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.

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