The Halfway Point at ABT NY

This summer, students attending summer intensives around the country are sharing their experiences with Pointe. Here, Lindsay Karchin checks in from the 2011 ABT New York Summer Intensive.


We’ve just passed the halfway point of the ABT NY Summer Intensive. It feels like the summer is going by so quickly! Two or three mornings per week we start our day with Pilates or yoga, and then have a 1 ¾ hour technique class followed by a 1 hour pointe class. Once a week the men join us and we have a pas de deux instead of pointe. What makes this program special is that all levels are taught technique and pointe by a variety of instructors who were all professional dancers and choreographers, most with American Ballet Theatre. There are also prestigious guest faculty, including David Howard and Gaby Brown, and students get the benefit of being taught by distinguished ABT Staff, including Melissa Allen Bowman, artistic director of the ABT summer intensives, Wes Chapman, ABT II artistic director, Franco De Vita, ABT/JKO school director, and Kevin McKenzie, ABT’s artistic director. Mr. De Vita and Mr. McKenzie evaluate students who request to be considered for the JKO School and/or the Studio Company. Wonderful pianists accompany most classes. We'e also taught specialty classes such as modern, jazz and even musical theater, and attend seminars on dance history, injury prevention and nutrition.

The repertoire for each level is mostly selected from ballets that ABT performed this season, including La Sylphide, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle and Coppélia. In addition, each level also performs a piece of choreography, which is often created by teachers in the summer program. My level is excited to be performing a section of Alexei Ratmansky’s The Bright Stream.

While the days are long and we work very hard, being in the ABT Summer Intensive is an incredible learning experience. I feel like I've improved a lot and gotten so much stronger because of it.

Latest Posts

Maria Kochetkova. Darian Volkova, Courtesy Kochetkova

Maria Kochetkova on How COVID-19 Affected Her Freelance Career, and Her New Home at Finnish National Ballet

When international star Maria Kochetkova embarked on a freelance career three years ago, she never envisioned how a global pandemic would affect it. In 2018, the Russian-born ballerina left the security of San Francisco Ballet, a company she called home for more than a decade, for the globe-trotting life of a guest star. Before the pandemic, Kochetkova managed her own performing schedule and was busier than ever, enjoying artistic freedom and expanding her creative horizons. This all changed in March 2020, when she saw her booming career—and her jet-setting lifestyle—change almost overnight.

After months of uncertainty, Kochetkova landed at Finnish National Ballet, where she is a principal dancer for the 2020–21 season. Pointe spoke with her about her time during the quarantine and what helped her to get through it, her new life in Helsinki, and what keeps her busy and motivated these days.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
DTH's Alexandra Hutchinson and Derek Brockington work out with trainer Lily Overmyer at Studio IX. Photo by Joel Prouty, Courtesy Hutchinson.

Working Out With DTH’s Alexandra Hutchinson

Despite major pandemic shutdowns in New York City, Alexandra Hutchinson has been HIIT-ing her stride. Between company class with Dance Theater of Harlem and projects like the viral video "Dancing Through Harlem"—which she co-directed with roommate and fellow DTH dancer Derek Brockington—Hutchinson has still found time to cross-train. She shares her motivation behind her killer high-intensity interval training at Studio IX on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

As Ballet Looks Toward Its Future, Let's Talk About Its Troubling Emotional Demands

As a ballet student, I distinctively remember being told that to survive ballet as a profession, one must be exceptionally thick-skinned and resilient. I always assumed it was because of the physically demanding nature of ballet: long rehearsal hours, challenging and stressful performances, and physical pain.

It wasn't until I joined a ballet company that I learned the true meaning behind those words: that the reason one needs thick skin is not because of the physical demands, but because of the unfair and unnecessary emotional demands.

Undoubtedly, emotional and physical strength go hand in hand to some extent. But the kind of emotional demand I am talking about here is different; it is not the strength one finds in oneself in moments of fatigue or unwillingness. It is the strength one must have when being bullied, humiliated, screamed at, manipulated or harassed.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks