Summer Intensive Guide 2023

It is that time of the year again; the time where everyone is overwhelmed, overworked, exhausted, and juggling a million different things. Yes, the 2023 audition season is upon us, and it is more stressful than ever. It could be that this is the first year back of full in-person auditions since the pandemic restrictions. It could be that there are more dancers trying to find placement. Or, it could be that this year is your first year out. Who knows? Every year during the middle of Nutcracker rehearsals and premieres, ballet schools around the world announce their national summer audition tours. This tour is a series of dates that audition thousands of dancers around the world to fill spots at their summer course.

Every year since I started A Ballet Education, I have included a list of placed to audition for the summer. Sometimes it causes controversy, sometimes it causes fear and panic, and sometimes, I am bias. Then again, what review isn’t a little bias? As the audition tours have come out, I have been helping my students plan their auditions, travel schedules, trying to avoid conflicts with competitions, how to navigate everything, and where they might end up.

Here is the problem. Ballet is on a good one, and everyone is so desperate for money, the reality is: Ballet Schools have already started auditioning for their 2023-2024 season. Stressful I know. Most people who are serious about moving to a professional school next September have already started locking in their matches through auditioning. Whether you passed the San Francisco Ballet School pre-screening, or were invited to the Paris Opera Auditions, or National Ballet School’s first round, the reality is, major schools are recruiting a year in advance.

This has now caused schools to start pre-registration for summer intensive auditions as early as the end of October, but now the majority of schools have released their dates. If they haven’t– they are following the “old” way; and they haven’t kept up with social media, or the current trend of ballet.

If you don’t know what a summer intensive is, click here for all of the many posts regarding summer intensives.

Here is A Ballet Education’s 2023 Summer Intensive Guide

(None of these schools have paid for placement or review. These programs are not listed any particular order, sort of.)

  • San Francisco Ballet School
    Patrick Armond, Director (San Francisco, CA)
    As one of the most respected ballet companies in the world, The San Francisco Ballet School has become one of the most recognized schools in the world.
  • School of American Ballet
    Darla Hoover, Chair of Faculty (NYC, NY)
    SAB, the famed school to New York City Ballet and the official school Balanchine founded, this school is the direct line to join the ranks of city ballet. The School of American Ballet is now under a new director, so who knows what the new look of the school will be? However, you should audition, because if you get in, it looks nice on the resume.
  • Paris Opera Ballet School
    Elisabeth Platel, Director (Nanterre, France)
    The Paris Opera Ballet School, literally the OG of ballet schools. This famed institution can be quite difficult to get into, but getting into the summer course can be just as hard. This short program allows you to attend multiple summer courses, and lets you work with some of the most respected teachers in ballet. And let’s be honest… it is the Paris Opera.
  • American Ballet Theatre, New York
    Stella Abrera, Artistic Director (NYC, NY)
    While ABT offers numerous programs and a variety of different levels, you really want to get into New York, and if you get in, you might want to consider it. Another school with a new director, ABT JKO and ABT Studio company might be the future of American Classical Ballet.
  • Elite Classical Coaching
    Catherine Lewellen, AD (Frisco, TX)
    Arguably, Elite classical coaching might be the school to beat in America. This pre-professional school has established itself on the competitive circuit, the collegiate circuit, and has launched professional dancers.
  • Miami City Ballet School & The Choreographic Workshop
    Arantxa Ochoa, School Director (Miami, FL)
    Miami City Ballet School is literally on the beach. So, who wouldn’t want to go summer in Miami? However, it’s not just the location. MCBS has slowly gained momentum and worked their way up to the top, offering a top level Balanchine experience, but offering the technical rigor of Cuban or Russian pedagogy.
  • Master Classes in Prague
    Daria Klimentova, Director (Prague)
    What was once reserved for professionals, or budding professionals, this year, the master classes in Prague will host young dancers under huge names likes Patrick Armond (San Francisco Ballet) and Simona Ferrazza (Dutch National).
  • Princess Grace Academie
    Luca Masala , Artistic Director (Monaco)
    Two weeks in Monaco, who wouldn’t want that? Spending two weeks at the famed Princess Grace is not only a delight because it’s on the French Riviera, but it also allows you to do other summer courses. This two week program looks great on the resue, as the princess grace academy has established itself amongst the world of competitive ballet but consistently winning the PDL.
  • John Cranko Schule
    Tadeusz Matacz, Director (Stuttgart, Germany)
    This beast of a school is housed in their new facilities courtesy of Porsche. This school has always been well respected, but has really become a part of the international ballet scene as they have recruited some of the biggest names and winners. Keeping up with the ballet scene on the global scale is difficult for state run programs, but JCS really is keeping up if not leading the way.
  • National Ballet School
    Mavis Staines, Artistic Director (Toronto, Canada)
    Probably Canada’s most recognized school, this school has always been amazing. However, like others who have followed suit, is finally keeping up with the global recruiting scene, and with the competitive world of ballet. This summer course is also marketing as a four week long audition for their coveted year round program.
  • YAGP NERVI FESTIVAL
    Larissa Savliev, Artistic Director (Nervi, Italy)
    Even the YAGP is keeping up. For the last three years, YAGP Europe has hosted a six day festival in Nervi, hosting some of the biggest directors and choreographers. This week long program offers students the ability to work with multiple directors in a short timespan and sets you up for the competitive season the following year.

Other programs you might want to consider:

Houston Ballet School (Houston, TX)

The Royal Ballet School Summer Intensive, Christopher Powney, AD (UK)

European School of Ballet, Jean Yves Esquerre, Director (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Cary Ballet Conservatory, Mariaelena Ruiz, AD (Cary, NC)

Dmitri Kulev Classical Ballet Academy, Dmitri Kulev, AD (Orange County, CA)

International Ballet Academy, Nadia Pavlenko, AD (Cary, NC)

Ellison Ballet, Edward Ellison, AD (NYC, NY)

Sarasota Ballet School (Sarasota, FL)

A&A Ballet (Chicago, IL)

Southland Ballet International Intensive (Fountain Hills, CA)

https://www.theballetclinic.com

More programs you might want to consider:

Harid Conservatory

Master Ballet Academy

Ballet West

Philadelphia Ballet School

The Washington Ballet School

Oklahoma City Ballet School

Tulsa Ballet School

Ballet Met

Juilliard

Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet

Help get these kids to their dream schools!

