American Repertory Ballet’s Princeton Ballet School Welcomes Students from Cities Across the Country and Around the World

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June 22, 2016

Photo By Leighton Chen PRINCETON, N.J. — On Monday, June 27, the Princeton Ballet School will open its doors to students from all over the country to participate in an intense, five-week summer training program. The school’s Summer Intensive is a program of serious study in a warm and companionable atmosphere. Over 100 dancersauditioned this past year, coming from all across the United States, including major cities like San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, Tampa and Kansas City. Auditions were also held in Europe, bringing a handful of international students.

“It is great to travel the country on the Summer Intensive and company audition circuit,” said ARB Artistic Director Douglas Martin. “It is my chance not only to find great talent but to get a firsthand experience of other training facilities and their methods by visiting many of the major training institutions.”

The talent Martin speaks of, ages 13 and up, can call Princeton University campus their home for the summer as they take daily classes at the studios located in this small town of great charm. Transportation to and from the studios is provided, and the faculty ensures a caring and careful instruction conducive to technical and artistic progress. In seeking to maintain a feeling of community, Princeton Ballet School purposely limits the number of students in class.

The dancers will have the chance to sample a taste of professional life in a packed day starting at 9:30 a.m. and ending at 5:00 p.m. Throughout the day, they will have five hours of ballet technique, aiding in an understanding of important concepts in injury prevention such as proper alignment and rotation. Ballet classes are led by outstanding faculty members Artistic Director Douglas Martin, ARB Resident Choreographer and Ballet Master Mary Barton, ARB Company Teacher Kathleen Moore and ARB Workshop Ballet Mistress Maria Youskevitch. The dancing does not stop at one discipline, however. Students have the chance to expand their background by taking classes in both modern dance and theater dance with guest artists such as Paul Taylor Dance Company Member Sean Mahoney, Jazz/Theater Dance Artist Geoffrey Doig-Marx and PBS Alum/Broadway dancer Michael Mindlin.

The Summer Intensive does not highlight just the physicality of dancing, instead it also provides an educational, creative environment for these talented, young dancers to grow in communication and leadership skills. They have the opportunity to dance alongside their committed peers, participating in a choreography workshop together and establishing friendships. As a former principal dancer for Joffrey Ballet, Douglas Martin knows all too well the time and energy dedicated to rigorous training like the Summer Intensive.

“The Summer Intensive has always been my favorite time spent in the classroom both as a student and the faculty member,” said Martin. “As a student I was excited to spend my entire day focused on dance study and I couldn’t wait to experience the intensity of the workload and feel the daily progress that I was making through that intense study. As a faculty member, I get a similar thrill from the multiple classes and intensely physical days spent with students over a compact number of weeks. It is really a study of the effectiveness of the coursework you present.”

To top off the five weeks of training, the Summer Intensive ends with a performance that family and community members may come to see. Every summer, ARB Resident Choreographer, Mary Barton, creates a new work for the intensive, along with other faculty members creating and staging works. In summer 2015 we presented excerpts from Swan Lake, Act II, staged by Maria Youskevitch, daughter of legendary ballet star Igor Youskevitch. Through this aspect of the intensive, the dancers will be able to enjoy preparing for and rehearsing a performance. This experience of creating something wonderful through hard work and dedication gives the dancers lasting memories through an unforgettable experience.

Princeton Ballet School’s out-going Director, Mary Pat Robertson, conducted most of the auditions across the United States and Western Europe to find this year’s crop of participants.

“This is an exceptional group of young dancers in their potential and motivation,” said Robertson. “I think they’re going to have a great summer.”

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