Don’t Miss Out This Summer!

Are you feeling left out? Everyone is announcing their summer intensive commitments and you don’t have somewhere to go? Did you miss audition season due to injury, travel restrictions, or just didn’t know? Don’t worry! We got you covered.

Every year from January to early March, ballet world becomes a little harder to navigate. This is also known as audition season. And yes, it also overlaps with the competitive ballet season, which makes it that much harder to navigate. But hopefully this will help you navigate your next steps.

Summer intensives are programs hosted over the summer for dancers to rev their training up. Because school is out, summer is the perfect time to accelerate training. Summer is also the time where young dancers will fly around the world to “test out” professional ballet companies through attending a summer intensive attached to a professional school. Here, dancers will see if they are ready to go away, build connections, and make impressions on future employers. But, summer intensive isn’t for everyone.

Sometimes, you just aren’t ready to go away to one of these major programs (check out the 2022 Summer Intensive Guide). You might be behind in technique, you might not want to be a ballet dancer, and sometimes, the cost is overwhelming. If you are interested in heading out to a summer course, check out these programs that are “affordable”, they offer amazing training, and are still accepting students!


Adeline Dunlap, Elite Classical Coaching

Elite Classical Coaching (Frisco, TX)

Elite Classical Coaching is offering 9 full weeks of summer training. Their flexible schedule allows dancers to either pick a week, or attend for all nine weeks. Founded and directed by award-winning Catherine Lewellen, Elite Classical Coaching has established itself as one of the premiere schools in the United States.

For more information you can visit their website:

Cary Ballet Conservatory (Cary, North Carolina)

Directed by YAGP finals Outstanding Teacher Award, Mariaelena Ruiz, Cary Ballet Conservatory will be hosting their summer intensive June 29 – July 30, 2022.

For more information you can visit their website:

Classical Training Program at The Dallas Conservatory (Dallas, Texas)

A newly established program at the Dallas Conservatory, this new program is directed by George Birkadze and Ashley Ellis (founder of Rubia Wear) will be June 27-July 1, 2022.

For more information you can visit their website:

Claire Wirrick, The Ballet Clinic

A Ballet Education’s The Ballet Clinic (Scottsdale, Arizona)

Headed by award-winning David King and Ashley Lorraine Baker, the Ballet Clinic offers two programs. No audition needed as we are interested in all dancers, levels, and body types. This boutique training course caters directly to the individual to achieve the fastest results for dancers ages 8-18.

Dates: July 10-23, 2022.

For more information you can visit their website:

Dmitri Kulev Classical Ballet (Laguna Hills, California)

From July 5-August 12, 2022, this many times over award-winning school and faculty will be hosting their summer course. Headed by Dmitri and Jennifer Kulev, this Orange County school is highly decorated in both classical and contemporary with numerous winners and finalists in almost every major ballet competition. This long standing school has established itself as one of the top schools in the United States, and the school of Southern California.

For more information visit their instagram:

A and A Ballet (Chicago, Illinois)

This award winning studio company will be hosting 3 different summer courses this year. Headed by Alexei Kremnev and Anna Reznik, A and A has established itself as a studio company force. Featured in Vogue for their costuming, A and A is a program you don’t want to miss out on. For more information visit their website:

Don’t worry, there are tons more programs out there!

West Met (Minnesota)

Morning Star Dance (Georgia)

Denver Academy of Ballet (Colorado)

Draper Center for Dance (New York)

Sarasota Cuban Ballet School (Florida)

Ballet Central New Jersey (New Jersey)

The Art of Classical Ballet (Florida)

Master Ballet Academy (Arizona)

International City School of Ballet (Georgia)

The Chess Game of Ballet Strategy…

When it comes to ballet, parents can get a little a crazy, and truthfully, I don’t blame them. Between the hours of dedication, the thousands in tuition, pointe shoes, private lessons and costumes, you should have some sort of strategic plan, right? Parents start to strategize what YAGP they will go to, what the odds of finals invitations are, what weekend to audition, and what summer course is going to look best on the resumé. All of these things matter to some extent, but at the end of the day, unfortunately ballet is still only based on three things:

  1. Your body type, look, and facility. Lame, I know. Trust me, I know.
  2. Your level of technique. Manageable, always upsetting, and kind of a daunting task, but doable.
  3. How you move, or the quality of the dancing. This is what should matter, but is always overlooked and trumped by body type.

