Question: Talk to me about ages. Must my young dancer be 13 by the date of the audition?
Answer: No. Dancers need to be 13 by the opening date of the program. If they are going to live in the dormitory, they need to be 13 by this date. Occasionally, younger dancers are strong enough to be accepted as students for SI.
Question: In that case, would there be exceptions for dorm living?
Answer: No—even if the dancer is technically ready for the Summer Intensive experience, we do not stretch the dorm rules. We have dancers in the dorm up til about age 22. We are not set up to enforce different rules for different age groups. We have one set of rules for ages 13-17, who are guided by Residence Assistants. Dancers 18 and over may live in the dorms without this RA supervision, although they also have commonsense rules that they must sign off on, relating to issues such as drugs or alcohol (ie, not allowed). But therefore it is not appropriate to also have dancers younger than 12.
Question: Do the dancers need to present any prepared material?
Answer: No, the class functions as a regular ballet class. Pointe shoes will go on after center work. At the end of the audition, expect to wait another 5-10 minutes while Mary Pat Robertson speaks to the dancers about our program and when to expect their audition results.
Question: When do they get the results?
Answer: It depends on each audition. Generally, results will arrive in the mail about 10 days after the audition. We do not have a rolling deadline for return of deposits, as some organizations do. However, the Summer Intensive does fill to capacity each year, so it is wise to return the registration and deposits as soon as you have made your decision. If you need to know the results sooner in order to make a choice between programs, please call Carol Bellis at (609) 921 7758 x 14.
Question: Tell me about the scholarship criteria. Is there any additional paperwork that needs to be filed to apply for scholarship?
Answer: Our scholarships for Summer Intensive are based on merit, with a slight nod to geographical distribution as well. In other words, we have a certain quota of scholarship money set aside for each audition site. That can be given in one or two large sums, or divided up into several smaller scholarships, based on the dancers that the auditioner sees. Additional scholarships are available for males. Unfortunately, we do not have a large enough scholarship fund to also be able to fund scholarships based on financial need.
Question: If my dancer has to turn down your offer of acceptance and/or scholarship this year, can it be “held” for another year?
Answer: No. Each audition tour is a new beginning, and your dancer may not be the outstanding dancer in that audition site next year, or may not have made the improvement necessary to keep up with others her/his age. So, no promises can be made for acceptance or scholarship in any year but this one.
Question: How many students get accepted?
Answer: There is no hard and fast rule. We accept the students who look like they are ready to do the work. These students tend to be quick at picking up combinations, fairly strong technically, and with good basic understanding of technique. This is more important to us than the ability to produce any specific “trick” like fouettés, etc. It is also important to us that the students have an open mind about accepting corrections and are interested in trying to make changes in their technique. This quality, combined with good prior training, is the most important aspect of what we’re looking for. Generally, about 2/3 of the students auditioning get accepted.
Question: How many students attend?
Answer: We like to close enrollment at around 100. This gives us a good teacher/student ratio.
Question: How many are in each class, and how are they divided?
Answer: The Summer Intensive is divided in five learning groups, of 15-25 each. In the morning technique classes, each day three groups meet on their own, and the other two groups are combined. (We have three medium sized studios, and one very large one). We rotate the organization, so that different groups are combined. In the afternoon classes, the groups taught are sorted based on their rehearsal assignments. The division into groups takes place when the students arrive here, and is not done as part of the audition process.
Question: Do we need to attend all five weeks?
Question: What is the deadline for video auditions?
Answer: We do not have a strict deadline for video auditions. We will continue to accept videos as long as we still have space available. Keep in mind that our audition tour ends in mid-February, and registrations will be coming in. The smartest thing would be to try to have your video to us by the beginning of February, especially if you are interested in being considered for a merit scholarship. Once the acceptance letters go out, registration is first-come, first-served.
Question: What do the students do on the weekends?
Answer: They have a half day of classes on Saturday. Weekend activities are planned and lead by the Residence Assistants. Some examples of activities are trips to the pool, productions at the open air theater, the opera, a trip to the mall or the movies, plus various arts and crafts projects at the dorms and birthday celebrations for the dancers. All weekend activities are covered by the $100 activities fee, which is mandatory for all dorm students. The activities are not billed one at a time. The only exception to this is the field trip to New York City. This is a separate sign-up. Most of the dorm students do participate, but it is not mandatory.