Make the Most of Your Summer at the Centre for Dance Education


January 26, 2023

Make the Most of Your Summer at the Centre for Dance Education

For young students choosing the right fit for their summer study can be daunting. Dancers see their summer intensives as a launch pad for their future careers. Although many schools boast that their training promotes career development, Dean Sharon Story noticed that many intensives' regimented view on technique, above all else, was a detriment to the student. “They were just taking classes all day long, which is good. You always need to enhance your basic technique,” she says, but “getting them into the studio to actually rehearse, work on their artistry, have coaching and working with ballet masters, that is very rare.”

Summer students ultimately become immersed in Atlanta Ballet’s environment and culture. They have the opportunity to interact, learn, and converse with all levels of the organization, as their classes are taught by the school’s faculty, Atlanta Ballet company repetiteurs, current company dancers, and guest teachers. All students take daily classical ballet technique classes. However, their schedules are supplemented with new styles, techniques, variations, choreography, wellness workshops, and challenges that they may not have the opportunity to experience at their year-round schools.

The program focuses on musicality, artistry, creativity, and building a well-rounded technically artistic dancer. After all, students spend roughly eight hours in the studio daily. But dancers who travel to the city get the unique experience of living and learning in one of the country’s most rapidly growing cities with immense cultural diversity, a flourishing arts community, and centuries of history.

Boarding students reside in the Georgia Tech University dorms, equipped with a fully functioning kitchen, communal living spaces, a gym, and laundry. Georgia Tech’s campus, or as the locals call it, “Tech,” is situated centrally in Midtown Atlanta. The campus is also a convenient 15-minute commute to Atlanta Ballet’s headquarters. For students staying at the Tech dorms, a charted bus takes them to and from their daily classes.

On weekends, the same busses transport the students to activities across the city. In the past, excursions have included The World of Coke, mini-golf arcades, the Georgia Aquarium, the High Museum, and the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. Dance photoshoots are also a common occurrence for weekend enjoyment. Living in a creative and cultural epicenter, such as Atlanta, enriches the student learning experience beyond what can be learned in the studio.

Throughout the program, students work toward a final cumulative performance. In the final showing, all students are evaluated for the full-year academy program. The Professional Intensive students are evaluated for positions in Academy VI, the highest level of the school, and Atlanta Ballet 2. Many Atlanta Ballet company members, Atlanta Ballet 2, and full-time students are summer-intensive alumni.

These positions are few and coveted, but Story reassures students that the ultimate goal is not a school or AB2 position. “The whole goal is to give them an experience of evolution and empowerment. We’re here to have them grow…We offer a noncompetitive environment that focuses on evolution, empowerment, and growth as a dancer. Our goal is to create strong technique and confident artists.”

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