5 Summer Programs You Can’t Miss Out On!


master ballet academy summer intensive
Students of Master Ballet Academy SI 2017 Performing Sleeping Beauty.


Programs associated with companies are great, and in fact, necessary, especially if you are in that upper age bracket (17-19). But, are these programs the best for that lower age bracket, specifically 11-15? There are five programs across the United States who are proving that good schools come in small packages, and the training is being recognized by major schools across the world. All of these summer courses offer everything from technique class to modern, pas de deux to contemporary and a variety of cross training. These programs are great and they are definitely something to consider because these programs are worth the money. Also, keep track of your progress this summer with the A Ballet Education Technique Tracker! DON’T FORGET TO APPLY ASAP!! THE DEADLINES ARE COMING UP!

(Leslie Browne teaching students at Dallas Conservatory Summer Intensive // Photo courtesy of the Dallas Conservatory)

THE LIST: 5 Summer Programs You Can’t Miss Out On!

Master Ballet Academy (Scottsdale, Arizona) (http://masterballetacademy.com)
*A Ballet Education aka me… will be guest teaching here*

2018SummerIntensiveFlyer.jpg-Hotel Extended Stay
-Large Classes with available Private Lessons (You can request me)
-Modified Russian Technique
-YAGP Outstanding School, Produced winners of YAGP, VARNA
-Contemporary Intensive
-Young Dancer Intensive



Ellison Ballet (Manhattan, New York)(http://ellisonballet.com)
-Hotel Extended Stay
-Large Classes
-Modified Russian Technique
-YAGP Outstanding School, Produced winners of YAGP, MOSCOW IBC
-Variations and Pas De Deux Intensives
-Guest Faculty is world renowned and many are YAGP Judges


“The most important thing I’ve learned from Mr. Ellison in his Pas de Deux intensive is that our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. Be ready to be challenged beyond your limits, but at the end of each day you walk away knowing that you’ve become a stronger dancer, artist, and human being.”
-Rachelle di Stasio, American Ballet Theatre

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Meet me at the barre 😉 #tbt #cheers

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The Dallas Conservatory (Dallas, Texas)(http://thedallasconservatory.org)
advanced intensive ballet
-Hotel Extended Stay
-Host Families
-Medium Class Size
-Various Pedagogies
-YAGP Outstanding School, produced winners of YAGP
-Musical Theater, Contemporary Intensives
-Guest Faculty is world renowned and many are YAGP Judges

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1st Place Junior Classical Winner @kali_kleiman at YAGP Dallas! Full list of Awards follows 🎉Congrats to all on a stupendous start to YAGP season – 4 more cities to go! ✈️✈️✈️ 🌟2018 Outstanding School🌟 1st Place Ensembles 2nd Place Pas de Deux Contemporary Top 3, Senior: 1st Place: Eden Ryder Classical Ballet Top 3, Junior: 1st Place: Kali Kleiman 3rd Place: Ally Whitley Contemporary Top 3, Junior: 2nd Place: Ally Whitley 3rd Place: Charlotte Junge Classical Top 12, Senior: Eden Ryder Rachel Rohrich Classical Top 12, Junior: Charlotte Junge Olivia Bell Savannah Cummings Contemporary Top 12, Senior: Ava.Noble…… ……………………………………………………………..Contemporary Top 12, Junior: Caroline Powell Kali Kleiman Olivia Bell Classical Top 12, Pre-Competitive: Madeleine Chen Contemporary Top 12, Pre-Competitive: Madeleine Chen Chloe Kim Classical Top 24, Junior: Caroline Powell Dani van Creveld Natalia Scuilla 🎉🎊💥👌💯‼️👏👍💕🌟🎉🎊 We could not be more proud! Thank you to all for your hard work!! SPECIAL THANKs TO COACHES Jacqueline Porter, Olga Pavlova, Clair Culin, Kate Kuether, Vincent Hardy, Ausia Jones, Megan Storey, Cat Lewellyn, and Sean Smith!😀😀😀😀😀😃😃😃😃😃😃😀😃😃😃😃😃😃#ballet #ballerina #balletpost #balletfeet #dance #dancer #bailerina #balet #tutu #costume #jacquelineporterballet #summerintensive #thedallasconservatory #outstandingschool PHOTO CREDIT: @epep1020

