2017 Summer Intensives – Top US Ballet Programs
Happy Turkey Month! And what a busy month it is – Nutcracker rehearsals, finals and the start of audition season.
Last year BalletScoop discontinued the big list of all summer intensives. This was a tough decision, and I know how many of you enjoyed it and relied on it year to year. In the future I hope to collaborate with a colleague of mine to develop a truly interactive and more easily maintainable database of programs (stay tuned for more on that next year)!
In the meantime I’ll continue share with you links to the finest programs that every dancer should know. As far as these schools go, if you are within driving distance of an audition location, don’t think twice about – go!
American Ballet Theatre (NY, AL, TX, CA)
School of American Ballet (NY/CA)
Bolshoi Ballet (NY/CT) – Click here to learn about the BBS SI approach.
San Francisco Ballet (CA) – This year’s site has had a beautiful overhaul!
Ellison Ballet (NY)
Boston Ballet (MA) – Also featuring a new updated website!
Houston Ballet (TX)
French Academie (NY)
Kirov Academy (DC)
The Rock School (PA)
Need to find a regional program? It’s worth looking at the Pointe Magazine list. Keep in mind that it’s based purely on opt-in paid placement (so Pointe won’t list programs that don’t pay them money), but it’s still a solid starting point. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, feel free to drop me a line in the comments below and I’ll help you out if I can!
Get a Job: Marketing Yourself to Dance Companies
When you’re a dancer, sweet sixteen isn’t just a birthday milestone, it’s the age you start thinking of how to begin your career. You’re two years from high school graduation, even less if you’ve sped up your courses. At sixteen, you might even start flying out to company auditions to gain experience and get seen by artistic directors.
It can be pretty intimidating to get started though – How do you make a dance resume? How do you find ballet companies where you might be a fit and stand the best chance of getting a contract? How can you put together an awesome audition package with sophisticated videos and photographs that will really help get you a job?
Rachel Neville, author of the popular and thoughtfully made Leotard Buying Guide, is here to help with these questions. A former dancer, Rachel is now a well-known dance and movement photographer in NYC. She’s going above and beyond to create free resources for dancers crossing this point in their careers. In her latest effort, Rachel talks candidly about a each step in the process from researching companies to ensuring you are presenting yourself in the most effective way possible. Subscribe to Rachel’s blog to be notified of new videos as they are published, and check out the latest edition below.
Get a Job! Model for Discount Dance Supply
How about glossing the pages of the most popular dancewear site and catalog in the new year? Discount Dance is looking for camera-ready experienced or professional dancers for the new fall line and the costume collection in sizes Small Child through Small Adult. Apply online with three photos and your basic info to be considered.
Models for DDS have included many professional dancers and countless student talents. Photos appear online, in print and in digital form on the app version of the catalog as well. You couldn’t ask for a more thorough variety of exposure. Now go take some pics and apply – take a chance on yourself!
Holiday Wishes & Some News
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year to you all! Sad news however, I won’t be able to publish a 2016 summer intensives list this year. This decision has been weighing on me heavily, but there are a number of reasons that it no longer makes sense to continue this annual project. I know that many of you rely on this and will be very disappointed. If it becomes more feasible to reboot the series in the future, I will definitely do so.
Thank you to all my readers for being part of the BalletScoop community! Merde to all for upcoming auditions and Nutcrackers!
2016 Summer Dance Intensives Update
I know you’re all waiting with bated breath for the annual list of summer intensives. While unfortunately the vast majority of programs that I typically include have not yet updated their 2016 information, the major top programs in the US have. So I thought I’d get those up here for your reference now.
Once most of the other programs have their houses in order, I’ll post the usual mega-spreadsheet with details like ages and dates. For now, in no particular order (and please don’t try reading into who I’ve included and excluded, though I know you guys love to do that!), here are the top US programs who have posted their 2016 main summer program details:
School of American Ballet (NT)
American Ballet Theatre (NY+)
Bolshoi Ballet (NY/CT)
San Francisco Ballet (CA)
Ellison Ballet (NY)
Boston Ballet (MA)
Houston Ballet (TX)
French Academie (NY)
Kirov Academy (DC)
The Rock School (PA)
Let me know if this is helpful either in direct message or down below in the comments. Remember there are plenty of resources here on BalletScoop (starting here) to help you decide where to spend your time auditioning and how to find the best training for your needs. Merde to all!