Hey guys! We are getting down to the wire! There are about six kids who have reached out to me who are trying to get to their dream schools.

You can donate individually via their go fund me or you can VENMO me at @davidjwking and the money will be split evenly.

Mia Patton – housing expenses at JKO year-round
Click the pic for her Go Fund Me
Joe Dufty – SFB year-round https://gofund.me/429634bd
Donate anonymously and equally via Venmo: davidjwking

Susan Jaffe to be the next AD of ABT

So I called it… BOOM!

(previous article with me calling it)

NEW YORK, NY (May 9, 2022) — Former American Ballet Theatre Principal Dancer Susan Jaffe has been named the Company’s next Artistic Director. Jaffe’s appointment, effective December 2022, was announced today by Andrew Barth, ABT Chairman of the Board of Governing Trustees. Jaffe will succeed Kevin McKenzie last spring announced his intent to retire after the 2022 season, following three decades of leadership.

Jaffe was appointed Artistic Director of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (PBT) in July 2020 and has since led the company in new artistic achievements, including choreographing a new Swan Lake (2022) and stewarding PBT’s presence during the COVID-19 pandemic and successful return to the stage. In addition, Jaffe joined PBT’s administration in the company’s renewed commitment to racial justice and equity with PBT’s Equity Transformation Team, prioritizing inclusivity on its stages, in its hiring practices, and in training programs.

“What a profound honor it is for me to come back home to lead the artistic helm of American Ballet Theatre,” said Jaffe. “I have experienced so many iterations of my career at ABT. I was a student, second company member, main Company member, teacher in the school, Advisor to the Chairman, and Director of Repertoire for the Company. The role of Artistic Director will be my seventh at this wonderful institution. To come back home is truly a dream come true! I am grateful to Kevin McKenzie for his passion, dedication, and stewardship of the Company over the last 30 years, and I look forward to working with everyone to bring ABT into its future. I would also like to take this opportunity to say how much I enjoyed working with everyone at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. PBT is an outstanding organization, and the happy memories of working with the dancers, staff, and board will stay with me forever.”

Declared by The New York Times as “America’s Quintessential American Ballerina,” Jaffe enjoyed a career as a Principal Dancer at American Ballet Theatre for 22 years. She performed on the international stage with the Royal Ballet, the Kirov Ballet, the Stuttgart Ballet, La Scala Ballet, Vienna State Opera Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet, and the English National Ballet. Her versatility as a dancer brought acclaimed interpretations to ballet classics, such as Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty, and dramatic works by Agnes de Mille, Antony Tudor, John Cranko, Ronald Hynd, and Kenneth MacMillan. She also worked with many prominent contemporary choreographers of her time, such as Twyla Tharp, Jerome Robbins, Merce Cunningham, Nacho Duato, Mark Morris, Ulysses Dove, and Jiří Kylián.

After retiring from the stage in 2002, Jaffe taught in the ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School and served as an advisor to the chairman of the board of ABT until 2007. In 2010 she became a Director of Repertoire at ABT. Two years later, she was appointed Dean of Dance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) in Winston-Salem, NC, a position she held for eight years. During her tenure at UNCSA, Jaffe and her faculty implemented a syllabus based on the ABT National Training Curriculum and established the Choreographic Institute of UNCSA. Additionally, she raised $3.5 million in endowed scholarships and other scholarships.

In 2020 Jaffe was appointed the Artistic Director of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. She helped to lead the company through the pandemic with digital programs, outdoor performances, and performances in museums. As audiences began returning to theaters, Jaffe curated programs that included classic ballets and diverse, innovative voices of today.

A choreographer herself, Jaffe has created works for American Ballet Theatre, ABT Studio Company, Grand Rapid Ballet’s Move Media, Company C Contemporary Ballet, Configurations Dance Theatre, and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, among others.

“We are thrilled that we can extend an almost lifelong connection between ABT and Susan Jaffe with thisannouncement,” said Andrew Barth, Chairman of ABT’s Board of Governing Trustees. “We thank ABT Trustee SusanFales-Hill for leading our search committee through an extensive and comprehensive process. Susan Jaffe brings anamazing array of talents – prima ballerina, advisor, coach, mentor, teacher, and artistic director – to her new position atABT. We suspect she will use them all to respect the history and legacy of ABT while moving us artistically into thefuture.”

“I am so pleased that ABT will come under Susan’s care,” said Kevin McKenzie, current Artistic Director at ABT. “She’sa colleague I admire who always maintained a sense of joy and fun. She is a wonderful teacher and coach, bringing theexperience of an extensive and acclaimed performing career, working under three directors while at ABT. With her experience at UNCSA and PBT, Susan comes equipped with her own expertise and the ability to get the best out of those around her.”

Changing of the Guard: More Changes to the 2021 Season

More changes in ballet will be made this upcoming season. We just posted information here last month. But, more announcements have been made in the last few days.

American Ballet Theater’s Executive Director Announces Her Departure

Kara Medoff Barnett, who has held the post for the last five and a half years, will leave later this year. (New York Times) This means, ABT is going to get a complete makeover.

Kirov Academy’s Mr. Du will be departing

Instagram favorite Runqiao Du will be leaving the Kirov Academy.

Bo Spassoff from the Rock School for Dance will be retiring this August

A staple in the ballet community, after nearly 40 years as President and Director of the Rock School in Philadelphia, Bo will be retiring at the end of August.

Who will be the next Artistic Director of American Ballet Theatre?