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Art of Classical Ballet (Pompano Beach, Florida)
-Hotel Extended Stay
-Small Class Size
-Cuban Ballet
-YAGP Outstanding School, Produced winners of IBC USA, Prix De Lausanne, YAGP


Indiana Ballet Conservatory (Indianapolis, Indiana) (better designed for girls)
-Host Families
-Medium Class Size
-Modified Russian Technique
-YAGP Outstanding School, Produced winners for Moscow IBC, VARNA
-Young Dancer Intensive (ages 6-9)
-Guest Faculty is world renowned and many are YAGP Judges

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Have you registered for your #IBCSI2018 audition yet? Attending YAGP Chicago this weekend? Here’s your chance to train with IBC’s world-class faculty this summer, or to audition for our year-round Pre-Professional Day Program! Our Chicago audition is coming up this Thursday, February 1st at Ruth Page studios. We hope to see you there! Pre-register today! — #ballet #dance #ibc #indianaballetconservatory #ballerinasofig #ballerina #instagramballerinas21 #worldwideballet #worldwidedance #balletworld_inspiration #balletpost #loveballet #balletlife #balletspirit #futureofballet #carmelballet #balletspiration #balletbabiesfeature #ballet_a #mypointemoment #vaganova #russianballet #loveindy #indymonthly #indyschild #theballetclub #worldballetproject #summerintensive #yagp2018

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Honorable Mentions
-Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (Carlisle, Pennsylvania)
-The Rock School for Dance Education (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
-Kirov Academy DC (Washington DC)
-Southland Ballet Academy (Huntington Beach, California)
-Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet (Brooklyn, New York)

Don’t forget to plan your Summer with the A Ballet Education Day Planner!!

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!

Time to Audition… Summer Intensives 2018… What to do?

Summer Intensives Ballet 2018

Summer Intensives seem far off into next year, but as we all know, the auditions are just around the corner. In fact, most registrations open tomorrow, December 1, 2018. Don’t freak out, if you haven’t given a thought to summer intensives because you are focused on surviving Nutcracker, and prepping for YAGP, you aren’t alone. It seems that the ballet season for students is becoming more intense and more demanding every year. If you are a parent who is overwhelmed, check out some of the Summer Intensive/Program posts.

Every year A Ballet Education receives hundreds of emails asking questions like, “What Summer Intensive should my student go to? Where is the best Summer Intensive? How can I afford a summer course?” And the list goes on… So this year, as we start our summer program series, we should talk about what is happening in ballet.

The demand for ballet training is high and the demand for ballet celebrity is even higher.   We have created the social media ballerina, brand ambassadors, baby ballerinas and the quest for perfection has intensified. Exposure has become everything, but it always has been. Summer Intensives or Summer Programs used to be 5 weeks of intense training and a chance to be seen by ballet companies and prestigious schools in hopes to be asked to stay for the year. Now, companies and schools are recruiting off of Instagram and other Social Media Networks. Young dancers are becoming brand ambassadors at the age of nine, and most are becoming entrepreneurs by sixteen. More and more people are starting to think that Summer Intensives are a waste of money, and really just a chance for ballet schools/companies to make money. Especially, since most are using the YAGP and Social Media as a chance to audition for multiple schools in a weekend instead of driving around every weekend for an hour and a half audition… Unfortunately, this is half true. With the demand for ballet technique at an all time high, and the demand for ballet technique, turnout and body type also at an all time intensity… it makes us wonder if going to a summer program is even worth it. And the answer is simple… Go where you are wanted!

