Summer Intensive Takes Off

Learning the famous ‘Kingdom of the Shades’ scene from the 19th century ballet ‘La Bayadère’

Summer Intensive Takes Off

[June 18, 2024]

Highly motivated young dancers from as far away as Hawaii have just wrapped up the first of three fast-paced weeks of training at the Hoff Center in AMB’s annual Summer Intensive.

This year’s session, running through June 28, has a total enrollment of nearly fifty dancers ages 11 through 25, along with seventeen Junior Intensive students ages 10 through 13 who will join in for the third week. They dance six days a week in a challenging program of classes that include ballet, pointe, variations, jazz, modern, contemporary, and repertory.

From Accidental Audition to Dance Career

Nationally recognized guest instructors are an important element in the summer intensive experience. The first week’s guest was Stephanie Martinez, founder and artistic director of the Chicago-based PARA.MAR Dance Theatre and a sought-after guest choreographer who has created more than 60 ballets for companies including the Joffrey Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, Luna Negra Dance Theater, Kansas City Ballet, and the National Choreographers Initiative.

Along with teaching, she offered the dancers inspiration drawn from her own unusual career arc: As a 19-year-old athlete who had never danced, she decided to try it for fun, and signed up at the Gus Giordano Dance Center for what she thought was a class. When she discovered the “class” was actually an audition, she decided to stick it out… and was offered a scholarship that eventually led to her career.

Stephanie Martinez on the value of a summer intensive: “A summer intensive allows students from the studio here, plus young artists from all around the country, to get a taste of other styles, other ways of moving, other ways of thinking about dance. It’s really about concepts and ways of moving your body… the young artist needs to have kind of a toolbox that they can use throughout their performing years so they keep growing.”

The Summer Intensive Experience in Pictures…

American Midwest Ballet company artists double as Summer Intensive faculty. From top left: Kelanie Murphy helps a student adjust the fit of her pointe shoes; Nora Carr checks choreography before teaching a combination; Marsalis AnderSon-Clausell brings energy to a pirouette combination; kickin’ with Kogan Murphy in a jazz class.
Among things you learn in a summer intensive: the importance of hydration, conditioning, and saying thank you to your teachers after class.
Working on partnering with your friends: fun and educational. Working on partnering with a professional dancer such as AMB’s Wyatt Weeces: priceless.

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