Yesterday, news broke via the New York Times and American Ballet Theater’s press department that Kevin McKenzie, ABT’s Artistic Director for the last 30 years, will be stepping down after the 2021-2022 season. This is no surprise, as McKenzie’s peer, Helgi Tommason, the Artistic Director of San Francisco Ballet, recently announced he will step down at the end of next season, as well.

Our observations remain steadfast that an entire generation of AD’s needs to retire and be replaced in order for ballet to progress properly. McKenzie has done an extraordinary job leading ABT in the present time of ballet, but his time has definitely come to an end, and ABT now needs to look for a new leader to shape its future. Publications like The Times and Dance Magazine are deservedly celebrating and reflecting upon all of his many, many accomplishments. Who will be the next AD at ABT? Significant change within the domestic ballet industry is now thankfully at hand. Ultimately, it is up to the governing board of ABT to decide, but we can speculate, hope, and put our predictions in.

Various articles related to McKenzie’s retirement have applauded two full generations of ABT dancers, and focused on how eight of his dancers hold current AD jobs: Stella Abrera (Kaatsbaan), Angel Corella (Pennsylvania Ballet), David Hallberg (Australian Ballet), Paloma Herrera (Teatro Colon), Susan Jaffe (Pittsburgh Ballet), Julie Kent (Washington Ballet), Maria Riccetto (Uraguay), and Ethan Stiefel (American Repertory Ballet).

I personally think of the eight mentioned above; the only real candidate from the is Susan Jaffe. Currently, the AD of Pittsburgh Ballet, Susan Jaffe has made numerous strides in making her company more diverse, more inclusive, and letting dancers take their agency. She was America’s sweetheart baby ballerina, a published author, headed UNCSA, motivational speaker, and coach, has quickly taken control and implemented leadership at Pittsburgh. Wherever she goes, Jaffe’s trajectory is modern and purposeful.

The other seven former ABT members mentioned are likely not strong candidates. For example, since Juile Kent joined Washington Ballet as AD in 2016, she has gone through three executive directors and is still struggling with the debts since taking over. Ethan Stiefel has only enjoyed mild, less than desirable success as being an AD at the numerous companies he has tried to head.

Another candidate who will probably be considered would be Russian Alexei Ratmansky, who held the resident choreographer position at ABT, but let’s be real, we don’t need another white male in power.

Which brings us to around to more female candidates in addition to Jaffe amidst the #metoo movement. ABT is no stranger to female leadership, ABT was founded by a woman: Lucia Chase.

Misty Copeland: ABT’s biggest headliner amongst regular pop culture. It also helps that she is female, doesn’t have the “classical body”, and has been the voice of change in ballet across the globe.

But, if ABT pulls a New York City Ballet and looks for younger, more progressive leadership in addition to Copeland, then we could be looking at candidates like:

James Whiteside, ABT’s progressive social media powerhouse. Known for his risqué, sometimes overly sexually take on dance and self-expression, James Whiteside has put himself in strong spot as understanding the current global culture.

Calvin Royal III, ABT’s African American Prince. Featured on the September cover of Pointe Magazine, Calvin Royal has not only carved out a space in classical ballet for himself, but has also taken control of his own career, artistic freedoms inside the world of contemporary movement.

If we are going to go in-between popular/current and trained and brought up through the old guard, we would be looking at candidates like:

Carlos Lopez: ABT’s current repertory director, and most likely candidate for the job. Already covered by the New York Times, this former Latino ABT dancer has positioned himself quite well during the pandemic. Not to mention he is nice to look at.

Sasha Radetsky: ABT Studio Company’s Director who has done a brilliant job curating and securing some of the best talent in the world. While most of us millennials know him as “Charlie today’s talent know him as the way to get into ABT. With appearances at the PDL, and judging for YAGP, he has made himself very well known amongst the ballet youth, and many already look up to him.

Irena Drovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky, former ABT principals, who have gained attention as coaches and teachers would also be strong candidates. Irena and Maxim have taught at numerous intensives as well as starting their own this year. Not to mention Irena has been coaching ABT ’s newest Principal, Skylar Brandt.

Again, these are just our predictions and speculations for who will be in the running for creating the next dynasty of ABT’s international roster and who will lead ABT into the future of the American ballet scene. Who do else do you think is going to be in the running?

ABT’S TOGETHER TONIGHT

American Ballet Theatre just made ballet history and made ballet even more accessible to everyone.

While in the past few years, ABT has struggled with staying ahead of the curve of ballet innovation, ABT just blew everyone out of the water and jumped into the future of the art. Their fresh creativity via archived footage, rehearsal footage, and professionally recorded performances took us through the ranks of JKO to Principal Dancer in an all star-studded cast. 

Supporters spanning Hollywood’s elite to the New York Yankees, and profiles of principal dancers past and present, created a way to make ballet feel right for everyone. 

It is no secret that film and ballet haven’t always gone hand in hand, however, tonight demonstrated what happens when ballet is approached lovingly and broadly. By explaining ballet in-depth, conducting intimate interviews, and profiling new and thought-provoking choreography projects, the broadcast just put ABT ahead of any ballet company in the world by an entire generation. 

This single broadcast might be the most influential and most meaningful dance work created in the last, well ever. It wasn’t a documentary or an individual performance; it was the reality of everyday people doing extraordinary things in the arts. It had the most beautiful campaigns and cinematography combined with real-life facetime and zoom footage, making it even more real and relatable. Most impressively it combined both Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie and the usual behind the scenes Executive Director Kara Medoff Barnett to the front of ABT.

Our Common Fate, a new collaborative work by Jessica Lang and Tony Bennet, was inspired by quarantine and led the continued parade of beauty and exceptional moments. Danced by Aran Bell and Catherine Hurlin (the next Gillian and Ethan) around Central Park, the ending with the dancers waving up at Bennet left us with some kind of feeling. 