There seems to be three types of summer programs now:

  1. The Company Route: these summer programs are designed the more traditional way. They are used to recruit students into their year-round school/trainee programs and eventually feed into the company. These programs are usually attached to major companies and the dancers that are going to these programs are already strong and technically efficient.
  2. The Training Route: these summer programs are designed to get through grueling days of intense training. Programs like these enforce heavy technique, repertoire, pas de deux, and more.
  3. The Fun/Recreational Route: these programs are designed for the serious ballet dancer, but not looking to go professional.

To answer a lot of questions… I don’t know what program is right for your child because I haven’t seen your child dance. I don’t know their learning habits or their strengths and weaknesses. But here is what I do know about going into the 2018 Summer/Competition Season. As a reminder, this summer the USA IBC takes places in Jackson from June 10-23 which could put a damper on your Summer Intensive plans. Most SI’s require you attend the full session and most start that last week. Additionally, it also means a lot of competitive ballet schools will be missing teachers that week because of the competition.

But, this year here are some of the best Summer Intensive Recommendations based on recommendations from colleague, how my own students have progressed, and who is getting asked to stay for the year and feed into companies. Additionally, received information from Companies on acceptance rates to the year-round school and scholarships:
(Here is last year’s list)

  1. San Francisco Ballet School’s Summer Intensive (San Francisco, CA) program is broken up into two amazing sessions. The first being for the intermediate dancer (3 Weeks), and the second for the Advanced/Pre-Pro division (4 Weeks). San Francisco Ballet School’s Summer Intensive always produces strong results. SFB’s SI offers everything from strict Vaganova training to Balanchine Repertoire to Contemporary…
    You must audition for these two programs and registration opens December 1, 2018…. Which is why I am publishing this today…  Pre-register to save money.
    Don’t miss out and check the audition schedule here
    Why you should go to this Summer Intensive? Because it feeds San Francisco Ballet…Here’s a quote from San Francisco Ballet School Director Patrick Armand. “San Francisco Ballet School offers a full summer intensive program with a complete curriculum and distinguished faculty. We attract the highest caliber of talented male and female students from around the globe; more than 60% of the Company members in San Francisco Ballet trained in the School.”


  2. Paris Opera Ballet School is a newer program, but arguably POBS offers some of the best training in the world, if not the best classical ballet training. If you aren’t familiar with what makes French Ballet so popular, it is the dancer’s body’s ability to digest turnout and technique while remaining effortless. (website)
  3. Houston Ballet School‘s Summer Intensive (Houston, TX) is growing fast and strong. It has always been one of the most reputable SI’s out there, but with HBA’s social media campaigns, it is truly showcasing exceptional American classical training. This six week course offers students a chance to train at HBA and hopefully get a spot in the year-round school. Click here for the HBA audition schedule.
  4. Master Ballet Academy (Scottsdale, AZ) is offering their Summer Intensive again. Their five week intensive offers intense technical training with the Wozniak’s and their large guest faculty. Auditions are submitted online and open January 1, 2018. Master Ballet Academy is known for their huge social media influence, updated Vaganova technique, and pristine precision in execution. (website)
  5. Ellison’s Summer Intensive (NYC) dates have been announced along with their tuition rates. Also known for their intense technical training, Ellison breaks their summer program up into Classical Variations Intensive, Classical Pas De Deux Intensive and Summer Intensive. Their national audition dates have been announced. (website)
  6. Even though they haven’t announced their audition dates, another coveted school to attend over the summer is National Ballet of Canada‘s. More info by clicking here.
  7. Bolshoi Ballet Academy SI NY 2018 has been announced as well. Another chance at hardcore Russian Training and spending time in NYC, this Summer Intensive is becoming more and more popular and exclusive as the demand for Modified/Updated Russian Training is at an all time high. (website)
  8. The School of American Ballet has announced their dates in NYC for July 1-August 4, 2018. But, School of American Ballet has also announced their new Junior Program for young dancers June 25-30 (ages 10-12). They also will be continuing their California Workshop but have changed the age to match the Junior Program, (10-12). These programs are designed to recruit to the School of American Ballet, which I only recommend if your student wants to be a Balanchine Dancer and dance for NYCB. (website) Pre-register to save money.
  9. Pacific Northwest Ballet (Seattle, WA) has announced their dates and audition tour. PNB has  their audition fee at $45, which is kind of insane… But, it is a great Balanchine program. (website)
  10. And then take your pick between Boston Ballet and The Rock School. It was a tie.

