2012 Summer Intensive Auditions!

Boston Ballet School studentsThe 2013 Summer Intensives list is posted!

REMINDER: Please share your SI stories/reviews at Ballet Talk for Dancers, which archives this info for research by future students. If you are looking for info on an SI, make a free account there and you’ll have more info than you’ll know what to do with!

The 2012 summer audition dates are in! I can’t believe it’s been a year already! Time to start planning your winter audition schedule, and I’m here to help with tips and links for some of the best programs on the continent. Don’t forget to check out every program’s website for supplemental and alternative summer training programs, such as:

  • choreography intensives
  • mentoring programs for one-on-one coaching
  • jazz/contemporary programs
  • collegieate programs
  • recreational programs
  • add-on weeks to boost program length
  • satellite locations

Be mindful of any pre-registration requirements for each audition. And be sure to have your calendar handy! Continue reading

Audition Season is Just Around the Corner!

This past August, BalletScoop turned one year old. (Yay!) Back in fall of last year, it was all about the upcoming spring audition season for the annual summer programs around the country. This year will be no different, and if we have half the comments activity that we had last year, I’ll be a very busy bee! I love hearing from you all though, so please do post your questions and I’ll do my best to keep on top of them all.

Audition line-ups for the 2012 summer programs are not quite complete at many schools, so look for my 2012 auditions post in a few more weeks. In the meantime, get prepped for success by checking out two great new audition-related articles from Dance Informa, “Don’t Stress” and “Audition Do’s and Don’ts“. And be on the lookout here for info coming soon about exciting new books and dancewear.

Finally, I stumbled on a new blog I’ve just added to the blogroll, SteelsBallet, written by an intelligent and talented young dancer, Sarah Steele, who is pictured above and is currently training at the Valentina Kozlova Dance Conservatory of New York. (Be sure to check out the archive page, which is an easy to browse collage of all her posts to date.) Follow along as she tackles pre-calculus by day and pas de deux by night.

Student Dancers Wanted for Moscow Ballet Nutcracker

Moscow Ballet is looking for students to perform with the company for its perennial classic Nutcracker in multiple locations across 22 U.S. states and 2 Canadian provinces. These openings are a unique opportunity for young dancers to gain audition and performance experience with a professional company at a young age. The company is looking to fill the following positions:

  • 12 Party Guests (ages 8-11): 6 girls and 6 boys (or girls dressed as boys)
  • 10 Mice (ages 8-11 or 12): No taller than 5’
  • 12 Little Snowflakes (ages 7, 8 and 9): Must have ballet training
  • 12 Angels (ages 8 to 11): Graduated heights from smallest to tallest; No taller than 5’
  • 4 Butterflies: Older, taller girls from 12 to early teens; Off Pointe unless very strong on pointe.
  • ACT II Variations: Corps de ballet with company soloists. No taller than 5’2”.
  • Spanish: 2 young dancers ages 8-10; 2 older dancers ages 12-16 Pointe optional
  • Chinese: 2 young dancers ages 8-10; 2 older dancers ages 12 –early teens Pointe optional
  • Russian: 2 young dancers ages 8 – 10; 2 older dancers ages 10 –early teens (allegro dancers)
  • Arabian: 2 older dancers ages 12 -16 (Involves floor work) Pointe optional
  • French: 2 young dancers ages 7- 8

To see details and requirements and schedule an audition in a U.S. town near you, visit http://www.nutcracker.com/Audition_Dates.php and follow the simple instructions to register. Canadian auditionees, visit http://www.nutcracker.com/Audition_Dates.php?canada=y.

Update 8/17/11:  Check out this article, out yesterday, about young dancers performing with the company in Romeo & Juliet and other ballets.

The Truth About Company Auditions

Ballet is full of risks. Giselle lift, anyone? Hopefully most are calculated, as in, Yes, You learned to balance in retiré before trying to pirouette so you are less likely to fall on your tuckus. But some risks in ballet are not as easily controlled. For example: pursuing a professional career. Starting a professional dance career is very tough for most dancers. Most dancers do not win international competitions and go on to their dream company at 17. Most dancers are … average. Not average as in, “blah” – Average as in, pretty darn comparable to the thousands of other dancers that have made it far enough to realistically be prepared for company auditions. At that level nearly everyone has top technique and performance ability, making it very tough to stand out.

Auditioning for companies was the scariest part of my training, and I am not alone in that experience. But it was also extremely exciting and memorable. In fact, I probably should have kept a journal to share with my younger dancing sister before she began auditions. Well I never did, but another young dancer named Tara Gragg (pictured in Balanchine’s Rubies, above) created a blog diary about her auditions from this spring. Her goal is to move from an un-paid traineeship and subsequent apprenticeship with City Ballet of San Diego to the almighty Paid Contract. Tara writes about the excitement and stress of auditioning, the high rejection rates, her thoughts on the possibilities of living in various cities and the hard truths of decisions made by the companies. Check out her musings and follow her beautifully-crafted blog with the cute name, Gnarly Toeboots.

Gnarly Toeboots is now on the blogroll here at right. If you want to start reading it from the first post, click here. Also, I’d like you to take special note that even though this dancer trained locally for most of her career and earned a college degree, she is keeping up quite well with her audition peers, thanks to smart planning, good training and hard work.

Bolshoi Ballet to Hold Auditions

I never thought I would see this in my lifetime, but the Bolshoi Ballet is holding company auditions for the first time in its 235 year history. Invitation is required. To assist dancers, Youth American Grand Prix is now accepting submissions from YAGP alumni for recommendation consideration.

I think we can safely say that this is an unprecedented historical development in the dance world. Sincerest merde to all participants.

What’s in a (Ballet School) Name?

Whether it’s alphabet soup – SAB, ABT-JKO, SFB, PNB, BBS  – or one-name-celebrity-style – Kaatsban, Joffrey, Rock – major U.S.-based ballet schools often attract young auditionees by their name alone. But what is the actual worth of attending a big-name school? Will it help in your chances to dance professionally? Let’s do a reality check.

The most common misperception about ballet training that I encounter is the idea that attending at a “big-name” school will make or break whether the dancer will be able to secure a professional contract. This is simply not the case. But in order to understand why this is and what can make attending a famous school good, you first need to understand the process of auditioning for a professional ballet company.

The primary concern of most artistic directors when auditioning potential company members is the auditionees dancing ability, plain and simple. For serious consideration for a company position, you will usually need to get invited to a closed audition or a company class. The first step is to send an audition tape package, which may be very similar to an SI audition package, or to attend an open call. Whether you attend a cattle-call (open call) or send a DVD, the primary focus of the initial cut is your dance ability. More often than not, your résumé will just get a quick glance or perhaps not be reviewed at all before that cut.

