Dancers at Cincinnati Ballet's 2019 Collegiate Intensive. Angie Lipscomb, Courtesy Cincinnati Ballet.

Check Out These Summer Programs Designed for Young Professionals and College-Aged Dancers

Summer intensives aren't just for teenagers anymore. Several companies and schools are now offering ballet programs tailored to the specific needs of young adults in their early career or in college. In addition to helping dancers stay in shape, these intensives and workshops give them a chance to receive coaching and career mentoring, practice the craft of choreography, learn new repertoire and expand their knowledge of the ballet business. Read on for more information on eight upcoming professional and collegiate summer intensives.


Kaatsbaan Pro-Studio (Tivoli, New York)

A group of seven ABT Studio Company members pose outside in a field, with two sitting on a gray wooden fence and the rest arranged around them. The two men wear shorts and T-shirts, while the women wear brightly colored leotards and knee-length ballet skirts.

Dancers from the 2019 Pro-Studio program at Kaatsbaan

Erin Baiano, Courtesy Kaatsbaan

Pro-Studio, now in its second year, is a new coaching initiative for young professionals developed by American Ballet Theatre principal Stella Abrera. Held August 16–29 at New York's Kaatsbaan, where Abrera was recently appointed artistic director, the program will accept 12 early-career dancers, from apprentice level to year-five corps members. Participants will work closely with Abrera and guest faculty members Martine van Hamel, Kevin McKenzie and Sascha Radetsky. In addition to technique classes, dancers will receive private coaching in the classical repertoire. They will also have the opportunity to learn repertoire by Twyla Tharp and to work with Jacob Jonas The Company, which will be in residence at Kaatsbaan. Pro-Studio will also offer lectures and symposiums on other aspects of the dance business, such as marketing, development, community engagement and programming.

Nashville Ballet Summer Training for Professionals (Nashville, TN)

Two male dancers in practice clothes stand in sous-sus with their arms out in second position

Nashville Ballet dancers Owen Thorne (foreground) and Nicolas Scheuer

Heather Thorne, Courtesy Nashville Ballet

Nashville Ballet started its Summer Training for Professionals last year to help young artists not only stay in shape during the off-season, but to continue honing their craft. The program offers flexibility for dancers to create a schedule based on their individual needs, taking any classes within Nashville Ballet's regular Summer Intensive or its Adult Program. Dancers can register in at least one-week increments between June 15–July 10. (Each week will be capped at five people). In addition to classes, participants are given exclusive opportunities to meet with summer intensive faculty and Nashville Ballet artistic staff for career advice, mentorship or to learn more about the industry. While an audition is not required, proof of employment is.

University of North Carolina School of the Arts Professional Studies and Choreographic Essentials Intensives  (Winston-Salem, NC)

Three ballet dancers take class in black camisole leotards, pink tights and pointe shoes. They are standing in tendu crois\u00e9 derri\u00e8re, with their left leg in pli\u00e9 and their arms in fourth position arabesque.

Dancers at UNSCA's 2019 summer intensive

Peter Mueller, Courtesy UNCSA

University of North Carolina School of the Arts offers two programs for college students, professionals and pre-professional dancers over 18. Its Summer Dance Professional Studies is a one-week immersive workshop in which dancers work directly with a distinguished choreographer or dance artist, either collaborating with them on the creative process or learning repertory. Dancers may choose to work with one of the four visiting artists and attend master classes from the others. This summer offers two, weeklong workshops: June 14–20 with Sidra Bell, Alexandra Damiani or Victor Quijada, and June 28–July 3 with Gregory Dolbashian.

The Choreographic Essentials Workshop, led by internationally renowned choreographer Helen Pickett, is geared towards professional and pre-professional dancers ages 18–27 who are interested in the dance-making process. The weeklong program, held June 14–20, allows students to create a three-minute work and dance in two to three pieces of choreography. Pickett will not only help students develop skills for generating new ideas, but will also help them learn how to delegate and manage time. Application deadline is March 28.

Compass Coaching Project (Broomfield, CO)

Choreographer Dominic Walsh hosts Compass Coaching Project, June 1–13 at Colorado Conservatory of Dance in Broomfield, Colorado. Open to dancers over the age of 17, this two-week intensive focuses on nurturing individual needs both in class and through one-on-one coaching and career mentoring. In addition to ballet, contemporary, pointe, partnering and improvisation classes, Compass Coaching Project offers courses in Alexander Technique, anatomy and movement therapy. Dancers also have an opportunity to work on contemporary repertoire from luminaries like Ohad Naharin, Jiří Kylián, Crystal Pite and William Forsythe. A performance concludes the intensive. An audition is required.

Oklahoma International Dance Festival (Lone Wolf, OK)

A young woman wearing a red leotard and with bare legs and feet jumps into a powerful sissonne, her legs split and her arms in high fifth, with her head thrown back. She is outside, in front of a small rocky mountain and a body of water, dotted with brush and grasses and under a bright blue sky.