Still need more advice? Email me. 


15 Summer Programs that Pay Off

15 SUMMER INTENSIVES THAT PAY OFF (as featured in a Ballet Education’s Magazine)


Summer intensives are ridiculously expensive; in fact they are beyond expensive. Like, you might have a sell a kidney to keep your child dancing. It is quite overwhelming. Nowadays, summer intensives or summer programs are a breeding ground for companies to pull up and coming dancers, and cultivate a wealth of talent. With that being said, summer programs also help finance a school year round. After a lot of exchanging of emails, people always ask what summer programs should my child audition to? The answer is never clear because different summer programs cater to different things.

Reputation and prestige are always something ballet dancers are going to go after, but the reality is that different summer programs focus on different things at different age groups. So, it is hard to be certain if a summer program will pay off for your child or not. You also have to decide how mature your child is, and if he or she will be able to digest the knowledge at a very fast rate. Most summer intensives are five weeks of the most intense training with multiple teachers. Now, here are my top 15 summer intensives every child should consider auditioning for.

Even though summer intensives are money makers, they play key parts in getting a job. For example, School of American Ballet feeds into New York City Ballet, which means you need to be seen at the summer course if you don’t live in NYC. So… You feed through… Like any company.

  1. SCHOOL OF AMERICAN BALLET: It isn’t number one because I am a fan of the school, it is rated number one because the results of the students. Students learn the Balanchine Aesthetic that enhances musicality, speed and spatial awareness. (website)
  2. SAN FRANCISCO BALLET SCHOOL: This program is a beast. Kids who go to SFB SI come back stronger than ever. (website)
  3. ELLISON BALLET*: Amazing results, very Russian. Great for the dancer who is behind. (website)
  4. MASTER BALLET ACADEMY*: Amazing results as well, but more known for their year-round program of elite dancers. Not recommended for young dancers, but matured dancers in their training who are looking to turn and jump more. (website)
  5. PACIFIC NORTHWEST BALLET SCHOOL: If you want to learn how to jump, and you get in… I feel like every student I have seen come back from PNB SI comes back as an antelope. (website)
  6. CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA YOUTH BALLET*: Great program for the student who started late and needs to catch up, or needs cleaning up. It is a great back to basics program as well. No audition needed. (website)
  7. BOSTON BALLET SCHOOL: Students come back extremely strong. Technique and precision are key here. Boston SI Students come back so clean. (website)
  8. THE ROCK SCHOOL*: If you want to learn how to turn and jump, the Rock School is the place to go. If you want to train towards the YAGP, this is a great place to be, not only for the education but the resources the Rock offers. (website)
  9. BALLET ACADEMY EAST*: Clean technique is key, and if you want to be in NYC this is the CPYB equivalent. (Website)
  10. HOUSTON BALLET SCHOOL: Can you turn? Houston Ballet is the place to go if you can already turn… They are known for taking amazing turners and technicians into their summer programs. (Website)
  11. MIAMI CITY BALLET SCHOOL: Want to dance at the beach? Miami City Ballet is the place to go. It is also a great option for those who didn’t get into SAB, meaning… You have the chance to still dance Balanchine… (website)
  12. NATIONAL BALLET OF CANADA: Bangin program, have yet to see someone come back a mess. Students learn a lot of constraint here, which is nice these days. (website)
  13. ALONZO KING’S LINES BALLET SCHOOL: an amazing program for dancers who are looking for finishing their technique with artistic nuances. Not recommended for younger students. Goes to age 24. (website)
  14. PARIS OPERA BALLET SCHOOL : a newer program, but arguably POBS offers some of the best training in the world, if not the best classical ballet training. (website)
  15. BALLET CHICAGO*: For young students who don’t have a Balanchine teacher at home, but are looking/hoping to go to SAB… It is a great place to start. (website)

