Topics: Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Dance Pages: 5 (1452 words) Published: May 2, 2013
When school is out, dance students have more time to dedicate to training. Choosing a summer intensive program of study can be a challenge, though. How do you know if the program you are considering is a good fit for you? Dance Informa spoke with faculty from The Joffrey Academy, Cary Ballet Conservatory, Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts’ Next Generation and Patel Conservatory’s Dance Department to learn more about what constitutes a great summer program and how you can be prepared to get the most from your experience. What should a student look for in a summer intensive program? Deanna Seay, Ballet Mistress, Cary Ballet Conservatory

In looking at a summer intensive, each student needs to evaluate his or her own goals. Does the student want a program where the focus will be on improving technique? Is the student at an age when he/she wants to be considered potential company material? Does the student want an experience focused on one discipline, or does he/she want to use the summer to broaden his/her horizons? Defining these goals can help to narrow the possibilities. A student wanting to improve a lot can look for smaller programs where they will be able to receive personal attention as well as a place that provides many hours of instruction. Those on the verge of professional careers will want to find company related programs. Students wishing to broaden their horizons can look for programs that offer classes in a wide number of dance styles.

Students enjoy Patel Conservatory’s Next Generation Ballet Summer Intensive. Photo by Bill Kraulter. Peter Stark, Artistic Director of the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts’ Next Generation and chair of thePatel Conservatory‘s Dance Department Students should look for:

1. Training. The school should demonstrate a history of training dancers well. Check on their website for recent graduates that are dancing professionally. 2. A schedule that keeps a young dancer busy and working hard. More classes will increase strength and technique. 3. A focus on the type of dance a student wants to study (ballet, modern, jazz) with a sampling of other styles for diversity. 4. A performing and/or rehearsing opportunity. As a performance art, in dance it is important to learn new dances and to get on stage. Alexei Kremnev, Artistic Director, and Amanda McAlpine, Communications Associate, Joffrey Academy and Community Engagement, The Joffrey Ballet Students should assess the quality of a summer intensive program by it’s faculty members (their experience and background), brand recognition (affiliation with professional company), variety of classes provided, performance opportunities, location and length of program. What are the advantages to training locally or going out of state?  Peter Stark

A family must decide how far they want to travel for a summer program. There is an expense with increased distance. Summer programs can offer a great sampling of an area for future employment. There are many excellent programs worldwide that will improve a young dancer both near and far. Do check out the security of the city, school and dormitory to determine if it meets the family needs. Also, ask about transportation for the students during the program.

Students at the Joffrey Ballet Summer Intensive
Deanna Seay
The most obvious advantage to staying local is the possibility of staying at home while attending the session, or at least being close to home, which can be comforting to both parents and students attending boarding programs the first time. As long as students have access to local programs that provide the number of classes they need, there isn’t really a need to travel far at a young age. Once students reach high school age and are more mature, going out of state becomes an option parents might feel more comfortable with. That being said, there will always be those young students who have the talent and maturity for an out-of-state experience at eleven...
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