Unfortunately, there is no principal contract for effort, handwork, or perfect attendance, but then again, major league sports are the same way.

Parents will do anything for their kids, and will do anything to see the success of dreams. I have seen parents donate thousands of dollars to companies, hoping that they will offer child something. And unfortunately, sometimes it works. Regardless, parents go above and beyond to make ballet happen, and because of that, it makes them go a little crazy.

You know crazy ballet parents, the kind of parents that are super secretive about where their child is auditioning or attending, pretending they don’t know anything, plotting years in advance their child’s future, and chasing instagram followers. You know, the kind of parent that will spend hundreds of dollars for a workshop so that their child can get a photo with a famous ballet dancer. 

Recently, social media and “fast art” have come head to head with the very fundamentals of ballet. Producing content at a super high rate for the sake of staying on top of a trend, but at what cost? Most young dancers are barely training anymore, and they are focused on winning competitions and being photographed by the next insta-famous photographer. Older generations accuse social media of ruining ballet, while others are embracing the exposure and network social media has created. 

But, I will be honest with you. If you want to be successful in ballet that strategy is plain and simple: focus on the work, the art, and the technique and be patient. You can’t rush turnout, feet, or legs. It is a process. It is a painstaking process that most schools see as an eight to ten year process to even be considered a possibility as a professional ballet dancer. Because of this, instant gratification and instant results are usually not how it works. Just because you go to a school that is known for turns, doesn’t mean after a week of training there you will be able to turn.

When it comes to the competitive strategy, I think it is overthought way too much. Dance cleanly and lovely, and try your best. At the end of the day, ballet is still subjective, and preference, whatever preference it is based on, will win.

When it comes to technique, yes, you should have a plan. You should be at a school that believes in your child, and wants to help your child grow.

When it comes to your body type, I would embrace what the baby Jesus gave you. Because you can not change it, no matter how hard you pray or want longer legs or “better proportions.” If your technique is strong and clean, you will be noticed and given the recognition of technique. If you move beautifully, your artistry will be recognized. But, if you have a “difficult” body type, be the best and be undeniable in talent.

As we continue to pursue ballet at the ridiculous level that it has become, the crazy becomes that much more intense. And while I do believe social media has become an amazing tool for the arts, we have to remember that the foundations of ballet are rooted in constraint, composure, and the work ethic behind the art form. 

Dancers Amplified Global Active Practices Launch

Who: Dancers Amplified, a global alliance of dance professionals in activism

What: Launch of Global Active Practices Document 

When: July 2021

Where: Online –

July 2021— Dancers Amplified has published its most determined endeavor yet — a living document created through research and data collection that includes methods of resonating action for diversity, equity, inclusion and access.

Dancers Amplified, a global alliance of dance professionals in activism, is the first to bring dancers in activism together on a worldwide scale —from the Netherlands to Australia to Brazil to the US— giving a collective voice to dancers who have historically been silenced.

The Global Active Practices Document is the result of months of research, writing, reviewing, countless Zoom calls, Google documents, and the lived experiences of dance artists from around the world. As artists who have endured microaggressions, blatant racism, physical harm, and mental and emotional trauma, Dancers Amplified believes these practices can serve as a catalyst for lasting and pervasive social, cultural, and aesthetic shifts. 

Recognizing that there is no one-size-fits-all approach in developing anti-racist policies, Dancers Amplified’s comprehensive diversity, equity, inclusion, access and education initiatives can be applied to dance organizations across all scales and sectors. Dancers Amplified believes that every person at every level has an integral role to play in the long-term commitment to anti-racism, cultural equity, and liberative justice in the arts, the dance field, and extended communities.

The alliance’s plans for the future are empowered by community engagement and leadership interactions. In coordination with partner organizations, Dancers Amplified plans to facilitate community reviews to engage peers in collective writing and jam sessions, which will yield new addendums and initiatives to the Global Active Practices. Dancers Amplified is committed to working with organizations to develop, adapt and implement these practices, while keeping in mind variations in capability and boundaries. 