*Does NOT have a professional company attached, but known for world class training.

Questions I get asked…

Why ABT isn’t on the list? It is no secret that ABT is a money making powerhouse when it comes to summer programs… Just like Joffrey… They offer tons of summer programs to accommodate the most kids possible. With that being said, it isn’t that the programs are bad… But if the goal is to become a professional dancer, you need to be seen where it counts… Which means if you don’t get into ABT NY or Joffrey Midwest… you are wasting your time…

Can I train with you this summer? This summer, yes. For more information please email me by clicking here.

What does it mean if you don’t get into any of these programs? It doesn’t mean you won’t go professional, there are tons of programs from regional programs like State Street and smaller programs like Kansas City and Milwaukee that are great programs… Unfortunately, they aren’t the powerhouses that are listed above. I am sure they are great programs, I just haven’t experienced them myself. Maybe soon, I will be able to travel and check them all out.

Click to read more articles on Summer Programs!

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Packing for a Summer Program…

summer program

It is countdown time… Most ballet students will be heading around the world in less than 30 days… While other kids are looking forward to summer vacations in Mexico, or going to the lakehouse, ballet students are gearing up for intense training… Parents are pinching pennies, and probably have been stocking up on pointe shoes. It is definitely crunch time… It is time for SUMMER PROGRAMS. Yes, you auditioned hard in January… Your parents shelled out big bucks… and now it is time to go study under brilliant ballet masters and mistresses, it is time to prove yourself among peers from around the world, it is time to prove that you belong in a professional school and land a year-round spot, or traineeship… Yup… It is definitely crunch time… While your friends are at grad night, you are doubling up on classes to build your stamina- you are cross training hard to be more flexible… You are doing pilates out the wazoo so you can turn faster and stronger than at your audition class back in January… Yup… and if you aren’t doing those things… maybe you should be? LOL…

So, what is more stressful than being at a summer program? Packing for a summer program… I am sure, you already have your lists going… but here are some helpful things to remember to bring to a summer program:

  • Sewing Kit
  • Extra ballet shoes, because you will either lose, rip or forget a pair… Make sure you bring black, white and nude because you never know what will be needed for end of course performances…
  • Tigerbalm or biofreeze… or whatever else you use…
  • Ibuprofen
  • Extra money for random things… I’m not talking about your basic spending money… but for laundry detergent, quarters for laundry machines, etc… Trust me.. there are a lot of things you take for granted…
  • Extra tights because pairs will rip… and discount dance gets behind on summer shipping…
  • Cell phone charger, not that you are ever without it…
  • small foam roller, theraband, foot stretcher, foot roller, and anything you might need during the course… Remember you are going to be dancing hard this summer, so your body is going to go through a lot of stress…
  • a good book…
  • running shoes
  • a notebook… so you can take notes

Those are just some of the things to pack… not to mention the standard: random character shoes and skirt, appropriate uniform, warm ups, regular clothes, and more…

ballet summer program

for professional dancers… it is time to go on vacation!!! After all of those summers you sacrificed you finally get to have summers off!!