Once you have auditioned live and in person, the AD (or more likely, the ballet master or mistress), will choose who they would like to speak to or see again. It is usually at this point that only those résumés will be reviewed with any real attention. What’s important to realize from this process is that the résumé is not something you want to count on for getting your foot in the door. The chances of it getting more than a passing glance in the initial stages are very, very small. (That said, your résumé is still an extremely important part of your audition package that should be planned carefully.)

So what’s the point of attending an expensive, famous school in a far-away city if it can’t guarantee you a job – or at least an audition? As you hopefully realized from the audition description, this is all about your dance ability. A high level of technique, artistry and quality of movement are what artistic directors want to see – and a big-name school just might get you there… or it might not.

You see, elite ballet schools across the country, whether big or small, have individualized strengths, features and areas of focus. One school might have small, mostly classical classes that focus on artistry and expression, while another school might have large classes where competition for attention and an apititude in a wide range of dance genres are required. A shy dancer that dreams of performing classic story ballets may not thrive at all in the latter school, but could potentially blossom and find her full potential in the former. The opposite might be true for an outgoing, naturally expressive dancer who is interested in exploring contemporary ballet or mixed-rep ballet companies.

Do you see where I’m going with this? It’s not at all about the name, it’s about the quality of instruction and finding the learning environment that will best accellerate your dance abilities. What you need at the end of the day is not some mythically ideal resume, it’s an ability to perform in class, auditions and on the stage very, very well. And the school that is going to help you do that is the school you should want to attend, regardless of how recognizable their name is.

In fact, name-recognition can and does prevent some young dancers from getting the best possible dance education. I’ve unfortunately seen more than one student pass on opportunities to train at smaller schools with great reputations for personal mentoring and instead jump on offers at glossy, national-level SIs or satellites. Sadly, these students quickly got lost in the crowd and came home challenged, but not as improved and inspired as they should have been.

There is another important caveat about the largest schools that is important to take into calculation. Whether intentionally or not, they will often take credit for a beautifully trained dancer who they did not truly create. That happens most often when an advanced dancer from a small-town school goes to a major school for a final year of finishing. (Remember Center Stage?) In these cases, the bigger school might indeed transform the dancer from a student into an artist (which the smaller school perhaps could not) but usually have nothing to do with the meat and potatoes of the dancer’s training. Recognizable names attract lots of auditionees, so that some schools are able to recruit dancers that are virtually fully trained and place them in their highest levels. (This is also a great testament to the quality of many smaller schools across the U.S.) Ask yourself how many of the advanced dancers were actually trained by the school’s lower classes.

Finally, for company schools, be sure you are not improperly associating the reputation of an affiliated company to the school. Certain companies only rarely hire from their own school, so that the company could be a completely unrelated picture of the school’s capabilities. You should also consider that a regional company’s school might provide more realistic opportunity for future employment than a national one.

Should all famous schools be avoided as expensive wastes of time? Of course not! Well-known schools have the very important benefit of attracting the very, very best staff. What’s important, though, is to take into consideration the many other factors that are important for good training. There are definitely U.S. schools that have built their huge reputations by simply offering only the highest quality training, however you still must be aware that not all programs are right for all dancers. Think carefully about what you need as a dancer, and then find out where to get it!

You be the Judge: Choosing Your SI

Have you been accepted to more than one SI? Congratulations! If your parents are considering allowing you to attend but you (or your parents!) are feeling clueless about how to choose one, read on to hear how to find your best summer training experience.

During your SI auditions, not only are the judges assessing you – You should be assessing them as well. Often, the audition is the first stage of substantive contact that a student has with a potential summer intensive school. Whether or not the audition class is also a master class, you should be able to get a feel for the teacher and whether they represent the kind of school you would like to attend. Ask yourself these questions during the audition:\

  • Are they working from a technique that I enjoy and want to learn more about?
  • Is the teacher/auditioner likeable and someone that I would like to be around for six weeks?
  • Is the teacher good at managing the class?
  • Does their audition process foster a professional and efficient learning environment?

You can extrapolate a lot about a school from your audition experience, just the same way that they are extrapolating a lot about you from the same brief encounter. Not every student is the right fit for every school – and vice versa! The audition is both their opportunity and yours to assess whether your talent and level will be best cultivated in their environment.

Nowadays, acceptances are more quickly available than ever. Many SI programs will post them online. Once you know what your options are, it is time to employ your power of choice. Using your audition experience and an easy activity, you can ge a clearer picture of your favorites and not-so-favorites. Before assessing the schools who have accepted you though, you need to take some time to decide what you are looking for in a school.

Because consistency in training is absolutely essential for younger dancers, I recommend that dancers stay with their home studio until they reach 13. For students between the ages of 13 and 15, I recommend that SIs be chosen first and foremost for individual attention and nurturing developmental environments, like many rural, suburban and smaller regional programs offer. Conservatory SIs are excellent for this and have the added appeal of offering a taste of their year-round program. Also for younger dancers, splitting the summer between two different programs can be a more realistic option than for older dancers.

From the age of about 15-17, I recommend that students push themselves to attend more competitive programs, perhaps in urban areas farther from home where there may be greater chance of exposure to directors/choreographers and increased development of the students personal responsibility. When the students get to the age of 17 and older, I recommend that they seek out programs that are commensurate with their ability in terms of potential employment – so no SIs without professional affiliations unless they are specifically looking to enter a conservatory year-round. I also recommend that students give special consideration to programs extending scholarship money, which may mean the company has interest in potentially employing the student in the future. At any age, if the student is interested in a conservatory prep school, the appropriate SI should be chosen in order to serve as an audition for the year-round program. (Don’t know whether you want a company school or conservatory? Check out this great article from Dance Magazine.)