Summer Intensive Decision Time
Hi everyone. I’ve received a number of requests lately that go something like this:
I/my child got into the SI programs at X, Y, and Z schools. Are they good or bad? What do you think we should do? X school has a different technique than I/he/she studied in the past. Is that good or bad? What do you think we should do?
With messages like this, what I really hear is, “Please tell me where to spend my money and also which school has the magical touch to create professional dancers!”
Well unfortunately the answer to those questions are ‘I don’t know’ and ‘There isn’t one.’ But fortunately, I have created many resources to help, from first summer audition plans to decision time. Especially for newer readers I thought it would be nice for me to list it all together as a guide for you. Take a look below.
Should I Audition for a Summer Program?
Summer Training: Workshop, Intensive, or Camp?
Selecting Your Summer Intensive Auditions
Preparing Your SI Audition Season
DVD Auditions for the Distance Dancer – Part 1
DVD Auditions for the Distance Dancer – Part 2
Getting Accepted: What are “They” Looking for at SI Auditions?
You be the Judge: Choosing Your SI
Prepping for Summer Partnering
In order to expand the usability of this site, I have also added a menu sub-item for Summer Intensives on the left hand menu. Just hover over Pre-Professional Training to access it. That category has nearly every article related to summer training. Let me know what you guys think in the comments if you like.
Ballet in Print: YAGP (with Author Interview!)
Few people outside of our insulated ballet world are aware of the intense “make or break” moments of dancers’ careers, and fewer still have documented them. So it is with great pleasure that I present to you YAGP, the debut book from photographer and photojournalist Drew Kelley, in which he chronicles some of the most beautiful and evocative backstage moments from the 2013 Youth America Grand Prix.
YAGP is a competition that has launched the careers of many outstanding ballet students, inspired far more, and shown the door to still others. In 2013, YAGP saw nearly 1,000 dancers in the New York City rounds, with 30 countries represented. I had the pleasure of speaking with Drew about his involvement and his approach to capturing some of the most fleeting, poignant moments experienced by the young competitors.
JD: How did you get involved in this project, since you had never been exposed to the ballet world before?
DK: I work primarily with newspapers, that’s my “day job” so to speak, and the topics can be really anything. So I was sort of thrown into shooting ballet, covering some girls from a local Southern California studio, and I thought, this is actually pretty cool! I was kind of blown away. I ended up attending the First Position premiere in Santa Monica and eventually approached my editor with the suggestion that it would be worth going to New York and documenting the experience.
JD: So how long were you in New York and did you get to stay until the end?
DK: I was actually embedded with the original school that got me involved, so I flew over with them and was there from start to finish. I got to watch the gala and everything.
JD: It must have been incredibly visually stimulating. How did you narrow your focus and choose your subject matter with so much to see, and what made you decide to focus on backstage moments versus the more often flashy onstage performance shots?
DK: It’s a little nuts, and it is hard to stay focused because there’s so much going on at once. It was definitely overload. I took a lot of pictures including onstage, but right now you can Google “YAGP” and you can find 90% of the photos are onstage performing. I found it was just as exciting to witness the moments behind the scenes. Because I was embedded and was with a woman who knew basically everyone, I actually met Franco De Vita, Larissa [Saveliev] – who founded it with her husband – and many other powerful people. I was shaking a lot of hands. Things kind of fell into perspective.
JD: I’m sure that each photo is very special to you, but do you maybe have any particular favorites?
DK: Actually there is one where you see the back of the girl with her arms out, and you see there’s this background of people and that’s actually the judges. The judges photo is hard to explain to people. To get access backstage is not that big a deal, but that was the scholarship classes. In reality, the point is not at all who will win, the point is to be seen. And that’s what that was. Seeing them perform [in audition class], if the Artistic Director liked them, they were approached right then and there and it was like, “Can you move to Monte Carlo?” And I’d think, but she’s only fifteen! Lives were completely changed in a moment.