Old posts about summer programs: what to do once you are in…

or just click the tag Summer Programs



Summer programs/ college auditions are coming up and everyone is stressing and writing in about them… So, if you are in socal I have I have answer for you… come to my (Redlands Dance Theatre’s) Audition Intensive. It will take place from January 3-9, 2015. On the Redlands Dance Theatre website the deposits were due by the 1st, but don’t worry about it. We have about ten spaces left. The workshop is designed for both students and parents to work together and find what is best to fit the needs of your family. Additionally, Alexandra Rose will be taking everyone’s audition photos. She does all of the RDT photos and is the photographer at Social Culture.
A weeklong intensive to prepare you, or your student for upcoming auditions for summer programs, companies and universities. Each day focuses on a different thing, and will prepare your student to take an audition to the best of their abilities. Students will prepare in both ballet, pointe and contemporary/modern auditions. Your student will learn what works the best for their abilities, how to tap into limitless potential, and how to market themselves at an audition. The intensives are designed for both the student and parent to take, so students don’t forget to tell their parents what is going on. Seminars in hair and make up, resume and portfolio building will help you and your child look and feel like a professional. Practice auditions will be held during the intensive and individual evaluations will follow. Additionally, a professional ballet photographer will be coming in to take your child’s audition photos. Each child will receive an 8×10” digital copy of their headshot and first arabesque. Additional prints may be purchased.

7 days, 10 AM-3:00 PM
Limited spaces available, non refundable deposit of $125 is due by November 1, 2015
The total fee for the audition intensive is $500.00(the deposit is included in this number) (Deposits and Fees to be billed online)

7 days, 10 AM- 2:00 PM
Limited spaces available, non refundable deposit of $100 is due by November 1, 2015
The total fee for the audition intensive is $400.00 (the deposit is included in this number) (Deposits and Fees to be billed online)

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP – if you sign up by Saturday- we will take of $50.00 of the total fee.
Jessy Gonzalez 1

Summer Program Life


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…

It”s a New Year…

Hello readers! Wishing you the best this new year! 

For those of you who are students, best of luck with your summer program auditions. And for those of you who are dancers, merde for the spring season. And, for those of you who simply enjoy ballet and this blog, I hope this year brings everything you have wanted.

Where to begin… where to begin… Let’s see… Today is the one year anniversary of my dad’s passing, so I have had a lot of time to reflect. The kind of reflection that should happen more often, but life sometimes gets in the way. Recently, I was looking at my itinerary for the upcoming fashion calendar and I realized that I don’t want to be in fashion much longer. Don’t get me wrong… The perks are great, the traveling is amazing, and you are surrounded by the most beautiful of things… But, as I was sitting there reading, I realized that I would rather be working in ballet. So, this is the year I am dedicating to transition out of fashion and back into ballet, specifically public relations, marketing, communication and sales… I have put out a few resumés, so we shall see.

So, enough about me… There are some exciting things going on in the dance world right now. The first is that two principal male prodigies have started to steer the course of ballet into a new direction. The first is Daniil Simkin, the Vienna prodigy at American Ballet Theatre with his project: Intensio. This project combines high caliber ballet dancers, with headlining reputations and innovative digital media. (click here to read more) The second of the men is Jeffrey Cirio, a principal dancer with Boston Ballet. The Cirio Collective is spearheaded by this young prodigy, and basically is creating space for dancers to take movement into their own hands. Their first season premier this summer. Dancers really don’t get to explore much on their own as they have the Artistic Director’s vision to carry out… This new collective I hope will eventually grow, and will become an innovative contemporary company based out of Boston. (Click here, and like their page on Facebook).

Principal dancers around the world though seem to be creating their own spaces. They are creating their own galas, realizing that their social media presence, and name alone can sell out a theatre. Roberto Bolle, Diana Vishneva are prime examples… I wouldn’t be surprised if Maria Kotchekova soon heads her own project. Former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan has joined Dance Spirit Magazine as a featured writer/editor. Her youtube and wordpress basically exploded last year, and has landed her a spot in publishing. (I am actually surprised this didn’t happen sooner.) Dance Magazine named their 25 to watch… If you didn’t know what this list was… It basically selects dancers and choreographers from around the world, and basically dubs careers to fame… Hee Seo, Leta Biasucci and others have graced the list.

