It's never too early to start thinking about your dream job. And summer intensives are an essential step down the road to achieving your dance dreams—whether you want to perform in music videos, ballet companies or Broadway shows.

With 19 programs across the U.S. (plus additional international programs) Joffrey Ballet School offers options for all types of dancers with all types of goals. Whatever you may be working toward this summer, there's a program that will help you get that much closer. We put together a guide to help you find the right one, based on your dream job:


Dream Job: Principal at a ballet company

Program: NYC Ballet Intensive

The Details: Directed by Josie Walsh and Jo Matos, at JBS' New York City ballet intensive you'll spend up to seven weeks diving into both classical and contemporary ballet. Each week you'll learn from different faculty members—like Desmond Richardson and Dwight Rhoden—building a strong and versatile base so you'll be ready to tackle any new choreography that might be thrown at you in a company setting. In the final week, the program culminates in a huge professional-grade performance at a theater in NYC.

Dream Job: Backup dancer for Beyoncé

Program: Summer of Hip Hop (NYC, L.A. or Las Vegas)

The Details: Over the course of up to three weeks, you'll explore a variety of styles like breaking, freestyle, house, jazz/funk, popping and locking, and learn from top artists like Candace Brown, Ms. Vee and Charles Smith. You'll participate in a giant flash mob, and dance in a music video. Plus, the intensive ends with a showcase, in partnership with Shake The Ground dance competition.

Dream Job: Broadway star

Program: NYC Musical Theater

The Details: At this one-of-a-kind musical theater intensive, dancers live in New York and get a behind-the-scenes look at a different Broadway show each week. You'll be taught by the cast, getting intensive training in dance, acting and singing, and at the end of the week you'll attend the show and meet the performers backstage. Students in the program also learn from top Broadway vocal coaches, and meet agents and producers. This summer's shows include Mean Girls, Frozen, Wicked and Phantom of the Opera. This year, the five-week program culminates in a performance commemorating the program's fifth anniversary, where students will perform alongside Broadway stars.

Dream Job: Circus/acrobatic dancer

via www.cirquedusoleil.com

Program: Cirque du Soleil Las Vegas

The Details: In JBS' newest one-week intensive, you'll be taught by performers and coaches from Cirque, in the heart of Vegas. You'll explore all aspects of the circus arts, including acrobatics, aerial, clowning and juggling. Tiffany Baker, the dance supervisor for Cirque's Michael Jackson One show in Las Vegas, is the program's official Cirque consultant, and will help connect dancers to the people who are hiring for Cirque's various shows.

Dream Job: Commercial dancer

Program: Joffrey West L.A. Fusion

The Details: If you want to rock the commercial dance scene and score gigs on television and film, L.A. is the place to be. This well-rounded program, which runs up to three weeks, features classical and contemporary ballet in the morning, with jazz, improv, hip hop and modern repertory in the afternoon. The wide variety of courses will give you a strong and versatile background, and at the end of the intensive you'll rehearse with top choreographers and give a final performance at California State University, Northridge.

Dream Job: Contemporary ballet dancer

Program: Joffrey San Francisco

The Details: Though you'll study classical ballet too, this intensive has a strong focus on contemporary techniques, led by a roster of faculty members from all over the world, who have danced with companies like Ballet West, Nederlands Dans Theater, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. You'll take classes in pointe, variations, improv, contemporary, partnering and repertory, plus have rehearsals with professional choreographers. At the end of the three-week program, students who stayed for at least two weeks will perform in San Francisco State University's McKenna Theatre.

Dream Job: Tap dancer

Master faculty member Samara Seligsohn; Eric Tronolone, courtesy Seligsohn

Program: Tap Spectacular Miami

The Details: In this one-week program, not only will you focus intensively on tap technique and repertoire, but you'll also learn tap history from contemporary masters, and gain a broader understanding of the significance the art form holds today, and where it came from. Your courses will cover many different tap styles and techniques, like soft-shoe, clogging, buck and wing, jazz tap, rhythm tap, Broadway tap and funk tap. Master faculty include Samara Seligsohn and Felipe Galganni.

Ballet Careers
Gray Davis with wife, ABT soloist Cassandra Trenary, after his graduation from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. Courtesy Trenary.

When Gray Davis retired from American Ballet Theatre in July of 2018, he moved home to South Carolina, unsure of what would come next. Last month, just over a year later, Davis graduated from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. Today, he's working as a deputy for the Abbeville County Sheriff's Office.

Though Davis danced in ABT's corps for 11 years and is married to soloist Cassandra Trenary, to many he's best known for saving the life of a man who was pushed onto the subway tracks in New York City in 2017. The heroic effort earned him the New York State Liberty Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by a member of the New York State Senate. We caught up with Davis to hear about how the split second decision he made in the subway affected the course of his life, what it's been like starting a second career and what he sees as the similarities between ballet and law enforcement.

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Sponsored by BLOCH
Courtesy BLOCH

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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Ballet Stars
Megan Amanda Ehrlich, Courtesy LEAP Program

Claire Sheridan wanted to change the status quo. Leading up to the 1990s, she recalls, "there was a 'shut up and dance' mind-set," and as the founder of the dance program at St. Mary's College of California and a longtime teacher in professional companies, she had seen too many dancers retire with no plan for a successful career transition. "At that time, if you thought about education and the future," she says, "you were not a committed dancer. I wanted to fight that."

With the support of St. Mary's, Sheridan developed the Liberal Education for Arts Professionals program, or LEAP, an innovative liberal-arts bachelor's degree program designed especially for professional dancers. She first presented her idea to executives at San Francisco Ballet. "Kudos to that company, because they said, 'This is great,'" she says. "Eleven of the first 18 dancers who started in August 1999 were from SFB."

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Ballet Training
Getty Images

I'm a college freshman, and my dance program isn't challenging enough. We only have ballet three times a week and a few hours of modern, and my classmates aren't as dedicated as I am. There's a small dance company nearby, where I was hoping to take extra classes, but I don't have a car. I want to transfer, but I feel like I won't be in good enough shape for auditions. —Tara

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