Katherine Dunham Pre-Professional Division Fellow

Organization Overview

As a leader in arts education, and the largest multidisciplinary community arts organization in the Midwest, COCA annually serves more than 50,000 people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. Through dance, vocal music, theatre, art and design, and beyond, we nurture the artistic and creative potential in our students and our community.

Position Overview

Named in honor of the dancer, choreographer and activist, the Katherine Dunham Fellowship was created by Sara and Jack Burke to give African Americans an opportunity to explore, gain experience in and be mentored in the field of arts administration to later find employment and achieve success working at cultural institutions.

COCA over the years has developed professional relationships with several RAC (Regional Arts Commission) Katherine Dunham Fellows and as a leader in the St. Louis Arts Community has decided to team up with the Burkes and RAC Katherine Dunham Alum to create a dance education focused Fellowship.

The purpose of this Katherine Dunham Fellowship is: 1) to provide opportunities for individuals who currently are under-represented in the field of arts administration, 2) to gain experience in a very specific field of arts administration, and 3) to develop the pool of outstanding minority arts administration professionals.

COCA’s Fellowship Program is a professional training program for aspiring arts administrators, arts educators, and performing arts production practitioners. Participants are given practical learning experiences, independent and collective projects, and work as entry-level staff persons in the company’s administrative and production departments.

Each Fellow’s experience is developed and supervised under the guidance of a staff mentor, and draws from the diverse resources and collective knowledge of COCA’s resident artists, teachers and administrators. Through daily exposure in their primary field of interest and work on individual, specific projects, the experience is designed to broaden and strengthen the professional and personal skills and abilities of each of our interns and fellows. COCA’s internships and fellowships are designed to provide a springboard to a professional life in the arts.

COCA’s formalized and comprehensive program includes:
Professional development and networking opportunities; Connections to peers, mentors and artists; Independent and collective learning projects; Hands-on experience for future career opportunities.

We are looking for an organized, professional, creative, energetic post-college or graduate student who is great with children to fill the position of Pre-Professional Fellow to support many aspects of COCA’s TIP and Honors programs, with a focus on classroom/studio development in an after school setting.

This is a part-time, paid fellowship, with expected hours of 15 hours a week from January through May.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities

  • Assist the Homeroom/TIP coordinator in ensuring that the homeroom is a positive, safe and supporting environment.
  • Act as a teaching assistant for a dance class under one of our Teaching Artists.
  • Aid in the implementation of Pre-Professional Division student evaluations.
  • Support implementation of curriculum and activities for TIP students as laid out by the Homeroom/TIP Coordinator.
  • Review and help update Company website on a regular basis.
  • Help the Artistic/PPD team in additional duties as assigned.
  • Assist in coordination of Regional Summer Intensive Auditions (RSIA).
  • Facilitate during events, open houses, auditions and student outings.


  • Passion for COCA’s mission.
  • Desire to impact children through the arts.
  • Bachelor’s degree in arts education, education, dance or musical theatre.
  • Proficient in Outlook, Excel, and Word.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills; a persuasive, passionate communicator.
  • Ability to problem-solve, manage projects, work under pressure and meet deadlines in an energetic, fast paced organization.
  • Self-motivated and detail-oriented with demonstrated organizational skills.
  • Ability to work effectively on a team and independently to see projects through to completion.

To Apply:
To apply, please send cover letter, resume and three references to jobs@cocastl.org. Please include “KD Pre-Professional Fellow” in the subject line.