July 26, 2022
By Mary Ashley Ray
What comes to mind when you think of summer? Hot weather, extra time with family and friends, days at the pool – but what about ballet? While the summer is considered the “off season” at Texas Ballet Theater, the studios are still bustling with ballerinas and young dancers taking part in Texas Ballet Theater School’s many summer programs.
The youngest dancers participate in Ballet Basics, a week-long program that incorporates dance, crafts, story time, and choreography into fun themes perfect for three to six year olds. For some children, Ballet Basics is their first introduction to dance before joining TBTS during the school year. Participating in this program gives them a glimpse of what’s to come during regular classes and helps them feel comfortable in the studio setting.
Students ages 7-14 can enroll in the Young Dancer Intensive or Junior Intensive, both designed to help dancers broaden their perspectives and focus on their technique and artistry. While Ballet Basics is just one week long, both of these Intensive have multi-week options.
Basilia Trejo has two daughters at TBTS. This summer, they participated in Ballet Basics and the Junior Intensive. She says both programs helped her daughters keep their ballet skills and stay engaged year-round.
The largest of TBTS’ summer programs is the Summer Intensive. With 3- and 5-week options, the Summer Intensive is designed for advanced dancers who are interested in pursuing a professional dance career. Dancers audition and travel from all across the country to spend the summer in North Texas and participate in the program. TBTS faculty, TBT artistic staff, and guest faculty lead classes in ballet technique, variations, pas de deux, and more, such as jazz, Latin ballroom, and musical theater.
Heather Romine’s daughter Arlie participated in the 2022 Summer Intensive, which just ended on July 22. She says Arlie learned so many new skills and improved her pointe work, both of which will help her when the new school year starts in just a few weeks.
Piper Cristantielli is a year-round student at TBTS and also participated in Summer Intensive. “What I enjoyed most about my summer at TBTS was experiencing different teachers and learning how to be a better dancer each day,” she said. “Not only that, but I have also enjoyed meeting so many kind friends from all over the US. I have met so many great dancers who motivate me to be the best dancer and person I can be.”
Camille Anderson, another TBTS dancer, finds the Summer Intensive experience very valuable. “I think it is very important to keep dancing during the summer because there is always an opportunity to grow and learn. It will make you stronger and more experienced when the season starts back!”
Summer Intensive is not only popular with the dancers, but their parents as well. Shannon Gonzalez appreciates the quality training, program organization, and fun activities that are all important elements of SI.
Angela Ballard sees the Summer Intensive as a great extension of her daughter’s ballet regimen. “The division of levels within her age group lets me know they are spending more time getting to know the dancers and their comfort and ability levels. They also offer the dancers a chance to work on different styles of dance.”