Thyrsa Da Rosa, Courtesy Oklahoma International Dance Festival

This summer marks the first annual Oklahoma International Dance Festival, which includes a two-week Summer Intensive for dancers 18 and over. Held July 26–August 9 at the Quartz Mountain Resort Arts and Conference Center in Southwestern Oklahoma, OIDF offers classes in ballet, modern, Pilates, Gaga and Gyrokinesis, as well as coached repertory sessions, panel discussions, repertory workshops and a gala performance. Its faculty includes Margo Sappington, Roser Muñoz, Vincent Gros, Raffaele Irace, Larry Keigwin and Brian Brooks.

The festival also offers a Choreography Showcase, allowing young dancemakers to take master classes and submit work for two adjudicated concerts, with feedback sessions from OIDF's faculty. In addition to classes, the festival will produce five performances, headlined by Brian Brooks Moving Company, and including SOLOCOREOGRAFICO, an international showcase dedicated to solos.

ABT Collegiate Intensive (New York, NY)

Lupe Serrano, shown from the waist up and wearing a long-sleeved green shirt and black pants, demonstrates tendu crois\u00e9 devant. A group of teenage dancers in lack leotards and pink tights stand behind and to the right of her, imitating her position.

ABT Collegiate Intensive faculty member Lupe Serrano, above, leads class.

Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy ABT

Held June 1-19 in New York City, American Ballet Theatre's Collegiate Summer Intensive is designed for dancers 17 to 24 who are pursuing higher education. Participants enjoy classes in ballet, pointe, partnering, modern and company repertoire with ABT faculty. Academic credit options are also available through participating colleges and universities, and each student will receive a digital video file of the intensive's final showing. Plus, there's this perk: Dancers have access to student-discount tickets to select ABT performances at the Metropolitan Opera House. Auditions are required through ABT's summer intensive audition tour or by video.

Cincinnati Ballet Collegiate Intensive (Cincinnati, OH)

A brown-haired young woman in a red halter-top leotard stands with her back to the camera. Her left arm holds on to the barre while her right arm is raised slightly in second position, her head looking out over her hand. In front of her down the barre stand other female ballet students in the same pose, with their legs and feet in fifth position.

Dancers at Cincinnati Ballet's 2019 Collegiate Intensive take morning ballet class.

Hiromi Platt, Courtesy Cincinnati Ballet

Cincinnati Ballet's Collegiate Intensive is an intimate program co-produced by the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music. Held June 15–July 24, the program is designed to serve the unique needs of college dancers 18 and over. (Students may choose between a three-week and six-week session.) In addition to a full day of classes in ballet, modern, repertoire and composition, faculty from both Cincinnati Ballet and CCM offer personal coaching. Dancers can also learn more about other dance industry careers, with workshops in administration, production and choreography. While the program is not credit bearing on its own, many dancers have been able to receive credit through their own college or university. Dancers may also be considered for the Otto M. Budig Academy professional training division and Cincinnati Ballet's second company. Auditions are required, either by video or during its summer intensive audition tour.

Ballet 5:8 Collegiate Intensive and Choreography Intensive (Orland Park, IL)

Three young dancers sit crosslegged on a dance studio floor, wearing casual T-shirts and pink tights and shoes. A faculty member sits on a chair in front of them leading a discussion with a laptop on her lap; she wears dark leggings and a gray, loose-fitting tank top.

Dancers sit during a discussion session at Ballet 5:8's Choreography Intensive

Jacquelyn Hynson, Courtesy Ballet 5:8

Ballet 5:8, based just outside Chicago, offers two Christian, faith-based intensives for young adults. Its Collegiate Intensive, held July 20–31, is for dancers over 18 at the college, trainee or professional levels. Dancers take approximately 20 classes a week, including ballet, pointe, men's and women's variations, Pilates, partnering, Progressing Ballet Technique, modern, improvisation and more. Participants also learn selections from Ballet 5:8 repertoire and have daily spiritual fellowship and reflection. A performance concludes the intensive.

Ballet 5:8's Choreographic Intensive is a five-day workshop (July 13–17) exploring choreographic theory and mechanics. In addition to classes in ballet, modern, improvisation and composition, dancers will have the chance to choreograph an original work on summer intensive students, performed on the last day during the summer intensive showcase. They also receive mentoring and feedback from artistic director Julianna Rubio Slager and summer intensive faculty. There are only five positions available, and auditions are required.

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These are challenging times. The social distancing measures brought about by COVID-19 has likely meant that your regular ballet training has been interrupted, while your performances, competitions—even auditions—have been cancelled. You may be feeling anxious about what the future holds, not only for you but for the dance industry. And that's perfectly understandable.

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And we know that you will, too. We've been utterly inspired by how the dance community has rallied together, from ballet stars giving online classes to companies streaming their performances to the flood of artist resources popping up. We've loved watching you dance from your kitchens. And we want to help keep this spirit alive. That's why Pointe and all of our Dance Media sister publications are working nonstop to produce and cross-post stories to help you navigate this crisis. We're all in this together.

We also want to hear from you! Send us a message on social media, or email me directly at abrandt@dancemedia.com. Tell us how you're doing, send us your ideas and show us your dance moves. Let the collective love we share for our beloved art form spark the light at the end of the tunnel—we will come out the other side soon enough.

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