the most important part of the application is a resume listing non-academic achievements, including achievements in Irish dance.

All materials must be submitted by January 15th of each year. Awards range from $2000 for top prize winners to $500 for honorable mentions. Scholarships will be paid directly to the winners’ school to help cover tuition and fees.

Gene Kelly Legacy Scholarship

Gene Kelly is recognized as one of the world’s greatest dancers, so it should come as no surprise that the Gene Kelly Legacy Scholarship is one of the best available. 

Presented by the Dizzy Feet Foundation, part of American Dance Movement, the Kelly Scholarship awards up to $10,000 per student.

Applicants must be high school students entering a dance program with plans for a dance career. These applicants may be male or female, but they must be classically trained and proficient in at least one other form of dance.

Because the award seeks to continue Gene Kelly’s history of athletic and interdisciplinary dance, winners will be determined by their ability to work with complex choreography. Judges look to see the same joy and creativity that Kelly brought to his work.

Dizzy Feet will invite nominations from eligible dance schools during the first quarter of each year.

Congressional Black Caucus Spouses Performing Arts Scholarship

If you’re an African American or Black high school student in an area represented by a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, then the Spouses Performing Arts Scholarship offers real benefits.

The Scholarship offers ten awards of $5000 to eligible students working on a degree in the performing arts, which includes dance, drama, and music.

To apply, students must complete an application and upload to YouTube a two-minute performance video. Along with these materials, applicants must also submit a transcript and resume, as well as two letters of recommendation.

Outside of the performance video, the most important aspect of the application is a five-minute personal statement video that must also be sent. 

During the personal statement, students should explain their academic goals and artistic endeavors. The most effective explanations will indicate how the scholarship will help you enact your plans.

The Performing Arts Scholarship is available between January 3rd and April 30th of each year.

Moriah Janae Dance Grant

Most dance scholarships award the final product, the dance performed as part of a student’s application. But the Moriah Janae Dance Grant puts a greater emphasis on process.

This $1780 award goes to the student who uses dance as a form of exploration and creative expression. 

Applicants must be committed to academics and should be recommended by a dance instructor or other teacher.

Even more important than these aspects of the application is the required essay. Applicants should write between 400 and 600 words describing their dance experience. 

In particular, they should explain their passion for dance and how dancing works in their hopes for the future.

All materials are due by July 27th of each year, and winners will be notified by August 27th.

A Athlete Honors Scholarship Program

For most scholarships, applicants must fill out paperwork, secure letters of recommendation, and do other menial tasks. But the A Athlete Honors Scholarship Program emphasizes what applicants do best: dance.

High school juniors and seniors can earn $500 scholarships by participating in an AmeriCheer event. The events should showcase the athlete’s abilities and skills, and anyone who scores an 85% or higher is invited to apply.

At this point, the application follows the model of most others. Students must fill out an application, secure two letters of recommendation, and participate in an interview. 

The application also includes a personal statement presented in the form of a video or a 300-500 word essay.

All materials must be submitted within three weeks of the student’s success at the AmeriCheer event. 

Building a Better Tomorrow Through Education

Presented by the Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association, the Building a Better Tomorrow Through Education program advances the organization’s goals by supporting those who use their floors.

The program gives $1250 to five people interested in education-related in a movement field, including dance. The application process involves transcripts and an acceptance letter from a college.

Most importantly, the application must include an essay approximately 500 words long that addresses one of several prompts provided by the judges. 

Prompts range from questions about contributions to society and environmental trends to the life cycle of a tree.

Whichever prompt they choose, students must submit all materials by July 8th. The MFMA will notify winners by September 5th.

NHSDA Artistic Merit, Leadership, and Academic Achievement Award

National Honor Society for Dance Arts members has access to the organization’s Artistic Merit, Leadership, and Academic Achievement award. Each year, the NHSDA gives out $1000 in scholarship money to one winner and $250 to two runners-up.

As the award’s title suggests, judges assess applicants according to their artistic merit, leadership, and academic achievements.

Each application includes the usual academic materials, including transcripts and a letter of recommendation. But the key elements are a self-choreographed solo video and two essays.

In the essays, students write 250 to 500 words describing the intent of their submitted work and the impact dance has had on their lives.

All materials must be submitted by February 27th of each year.

Ocean Awareness Contest

As any dancer will tell you, performances can have a real-world effect. For dancers who want their art to have a positive impact, there’s the Blue Seat Ocean Awareness Contest.

Designed to raise awareness of environmental concerns, the Ocean Awareness Contest presents participants with a prompt and assesses the artistic responses they receive.

In 2022, dancers and other artists respond to the theme “The Funny Thing About Climate Change.” Each application must present a humorous way to help people reassess their understanding of climate change.

Submission materials must be submitted by June 13th of each year. Winners will be awarded anything from $1500 for the first prize to $250 for honorable mention.

Against the Grain Artistic Scholarship

Dancers of at least 25% Asian or Pacific Islander ancestry can receive up to $1000 toward tuition and fees from the Against the Grain Artistic Scholarship

Designed to encourage diversity among those pursuing degrees in visual and performing arts, or journalism and mass communications, the Against the Grain Artistic Scholarship encourages artistic and academic excellence.

Applicants must submit a video of their work, along with transcripts and an essay. In the essay, the student will explain the significance of the provided work, emphasizing its relationship to the applicant’s academic concerns.

In some cases, applicants will be asked to provide letters of recommendation. They may also participate in an interview with judges.

All materials must be submitted by May 31st of each year.

Ann Reinking Scholarship

For many dancers, the road to success leads directly to the Big Apple. That was certainly true of Annie Reinking, who came to New York City with nothing but hope and a dream.

The scholarship bearing Reinking’s name hopes to give the next generation of artists a little bit more. Part of the Off The Lane studio, the program provides $5000 to an aspiring dancer willing to move to New York City.

With this money, students can not only pay for their education but also begin their life in the big city. This award includes making a connection to a dance mentor, who will help the winner as they establish themselves in their new city.

Along with an application and a headshot, hopefuls must send a one-minute essay that explains their goals. They must also provide a four-minute video showcasing contrasting dance pieces.All materials must be sent by April 1st each year.