The Independent Program (IP) is a full-time program for students of all levels interested in pursuing intensive study in the Martha Graham Technique.  A minimum of one full semester is required, students may renew their enrollment for up to four semesters. International students click here for information regarding the F-1 visa process and key deadlines.

Students enter the Independent Program at the beginning of either the Fall (September) or Spring (January) semester and are placed in the appropriate technique level during orientation week.  Midterm and final evaluations take place in each semester. Graham Technique level assignment serves as the guideline for placement in other technique classes.

Tanguy Crémoux
In addition to Graham Technique, all IP students are required to enroll in the following classes:
  • Core Power: A cross training class designed to build strength and cardiovascular endurance.
  • Conditioning: A flexibility and mobility course dedicated to stretching, recovery, and overall well-being.
  • Performance Workshop: Designed to prepare students for performance Martha Graham and, occasional other modern dance repertory. Students learn 1-2 works or excerpts in preparation for presentation during the Fall and Spring Showcases.
  • Ballet: Training focuses on individual student abilities, and is structured to enhance and support the study of the Graham Technique.
  • Contemporary: Classes build upon Graham Technique and encourage dancers to explore the connections between this classic approach and post-modern styles.
  • Graham Works: Dancers experience the innovative exercises that Graham developed in her early years and study the continuing change in the language she created. Graham films and phrases from repertory support study.

NOTE: Graham Technique level assignment serves as the guideline for placement in other technique classes.

Students may elect the following academic courses:
  • Acting Seminar: Spring Semester. Prepares dancers to act in any given situation on stage using their bodies and voices. The course introduces Stanislavsky’s technique for script analysis, “The Personal Work of an Actor on Himself,” and progresses to using emotions and imagination to create different situations on stage. Dance use “imaginary objects” to expand their focus while working on their crafts on stage.
  • Anatomy: Spring Semester. The foundation of the course is an exploration of the basic anatomy (structure) and kinesiology (movement) of the dancer-athlete. Students learn the basic structure of musculoskeletal tissues (bone, muscle, cartilage, etc.), their functions and interdependence, and their various roles in power, strength, movement, and stability. The class then explores the major joints of the body; their movements and the muscles that cross them to design stretches for each muscle as well as exercises to strengthen them. Classes use lecture, palpation, movement, and a live model to access auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learning methods.
  • Dance History: Fall Semester. Focuses on the major themes in the life and work of Martha Graham using video and film, critical writings and reviews, and oral histories. Analysis is based upon close reading of movement and choreographic themes in the context of social and cultural developments.
  • Music I: Fall Semester. Introduces dancers to the principles of rhythmic accompaniment and notation with an emphasis on the applications in Martha Graham Technique classes. Students learn the fundamentals of music theory, rhythm, accents, syncopation, and notation.
  • Music II: Spring Semester. An in-depth look at the musical trends in 20th-century music through the lens of Martha Graham’s work with various composers. Students consider the socio-cultural context of different Graham masterworks while expanding the personal and professional backgrounds of the composers with whom she famously partnered.


The School Winter Intensive is a requirement for all full-time students enrolled in the Fall Semester. IP students are required to take three weeks of Martha Graham Technique during the Intensive.

Students may additionally elect into the following courses:

  • Intermediate or Advanced Ballet: Training focuses on individual student abilities, and classes are structured to enhance and support the study of the Martha Graham Technique.
  • Intermediate or Advanced Contemporary: Classes build upon Graham Technique and encourage dancers to explore the connections between this classic approach and post-modern styles.
  • Beginner/Intermediate or Advanced Repertory: Dedicated to the study of Graham’s classic choreography, the course offers students a deeper understanding of Graham’s expressive style as well as practice in valuable performance techniques.
  • Beginner/Intermediate or Advanced Composition: This exploration of dance-making guides students in creating movement phrases, discovering their own artistic voice, and developing a personal ‘toolbox’ of choreographic techniques.


Auditions are NOT REQUIRED for the Independent Program; however, a fundamental understanding of ballet is a prerequisite. Students should be able to execute a basic ballet barre and perform steps in combination e.g., glissade, jeté, pas de bourrée, assemblé, changement, piqué, and chaîné turns.

To apply, visit Admissions and Auditions and complete “Step 1: Application”. Applicants are required to submit the following:

  • Completed Application Form
  • Dance résumé
  • Headshot
  • Recent photograph of applicant in first arabesque on leg of choice (en relevé or flat). Applicants must include sign in photo reading “Martha Graham School Application” and the date.
  • 500-word personal statement explaining desire to study at the Martha Graham School

One letter of recommendation

Materials should be submitted via email to schoolauditions@marthagraham.org. A $50 Applicant Fee is required of all applicants.

After “Step 1: Application”, the Independent Program application procedure is complete. Decisions are made on rolling admissions from January – July; prospective students are notified within two weeks of receipt of completed application.


For information regarding program tuition and financial aid, click here.

PHOTOS: Ricardo Barrett by Brigid Pierce; Tanguy Crémoux by Melissa Sherwood; Micah Schure by Melissa Sherwood; Jaylan Craig by Melissa Sherwood.