The other features ranging from the budding talent of Studio Company, to the love of ballet in the students of JKO, highlighted the bright future of ballet. The inclusion of the ABT orchestra playing the finale of the Brahams Haydn Variations together from home was mesmerizing and moving.

Of Love and Rage showcased the crew of ABT building the sets from start to finish on stage in Orange County to the rehearsing of Aran and Catherine (Caty). It highlighted the sheer manpower needed to put on one of ABT’s productions.

Members of the company, both male and female, performed the entrance of the swans from the second act of Swan Lake from their respective shelter at home locations. 

Cynthia Erivo sang  America the Beautiful with dancers dancing around the Kennedy Center, the emptiness of Lincoln Center and New York, and people dancing at home across the US filmed from the outside. 

Instagram favorite, James Whiteside, one of the fundraising campaign’s curators, announced that ABT would be starting an online series over the next eight weeks and bring you inside the studios of ABT. This entire film and broadcast were to help raise funds for ABT’s Crisis Relief Fund. You can donate or bid on silent auction items here.

While this was a fundraising campaign, it was probably the most glamorous, well thought out, put together, edited, campaign the ballet world has seen in a while. And while ABT’s JKO school is still trying to figure out their digital summer program, we shall see if the school is able to create something as innovative as the company.

ISSUE V…

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It’s that time of year again, taking a look at this years top ten ballet schools in the world. This issue features the best of the best, and takes a look inside Master Ballet Academy and the young women that ferociously train there. The cover features from L to R Kenzie Thomas, Robbie Downey, Madison Penney, Sophia Bovet, Cassie Van Wolde and Ashlyn Mae. Other girls featured in this issue include Tia Wenkman, Jaden Grimm, and Amber Skaggs.

In other ballet news… Veronika Part retired from American Ballet Theatre, while Devon Teuscher, Christine Schevchenko, and Sarah Lane were promoted to principal. Calvin Royal III was promoted to soloist.


Tremor Update: My arm is getting a lot better, the tremors are hit and miss but still can squeeze that hard on my left side without shaking. Teaching ballet has been really exhausting quite difficult trying to use that arm to the full extent. Teaching at summer course and trying to teach partnering is a joke. But I am optimistic. My move to Charleston is in less than three weeks, and it is quite stressful. August Issue has been started, and that rather intense.


social media ballet studio

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Photos by David King

IHOP… International House of Primas

IHOP

I hope everyone had a great Mother’s Day! This week has been a crazy amazing week for ballet… and this next week is going to be a great week as well. This week’s insta theme is International Ballet… So, if you missed anything this week in ballet, here are some of the highlights:

Royal Ballet premiered “Frankenstein” which will be on stage till May 27. Choreography by Liam Scarlett. Set design by John Macfarlane. Music by  Lowell Liebermann

Boston Ballet announced their new 5-year partnership with William Forsythe. What does this mean? Over the next five years, this world-renowned choreographer will present a new ballet each year, and presenting already existing Forsythe repertory to the company. It is already reflected in the 2016-2017 season announcement… But, this will also mean that Boston Ballet will shift from a more classical repertory to a more contemporary repertory, which will make them stand out among other top companies here in the US. This will also mean a lot of their more contemporary dancers will be utilized… Boston Ballet this month is presenting their full-length “Swan Lake“.

Most ballet companies around the world have announced their 2016-2017 season, roster, promotions and new hires… except NYCB who will announce theirs after the SAB workshop and then in Sarasota. (Tradition) This month, like every end of season NYCB closes with “midsummers“.

ABT goes up at the Met tomorrow debuting with the powerhouse ballet “Sylvia“, which means… you can buy my leading ladies of ABT on a set of stationary cards, women’s and junior’s shirts, and a mug… I haven’t seen them or know how they will be selling the, I just know they are… The image isn’t the leading ladies of ABT I did, I revised it per their request and so it becomes available tomorrow. Don’t know if it will be offered in Los Angeles when they come to Dorothy Chandler in July.

abt at the met

Stella in Giselle, Isabella in their new Sleeping Beauty, Misty in Corsaire, Maria in Don Q, Gillian in Sylvia, Veronika in Swan Lake, Polina in Raymonda, Hee in Bayadere, Diana in Romeo and Juliet… FYI Polina pulled out of her performances at ABT because of an “injury” or actual injury but this is the second season in a row she has pulled out of the Met Season….

Houston Ballet is getting ready to present a mixed repertory on May 26, that is kind of to die for… Serenade, Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Gloria, and HB’s premier of Alexander Akeman’s Cacti. Their rehearsal videos are all over instagram.

Nederlands Dance Theatre is performing “Separate Ways” May 11-14


ALL POSTERS ON SALE FOR THE NEXT TWO DAYS FOR THE CHEAPEST THEY HAVE EVER BEEN!!! $19.99 !!! (click here to shop the blog)

I will be posting more #corpsdeballetconfessional this week as well… I have gotten really behind on all that… I also have some super cool interviews coming together…

More technical posts on the way….

Nutcracker illustrations for my children’s book are underway…

Summer Program posts are coming… and I think that covers basically everything…

Oh don’t forget to vote and write in for my ballet company awards!! And stay tuned for JUNE… When I announce 2016’s BIG TEN!!!


 

Company Profile: American Ballet Theatre

Arts Profile

ABT DOCU FUN
ABT DOCU FUN – click image to buy from Amazon.

ABT THE GOLDEN YEARS: ABT at the Met on DVD
ABT THE PROGRESSION OF BALLET: ABT’s Variety and Virtuosity

ABT’s Website.

Favorite Principals at ABT: Hee Seo (gorgeous), James Whiteside (daddy 1), Marcelo Gomes (big daddy)
Favorite Soloists at ABT: Alexandre Hammoudi (aka baby daddy) Jeffrey Cirio (fly as f*ck), Christine Shevchenko, Devon Teuscher, Luciana Paris, Skylar Brandt
Favorite Corps: Zhong-jing Fang, April Giangeruso, Sung Woo Han, Courtney Lavine, Hannah Marshall, Kaho Ogawa.