Once you’ve decided what kind of program you need, create a spreadsheet or handwrite a chart with your SI options listed down the left side of the page. At the top, make columns with these headings:

  • Techniques:
  • Audition Experience (Poor/Average/Excellent)
  • Location (Rural/Suburban/Urban)
  • Distance from Home (Close/Mid-range/Far)
  • Supervision (Tight/Medium/Light)
  • Environment (Nurturing/Average/Competitive)
  • Class Sizes (Small/Average/Large)
  • Teachers (Good/Excellent/Unknown)
  • Pro/Prep Programs (Trainee/Apprentice/Conservatory)
  • Level (Local/Regional/National)
  • Reputation (Good/Excellent/Top)
  • Scholarship Offered (Yes/No)
  • Performance Opportunity (Yes/No)

These list is not exhaustive, so be sure to make columns for features of interest to you that I may not have included. Next, indicate the response that you prefer for each feature. For example, a young student leaving home for the first time and her parents might want the options I’ve placed in bold here:

  • Techniques: Cecchetti Ballet, Partnering, Modern & Jazz
  • Audition Experience (Poor/Average/Excellent)
  • Location (Rural/Suburban/Urban)
  • Distance from Home (Close/Mid-range/Far)
  • Supervision (Tight/Medium/Light)
  • Environment (Nurturing/Average/Competitive)
  • Class Sizes (Small/Average/Large)
  • Teachers (Good/Excellent/Unknown)
  • Pro/Prep Programs (Trainee/Apprentice/Conservatory)
  • Level (Local/Regional/National)
  • Reputation (Good/Excellent/Top)
  • Scholarship Offered (Yes/No)
  • Performance Opportunity (Yes/No)

Once you’ve decided what your preferences are for each feature, fill in the boxes for each school by reviewing the information made available by the school website, in the brochures and if necessary by phone call. Once you have everything filled in, look at what schools have all of your preferred features and which ones are easily ruled out.

It may not be possible to find all the information you need from the school’s publications. If you are looking for real dancers’ and parents’ descriptions of the particular SIs that you review, check out my favorite resource for chatting on all things ballet, BalletTalk for Dancers. Create a free account to view their substantial and comprehensive message boards for virtually all 2011 Summer Intensives. All BalletTalk message boards are moderated by respected ballet professionals.

These activities should narrow your list considerably and give you a better understanding of what you want to get from your summer investment of time and perhaps significant money. The idea is to find the best program for you personally – what’s best for you might not be what’s best for your friend – but don’t stress if you end up with more than one awesome SI option. That’s a good thing! Most known SI programs offer great instruction in a safe environment, so there aren’t many wrong answers when it’s time to choose. And the sheer number of hours you will put in at such a program will virtually ensure that you will see some very decent improvement over the summer. With a little bit of research and effort though, you can help to ensure that you won’t just be headed to a great summer intensive – you’ll be headed to the program of your dreams!

Finding The Best College Dance Program for You

Dancing in a great college program gives you the opportunity to refine your dancing to a professional level through one major while preparing for a “back-up” career with a second major – or to continue doing what you love while pursuing your academics. But as a student making plans for dancing in college, you have more to think about than the average teen. What program is right for me? How tough will it be to find what I need from a college program? Can I find the same or better quality training than what I’ve had up to now? Are there programs that focus seriously enough on my dance genre that I can have a chance to turn pro after college? How do I begin researching good dance college programs?\

According to College Matchmaker, which provides links to and info on thousands of colleges, there are 254 four-year colleges in the U.S. with majors for ballet, dance or musical theater. That’s a lot to consider, especially if you don’t even know what you should be looking for. An excellent place to start your planning is by reading through Dance Advantage’s college guide. This section of the DA website provides invaluable information from how to decide what you are looking for in the first place to how to excel once you are there, plus a nice list of external articles and websites to get you well on your way creating and narrowing down your list of colleges.

There is a lot to be gained by pursuing a higher education while refining yourself as a dancer. If you are not sure whether to even continue dancing while in college or whether to skip college altogether and pursue a career in dance immediately, researching your options thoroughly before deciding can give you a more realistic picture so that you can fully assess all the pros and cons.

What makes the “best” college for you will depend on a variety of factors, including your goals in dance, whether you want to get to a pro level via college or go recreational, and what kind of college dance programs are available to you financially. If you have professional contract offers already and are considering accepting one, you should seriously research your options for pursuing your education in that city, though you may not opt for a dance program at all. During your research, don’t get too hung up on terminology for dance programs (B.A. vs. B.F.A, for example). Focus on the instructor quality, the program’s intensity, class offerings, performance opportunities, facilities and of course where the alumni are now. Good programs will require an audition.

Lastly, consider whether to treat your college education and your dance education as separate pursuits, just as you may have done during your high school years. If you have access to a superior dance school, there may not be a college program available to you that will surpass it, so that it is certainly worthwhile to consider enrolling in the dance conservatory or school to continue with dance while taking non-dance college courses. There is a wide variety of quality in U.S. college dance programs today, but for an idea of what to expect, check out this article from Dance Informa Magazine.

As you can tell, there are many, many options to consider even before you start examining college dance programs. But it’s not as daunting as it might seem! Take control of your college future by delving into the articles and links I’ve provided, and before you know it you’ll be well on your way to planning your college career.

Getting Accepted: What Are “They” Looking For at SI Auditions?

Summer Intensive auditions are now in full swing, and I’ve gotten tons of great questions from you guys lately about what the SI adjudicators will be looking for! I know you all sometimes feel a lot of pressure about these auditions, but you should know that the adjudicators will make it as positive an experience as possible. Often, your audition fee will be a “master class” fee, and you will have the benefit of instruction and correction from exceptional teachers during the audition class.

I know what you’re really interested in, though, is the nitty-gritty of how your are being judged. Many factors are considered in your evaluation. I like to divide these factors into two categories: physical attributes and performance attributes.\

By physical attributes, I am referring to the body of the dancer. Dancing is a sport (and of course an art), and just like any sport you must have a body that is physically capable of doing the work required. Your adjudicators will be looking for dancers of a healthy weight who have a suitable physical facility for ballet. By facility, I mean dancers with:

  • Good rotation for turn-out
  • Long, flexible limbs
  • Supple muscularity
  • Balanced proportions
  • An overall good “look”

Of particular interest to auditioners might be:

  • Longer limbs combined with a shorter torso
  • A small head
  • High but strong and controlled arches
  • A touch of hyperextension in the knees

Of course, we can’t talk about ballet bodies without getting to the touchy question of weight. I am not going to sit here and tell you that SIs never accept underweight dancers. Sadly, some SIs might overlook an underweight dancer who is able to hobble through an audition, but these dancers generally do not make it far in ballet (or sometimes even that SI) due to their sheer inability to physically keep up. Without a proper muscular structure and proper food intake these dancers inevitably cannot perform as required. One of the saddest things I saw as an SI student was when dancers were sent home from a program for concerns of being underweight or unable to physically keep up. It goes without saying that being overweight will be similarly inhibiting, and that an athleticly slim figure is often preferred. So the most important thing is to be of a healthy athletic weight, and that means being neither over nor underweight.