JD: Anything else you’d like to add about your experience?
DK: It was really impressive to see all the kids from around the world that, once they were here in the same room together, it was like they all speak the same language. When I was a kid, I was into skateboarding, and when you’d see another kid with a skateboard it was like, hey, we understand each other. It was just like that. Here’s this kid from Japan and this kid from Brazil, and they can instantly bond. That was pretty great to see.
Thank you so much, Drew, for undertaking this project and sharing these beautifully captured moments.
For more information about Drew Kelley, please visit http://drewakelley.com/
Fore more information about the YAGP competition, please visit http://www.yagp.org.
Should I Audition for a Summer Program?
I’ve talked about so many aspects of summer training, including preparation for summer auditions, choosing between types of programs, finding the best men’s ballet training, choosing between different audition opportunities, auditioning by video, what audition judges are looking for, choosing between school‘s you’ve been accepted to and even interpreting scholarship offers.
One of the questions I haven’t answered is whether these summer programs make financial sense to consider in the first place. For me, it’s a foregone conclusion that you have decided they are if you are here reading about them, but ultimately that is up to the individual – it will be different for everyone depending on what’s already available locally, what you can afford, your goals, and so many other things. However, Dance Channel TV has made a great video that’s a wonderful starting point for considering the issues surrounding this topic. Enjoy!
2014 Summer Intensive Auditions
Well. Such as it is, here is your 2014 Summer Intensives Auditions List (last updated 2/10/14) including 390 high quality programs complete with direct links, dates and age restrictions! It’s actually not as complete as I would like with some of the dates, but more schools than usual are behind in updating their site so I’ll be updating this list as I receive more information. Audition season is already well underway, so merde to all!
And as usual here’s my list of a few SIs, in no particular order, with strong reputations that you may want to put at the top of your list.
Pacific Northwest Ballet School
Please send me a message if you encounter any broken links. As always, if you have any questions about particular SIs, please refer to Ballet Talk for Dancers, where you can create a free account and peruse first-hand reviews by dancers and parents.
P.S. I will be posting a separate list of Teacher Training programs in the next couple weeks, so teachers who have requested that: I hope to publish that before year end.
2014 Summer Intensives List Coming Soon!
Since last month I’ve been working on the annual SI list for you beautiful dancers out there! You’ve sent quite a few inquiries about when I will be publishing that, so I this is just a quick note to let you know that I plan to post it at the end of this Thanksgiving week.
There’s extra delay this year due to a number of intensives who have not published their 2014 information yet. For that reason, a number of schools will have TBA listed for dates with a link to their general site or 2013 info. I am limiting this as much as possible by making individual calls to these schools to supplement my data with unpublished, verbally confirmed updates when possible, but my many phone calls have also added to the delay.
Thanks for your patience and your excitement for this year’s list. There are many lovely opportunities this year and a number of schools have widened their age acceptances. Enjoy your Thanksgiving holidays and see you on the other side!
Auditions for Paid Studio Company Positions with Gelsey Kirkland!
The Gelsey Kirkland Ballet, studio company for the Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet, is holding auditions this weekend for paid positions. Attendees will also be considered for the year-round professional and pre-professional training school. This is a must-go audition!
Gelsey Kirkland Ballet Studio Company is under the artistic leadership of Gelsey Kirkland and Michael Chernov, whose vision is to maintain an ensemble company capable of realizing diverse and compelling theatrical ideas through specialized, comprehensive training and direction. Contracts are typically 32 weeks.
The Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet is proud to announce that we will be holding an audition for our PAID Male & Female Studio Company positions and our year round professional and pre-professional academy programs.
Saturday, August 17th at 12:00pm
Gelsey Kirkland Academy
355 Broadway, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10013
What To Bring:
Please bring proper audition attire, pointe shoes, and an 8×10 headshot along with an action shot in arabesque. $35.00 Audition Fee. DVD auditions are accepted.
If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet at (212) 600-0047 or by email: misha AT gelseykirklandballet DOT org
Summer Intensive Handbook on Sale!