Other than that I don’t have anything else to say about them.

SHE DID IT

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MISTY COPELAND IS A PRINCIPAL!!!

So is Stella Abrera… and Maria Kochetkova left SFB to join ABT.

Jeffrey Cirio has left Boston to join to ABT as well.

Boom

Summer Program Life

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You made it into a Summer Program, now what? You work hard, you sweat hard, you what? Are you prepared, are you ready, are your parents ready?

Now what? It is a really big step for a ballet student to go to a summer program, especially if they are are young.  But, once your student is there now what?  This isn’t a five week summer camp where kids sit around a campfire singing. Over the next few weeks your child is going to be pushed to the max both physically and mentally. At most summer programs, students will be dancing in between 5-8 hours a day, six days a week. Summer programs are designed to strengthen a students technique, and see if they do well under pressure. Day 1 of a summer program is usually placement day. Even though you are already assigned a level, this is usually done back in January, the faculty look at all of the students’ ability and potential.  Day 1 is where most students will make a good first impression.

Now, while most summer programs are filled with students are pre professional schools attached to companies, there are many students who are there from smaller schools. These students, which might be your child, will be looked at closely. The reasoning? For your child to be asked to stay year round. Usually, they will ask the second to last week during the summer course. A spot in the year round school means that the director, and the faculty see great potential and want to work with you.  This is important, as a year round spot in the school usually can lead to the trainee program, or studio company/second company/ apprentice position.

So, how do you get noticed?

The most important thing to do while at a summer program is learn. Pay close attention to the details.  Even if you aren’t in the top level, showing that you can learn, and you are applying everything everyone is saying shows that you are a smart dancer. No one wants a dumb dancer. Take all of the corrections teachers give you and write them down, so you can remember them, reflect on them, and so on. Take other people’s corrections as well. Most likely it can be applied to you as well.

WORK HARD. WORK SMART! This is a big one as well. During your summer course, go in every group, or at least mark the combination in the back. Show your work ethic. In five weeks, it is hard for a faculty really get to know you. Unlike, your home studio, you have been with your teachers for years… Here, you have five weeks to make a good impression, show your potential and become the best dancer you can be. Working smart is really important as well. Going full out all the time is really important, but exhausting. If you are one of those dancers who goes hard all the time, make sure you are eating properly, and giving your body enough rest. Yes, we all know those intense bunheads who stretch in the dormitory halls during after hours, and that they are constantly fixing their shoes. That is their thing, it might not be your thing.

What to avoid…
Just because modern, jazz, and character aren’t your thing doesn’t mean you don’t try. You still have to push, 100% of the time.

Bad Habits… crossing your arms, giving up after falling out of a turn, letting the stress get to you… all of these things are counter productive to the process but also… It shows a bad attitude. You need to make sure you look attentive and invested without cracking under the stress.
EAT HEALTHY! During a summer program there is a lot of stressers out there, and there is a tendency to stress eat/binge eat sugar. The problem? Super counter productive to what your body really needs during these five intense weeks.

Be Prepared… When and if a school asks you to stay year round, be prepared for the financial costs. A year round program at a pre professional or professional school is costly. For most, these programs are out of state. When asked to stay, it is mid-summer and you have a few short weeks to come up with the financial obligation, relocate your life, transfer schools, and so on. It is a daunting task and you basically have a month to make a life changing, career making choice.  Most students, have to go year round at a pre pro school, and will change year round schools at least once.  Remember, ballet here in the US is not cheap…

Finally, make sure you have fun.

The woman who probably inspired a million girls to be Juliet, Corsaire, and other great VHS we grew up on…

Ballet Needs to Stop Making Me Mad Late at Night…

#BLOOP …

Carlos Renteria, Redlands Dance Theatre. Photographed by Alexandra Rose, SOCIAL CULTURE
Carlos Renteria, Redlands Dance Theatre. Photographed by Alexandra Rose, SOCIAL CULTURE

Tonight I was reminded why I started my blog…. (http://aballeteducation.com/2014/07/07/firstpost)
Then… as the 2015-2016 season is being announced, once again I am like flabbergasted and irritated with ballet. Here is what is irritating me tonight, at 5 AM. Preface: I am up all night because on October 3rd I will be partnering up with SF FASHION to showcase my new fashion brand MONDEAN.  And tonight all of the sketches had to be finalized (as in fabric choices, colors etc) to be prepped for technicals, and pattern drafting. BTW, if any of you are in Southern California and are a seamstress… contact me please… I am short seamstresses…  So anyways, I am about to go to bed, and I open up my computer and go through my press releases…

First, I would like to congratulate everyone who was promoted… Especially Lauren Lovette, who is now a principal at NYCB. Anthony Huxley was promoted to principal as well, which makes me raise an eyebrow, because of the male soloists at NYCB, I thought Stanley Huxley would be the next to be promoted Principal… I dunno. SFB hired 3 amazeball students, all who finished well at previous YAGPs. Boom. Allynne Noelle, a principal at LA Ballet will be joining Suzanne Farrell for the upcoming season. ABT said farewell to Xiomara Reyes, and Paloma Herrera. We say goodbye to Julie Kent June 20. With three female principals leaving, ABT is bound to announce promotions… and new hires *grin, I’m actually happy about* I wouldn’t be surprised if they offered Maria Kochetkova a full-time contract, because she is like ideal height for Cornejo and Simkin… I don’t know how SFB would feel, but since SFB is full of promising stars… It might be a good thing? Misty Copeland will premier in Romeo and Juliet on June 20 prior to Kent’s farewell, then make her NYC Swan Lake debut June 24…. So, I am thinking her and Stella Abbrera will get promoted. (Stella had a phenom run at Giselle) Natalia Osipova withdrew from her debut as Juliet for ABT which has a star studded juliet cast: Obraztsova, Vishneva, Copeland, Seo, and Kent (retiring). I swear if Sarah Lane is promoted I am boycotting ABT even if ABT is hiring more asians.