Physical attributes are secondary to performance attributes, however, and these attributes include movement quality and the dancers ability to … dance! Performance attributes include:

  • Quality training commensurate with age
  • Good basic placement and core strength
  • Coordination
  • Musicality
  • Proper use of plie
  • Good lines
  • Strong and articulated feet
  • Quality port de bras
  • Extension appropriate for age
  • Strength on pointe, if appropriate
  • Ability to understand corrections
  • Ability to apply corrections
  • Ability to pick-up choreography quickly
  • Style and artistic expression
  • Great mental attitude
  • Passion for and enjoyment of dancing

You probably notice that the first ten items on this list are all related to technique. Remember that these adjudicators are not looking for perfection. In fact, up to the age of about 14, they are giving quite a bit of consideration to the dancer’s potential. If you are lacking in technique due to inadequate instruction for example, you can show through your ability to pick up corrections and choreography that you are very teachable and therefore perhaps an excellent candidate. As you get a bit older, however, adjudicators will be looking for a more finished product. By the age of 17 or 18, you will want to present yourself as a dancer who has most of her technique and movement quality at a professional level. They will want someone at that age to be working mostly on artistry with perhaps some technical fine-tuning remaining to be done.

Do not underestimate the importance of the last two items I’ve listed. Showing your love for dance through enthusiasm for learning and enjoyment of movement can and often does cause an adjudicator to give a student a second, third or even fourth look. Avoid the “deer in the headlights” look at all costs! Be present in the moment, attentive, focused mentally and with your eyes, and remember why you are there in the first place … because you love, love, love to dance!

Merde, ballerinas! May you all have an exciting and educational audition season!!

Dancers Wanted: Finding Professional Ballet & Dance Auditions

Day in and day out you take class, hear corrections, try to apply them, go to rehearsals, wear out practice clothes and shoes and basically invest countless hours and dollars into your dance education. What’s it all for? For some of you, it’s an excellent way to become physically proficient at a fun sport and art while developing a close group of friends. For others, it’s a stepping stone to your ultimate goal: a professional dance career.

For you special young vocational dancers, I thought you might like a heads up on one of the most vital and constant parts of a professional dancer’s life: Auditions! Auditions may be a part of your career for a very long time, if not all of it. It can be a constant struggle to keep on top of where they are, who’s holding them and what dancers are needed. So in addition to the RSS feeds (on the right) from Voice of Dance and Backstage, I have now added a special blogroll on the right-hand side of this site titled Auditions. Take a look by scrolling down and checking below the regular Blogroll.

On this list, you’ll see links to audition notices from all around the country and the world and links to official audition sites for major dance employers. It’s not all ballet – not every serious ballet dancer finds that there is a place for them or that they even want to be in ballet professionally – but there are plenty ballet auditions as well. I’ll post more in the future about how to enter the exciting but often seemingly scary world of professional dance and professional ballet. As a first step to great exposure in the dance industry, get to planning your SI auditions!

Update: Dance Magazine published a 2011 Jobs Guide in their March issue, and that link has been added to the Auditions list at right. Check it out for the latest company job openings!

Pirouette Perfection with 24 Tips & a Vertiginous Video!

Pirouette help just in time for audition season! You might have noticed that I added a blogroll a few weeks back so you could have access to even more dance articles and resources. (It’s on the side of every page.) I add good new blogs as I find them, but my latest fave is Dance Advantage, which you will recognize from my below post on their Top Dance Blogs competition.

Dance Advantage takes a fun approach to dance student topics like technique, dance programs, performance/competition preparation, dance history, and even professional companies. You’ll love their technique section, which has neat, bullet-pointed summaries of basic and classic technical tips. Their 9 perfect pirouette improvement tips and 15 fantastic turn corrections are sure to help you to understand and stay focused on proper movement quality in a basic pirouette. You have probably heard these tips often from your dance teacher, but it’s great to have a quick reference in print!

Need pirouette inspiration and some more help? I found an excellent video for you from Anaheim Ballet which highlights my absolute favorite theories for achieving your balance point and, thereby, accomplish gorgeous turns:

DVD Auditions for the Distance Dancer – Part 2

Now that you know what you will perform for your video audition, it’s time to think logistics. When will you record you DVD? How? Who can help you? What if you don’t have a video recorder? What should you wear? What do you do once you have the footage? What should you include in the package with your disk? What else should you know about DVD auditions?

Ok, let’s start at the top…

All schools want to see recent footage taken at or perhaps soon after the time of their audition tour. Check their sites for deadlines. Make sure to record your footage no more than two months prior to the date that you mail your DVDs. Do not splice taping sessions from different days onto one audition DVD, and never try to make edits within a single exercise or splice two versions of an exercise together! I have seen some very embarrassing videos from young dancers who try to fool adjudicators into thinking that they finished an exercise as strongly as they finished it by editing two different tapings of a single exercise together.  It is always completely obvious.

A lot of families own a DVD recorder. If your family has one that you are allowed to use, you are a lucky duck. If not, you still have a few options. Check with classmates to see if you can borrow one, or look online for local videographers to see what they charge to make a professional DVD. Even if you do own a DVD recorder, a professional DVD can be easier (since you don’t have to deal with editing) and cleaner looking (since they have excellent editing software and high-resolution recorders) than a do-it-yourself DVD, if you can afford it. Alternatively, and perhaps best, ask your teacher if she has a recorder. Whether she does or doesn’t, ask if she would consider recording you and, as I mentioned in my last post, helping you choreograph and rehearse your audition exercises.

Often, the format of the DVD files are not important, so that an mpeg file from your iPod Nano, for example, might be perfectly sufficient. Resolution is important though – the footage needs to be clear and good quality. If you can play the files on a DVD player or on a computer with basic software, so can they. Just let them know what program or device to use if they will not be able to play it on a DVD player. You can always call ahead to work this out with the school.

You will be expected to dress properly for your video audition. That means you should follow the regular audition dress code guidelines for each school. They will tell you in their video requirements if there are any further attire rules specific to DVD auditions. You can’t really go wrong by wearing your best outfit of black leo, pink tights and pink shoes. Some schools will require you to pin an audition number card to your leotard, and they will tell you how to acquire or print it. [If a printed card is required, print it on the thickest paper you have, cut it down to a proper size (about 6”x7”) and pin it to the front of your leo below your bust with a safety pin at the top and at the bottom.] Wear your hair in a bun or French twist and apply full makeup – just make it a little less dramatic than stage makeup. Do not wear a costume, even if you are performing a variation. Do not include any performance footage for your audition video unless specifically and unmistakably requested by the school.

Most schools receive many DVD auditions, plus they have to review all the live auditionees. Respect your auditioners time by staying safely within the time limit for your DVD audition. If the specs say no more than 10 minutes, don’t decide that your introduction shouldn’t count just so you can fit in an extra 15 seconds of piqué turns. Ten minutes maximum is the most common request by the way, though Ballet Austin Academy, for example, asks for about 15 minutes of material.

