2017 Summer Intensives – Top US Ballet Programs

Credit: Rosalie O'Connor

Credit: Rosalie O’Connor

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.

Pacific Northwest Ballet (WA)

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)

Gelsey Kirkland Academy (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!

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Easy Peazy DIY SAB Skirt!

Merry Christmas readers! Today we have the pleasure of a holiday visit from the AdultBeginner, author of my favorite blog for adult dancers. The Adult Beginner happens to be a master seamstress and has offered her expertise on the steps to creating one of those too-cute-for-words DIY skirts made famous by the students at the School of American Ballet. Quick shout-out to SG, the student that inspired this post. Enjoy this project over your holiday break!

Hello BalletScoop Readers! Guess what – the Adult Beginner had never even heard of an SAB skirt until Juliette asked me to do this tutorial. Can you believe? This is like the best skirt ever! No sewing, super-fast, and just look at how this skirt elongates the legs! Want to learn how to? Ok! Let’s do this thing!

Step 1. Select your fabric

You need one yard of a Four-Way Stretch fabric. “Four-way stretch” means the fabric stretches equally up, down, and side to side. Anything that does not stretch equally all four ways will hang funny and be difficult to pull on. Who needs that? Not you! I’m using a four-way Lycra miliskin that my husband picked up for me at the Michael Levine Loft in downtown Los Angeles. If you’re in LA, totally go there, they sell fabric By The Pound!!!

Step 2. Measure.

The skirt sits below the waist, about hip-bone level. This mannequin measures 30″. You may be bigger, I certainly am, but for sake of example we’re gonna roll with 30″. Continue reading

Ballet in Film: Dancing Across Borders

Dancing Across Borders is the story of a young Cambodian dancer plucked from his home in a small fishing community to be trained at SAB. If you haven’t seen it yet … go watch it right now! This film is one of my new favorites, if only for the much-deserved coverage of Black Swan set coach Olga Kostritzky, one of the best teachers I ever had (as one of my level’s main teachers at the 2001 Rock SI), and for the extensive footage of Balanchine style and choreography, since there’s isn’t a ton of the stuff on DVD.

But there is much more to this film than footage of SAB teacher-gods like Ms. Olga, Jock Soto and Peter Boal. It is the story of Sokvannara “Sy” (pronounced “See”) Sar, a young man with a remarkable spirit who is plucked from his home country and thrust into the world of pre-professional ballet training by the hand of an intentionally benevolent (though perhaps difficult to like) New York socialite Anne Bass.\

This film might as well be dedicated to honor international ballet students everywhere, as it does an excellent job of talking openly – often through Sy’s own words – about the inevitable emotional consequences of being so far from your home, your family, your language and everything you’ve known. In this case, the scarring was exacerbated by Sy’s lack of control over his fate for the first few years of his training. Unlike some international students, he did not really choose to leave his country for ballet training, ballet chose him. He knew it was a chance to support his family that he couldn’t possibly turn down, though he neither spoke English nor had seen ballet before Bass brought him a ballet film and radically suggested that he leave everything he’d ever known for this bizarre, western pursuit.

Sy’s journey is simply fascinating. He was entered into the Professional Children’s School for academics but was not instantly accepted to SAB despite the pleas of Anne Bass to Peter Martins. Instead, Sy falls into the singularly capable hands of Ms. Olga, who takes on the task of molding the 16-year old Cambodian through private classes from basically a pedestrian into a SAB-level phenom. You’ll have to watch the film to find out what happens from there, but suffice it to say his future would include a little town called Varna.

Dancing Across Borders is available streaming on Netflix and can be purchased, along with t-shirts and posters, at the official site. Proceeds from the official shop go directly towards Nginn Karet Foundation for Cambodia’s “Give a Future to a Child of Angkor”, a program that helps children fulfill their dream to follow in the footsteps of dancers and musicians seen on Angkor Wat and other ancient Khmer temples. Please consider making a purchase from the Dancing Across Borders official shop.

Spoiler Alert! I noticed that the Washington Post article that I linked above mentions rather forebodingly that Sy quit PNB recently. I didn’t want you left hangin’ on where he is now so I did some searching, and it appears from Saint Louis Ballet’s facebook page that he will be joining them for the Spring 2011 season.

Ballet in Print: Girl in Motion (with a sneak peek!)

Miriam Wenger-Landis, former professional dancer with Miami City Ballet, published a lovely novel this year for young dancers called Girl in Motion. This book chronicles the experiences of small-town girl Anna, a very talented young dancer who has been accepted to the year-round program at the fictional School of Ballet New York after attending their summer intensive.

Miriam Wenger-Landis trained at SAB as a young dancer and is able to use those experiences to write believably and compellingly about Anna’s world. Thanks to Dance Spirit Magazine, you can read two excerpts of Girl in Motion online – Part 1 was published on their site in September, and part 2 will be available next month!