Experience the opportunity to:
- Sample a taste of professional life in a full day (9:30-5:00pm) dance experience, including rehearsals for a final performance
- Grow technically through five hours of daily ballet technique, including pointe or men’s class
- Deepen your understanding of important concepts in injury prevention, such as proper alignment and rotation
- Learn first-hand the relationship between the great classical dance traditions of the world
- Expand your dance background through classes in modern dance and theater dance
- Exercise your creativity by participating in the choreography workshop
- Develop group communication and leadership skills when choreographing with your peers, while establishing friendships with equally committed young dancers
- Set effective goals and learn to increase personal discipline and focus
- Interact with dedicated professionals, including the teaching staff and American Repertory Ballet’s professional company members who participate in the intensive
The teachers work with the whole dancer, not just the technical side. Small classes provide plenty of attention and personal help. Full time faculty includes ARB Artistic Director Douglas Martin, ARB Resident Choreographer Mary Barton, ARB Company Teacher Kathleen Moore, and ARBW Ballet Mistress Maria Youskevitch, with guest artists such as Kirk Peterson (American Ballet Theatre), Trinette Singleton (Joffrey Ballet), and Jeanne Solan (Netherlands Dans Theatre).
American Repertory Ballet’s Artistic Director Douglas Martin teaches daily.
“I came back from the summer stronger and more dedicated and passionate about ballet than ever. I have been doing all the exercises you taught us and I am surprised how much I have gained from them! I have a notebook with everything I learned over the summer that I review and it brings back lots of great memories, but most importantly lots of wonderful information that I will always have. So thanks again for an amazing summer…I had the best experience of my life.”
– Julia Kagen, Walnut Hill School, Boston, MA
Morning classes for Summer Intensive focus on advanced ballet technique. There are five groups of approximately 20 dancers. The faculty (see Faculty section for biographies) are very interested in strong focus and personal effort, to yield technical advancement. Each day begins with a 110 minute ballet class. Following a brief break, the students’ second class of each day is either pointe, men’s class, or partnering. (Partnering is offered to all levels in our Summer Intensive). Once a week, this time slot is reserved for Body Mechanics (see below).
Placement in levels
Levels are set upon arrival at the program. The first day of classes will involve placement auditions, and the classes start meeting in their regular groups on the second day.
The afternoons are comprised of two 90 minute classes. One is a second ballet class, moving at a faster pace than the thorough morning class. The other time period is for a variety of experiences,ranging from repertory classes with American Repertory Ballet company dancers, to modern dance and theatre dance classes taught by Princeton Ballet School faculty and alums working professionally in these fields. After the first two weeks of the program, this 90 minute slot becomes the rehearsal for the performances (see Performance below).
American Repertory Ballet’s Resident Choreographer also teaches daily.
Pointe classes: are a combination of pointe technique and strengthening work, and variations. Variations classes feature variations from each teacher’s background. Pointe classes are taught by all faculty.
Men’s classes: are taught by Douglas Martin. Classes are bi-weekly, with two days of each male dancer’s schedule also given to partnering.
Body Mechanics: is taught to each group weekly by Mary Pat Robertson, Director of Princeton Ballet School. This class explores various topics which an aspiring professional needs to understand—core strength, ankle and foot issues, spine issues, turnout—and gives exercises and knowledge which will help maximize the dancers’ potential in these areas.
Choreography Workshop: see “Performance” below.
“Princeton Ballet School has taken years of training and put it into an incredible, productive five week program. I’ve had the privilege to work with dance geniuses who have given me information that I’ll carry with me throughout my life. Thank you to all the staff and faculty for this unforgettable experience.”
– Chelsea Wilson, Virginia School of the Arts, Lynchburg, VA
Princeton Ballet School is located in an air-conditioned facility with four large studios featuring high ceilings and sprung dance floors. Live music accompanies all ballet and modern dance classes.
The facility includes a dance library and is adjacent to numerous shops and restaurants, with generous open space, picnic tables, and gardens. The entire studio complex is wireless accessible.
“This program has been one of the best experiences I have ever had. The teachers not only correct you, but make sure that you apply the corrections. The care and consideration they are able to use benefits you incredibly. However, I have to say, that what makes this intensive so wonderful is how enjoyable it is, even when the teachers are pushing you to use the last amount of energy you have.”
– Patricia Strutz, 17, Springfield DanceSpringfield, Illinois
A high point of the Summer Intensive experience is the performance. Because the faculty’s main charge is the progress of the students, which happens through carefully done classwork, rehearsals for the performance are not allowed to take too much time out of each day. The performance is presented as an adjunct to that training, because it is so important to also work in various dance styles, from the classical to the contemporary, and because it is just a wonderful way to cement friendships and create lasting memories.
