Top-Tier Training
With a faculty imported from the world’s elite academies, InDanceve is not your typical ballet intensive. This year-old summer program in Washington, DC, gives a small group of dancers the opportunity to train under internationally renowned master teachers. Last year’s lineup included faculty from the Paris Opéra Ballet School, the Vaganova Ballet Academy and La Scala Ballet School. The program offers three weeklong workshops that immerse students in a particular school’s style. Dancers can choose to attend one, two or all three sessions, depending on which techniques interest them. “InDanceve brings together the major ballet schools,” says founder Melis Varban. “Not just the physical institutions, but the schools of ballet—the French, the Russian and the Italian.”  

 

With classes capped at 15 students, InDanceve is an opportunity to not only train with the best but also to be seen by the best. Varban hopes to eventually make InDanceve a platform for U.S. students to audition for international academies. See dancearound.org/indanceve.
—Alexis Branagan

Dance Olympics
Berlin’s Tanzolymp competition aims to be an Olympics for dance. Billed as an international dance festival, the focus, however, is not on winning medals but fostering an exchange between students of different cultures. There are no elimination rounds, and dancers are not referred to as candidates or competitors, but participants. To learn more, go to www.tanzolymp.com.



 

2011 Dates: February 16–20
Apply by: December 15
Held: Annually in Berlin
Founded: 2004
Jury: Led by Vladimir Vasiliev
Size: Approximately 600 dancers from 30 countries
Categories: Solos, duos or groups in ballet, modern, character, jazz and tap
Ages: 8–21
Awards: Cash prizes of up to 2,000 euros, company contracts, scholarships and audition opportunities
Participation fee: 25–100 euros

Peridance’s New Program
Peridance Capezio Center in New York City is launching a new preprofessional Certificate Program for serious dance students ages 17 to 28. It is more than a scheduled array of open classes: It works as an accelerated four-semester conservatory program to give students the skills and professionalism a dance career requires.











 

“With our brand-new studios, we are able to offer the program’s students their own classes, rehearsals and performances, as well as individual mentoring,” says coordinator Liza Kovacs. “In addition, they can take open classes and dance side by side with some of the city’s most talented teachers and dancers.”

 

Students can choose a ballet/modern track, which resembles most dance conservatory programs, or a commercial track, for those pursuing a career in commercial dance or musical theater. The program requires a minimum of three classes per day, or 60 classes per month. Each student’s schedule is tailored to address her individual needs. All dancers get performance opportunities, conditioning, physical therapy, discounted or free Peridance workshops, master classes, studio space and personal mentoring from Peridance’s faculty. Find out more at www.peridance.com, and learn about other post–high school training options on DanceU101.com. —AB


TIP: What aspects do dancers overlook when they choose a summer intensive?
“The conditioning classes. A lot of technical improvement is simply about strengthening and understanding how to use the muscles correctly. Walnut Hill, for example, has a hydroconditioning class in the pool, and I’ve seen students all of a sudden figure out how to lift their leg from underneath instead of gripping their quads. Of course, the actual ballet training is the most important part of an intensive, but classes like Pilates or Gyrotonic can dramatically strengthen the muscles. That can lead to big improvement in a short period of time.” —Michael Owen, director of ballet at Walnut Hill School for the Arts

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Angela Sterling, Courtesy of Pacific Northwest Ballet

Clear your schedule now for Monday, January 29th, 2:45PM (EST)/ 11:45AM (PST). Pacific Northwest Ballet will be live-streaming rehearsal from Kent Stowell's Swan Lake, straight from their Seattle, WA-based studios. To psych us up for their on stage performances February 2nd - 11th, PNB is letting us in on their Act II rehearsal.

From the corps of swans to Odette and Prince Siegfried's pas de deux, and the infamous four swans, this rehearsal is not to be missed. You can sign up now for a live-stream reminder on their site. In the meantime, we'll be brushing up on our Cygnets with this PNB sneak peek.

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Rigorous program, check. Well-rounded technical training, check. Purposeful liberal arts curriculum, check. Study your craft abroad, check! If you are looking for all the above, the Joan Phelps Palladino School of Dance at Dean College truly has it all.

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Summer Study Advice
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Videos are a great alternative when auditioning in person isn't possible. Here are some general guidelines for making a good impression.

1. Follow directions. Before filming, research what each school you're interested in requires. "It demonstrates your ability to follow instructions, and schools pay attention to that," says Kate Lydon, artistic director of American Ballet Theatre's summer intensives and the ABT Studio Company. "If the guidelines haven't been followed, your video might not be watched the whole way through." You may need to make multiple versions to accommodate different schools.

2. Videos should be no longer than 10 minutes. "Keep it short, simple and direct," advises Philip Neal, dance department chair at The Patel Conservatory and artistic director of Next Generation Ballet. "You have to be sensitive to how much time the director has to sit down and look at it." Barre can be abbreviated, showing only one side per exercise, alternating. Directors will be looking at fundamentals—placement, turnout, leg lines, stability—but don't ignore musicality or movement quality. Make sure music choices match combinations and are correctly synced in the footage.

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Career
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I want to be a professional dancer, but my parents won't listen. They either don't think I can do it (contrary to what my teachers have said) or they won't let me take the necessary steps to become a professional. Please help. —Audrey

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Videos

They say that pigeons mate for life—perhaps that's why these birds naturally symbolize the young lovers in Sir Frederick Ashton's The Two Pigeons. In these two clips from a 1987 performance in Pisa, Alessandra Ferri and Robert LaFosse—then stars with American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet, respectively—dance a rapturous pas de deux at the end of Act II. With tiny pricks of her feet and bird-like flaps of her elbows in Part 1, Ferri marks her anguish, thinking she's been abandoned for another woman. Later, both she and LaFosse grow more and more entangled as they reconcile, Ferri dancing with the passionate abandon she's famous for. I love how in Part 2 (0:20), they can't seem to get enough of each other as their necks arch and intertwine. At the end of the ballet, two pigeons fly in to perch symbolically on the chair—er, there's supposed to be two. It looks like one missed its cue at this performance! No matter—Ferri and LaFosse's dancing make it clear that these young lovers are meant to be together for life. Happy #TBT!

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Summer Study Advice
The author at 13, rehearsing at her home studio, Ballet Arts Theater, in Endicott, NY. Courtesy McGuire.

This story originally appeared in the December 2010/January 2011 issue of Pointe.

As a young student at a small ballet school in upstate New York, I was obsessed with getting into the School of American Ballet. From the age of 10, I entered class each day with the ultimate goal of studying at SAB dangling before me like a carrot on a stick. Every effort I made, every extra class I took was for the sole purpose of getting into what I thought was the only ballet school that really mattered.

I auditioned for SAB's summer program for the first time when I was 12. In the weeks that followed, I became a vulture hovering over my family's mail, squawking at my mother if the day's letters were not presented for my inspection when I walked through the door. The day the letter finally arrived, it was thin and limp. I cried for a week as I dealt with the crushing feeling of rejection for one of the first times in my life.

My mind filled with questions and self-doubt. What was wrong with me? Why wasn't I good enough? I figured I must be too fat, too slow, my feet too flat. I had worked so hard. I had wished on every fallen eyelash and dead dandelion in pursuit of my single goal, just to have a three-paragraph form letter conclude that I was a failure. For a while, I let myself wallow in the comfort of my resentment, content to believe that success should have come easily, and that to fall was the same as to fail.

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