A Summer to Remember

It was a hot, muggy afternoon in a high school auditorium near New York’s Lincoln Center. But to the American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive students under the spotlights, the outside world had vanished. Performing the Wilis scene from Giselle, they danced as though they were spirits in a moonlit glade, not teenagers on a bare-bones stage. Their commitment to the mood and the music said volumes about the emphasis of ABT’s summer intensive.

Every program has different strengths and benefits, and all can yield surprises. For some students, intensives can lead to technical breakthroughs. “One year I finally learned how to point my feet during petit allegro,” says senior editor Jenny Stahl. “It sounds so simple but was always hard for me. Maybe it was just all the repetition—doing it in class after class.” Others gain insight into where they fit in the ballet spectrum. “After studying at my cozy, small-town studio, a summer at a world-class program was a necessary, if painful, reality check,” says assistant editor Margaret Fuhrer. “Summer programs are wonderful—and scary—because they give you a sense of perspective.”

To help students get a handle on their options, Pointe’s Summer Study Guide covers hundreds of programs. Don’t miss our savvy tips for auditioners on the opening page. Plus, we go behind the scenes at an ABT intensive audition (“Put Your Best Tendu Forward”)  and look at what it’s like to step outside your comfort zone by learning a different technique (“Think You Know Ballet?”).

The end of the year means a chance to look back on 2009’s most thrilling performances. We celebrate 12 extraordinary dancers who made an exceptional impact in “The Standouts”. None made a greater one than our cover girl, a 21st century Kirov ballerina like no other. Read “The Bewitching Ekaterina Kondaurova” to get a glimpse of the shape of things to come.

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