It sometimes seems like modern dancers have it easy. There are dozens of great college dance programs that can lead to successful contemporary careers. But for aspiring bunheads, the options are narrower, and the competition is tough. Indiana University at Bloomington's ballet department only takes about 10-20 dancers each year.

 

Luckily, interested high school students can get an inside look at some of these ballet programs—and a chance to network with their faculty members—through summer intensives. Several dance departments, including Juilliard's, University of Utah's, University of South Carolina's and IU's, open their doors to talented high schoolers during June, July and August. Dancers get a real taste of campus life. They stay in the dorms, dance in the studios, take classes from regular faculty members and sometimes even train alongside current dance majors.

 

University summer programs are often just as hard-core as your typical intensive. At IU, each morning begins with classes in technique, pointe and men’s. Then afternoons are spent either in variations classes and rehearsals, or dedicated to additional technique classes in modern, Pilates, jazz and more ballet. Each week concludes with an informal presentation for the public and faculty members. (See music.indiana.edu/precollege/summer/ballet.)

 

 

Check the websites of the colleges you’re interested in to see if you're eligible to apply for their summer term. For more on top college ballet programs, visit danceu101.com.

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Today's ballet dancer needs a lot from a pointe shoe. "What I did 20 years ago is not what these dancers are doing now," says New York City Ballet shoe manager Linnette Roe. "They are expected to go harder, longer days. They are expected to go from sneakers, to pointe shoes, to character shoes, to barefoot and back to pointe shoes all in a day."

The team at BLOCH developed their line of Stretch Pointe shoes to address dancer's most common complaints about the fit and performance of their pointe shoes. "It's a scientific take on the pointe shoe," says Roe. Dancers are taking notice and Stretch Pointe shoes are now worn by stars like American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, who stars in BLOCH's latest campaign for the shoes.

We dug into the details of Stretch Pointe's most game-changing features:

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The Joffrey Ballet's Amanda Assucena and Greig Matthews in Cathy Marston's Jane Eyre. Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet.

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Herman Cornejo in Don Quixote. Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT.

American Ballet Theatre's fall season at Lincoln Center's Koch Theater offers a chance to see the company in shorter works and mixed-repertoire programs. This year's October 16–27 run honors principal Herman Cornejo, who's celebrating his 20th anniversary with the company. Cornejo will be featured in a special celebratory program as well as a new work by Twyla Tharp (her 17th for the company), set to Johannes Brahms' String Quartet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 111. The October 26 program will include Cornejo in a pas de deux with his sister, former ABT dancer Erica Cornejo.

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