Summer Intensive Week II

Students polish the skills they’ve been learning for the final-day concert featuring excerpts from ‘La Bayadère’, ‘Don Quixote’, and ‘The Sleeping Beauty’, along with guest instructors’ choreography and selections from AMB repertory. For Week III, they’ll be joined by dancers ages 10 through 13 arriving for the one-week Junior Intensive program.

Pace Picks Up for Week II of Summer Intensive

[June 24, 2024]

Week II of AMB’s Summer Intensive picked up the pace for the highly-motivated young dancers who have come to the Hoff Center to polish their skills in ballet, pointe, variations, jazz, modern, contemporary, and repertory.

Artistry, friendships, and fun also are very much on the menu, as the young artists embrace the challenge of preparing classical and contemporary choreography for the performance that will close out the program on June 28.

“I’ve Done Every Job There Is to Do in a Dance Studio…”

Guest instructor for Week II was Kristopher Estes-Brown, back for his second year at the intensive. A Chicago-based choreographer, composer, and teacher, he’s a student favorite for his supportive sense of humor; his techniques for understanding ballet steps; and, most of all, for his encyclopedic knowledge of the dance industry.

Kristopher grew up in Kansas City, studying classical dance and music. He graduated from high school at age 16 to take his first job in professional ballet. He danced at companies including Milwaukee Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, Eugene Ballet, and Oakland Ballet – until, at age 26, an ankle injury derailed his career.

Surgery repaired the damage, but a doctor told him he would never walk again without a limp. Kristopher had other ideas. Reasoning that heeled shoes would minimize the stress on his ankle, he took up ballroom dancing and rose to the professionally competitive level. He started doing choreography, winning an award for his first work and building a portfolio that now includes more than 95 original dances. He bought out his childhood dance studio and ran it successfully for 15 years. Reactivating his interest in music, he took up composition – first for his own choreography, and now also for other choreographers, theater productions, films, and digital media. “Basically,” he tells students,“I’ve done just about every job there is to do in a dance studio.”

A Q&A session with Kristopher covered a wide range of topics. How to get noticed in an audition? “Show joy in being there. A lot of being noticed is just being engaged in the room.” How to get started in choreography? “Be really nice to everyone. And make sure you get good videos of your works.”

Dancers at Work…

Above: stylistic details such as arm shapes and head tilts are critical in the 19th-century classic ‘La Bayadère’. Below, left: everyone has lunch together in the Hoff’s restaurant space; right, summer intensive director Kelanie Murphy leads a pre-rehearsal warmup.
Above: Learning Kitri’s variation from ‘Don Quixote’ and the Bluebird variation from ‘The Sleeping Beauty’. Below: Group photo for Kristopher’s final teaching day.

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