One 90 minute class period per day is given to rehearsals. All casting is at the discretion of the faculty. Each summer, ARB Resident Choreographer, Mary Barton, creates a new work for Summer Intensive, along with other faculty members creating and staging works. Each year one large classical excerpt is also staged. Summer 2015 we presented excerpts from “Swan Lake,” Act II, staged by Maria Youskevitch.
One unique aspect of Princeton Ballet School’s Summer Intensive is the Choreography Lab. This optional program allows young dancers to start stretching and strengthening the creative side of their brains, under the guidance of Janell Byrne. Ms. Byrne, a Juilliard-trained modern dancer and choreographer, has been teaching for Princeton Ballet School for over 35 years, while producing a large body of work (over 100 ballets). In addition to introducing the dancers to the basic elements of improvisation and choreography, the Lab included Q and A sessions with working choreographers, including Artistic Director Douglas Martin and ARB Resident Choreographer Mary Barton. Choreography Lab meets every Saturday afternoon. It is open to any dancer in Summer Intensive, at no extra charge.
The performance is always presented on the evening of the last day of the program. Families and community members are welcome. Tickets are sold separately at a reasonable price.
“What was particularly interesting, and made a great impression on me, right from the beginning of the first lesson of the Summer Intensive, was a method of studying classical ballet definitely new, in some of its aspects, and in other ways, richly motivating me to reflect on and deepen my prior knowledge: I found every movement, from the very beginning of the barre work, more danced, more lived, more breathed.”
–Federica Valla, Teatro Nuovo, Torino, Italia
Dormitory accommodations are on the Princeton University campus. The University campus adjoins downtown Princeton, a small town of great charm. Transportation to and from the studios is provided.
TBA — Please check back.
A limited number of merit-based tuition scholarships are available. RA positions available for dancers 21 and over. All students attending each audition site are automatically considered for scholarship. There is no separate application process.
Princeton Ballet School does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex or creed in the administration of its admission or scholarship programs. Princeton Ballet School is an equal opportunity employer.
Further Opportunities: The ARB Trainee Program
The Trainee Program is the bridge between the student phase of training and that of a professional career. ARB Trainees start each day with intensive classes designed to polish technique and build strength. These classes are exclusively for the Trainee dancers, with a focus on the individual participant. The Trainees finish each day with two more classes. These classes include pointe, variations, partnering and modern dance training. After their morning training, which also includes pointe, variations and modern dance, the Trainees join ARB company rehearsals where they understudy company roles. This exposes the Trainee to the expectation of a professional company, learning repertory, polishing technique and performance skills in the more intense professional environment. Trainees also participate in the ARB Workshop—the rehearsal and performance training program for the top levels of Princeton Ballet School. Dancers learn repertory designed for their level of capability, and are given the opportunity to perform in professionally produced productions. Princeton Ballet School is authorized under federal law to enroll non-immigrant students.
Photo Credit: Richard Termine, Pictured: Ellen Lou (former PBS Student/Trainee, now ARB Company Member)
American Repertory Ballet
American Repertory Ballet’s mission is to bring the joy, beauty, artistry and discipline of classical and contemporary dance to New Jersey and nationwide audiences and to dance students through artistic and educational programs. The organization comprises: the preeminent professional classical and contemporary ballet company in the state; Princeton Ballet School, one of the largest and most respected non-profit dance schools in the nation; and ARB’s Access & Enrichment initiatives, including the long-running and acclaimed DANCE POWER program. The performing company is a classical and contemporary ballet company committed to presenting ballets from the 19th and 20th centuries alongside new and existing works by choreographers from today. Founded in 1963, the company is currently under the artistic leadership of Douglas Martin, former principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet. Its rich history of repertory includes established masterpieces by distinguished American choreographers such as George Balanchine, Gerald Arpino, Alvin Ailey, Paul Taylor and Twyla Tharp; cutting edge works by choreographers such as Val Caniparoli, Kirk Peterson, Dominique Dumais, Harrison McEldowney, Amy Seiwert, Susan Shields, Melissa Barak, Patrick Corbin, Trinette Singleton, and ARB Resident Choreographer Mary Barton; and former Artistic Directors Dermot Burke, Marjorie Mussman, Septime Webre and Graham Lustig. ARB has been designated a “Major Arts Institution” by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts consistently for the past two decades, and has repeatedly been awarded a Citation of Excellence by the Council. ARB was voted the Jersey Arts People’s Choice for “Favorite Dance Company” in 2008, 2011, 2012, and 2015.