Speaking of the introduction, you should either use a short portion of the DVD for a recording zoomed to your face where you state your name, age and city/state, or you should have a text page of this info inserted on a plain background to have up on the screen for a few seconds before your exercises begin. Either way, deduct the time that these items play on the screen from the total time allotted for your DVD so that you won’t go over the time limit.

Also on the subject of taping technique, make sure that a) your full body is visible at all times, b) each individual exercise is recorded in one “take” with no cuts or splices and c) the camera is held very steady so the footage is not shaky. For barre, stay with one perspective (record from directly side or straight on from the front) for each exercise. For center, it’s ok to pan and take a diagonal perspective if necessary as long as your whole body is in the frame at all times. For jumps, be sure that you are zoomed out enough that they can easily see your jump height in relation to the floor. Use a similar zoom setting for exercises that travel across the studio and variations, perhaps starting with a tight full-body zoom and zooming out gradually as you travel across the floor. A good videographer or teacher can help with these decisions. Record a performance of each exercise at least twice to the left and right.

Let me reiterate from Part 1: make sure you read the requirements of each school. Most of them just want a short barre and center and will give you a lot of leeway on the exercises, but there are some outliers. For example, the American Academy of Ballet does not want any barrework on video auditions. Also make sure you look for caveats to video audition acceptance. You don’t want to send in a video to San Francisco Ballet School only to have it rejected because you actually live within a 200 mile radius of one of their audition tour locations, their minimum distance for video audition eligibility.

Once you have your footage all done – including a spoken introduction if you want that instead of text – you’ll need to decide which side (left or right) to show for each of the barre exercises. You want to show your best execution of each one, but you also want some consistency with the format of your video, so you’ll have to decide which grouping of exercises looks best: all to the right, all to the left or alternating right and left evenly. Depending on the requirements of each school, you may have to do the same for the center exercises. Your videographer or teacher can help you select which exercises to include and splice them together in the right order using editing software. If you are sending videos to multiple schools, you might need to make different versions of the video for each one.

Once you DVD is finalized, burn a copy for yourself, a copy for whomever helped you and a copy for the school. Label each disk with your name, the date, your age, you city/state and your phone number. Some schools have a video audition card that you need to print out, complete and attach to the DVD or slip into the disk case. The properly labeled and encased DVD is the first item for your audition package.

The second item for your audition package is your audition fee. Video auditions are often $50 payable by check or money order, considerably more than live auditions.

Third is your paperwork. A video application form needs to be printed and completed for most schools. A few schools require a dance résumé instead of a form. Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education has what they call an Absentee Audition Form – but they ask for a résumé also. I would also recommend a brief cover letter (on a business letter format) introducing yourself, explaining your interest in the school and thanking the adjudicators for reviewing your video audition application package. Once you have your paperwork together, make a complete copy to keep for your own record.

Fourth, you will need to include a few photos. Unfortunately, the schools can vary widely on what they need, more so than when it comes to live auditions. You may have to have quite a few poses photographed. You’ll just have to – you guessed it – refer to each school’s guidelines.

Finally, include an SASE (that’s a self-addressed and stamped envelope, kiddos!) that has enough postage for the weight of your video, unless the school does not wish to return videos.

You are now ready to mail your audition package! Check and double check that you have the proper mailing address for video audition packages, the properly labeled and correctly compiled DVD, the appropriate enclosures. Then, take your package to the local USPS, UPS or FedEx/Kinko’s to have it weighed, stamped, and sent on to its destination by trackable service. Now breathe a sigh of relief and begin your patient wait… Before you know it, you’ll be holding a response envelope in your hands!

DVD Auditions for the Distance Dancer – Part 1

Uh-oh! One of your top summer intensive choices isn’t auditioning anywhere near you this year, and you can’t travel to them. No worries – DVD auditions are accepted by many national and regional ballet schools. (Though some, like SAB, only accept videos from foreign students.) And with a few tips, you’ll be well on your way to an audition-worthy disk.

This post is in two parts because there are so many tips on this that I’d like to give you. Today, I’ll focus on the content – what you are going to perform for your video audition. In Part 2, we’ll talk logistics, filming style, how-to and putting together the audition packet.

Just as with live auditions, most schools devote at least one page on their website to video auditions: what to wear, what steps to include, what papers to include and how long it should be. Find this for each of your video audition schools and print out the pages for easy reference and comparison. In order to prevent yourself from having to make more than one audition video, read through the requirements of all your schools of interest to see if you can make one DVD to satisfy all of them. Usually, the only time this won’t work is when one school requires a you to send a variation – many schools will not want variations on your video, so you will need to make a separate disks for the two types.

Most schools will simply want a short barre and center class, but with special modifications. If you read all requirements carefully, you will find that most modifications can be combined and do not conflict with each other, so that you can make one class DVD to use for all your auditions. If you can’t however, don’t try to buck the rules. If you need to make different tapes, just go ahead and make different tapes. Run a single taping session and use editing to pick and choose what portions should be included for each school. Then, make darn sure not to mix up those different DVDs.

While some of us (ahem, moi) might make perfectly successful SI DVD auditions without rehearsing, that is not the recommended protocol! I only made my tapes with no rehearsal as a young dancer because I didn’t know any better, and that’s the very reason I created this blog – So other dancers won’t be as clueless as I once was!

You want to decide ahead of time exactly what exercises you will perform, which side you will perform for each, what music you will use for each, etc, and then practice, practice, clean, clean. Make yourself a list so you don’t accidentally forget to perform one during your taping. If you forget to perform a step, it will be impossible to tape a new session and splice it into your DVD without the details of your hair, makeup and background giving away your cheat.

One of your teachers can help you put together exercises that conform with the audition requirements. Make sure to provide them with the requirements well in advance. If all it says is to include barre and center, here are some sample (Vaganova) exercises you might include for the barre:

Pliés – Just do something straightforward like demi, demi, grand, and a port de bras or port de corp in first, second, fourth and fifth.

Tendu – Three battement tendus (from fifth, first, and then fifth again) ending the third one in demi plié. Instead of en croix, perhaps go front, side, back, and then balance in fifth or rétiré before your reversal. I would also recommend using a full port de bras in each direction to show your understanding of the lines involved there.

Jeté – Two quick battement jetés and one pas de cheval, perhaps with the arm in second and ending with a relevé rétiré balance with arms in first or, if you are advanced enough, with a single pirouette from fifth. Perform this devant, a lá seconde, and devant with your inside leg to jazz it up before reversing, but realize how that will change the pirouette directions.