We also said farewell to beast Sylvie and one of my favorite ballerinas of all time: Carla Korbes. If you missed the live stream… you missed out on Diamonds Pas De Deux… Serenade was good but I have seen better. Diamonds was flawless…… The only people who should be doing the PDD are: Korbes, who is now retired… If you saw the performance though she slayed the F*ck out of it.  Smirnova who won the Benois for that performance, its magical. If you haven’t seen her do it, they go on tour with it this summer, or just watch via youtube. M. Nunez was pretty interesting at Royal Ballet. I don’t know if the company should be doing Balanchine ballets, but… what eva… Just like Paris Opera should not be doing Serenade… at ALL…. Like ever.

The ballet world was faced with Angel Corrella‘s (I should not even put his name in bold) new tenure at PA Ballet… barf. His statement was awful, his wording was not ideal… and when he means diversify culturally, he means he is going to hire a bunch of latino dancers, when there are plenty of dancers in the states who need work and don’t need visa fees #justsayin . Which was already proven with his new soloist and principal. I am sure everyone in the company is irritated… I’m irritated… Like seriously, go home.

Oh, NYCB just released their new choreography initiative and I am not saying I called it, but I kind of did… Myles Thatcher from SFB will be making his premier at NYCB… Royal Ballet will be staging a new Carmen by Carlos Acosta, and now has a new choreographer program. I should apply for next year. LOL.

Mmmmm people who should have been promoted weren’t. Ballet companies are irritating me, but thats not new.  Tuesday morning was the first company class for Redlands Dance Theatre, my ballet company. The studios were hot and the mood was fun, but everyone danced really hard, very musical, and gorgeous. It was super nice.  I totally forgot to take a picture, which upsets me, but oh well. #mybad

What else? I’m exhausted, and have photo shoots in a couple hours for SOCIAL CULTURE, so I am probably not going to sleep, this will be day 4 of being awake and only sleeping for an hour here and there. I could just be super moody because I have quit smoking. Mmmm that is all ballet world… So irritated.

ABT is campaigning hard… too hard…

It isn’t a surprise that ABT has been campaigning hard for their 75th anniversary… but for Pointe magazine to have back to back ABT covers…. kind of fishy… I love Skyler Brandt… I LOOOOVE HEE SEO and Isabella Boylston… but to put Sarah Lane on the cover? #joke I swear to baby jesus that if Sarah Lane is promoted before Misty Copeland… actually if she is promoted at all… There will be some words. Now, I am not the only person in the ballet world who doesn’t believe in being politically correct…
Tsiskaridze has opened his mouth too… click here to read the article … I also actually agree with him… I don’t believe that “Balanchine” dancers are ballet dancers. They are neo classical ballet dancers with amazing technique. If we want to talk about REALLY CLASSICAL BALLET.. Russians and the French win. Duh.  Royal Ballet dancers aren’t my cup of tea either, but I will say they are ferocious in their own way… But hands down the Russians and French… No argument. #justsayin 
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This week we said goodbye to Paloma Herrera and Xiomara Reyes at ABT… which means there will be a lot of new hires and promotions at ABT… #justsayin #goodstuff #teamasian

I wouldn’t be surprised if Misty is promoted after her Swan Lake performance at the Met. #campaigninghard Especially since they are hiring guest artists for the season… #fail. These disappointing things were the reason I started this blog… I read my first blog post today, and it has almost been a year since I created this blog, time flies. Nothing has changed, how frustrating.

The American Ballerina: the 21st century prima

The American Ballerina in the 21st century

What truly does it mean to be an American Ballerina? 
The idea of an American Ballerina isn’t far fetched at all, and actually since the cold war, America has become one of greatest manufacturers of ballet dancers.  While up until the Cold War, ballet was dominated by the Russians.  The history of ballet is funny, because as each generation of prima ballerinas comes to the forefront, they are influenced by culture, society, and what is “popular” in ballet. Today, we are blessed with the wonders of youtube and ballet in cinema, so we can see a variety of ballet dancers instantaneously. So, as a reflection of culture, we now have a true generation of American Ballerinas.

So, we have to kind of set up some conditions that define an American Ballerina:

1. Born in the United States.
2. Trained in the United States.
3. Dances with an American Company.
4. Has achieved the rank of principal dancer.
5. Has contributed to the next generation of dancers.

As we are at a time in ballet that celebrates the most innovate choreography, the most brilliant music, and the most technical phase of ballet, there are two extraordinary women that come to mind:

Tiler Peck and Lia Cirio
Ironically, neither dancer has the typical ballet body type. When we say typical we mean Russian girl body type, or Paris Opera Body type.  Additionally, the two women are completely different.  These two women though have created a new space and new ideal for dance.  Tiler Peck has created a generation of a more jazz meets Balanchine dancer making it possible for competitive studio trained dancers transition into ballet companies and schools. While, Lia Cirio has created an athletic provocative archetype of a prima ballerina. The only two things these women really have in common is really good teeth and a really great smile

The Run Down on these women:

Tiler Peck: sporadic training in the greater Los Angeles area, transitioning to School of American Ballet, joined NYCB in 2004, became a principal in 2009. Gorgeous turns, and fills the stage. First was really seen in the welcome to SAB DVD. Balanchine trained. Subtle sensitivity and sweetness in her approach to roles.
lia cirio american ballerina

Lia Cirio: random school, transitioning to CPYB, joined Boston Ballet in 2004, became a soloist in 2007, joined the Trey McIntyre project, came back to BB in 2010 to become promoted to principal. Banging hyperextension, ferocious arabesque. First major appearance in ballet: YAGP 2003. Classically trained. A body articulate conscious approach to a role.