Other fun new things this year? Paris Opera Ballet under Benjamin Millepied basically has given us access to behind the scenes of Paris Opera Ballet like never before… Thank you social media.

On the downside, this year is going to be echoed with retirements… But as we are saddened to see such artists take leave, don’t fret because a new generation of ballet dancers are coming into their own and they soon will be the names everyone is talking about, if people aren’t already talking about it… So here are some predictions for 2015… Hope they come true *fingers crossed*

Misty Copeland gets promoted to Principal at American Ballet Theatre.. Seriously, I think everyone is done waiting.

NYCB’s: Lauren Lovette and Savannah Lowery make exceptional debuts and are brought to rank of principal. (I don’t know who they will knock out of the principal role, but with Wendy retired… money has to be available right?)

Justin Peck makes an even larger contribution to the world of ballet… Seriously… He is probably the one we are all watching the closest right now, especially after he premiers in the documentary about his work…

oh, and David King, takes on the world of ballet in a greater capacity than this blog. Haha.

How to get through a summer program audition…

So, what is the secret to getting through a summer program audition?

easy answer: be good.

If you are thinking, “WTF?” Then you probably aren’t ready for a summer program. Sorry not sorry? Just kidding. But, on a more serious note, you do have to be technically sound for your age. As directors leading auditions, they do take in to consideration: body type, technical ability, work ethic, musicality which unfortunately out weighs potential and love of ballet.

So, if you are ready to audition for a summer program here are some tips:

1. Make sure you do exactly what they ask with port de bras. This includes the preparation. Just because at your school they do a different one, and it is probably engrained into your body, it doesn’t matter. You have to do exactly what they ask. Listen to key words while the teacher is giving the combination; like accent, slice, long, expand. These are qualities, subtle nuances and tips they are basically feeding you. This is what they are looking for.

2. Your audition class is not a warm up. Make sure you get there early enough to stretch, warm up, and basically do a little barre work prior to the audition. Yes, as barre during training is used to warm up and get on your leg… Audition classes are far from that. And as much as people say to just try your best, and relax, the pressure is immense. When auditions say this is just another class, they are basically lying to you because this class will determine whether or not you get in, and get a scholarship…

3. Presentation is everything. I am not talking about port de bras. I’m not talking about musicality, I am talking about what you are wearing. Find a leotard that is super flattering, make sure your tights don’t have holes, and clean up your ballet shoes.  Make sure your hair is performance quality, and a little make up wouldn’t hurt either.

4. Don’t over do it. Don’t be one of this kids in the audition who “feels” the music, and is giving us swan lake realness, or Giselle drama in class… This is dancing, not acting. There is nothing worse than an affected dancer. Directors want to see clean technique so they can mold you into what they want. You have to be pliable both physically, mentally and musically.

5. Don’t starve yourself before an audition. It doesn’t help you. Make sure the night before, or the morning before you get enough protein, and prior to the class make sure you have taken enough carbs in to get you through the class at 110%.

6. Try not to compare yourself. I mean, everyone sizes up the competition in the room, but just because she has leg up during warm up, doesn’t mean she has clean technique. Or if you see a girl obsessively stretching her feet, when she has beautiful feet, she might just only have… Beautiful feet. And definitely ignore the girl wearing the white leotard when the audition clearly asked for black leotard.