Rond de Jambe – To a waltz: two slow ronds par terre, two quick ronds, degagé to 90 degrees, demi rond at 90 to a lá seconde, one rond de jambe en l’air, demi rond to derrière 90, close fifth. Reverse. Since this is an audition, I would save time and not include a port de corp if you have already included one with your plié exercise.

Frappé – Two (Cecchetti) frappés devant, one relevé, repeat a lá seconde, repeat derrière, then frappé a lá seconde into relevé and petit battements. Reverse and balance in relevé sur le coup de pied before closing fifth.

Adagio/Fondu – Developpé devant, battement fondu simple to 90 degrees en relevé, hold or balance for a moment and close fifth. Repeat a lá seconde. Repeat derrière/arabesque. Instead of repeating to the side, hold the balance in arabesque for the final counts. Do not reverse.

Grand Battement – Keep it simple with two grand battements en croix with arm in third for devant and derrière.

You’ll note that this is a very short barre with few balances and port de corps. Remember that your adjudicators need only a snapshot of a class.

Center should include an adage, pirouettes, petit allegro, grand allegro and pointework for ladies so advanced. Some sample exercises:

Adagio – Beginning croisé, developpé croisé devant, passé through rétiré to attitude éffacé, stretch to second arabesque, relevé to pas de bourée into demi plié fifth, developpé écarté devant, promenade to écarté derrière, relevé and tombé into balancé to the right, devellopé the left leg through sur le coup de pied to chassé croisé en avant on the left and close the right leg back. Repeat left.

Tours – On the diagonal in fifth croisé with right foot front, chasse croisé en avant to prepare. Tombé pas de bourée to the right, piqué to first arabesque, land in fourth position with left leg front, single pirouette en dehors to fourth, double pirouette en dehors to fourth. (Or balance in retiré and then a single pirouette if that better suits your level.) Perform once right and once left, preferably without a break – Just rond the right leg around at the end of right side.

Petit allegro – From fifth en face, right foot behind: Glissade, jeté right, glissade, jeté left, balloté devant éffacé, balloté derrière éffacé, coupé and brush to assémblé side with the left leg, closing back. Peform right and left, with battu on the jetés and assemblé if you are advanced enough.

Grand allegro – Same preparation as pirouette exercise. Sauté first arabesque, glissade, pas de chat, sauté first arabesque, glissade, grand jeté, pas couru and piqué into third arabesque, chasse into grand jeté en tournant entrelacé landing in fourth arabesque, small devellopé through to devant and chassé into chainés, chassé out and into first arabesque a térre.

If you are over 13, you may be required to perform the whole video en pointe in addition to the next section.

Pointework 1 – En face: two echappés changée to second, one to fourth, and one passé through retire; repeat that phrase to the left; pique with the right leg into pas de bourée suivi traveling right, continue into a small circle around yourself, changée fifth in sous-sous, chassé an avant croisé on the left foot and close right foot behind to fifth. Repeat to the left.

Pointework 2 – En diagonale: pique first arabesque, tombé over, coupe under to renversé, pas de bourée en tournant, coupé over on the left foot into piqué pas de bourée closing in fifth position demi plié, and chassé en arriére to croisé devant in prep for left. Repeat to the left.

Pointework 3 –  Piqué turns en diagonale.

Pointework 4 – If you have enough room on your tape, show off any pointe strengths that you would like in a set of 16 or 32 counts. I always added hops on pointe to my audition videos. Fouetté rond de jambes en tournant (foutté turns) are rarely requested, but do include them if they are a specialty of yours.

Remember to finish each exercise cleanly. And check those requirements – San Fransisco and Miami City have very specific DVD choreography specifications that would not be satisfied by the above sample.

If a variation is requested, make sure you don’t include something so long that you can’t also fit your barre and center while accommodating the time limit. Two of my favorite short variations for pre-pro dancers are Bluebird from Sleeping Beauty and Kitri’s (second) first act variation from Don Quixote. Each one is only about a minute, and both feature jumps, turns and pointework.

See? This won’t be so bad. Videos let you a) audition in the comfort of your home-field-advantage studio, b) create exercises that present you at your very best, c) practice the exercises ahead of time and d) take multiple recordings from which to choose your best execution. In the next post, I’ll help you get this awesome DVD made and help you put together your best video application packet.

Preparing Your SI Audition Season

You have reviewed the summer intensive audition tours for this season and know what schools are visiting your area… You have been taking classes for a few years at least and are excited to see what the student audition circuit will be like… Visions of acceptance letters are dancing in your head! But wait – how do you get from sitting in front of your computer to opening one of those promising envelopes?

Preparing an optimal audition season for yourself takes thoughtfulness and preparation. You are going to have to be very proactive and responsible. There are a lot of to-dos, but it’s all very straightforward. And wouldn’t you know, I’ve got it all laid out for you in a nice checklist!

_____ 1. Get organized! Open a Word document and start a numbered list of the auditions you want to attend. Include all of the auditions that you are interested in, even if you’re not sure you can make it. Note the date, time and location (studio and city) for each one.

_____ 2. Rearrange your list by date, placing the earliest audition at the top. Look for conflicts. Inevitably, two good schools will overlap on one date, and you will have to choose between the two. If this happens, take a good look at the schools and talk to your teachers to decide which one you prefer.

_____ 3. Go down your list and ask yourself – What auditions are coming within easy traveling distance of your hometown? Which ones would require significant travel? Are those auditions worth a road trip? Can you get together a group of other dancers for a carpool to some of the auditions that are farther away? Make notes about this for each audition.

_____ 4. Share the list with your parents. Talk to them about your desired audition schedule and which auditions they will drive you to or that you will be allowed to drive to. Mark all of those auditions on your calendar and on your family calendar.

_____ 5. For those auditions that your parents either cannot drive you to (or that you are not allowed to drive to), ask if you would be permitted to go with a friend or with another dance parent. Contact dance friends that might be interested in carpooling and see if they (or their parents) can take you together or with a group, and then put these auditions on your calendar and your family calendar. (If you are unable to get to an audition that you really wanted to attend, don’t worry – a DVD audition is a good alternative. I’ll talk about those in a later post.)

_____ 6. You should now have your final schedule! It’s time to preregister. Quite a few schools have made preregistration available on their websites. Carefully check each school’s site to see if this option is available. Some schools have made online preregistration mandatory! It would be very embarrassing to get turned away for overlooking this step.

_____ 7. It’s time to get prepare your audition materials. Most schools have a page on their website describing the audition requirements in detail. Print out this out for each of your auditions.