So what makes these two women stand out compared to say… Hee Seo or Maria Kotchekova? Well, besides the fact that both of these women aren’t born and raised in the US, they are both ridiculously Russian trained, which is gorgeous, I’m not saying that they are awful. I am saying that they fit previous archetype of what a prima ballerina is. While Hee Seo was groomed to take Julie Kent’s place, Maria Kotchekova became the standard of SFB’s short girl. While Misty Copeland has made the compelling presence and awareness of race in ballet, I don’t think her actual dancing is ground breaking. (sorry, I know I am going to hear shit for that) Then we have other leading women in the US: Carrie Imler at PNB creating the athletic look at PNB, Isabella Boylston at ABT has reinvented the Paloma Herrera, but with better arms. Maria Kowroski is like the Balanchine version of Sylvie. Wendy Whelan created the skinny fit athletic body archetype.

As these two women expand their repertory, who knows what they will create for the ballet world? It’s exciting.

In other ballet news: ABT: Paloma Herrera is getting a weird farewell with a matinee performance of Giselle, followed by Xiomara Reyes’s farewell at 7:30.  Totally getting gipped, but maybe her name just doesn’t sell seats? ABT’s PBS special AMERICAN MASTER Series was beyond gorgeous.
NYCB & SFB: have a ridiculously amount of talented people in the ranks of soloists and corps but won’t be promoted until others retire. *cough cough* hang up the pointe shoes *cough cough*
Paris Opera: Natalie Portman’s Baby Daddy is making amazing moves and changes at POB.
PNB: Please promote Leta already.
Atlanta Ballet: Had the most beautiful end to their season.
Milwaukee Ballet: Their version of Cinderella was an okay finish for the season.

Little Jessy is prepping for LA BALLET. Her go fund me is still up, any donations will go towards pointe shoes, leotards etc. http://www.gofundme.com/jessylaballet

Don’t forget to use the code SCIE15 for 15% off Eros Sportswear for Men.

The Guide to FiercenessMy guide to fierceness is almost done. Holla for a dolla!

MARK YOUR CALENDAR: MAY 15

Hee Seo in A Month in the Country, Photo: Marty Sohl  via Wordpress.
Hee Seo in A Month in the Country, Photo: Marty Sohl
via Wordpress.

ABT’S 75TH ANNIVERSARY! CLICK THE LINK BELOW… GORGEOUS VIDEO!!! YOU MIGHT DIE!!!

http://www.wsj.com/video/exclusive-clip-american-ballet-theatre-a-history/52FAA9EA-5642-4E18-AECF-B7E52B56D45A.html

PBS will be adding American Ballet Theatre to their American Masters series! Take a look at 75 years of magic. In the Wall Street Journal it was revealed that footage of Robbins, Balanchine, Agnes de Mille, Tharp, Baryshnikov, Alicia Alonso, and more will be a part of the documentary. Don’t forget, American Ballet Theatre’s 75th Annual Gala is May 18th at the Met.

If you are in NYC April 21 & 22, the Royal Ballet School Exchange and ABT Studio Company Performances are at the Ailey Citigroup Theatre. Tickets are only 20 bucks. Totally worth it. See rising ballet stars dance amazing choreography. Who wouldn’t want to go? Buy tickets here.

Ballet Vocabulary: Lesson 1

A Ballet Education the best ballet schools

In the world of ballet, there are three languages. There is the language in which ballet was codified, French. Then there is the language in which interprets ballet, body language backed by emotion. And then there is a language that ballet dancers actually speak, a language of their own, and I’m not talking about French. So, here is the modern vocabulary list every ballet dancer/student should know (part one). These terms you will come across in class, gossiping among your fellow peers in ballet school, blogs like this one, or social media.

Mr. B (noun): AKA, George Balanchine, aka God (just kidding, not really)

  1. The founder of New York City Ballet, and probably the most influential choreographer of the 20th century.

What would Mr. B do?

4 T’s (noun): AKA The Four Temperaments

  1. Choreographed by George Balanchine in 1946 to music by Paul Hindemith.

Dancing 4T’s is really difficult if you aren’t trained Balanchine.

Buiscut (noun or adj):

  1. Dancers with “bad” feet or feet that don’t point.

She has biscuit feet, she’ll never go en pointe.

A La Sebesque, secabesque (noun):

  1. A non existent position in ballet that people with bad technique use. It is a combination of a la seconde, and arabesque.

You are doing a la sebesque dear, you aren’t in jazz class.

Bunhead (noun):

1. A dancer who is overly intense about ballet, to the point where it might be unhealthy.
Maureen is a bunhead, Eva is not.

Snatched (adj):

1. A dancer’s body in peak shape.
Her body is snatched, hence why she is rockin’ a unitard.

Whacked out (adj):
1. Ridiculously flexible
He is so whacked out… but only to the right.

AD (noun) aka Artistic Director:

1. The head of a ballet company.
She only got the part because she is sleeping with the AD.

Leo (noun) aka Leotard:

1. Appropriate ballet attire, made from mesh, nylon, spandex, lycra or another synthetic blend of fabric.
Who wears a white leo to an audition?

________ Hands (_____ (adj) + noun): 

1. Spatula Hands: hands that look like spatulas.
2. Oven mitt hands: hands that are shaped like an oven mitt.
3. Hamburger Hands: hands that are shaped like one is holding a hamburger.
She is definitely not getting into SAB because of her spatula hands.

Claws (noun):

1. Hands that have gone through rigorous Balanchine training and are the anti Russian hand.
He has claws, you think he is from SAB?

Nut Season (noun):
1. The part of the season in which one must dance in the annual production of the Nutcracker in which they will be overworked, and over rehearsed. Dancers may cringe, or cry if they are at the mall shopping and the Tchaikovsky score is being played during the holidays. The time of the season in which every dancer wants to quit.
It is Nut Season, I want to die.