“We must all work together to reject the default of exclusion that is currently prevalent within our industry and create a truly equitable environment that welcomes and celebrates the beautifully diverse communities that we aim to unite and enrich.”



Dancers Amplified is a global alliance of dancers activating their voices to ignite and sustain a shift away from the harmful, divisive, and racist cultures that have long permeated the dance industry. Across multiple platforms, Dancers Amplified centers marginalized perspectives, empowers artists who have felt silenced, and spotlights individuals, projects, and organizations working towards social justice in dance. Through fiscal sponsorship by the International Association of Blacks in Dance, Dancers Amplified offers support— in resources and funding— towards keeping industry leaders and dance institutions accountable in taking genuine steps towards equity, diversity, inclusion, and access. 


Helgi Tomasson to Retire in 2022

After nearly 40 years of leading the San Francisco Ballet, Helgi Tomasson is retiring. Helgi Tomasson has made the San Francisco Ballet a world-class company, and arguably the best school in the country. For more about his career and his interview check out the Sf Chronicle Here.

Photo: Helgi Tomasson has served as artistic director and principal choreographer for the San Francisco Ballet since 1985.Photo: Brant Ward, The Chronicle

Happy Siblings Day!!

If you didn’t know, today is National Siblings Day! Today is a day to celebrate your brothers and sisters. Because ballet is genetically inclined, it won’t surprise you that there numerous amazing ballet siblings out there.

There are the amazing Cirios, the founders of the Cirio Collective. Lia Cirio is a Principal Dancer at Boston Ballet and her brother, Jeffrey Cirio was a Principal at Boston, then ABT, and now English National Ballet.


Of course New York City Ballet has a history of having siblings in the company.

There are the Fairchilds. Robbie Fairchild left City Ballet for Broadway but his sister Megan, a new mom, is still there!

Then there were the Staffords, both principals as well. Abi is sitll dancing while her brother is now Associate Director of New York City Ballet. And then there is also the Angle brothers Jared and Tyler.


jewels-superJumbo.jpg / New York City Ballet Jonathan Stafford partnering his sister Abi Stafford in a pas de deux from “Emeralds,” one of Balanchine’s “Jewels” ballets, at the Koch Theater on Sunday.CreditJulieta Cervantes for The New York Times


There are the super famous brothers of Daniel and Roland Sarabia who defected from Cuba to become international superstars.

Patricia and Jeanette Delgado both are superstars at Miami City Ballet.

Then we also had Lorna and Lorena Feijoo who took the ballet world by storm when they arrived.

So much talent out there! So celebrate your siblings today!


A Ballet Talk: Summer Intensives

Hey ABE Readers,

I have been getting a huge influx of emails regarding summer intensives and asking for advice about auditions, where to go, and concerns that are growing in the Ballet Community/Industry. If we talk about summer intensives from when I grew up, or anyone who went to a summer program ten years ago, the game is SOOOO different now. And be careful, a lot of summer intensives are only built for money.

It isn’t a secret that the ballet industry itself is hurting, big time. This is why more and more schools are opening lower age divisions, offering multiple locations, and trying to reach as many students as possible… it just simply means money.

It makes me wonder if we are losing the prestige of ballet because we are trying to accommodate everyone. The problem? We are accepting thousands of girls into summer courses with very few jobs out there. It has always been this way, but it seems that jobs are becoming fewer and fewer, but summer courses and programs becoming larger and larger.

IF your purpose of attending a summer program is to just enjoy the experience and have the ability to learn from different teachers, than by all means… Go for it. But, if your purpose of a summer course is to further your training, be seen by schools, get a scholarship and be asked to go year round… different story.

What age is it appropriate to go away for the summer?
When should you go away?
Where should you go away to?
What are you going to be getting at a summer course?
What should each age group be focused on in terms of training?
What are some of the goals long term for a summer student?
Why are we all in a rush?
Diversity? Cross Training? Moving the art for forward?
Picking the right program? Finances, distance, training, hours, cost?
Things to Remember at a Summer Course?

These are all questions, that are up for discussion…. so, Rasta Thomas and I decided to have a little (kind of long, but funny) talk.


WELCOME A BALLET TALK!! Watch the Video Below, subscribe to the new channel and get ready for A Ballet Talk!