7. The most important thing in an audition is to become unforgettable. In a good way. You want to make a great impression on whoever is judging the class. For example, if they give you a correction, don’t just stand there and nod, actually do the correction a few times to show you are getting it into your body. My thing was always in plies, to look supper effortless, and that moment right before you grand plie, looking the director right in the eyes slightly smiling. Tendus, well I don’t have Alessandra Ferri feet, so I would just try to do exactly what they asked. Whether it be over articulation of the foot, precise accents, over crossed, lifting to come in, the list goes on, but basically trying to do exactly what they were looking for. Then I would try to make an impression during frappes but being super precise and trying to leave the “strike” out there as long as possible. Tendus at center was another chance to make an impression because you can be super musical and elongated. Adagio was always a plus for me as a boy since leg up was easier than turning. Pirouettes I would stick to a clean triple. Definitely was not one of the boys cranking out a million turns. Then petit allegro would be another chance for me to make an impression by being super exact, hitting tight fifths every time, and then beating absurdly. Grand allegro was not my thing either, so I tried my best, and double tours, well, needless to say I would try to make them as clean as possible.

Intro to Summer Programs

The Guide to Summer Programs:

While Christmas is finally here, and Nutcracker is finally over… We now look at the bigger picture, and the next part of the season: SUMMER PROGRAMS!! With auditions literally starting next week, the stress is on. SO, here are some of the truths about summer programs:

  1. Summer programs are not a vacation.  While it might be fun to travel all over the US, the reality is that summer programs are designed for three purposes.
    1. The first is to get the maximum amount of training in while you aren’t in school. So, if you are looking at summer programs as a chance to catch up on technique, then audition away. Dancers drastically change at summer programs for the good and the bad.
    2. The second reason ballet companies host summer programs is to look at the work ethic of potential year round students. For those who are killing themselves dreaming of San Francisco Ballet, your best bet is to go there for the summer. Hopefully, you are around 14-16 with awesome technique. This way you can get asked to stay for the year, and hopefully make it into their trainee program.
    3. Finally, the third reasons companies host summer programs is because it is a huge money maker. If you don’t know the costs of a summer program, check out this post. Summer programs are a way to overflow a school, and make money. It isn’t a hidden fact that ballet companies aren’t doing well, so Summer Programs are a way to generate income to the school/company during the off season (January) and then again in the Summer months.
  1. Names don’t mean anything. While many prestigious schools boast awesome summer programs, it doesn’t mean it is the best training for you. You have to find the school that is right for you, and where you are at in your training. For example, you should not audition for SAB until you are completely sure you are as strong as you can be, technically. SAB is a finishing school, not a training school. If you are behind on your technique, CPYB is the best place to go and get your butt whooped for a month. If you are looking to broaden your horizons in ballet, LINES would be a great add to your resume. And for those of you who are looking for individual attention, go to a smaller program like Ballet West or Atlanta Ballet’s Summer Programs. If you are looking to work on turns, go to the Rock School for Education, and if you are looking to jump go to PNB.
  2. Have back up plans. Like any child applying for colleges, you have to have a plan. Everyone has their dream programs, but then pick others that you know you are going to get into, schools you might get a scholarship to, and schools that are affordable. Have options, because a lot of kids will hit two summer programs in a summer.
  3. How do you know you are ready for a summer program? You have to be mentally prepared because at a summer program the competition in the classroom is stiff. Everyone there is pushing for a year round spot and scholarship for the year. You will be hundreds or thousands of miles away from home, living in dorms, with a hundred other ballet dancers. While you make lifelong friendships, the reality is, they are also your competition. It is easy to become friends, but it is easier to become jealous and get inside your own head, sabotaging your chances of staying for the year. If you are at a smaller school, and you are the best one at your studio, this would be a great growing opportunity.
  4. Finally, use summer programs to see if this is what you really want to do with your life. Summer programs are a great stepping stone to see whether or not you want to pursue ballet professionally. While it is rare for a dancer not to go to a summer program, a summer program is usually required as a bridge between professional schooling and a home studio. Another small step towards dancing Odette in Swan Lake.

You can go to any company’s website or school website to see if they are doing a national tour. The dates are already published. Audition fees will apply. If you don’t have the money, you can call the school registrar and possibly have the fee waived.