Pancaking (verb):
1. The application of a mattifier to match ones skin tone and remove the shine or pink color.
2. When a ballet dancer goes to iHop and dreams of ordering pancakes but orders a salad instead.
Gaynor Mindens should always be pancaked, that way it isn’t obvious you are wearing them.

Floor Barre (noun):

1. An awful, but healthy alternative to taking class. It is the combination of ballet, yoga and pilates.
I would rather do character than floor barre.

This is just part one, and as I compile list two, please feel free to email me for suggestions.

BIG THINGS FOR A BALLET EDUCATION

ballet1

So, I have decided to launch a few big things for a Ballet Education, and I hope they are helpful… But, unfortunately it will take a little bit of capitol. If you have enjoyed reading my blog, minus the grammar mistakes, you can now donate so I can pay an editor to go back through and edit everything. I just don’t have the time. Even now, I am using SIRI to update this blog while driving to an event in Los Angeles.

Here is what I was thinking…

book cover mock up

yes, I would like to publish a book…

COMING SOON... available via iPhone, iPad, Android, Desktop, Digital Download
COMING SOON…
available via iPhone, iPad, Android, Desktop, Digital Download

and yes… I want to release digital books of things that are important…

And I would like to redesign the site.

And I would like to be able to start a youtube channel with how to do real ballet techniques…

Sooooo, if you are interested please donate or email me aballeteducation@gmail.com

Thanks.

The Return: A Ballet Education

… I thought I was going to be giving this up, and I thought I would leave my nightly rants to Facebook… BUT THEN a ballet company finally replied to my e-mail, and they did not have anything nice to say… So, with that being said, a Ballet Education is coming back full force… Don’t piss off a gaysian who works in PR. This is going to be fun. A lot of fun. And as it might black list me from ever going to see a performance, and I might lose a bunch of friends in the ballet world… I decided… It is worth it.

A lot of you wrote in why I was selling and stopping… Here is the truth:

I decided to stop a ballet education because despite all of my efforts in posting happy, feel good posts about classical ballets, dance companies and schools… Actual education posts… people really didn’t care to read them. The more honest I was, the more popular the posts became… And I felt that I was giving ballet kind of a bad reputation, despite the truth behind it—

Then, because of this blog major ballet companies wouldn’t consider hiring me for PR & Marketing, despite my proven success track in the world fashion and luxury. (Which I consider going to the ballet to be a luxury (ballet go-ers support the art, so I thought why not?) Even though they sent nice emails saying I wasn’t qualified, a friend had casually mentioned my blog had come up in an east coast conference room. I was like Mother F’rs did I just screw myself over?

Finally, I realized that i was spending way too much time talking about ballet and not enough time in the world of fashion, which pays my bills…

So here is why I am coming back… I’m cutting the BS out of ballet. It is time people starting talking truthfully and not politely… People keep wondering why ballet is dying? Because no one is afraid to say the truth, and well, since I am not going to be in the dance world any time soon… I have nothing to lose. GET READY… because it is coming!! 

5 Ballet Techniques that make me melt

In today’s world of dance we applaud ridiculous extension, turns that never end, and jumps that defy gravity. Or, we celebrate mediocrity. Either way, it doesn’t do it for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some musicality, and artistic achievement but… I’m like a lover of technique. So, as much as I appreciate and glorify dancers of the past… It doesn’t really do much for me either. I recently was watching some video of Maria Tallchief in Allegro Brilliante and I was like -_____-.  Like randomly placed passes, and some questionable releves from male dancers of the past… that doesn’t really do anything for me.

So, in today’s world of ridiculousness technique… There are five techniques that if done well, make me melt… Like I get all warm inside, and if it is on youtube I rewind it and watch it again… SOOO, what are they?

1. The technically crisp soutenu.

2. A two butts up glissade.

3. A super generous, and resistant pas de cheval.

4. A Balanchine saute arabesque, jete combo.

5. When a dancer bevels or wings their supporting foot right before they come down from releve, or when they place themselves on the wing of pointe shoe for a balance.

JKO SCHOOL

There really is no secret formula to decide what ballet school is better. You have to remember that my top ten ballet schools was a reflection of history, careers, and outstanding teachers… A lot of people have written in on why I don’t talk about the JKO school, so here I am talking about the JKO on a Sunday Morning with my coffee…

The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis school is a technical school that is fairly new compared to most ballet schools. American Ballet Theatre is a touring company, so it doesn’t really make sense to have a school… Despite ABT having their own curriculum. The JKO school is a the platform in which numerous students flock to, in hopes of one day joining the ranks of American Ballet Theatre… The problem? ABT is notorious for recruiting their ABT II members from huge competitions. ABTII feeds into American Ballet Theatre. While their students are promising, and a huge amount of talent comes there, I have not really been impressed with the school. Not to mention they are about to open a school in Orange County… Which isn’t a surprise, seeing who sponsored the school… William Gillespie is a huge ballet supporter in California, and sponsors tons of kids to pursue their dreams. Now, with schools on two coasts, it makes you wonder… ABT might just be that smart in terms of generating revenue… Which every ballet company needs…

1. Schools support companies in a huge way. Not only is it the chance to groom dancers to how you want them to be, they financially support the company.

2. Summer programs are huge money makers.. why does ABT have five locations? Joffery have two? Etc etc etc. Boston has two different programs running, and I think the Rock has a total of 3 over the summer…

The problem with big name schools? Their alumni reflects a huge amount of talent because the best of the best in the world are hoping to one day dance for the company. If you look at smaller schools, or schools not affiliated or that feed into a company… Those are great ways to determine how good a school is. I’m not saying JKO is a bad school, far from it. But, while you have all written in about getting accepted into ABT OC, ABT TX, you might need to stop and think about it… really.

maxresdefault eae66f35c26149c7ae6c3c9477f27ec2 American Ballet Theater American Ballet TheaterPhotos are of students at the JKO school by Rosalie O’Connor.