From My Son Can Dance, the Summer Intensive Handbook is one mom’s effort to help guide parents and students through the process of preparing for a choosing their SI. Nina Amir, mother of Julian Amir Lacey (pictured left) knows all to well how much information is out there for you to sift through. Take advantage of her experience through this publication, available through Kindle, as a PDF, or for any other ereader.
Offered for a limited time at a discount using the code at the bottom of the linked page, this very affordable handbook is a handy reference for summer intensive research and advice. Check it out!
Selecting Your Summer Intensive Auditions
I’m so pleased to see how many dancers are making use of the BalletScoop list of 2013 Summer Intensives! Let’s talk about how to select auditions. I advise auditioning for as many programs as you can without exhausting yourself or negatively impacting your schoolwork, but it helps to have a basic idea of what you want early on.
So before you get overwhelmed by the 300+ program options, take a moment to consider what you envision for yourself for summer training. What are you trying to achieve in the next few years? Are you leaving home for the first time and simply focus on improving your technique? Do you need to look for work or get exposure to artistic directors? Will you be pursuing college? You maybe best served by a particular type of program, and each type offers various features.
- are not attached to companies, but may have indirect connections
- provide the smallest class sizes
- offer heavy supervision
- take a focused and nurturing approach
- are well suited for younger dancers and first-time SI students
- may serve as an audition for the year-round residential program
Company schools (usually):
- are directly connected (or in some way affiliated) with a professional performing company
- offer flexible supervision with expectations of somewhat mature level of personal responsibility
- may have large class sizes
- are particularly well-suited to older dancers and those preparing to try for professional work in the next two years
- may serve as an audition to the trainee program, second company or apprenticeship program
- are run by college dance departments
- may offer scholarships or tuition credit to the university for summer attendees
- have a wide range of class size, instruction quality, supervision and intensity depending on the quality of the dance department
- are ideal for younger and older dancers intending to attend college after high school
- Have self-governing authority over a particular style of ballet technique
- Offer certification to students and teachers after completion of a course and examination
- Are well-suited to dancers pursuing professional performance or teaching careers
- Are sometimes affiliated with a festival, competition or convention
- Often bring together a hodge-podge of famous dance faculty
- May offer opportunities to see professional performances as part of the program
Exceptions to these exist. For example Ballet West’s program is the official summer program of both the professional company and the University of Utah. And some company programs make a concerted effort to provide a highly nurturing, conservatory environment to better accommodate very young dancers.
Once you have this choice in mind, you can filter the list to show only the type of programs that suit your immediate goals. This will narrow the list considerably. After that, it’s time to the click links provided and research the websites to discover other details like:
- courses and dance styles offered
- tentative schedules/hours per week
- housing and board options
- tuition costs and scholarship availability
- in-house faculty and guest teachers
- session lengths and date flexibility options
- eligibility requirements beyond age
Note that consecutive sessions are only listed separately when there is a material difference in their purpose. So for example, ABT summer sessions are listed separately because of their different locations and age requirements, while Indiana University’s program is listed as one contiguous event even though they technically have two identical programs back to back. Be sure to look for programs that are extra early or extra late — you may be able to attend 2-3 full programs if you plan wisely!
Now that you have your short list, get movin! If you can’t attend all of the live auditions you need, a DVD audition is your next best option and the time to start making it is now. Once you have audition and received your acceptance, wait-list, or rejection letters, visit Choosing Your SI to help make your final decisions.
2013 SI Auditions Photo Shoot at FAB!
The esteemed French Academie of Ballet has arranged for Joseph Henry Ritter to photograph students on Wednesday, December 19, 2012, in preparation for the upcoming audition season! This event is open to students who are not enrolled a FAB. Francois Perron and Nadege Hottier will be on hand to personally guide participants on placement and photo selection. (Participants are responsible for knowing exactly what poses and types of photos are required by all schools they will be auditioning for.) Sign-up for this event by emailing Leslie Schiller at ‘lschiller [at] frenchacademieofballet [dot] org’ by THIS FRIDAY, December 7, 2012!
Space is limited! Thanks to FAB for providing a much-needed service during their sold out European Masters Workshop.