_____ 8. Let’s talk about photos first. Each school has unique photo requests that are usually listed on their website, but you will be pretty much set for anything if you take the following shots in pink tights and a black leo (no skirt) with full stage hair and makeup and in pointe shoes (if you are that advanced): 1) a close-up headshot from the collarbone up, 2) full body first arabesque, 3) full body tendu a lá seconde with arms in second, 4) full body favorite pose. Professional photos are not necessary and are not the norm for students, but a teacher may be able to better than a parent for taking photos that show you to your best advantage. A size of 5×7″ is usually preferred. Write your full name and age on the back of each print.

_____ 9. Next is money, honey. SI auditions usually cost between $30 and $35 payable in cash, check or money order. You will have to check the audition information for each SI to find out which payment methods are preferred for each. Be up front with your parents from the get-go about this if you are relying on them to cough up these fees. If they cannot or will not subsidize your auditions (or any other aspect of your training for that matter), you are going to have to decide how important this is to you and, if it is truly important, how you can earn the money you need perhaps by becoming an assistant teacher or offering to clean the studio for your directors.

____ 10. Finally, there’s always random stuff that schools will want. (For example, SAB requires proof of birth at the audition.) You need to carefully read the websites and maybe even make a few phone calls to make sure you collect what you need to have.

You’ll notice that as a student, résumés, professional photos and recommendation letters are not a part of most auditions. Not only that, such materials will often be turned away by schools that do not specifically ask for them.

Now that you have your materials, go back to your list and create an audition packet for each school. Pay special attention to photo size and type specifications, payment preferences and preregistration. If you have read each school’s website carefully, you will be a-okay.

You have now prepared an excellent SI audition season for yourself – Well done! In my next post, I’ll let you know what to do on the day of an audition – and what to expect.

2011 Summer Intensive Auditions!

PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR 2012 AUDITIONS.

Here it is: the 2011 audition schedule of the best of the best summer intensives. You don’t want to miss auditioning for these major players. (As you might have guessed, most are affiliated with professional companies.) Check out the tours and start planning your audition schedule for 2011. I’ll be posting soon on how you should prepare your annual SI audition season!

(Want to know what the audition judges will be looking for? Click here for my recent post on that very topic. Accepted to multiple programs? Click here for tips on choosing your SI.)

So without further ado, here’s The List:

School of American Ballet
Affiliated with New York City Ballet: http://nycballet.org/nycb/home/
Summer Course: http://www.sab.org/summercourse/overview.php
Audition Tour: http://www.sab.org/summercourse/national_auditions/audition_tour_schedule.php

Ah, the Big Kahuna of SI auditions, the SAB audition may be the most selective and toughest audition that will tour near your town. High arches and hyperextension are pretty much requisite. Not to fear, while making it into the SAB SI (not to be confused with their LA young dancer’s two-week session) is often the only way to get into their year-round program, it is certainly not the only path to a professional career. This is a must for your audition list, but don’t be shocked if you are one of those who don’t make it. If you do, check out some Balanchine videos to decide if you are interested in being trained at the school, and be forewarned that the highly competitive lifestyle of the program is similar to European state schools like the Paris Opera Ballet School and the Vaganova Academy.

ABT Summer Intensive (Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre)
Affiliated with American Ballet Theatre: http://abt.org/
Summer Intensive: http://www.abt.org/education/summerintensive.asp
Audition Tour: http://www.abt.org/education/nationalaudition.asp

This one is also a must for your schedule. ABT and NYCB are the top New York City ballet companies, but they feature totally different techniques and their ballet schools are similarly contrasted. While SAB and NYCB train and feature Balanchine-style exclusively, ABT is accepting of many techniques and has developed its own synthesized training curriculum. Their audition tour is comprehensive, and they offer extension programs in addition to their main New York City program. Be advised however, that while some students who only make it into a satellite are able to get into the elite NYC program in a subsequent summer, the satellite programs are not nearly as revered as the NYC program and are thought to be more on the level of a good quality regional school’s program. This year, the satellites include Detroit, MI; Tuscaloosa, AL; Austin, TX; and Costa Mesa, CA.

Bolshoi Ballet Academy
Affiliated with the Bolshoi Ballet: http://www.bolshoi.ru/en/
Summer Intensive: http://www.bolshoiballetacademy.com/program.htm
Audition Tour: http://www.bolshoiballetacademy.com/auditions.htm

This program takes place in two U.S. locations, Middlebury, CT, and NYC. It is affiliated with the world-famous Bolshoi, and will pay all expenses for 10 select students to attend their SI in Moscow. For more information on the Moscow program, see http://www.bolshoiballetacademy.com/nsli.php. Additionally, two students will be selected to perform in the Academy’s Gala Performance in Moscow, all expenses paid. Highly elite.

Kirov Ballet School
Affiliated (informally) with the Kirov Ballet: http://www.mariinsky.ru/en
Summer Intensive: http://www.kirovacademydc.org/curr/summer_index.html
Audition Tour: http://www.kirovacademydc.org/news/cal_index.html

Audition dates are not yet listed for this prestigious Vaganova technique school, but check back regularly. The fall/winter session is an academic boarding school for dancers. Safe to say this school is one of the top 5 nationally.

Harid Conservatory
No Affiliation
Summer School: http://harid.edu/Summer%20School.htm
Audition Tour: http://harid.edu/auditions.htm

Harid offers some of the most solid training in the U.S. Very competitive school, very superior training. Like the Kirov, the Harid school is an academic boarding school in the fall/winter. Easily a top 10 school; I believe they only accept 50-60 students for the summer.

Royal Winnipeg Ballet School (Canada)
Affiliated with Royal Winnipeg Ballet: http://www.rwb.org/
Summer Intensive: http://www.rwbschool.com/
Audition Tour: http://www.rwbschool.com/pro/Auditions/AuditionTourSchedule.aspx

Just like at SAB and many other top schools, Royal Winnipeg’s summer session serves as the second portion of the audition for their fall/winter session. (The first part of the winter audition is the audition tour.) RWBS teaches the Cecchetti technique and is a partner school of the prestigious Prix de Lausanne. See my earlier post about the documentary TuTuMuch for additional information. Also, check out the School of National Ballet of Canada, a state-funded school with a similar audition process.

Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet
No Affiliation
Summer Intensive: http://www.gelseykirklandballet.org/summer.html
Audition Tour: http://www.gelseykirklandballet.org/academyauditions.html

This very new and very elite school is the brain child of Gelsey Kirkland – if you don’t know who that is, please get your google on and educate yourself! Gelsey envisioned a ballet school that would not only train superior technicians but also superior artists. The focus at this school is on expression and the art of performing story ballets, and the faculty includes legendary master teachers like Gelsey’s former mentor David Howard. You are going to need to have your technical ducks in a row or have exceptional potential if you want to be accepted into this school.

