7 January 2009
Dear Parents and Dancers,
Welcome to the 14th year of ABT’s Summer
Intensives. It is exactly this legacy of excellent training that
has motivated our Summer Intensive staff to seek changes that
will deepen the connection among all our sites.
We’ve read hundreds of dancer surveys from our 2008 program
and on the basis of these and my visits to each site, I am evolving
a strategy of cohesive training that will address each dancer’s
individual needs at the exact level that dancer needs to grow
The ABT National Training Curriculum will be taught at all the
sites this year, ensuring that each site can offer the maximum
training potential. In this way, we strengthen the connection
with our New York site and the training goals of American Ballet
Theatre. It is my sincere wish to provide each dancer with the
best training experience possible.
|To that end, I am excited to announce these aspects
of our 2009 ABT Summer Intensives. Some are new, and some are returning
because of their tremendous success:
- Franco De Vita will be the new Artistic Coordinator of the
Alabama Summer Intensive, bringing his considerable expertise
with the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at ABT to dancers
who desire to strengthen their technique.
- Faculty will be emphasizing individual corrections, regardless
of class size. One of our main goals is to return to solid training,
and we believe that individual corrections are the best way
to help a dancer grow along his or her unique path.
- A separate men’s technique classes will continue, as
will the separate men’s repertoire piece in the final
- ABT II Artistic Director Wes Chapman will observe and teach
at designated sites. I will also be visiting all sites to observe
both dancers and review the program in general.
- We will continue to observe students at each Summer Intensive
location to award National Training Scholarships and recommend
students for the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at ABT.
- Perhaps most important, all of the programs will be spending
more hours on training and fewer hours on rehearsals. We still
believe that performing is a vital part of a dancer’s
growth, but we feel strongly that it should not displace training.
To that end, we will continue performances but with shorter
pieces so that less time is spent rehearsing and more time is
spent on technique and artistry.
|Excellence in training means placing
students in an environment where they can thrive. We will continue
our traditional distinctions among sites with regard to the dancer’s
training level. I believe this is an important part of training
value because dancing is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. It
demands tailoring to individual needs. Therefore, as your dancer
chooses a program, please keep these differences in mind:
- Our Alabama and Texas sites can best serve dancers who need
more emphasis on placement, explanation, strength, structure,
refinement, increasing stamina, and broadening vocabulary.
- Our Michigan site can best serve the intermediate to advanced
dancer who wants to refine and strengthen an already well-built
- Our California site, which will again take place in August,
can best serve the advanced dancer who wants to train intensively
in a professional environment and prepare for the fall term
of their home school or studio.
- Our New York site can best serve the advanced student who
wants to train intensively in a professional environment over
a six-week period in June and July.
|Although our expert staff will consider each dancer’s preference,
they will place that dancer in the program they believe will be
the most beneficial. In these trying economic times, The ABT Summer
Intensive staff will do their best to accommodate geographic location
requests to make the Intensives as affordable as possible.
Regardless of the site you attend, you can expect:
- Training that is consistent with the ABT National Training
Curriculum for the level being taught,
- Expert faculty well-versed in the Curriculum and in providing
- Specialty classes that may not be available at your home school
or studio, and
- A professionally organized performance at the end of the program
consisting of pieces from ABT’s extensive repertoire.
It has been and always will be my personal objective to
continually improve American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensives
and to provide each dancer with the training they need to succeed. I
look forward to another successful year.
Melissa Allen Bowman
Artistic Director of Summer Intensives
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