Kaatsbaan International Dance Center Extreme Ballet
No Affiliation
Summer Intensive: http://www.kaatsbaan.org/extreme.html
Audition Tour: (At the bottom of the above linked page.)

This outstanding and selective program takes place in Tivoli, NY, and boasts some of the finest faculty and founders that the U.S. has to offer. When I auditioned many years ago (and was accepted – woohoo!) I believe that they were only accepting 35 students nationally, so it is competitive to enter. The program is for dance students who are deemed truly capable of becoming professional artists. During the program, students are divided into small groups for personal mentoring and coaching.

Boston Ballet School
Affiliated with Boston Ballet: http://bostonballet.org/
Summer Dance Program: http://www.bostonballet.org/sdp.html
Audition Tour: http://www.bostonballet.org/school/summer/SDP-Auditions.html

The Boston Ballet School Summer Dance Program, is highly competitive to enter and provides one of the most elite programs in the nation. Like SAB, this one truly is a must for your SI auditions list… Ok, so I’m a little partial! Once in the program, you will have an opportunity to audition for their excellent school year programs.

Pacific Northwest Ballet School
Affiliated with Pacific Northwest Ballet: http://www.pnb.org/default.aspx
Summer Course: http://www.pnb.org/PNBSchool/Classes/SummerCourse/
Audition Tour: http://www.pnb.org/PNBSchool/Classes/SummerCourse/#AuditionTour

Possibly one of the top ten ballet schools in the country, PNB School in Seattle is without question worth your audition time. Famous for accepting a young Jenna Elfman into their program, they do tend to often favor taller blondes.

San Francisco Ballet School
Affiliated with San Francisco Ballet: http://www.sfballet.org/
Summer Summer Session: http://www.sfballet.org/balletschool/summersession.asp
Audition Tour: http://www.sfballet.org/balletschool/summersession/auditions.asp

San Francisco Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet are the two most prestigious ballet companies on the west coast. This is definitely a top ten school and one for your audition list.

Joffrey Ballet School (NYC)
Affiliated with three pre-professional touring companies: http://www.joffreyballetschool.com/touring-company-overview.html
Summer School: http://www.joffreyballetschool.com/summer-program-auditions.html
Audition Tour: https://thriva.activenetwork.com/Reg4/(S(jsm3oejrjzusn255awyuda45))/Form.aspx?regkey=RpYOYPxE378wNjTYCkFkMw%3d%3d

As the original school of the Joffrey Ballet when it was still in NYC, I understand that it holds no formal affiliation with the company today, but does enjoy an informal linkage. Many graduates of the NYC school have gone on to professional careers with the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago. This is a highly competitive and historically prestigious school, easily in the top 15 nationally. Receive training from outstanding former dancers and master teachers like Gelsey Kirkland while experiencing NYC life. In order to see the audition schedule, you will need to select the programs of interest while creating a free account at the above link.

The Rock School for Dance Education
No affiliations, though formerly attached to Pennsylvania Ballet
Summer Ballet Intensive: http://therockschool.org/summer/ballet_intensive
Audition Tour: http://therockschool.org/summer/audition

The Rock usually has one of the more comprehensive tours, so if you are in a state that isn’t visited often by major schools, you may be pleasantly surprised by this one. The Rock is a great beginner audition because usually they do not have a limit on how many students they accept. In other words, if there are 20 students from one city that they like, they will invite all 20 instead of having to cut it down to fit a set acceptance limit. If you’re good, they will accept you. Also, they are somewhat flexible on body type. If you love Balanchine style but were not accepted to SAB, Rock is an excellent possible alternative for you. In addition to the SI, check out the very selective coaching intensive at http://therockschool.org/summer/coaching_intensive.

Miami City Ballet School
Affiliated with Miami City Ballet: http://www.miamicityballet.org/
Summer Program: http://www.miamicityballet.org/school/summer_program.php
Audition Tour: http://www.miamicityballet.org/school/admissions_auditions.php

Even before Alex Wong made it big on SYTYCD, Miami City was a highly revered ballet company and school. If you love Balanchine technique, this is an excellent alternative to SAB. Very competitive.

Joffrey Ballet Academy of Dance
Affiliated with Joffrey Ballet: http://www.joffrey.com/
Summer Intensives: http://www.joffrey.com/academy/programs/summerintensives
Audition Tour: http://www.joffrey.com/academy/programs/summerintensives

Joffrey Ballet’s Chicago home is the site for their Chicago Academy’s summer intensive. See above for the famed NYC Joffrey Ballet School summer info. Joffrey Academy is pretty flexible on body type acceptance, even more so than the NYC version I believe.

Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet
No Affiliation
Summer Program: http://www.cpyb.org/summer-programs/5-week-summer-program
Audition Tour: See Below

Marcia Dale Weary is a true teachers’ teacher. She has turned out countless professional dancers and contributed significantly to pedagogical study. To apply to the CPYB Summer Ballet Program, fill out the form at http://www.cpyb.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/2011-5_Week-Summer-Ballet-Program-Application-1110.pdf.

There are countless very worthwhile SI’s hosted by regional companies and schools. I’d recommend that you check out these links to good quality regional SIs: Alvin Ailey, Anaheim BalletAtlanta Ballet, American Academy of Ballet, Ballet Austin, Ballet Chicago, Carolina Ballet, Cary BalletFestival Ballet of Rhode Island, Goh BalletHouston Ballet, Julliard, Kansas City Ballet, LINES BalletLong Beach BalletLouisville Ballet, Maryland Youth Ballet, Milwaukee BalletNashville Ballet, Nutmeg Conservatory, Orlando BalletPittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Texas Ballet TheatreVirginia School of the Arts, Walnut HillWashington Ballet.  In the U.S., there are good quality SI programs in nearly every major city. Compared to the national-level programs I have featured, these good quality second-tier schools accept more students, are often willing to overlook technique in favor of very good potential and are more accepting of different body types. Additionally if you are not quite competitive at a national level but are getting old enough to start planning your professional career, regional schools and companies may be a smarter choice for you in order to look for potential work opportunities.

For a complete list of all of your SI options (but with only basic data and contact info), check out Pointe Magazine’s summer intensives audition issue (Dec 2010/Jan 2011, available now) or their online summer study guide. Currently, Pointe has yet to update their online guide, but things don’t change that much from year to year, so you can check it out now to get a feel for things and check back later or buy the print version for the 2011 info.

Update: Comments are now closed for this post and for those older than 90 days. However, you are invited to comment on newer ones. Just visit the home page to see the latest posts! If you are looking for advice on choosing the right SI for you, read this post and comment there if you need further info. If you are looking for 2012 information, look for my 2012 list this fall. Thanks!