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Posts Tagged ‘American Ballet Theatre’

Irina Dvorovenko Takes Final ABT Bow with Onegin in May

Irina Dvorovenko in Onegin; photo by Gene Schiavone

Irina Dvorovenko in Onegin; photo by Gene Schiavone

Irina Dvorovenko, a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre since 2000, will give her final performance with the company on May 18 at the Metropolitan Opera House in the role of Tatiana in Onegin opposite Cory Stearns.

Born in Kiev, Ukraine, Dvorovenko began her ballet training at the age of 10 at the Kiev Ballet School. She joined the National Opera and Ballet Theatre of Kiev in 1990 as a soloist, rising to the rank of principal dancer in 1992.

Dvorovenko’s many awards include a gold medal and the Anna Pavlova Prize at the International Ballet Competition in Moscow (1992), and the Grand Prix at the International Ballet Competition Serge Lifar in the Ukraine (1994).

Dvorovenko joined ABT in August 1996, and was promoted to soloist in 1997 and principal in August 2000, where she danced multiple roles in ballets including Apollo, Anastasia, La Bayadère, Don Quixote, Giselle, and many others. She created a leading role in The Brahms/Haydn Variations.

Following her final ABT performance, Dvorovenko plans to continue performing as a guest artist with companies around the world.




ABT Summer Intensive Audition Tour to Visit 24 Cities in January and February


ABT summer intensive students; photo by Rosalie O’Connor

American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensive National Audition Tour will kick off January 5, 2013, in Boston and Phoenix, and will visit a total of 24 cities through February 3.

Intermediate and advanced students, ages 9 to 24, are invited to audition for ABT’s New York, Collegiate, and satellite Summer Intensives, and Young Dancer Summer Workshop.

American Ballet Theatre’s 2013 Summer Intensive programs will be held in five locations: New York City (June 24 to July 26); Winston-Salem, North Carolina (June 24 to July 19); Tuscaloosa, Alabama (July 1 to July 20); Austin, Texas (July 7 to August 2); and Orange County, California (July 29 to August 16).

The Collegiate Summer Intensive will be held at ABT’s New York headquarters, June 3 to 21. This specialized program, designed for students ages 17 to 24, will focus on technique, ABT repertory, pointe work, partnering, modern dance, composition, and choreography. College credit options are available.

The Young Dancer Summer Workshop will take place at ABT’s New York studios July 29 to August 9. A new young dancer program is also being offered in San Jose, California, from June 17 to June 28. Both programs educate young dancers, ages 9 to 12, in ballet technique and related topics including nutrition, ballet terminology, classroom and rehearsal etiquette, and injury prevention.

Auditions are open to male and female students who have achieved intermediate or advanced levels of ballet training. Applicants for the Collegiate Summer Intensive may also audition at any of the audition sites. Applicants for the Young Dancer Summer Workshop may audition at select sites. Students can audition by video for all programs. For more information, visit


ABT Leaves Longtime Home to Join Paul Taylor, NYCB, at Lincoln Center


The American Ballet Theatre’s Romeo and Juliet; photo by Gene Schiavone

Another dance company is leaping over to Lincoln Center, reports the WQRX blog.

The American Ballet Theatre said on Thursday that it has signed a three-year contract to perform at the David H. Koch Theater, ending the company’s 15-year perch at New York City Center.

ABT’s contract with the Koch will start in October 2013 with a two-week season. The deal will not affect the company’s eight-week spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House, or its Nutcracker performances at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in December.

Since the financially-strapped New York City Opera left the Koch Theater in 2011—which it shared with the New York City Ballet for more than 40 years—the theater’s management has been aggressively marketing the stage to major dance companies. Renovated in 2008–10, the theater touts its expanded off-stage wings and orchestra pit. The Paul Taylor Dance Company left City Center for the Koch this past spring.

ABT held regular performances at the venue, then the New York State Theater, from 1965 through 1976. The theater continues to be the headquarters of the New York City Ballet.

To see the original story plus a video of an ABT performance of Swan Lake, visit!/blogs/wqxr-blog/2012/oct/25/american-ballet-theater-return-lincoln-center/?utm_source=local&utm_media=treatment&utm_campaign=carousel&utm_content=item1



Ballet San Jose Emerges From Troubled Times with a New Nutcracker


After a year of turmoil, Ballet San Jose has announced a 2012-13 season that includes a world premiere, six company premieres, and a production of The Nutcracker with new choreography, reported the San Jose Mercury News.

In addition, the company—which danced to recorded music during its past season—will return to live music with new music director and conductor George Daugherty.

Perhaps the biggest break with the company’s past is the new Nutcracker, choreographed by longtime lead dancer Karen Gabay and with fresh sets and costumes. Since the company was formed, it has danced a critically-acclaimed Nutcracker choreographed and staged by co-founder and former artistic director Dennis Nahat. Nahat’s departure was just one aspect of a troubled period for the company that also included the resignations of leading board members, a truncated season, and the decision to use recorded music.

The new schedule for the ballet reflects both its partnership with American Ballet Theatre, announced last December, and its new artistic leadership.

The season will feature a world premiere ballet from choreographer Jessica Lang, danced to a commissioned score by Jakub Ciupinski; six company premieres including works by Sir Frederick Ashton, Merce Cunningham, and Kurt Jooss; and a new staging of Don Quixote by artistic adviser Wes Chapman, formerly with ABT.

The Nutcracker (December 8 to 23) and Don Quixote (February 15 to 17) are full-length ballets; the other works will be part of two repertory programs on March 22 to 24 and April 19 to 21. The company will also stage a gala, featuring both resident dancers and special guests, on November 3.

Subscriptions to the season (which will not include The Nutcracker or the gala) are on sale now at $57 to $267. Single tickets ($21 to $105) will go on sale December 1. You can order at 408.288.2800 or

To see the full story, visit


Whiteside Jetés from Boston Ballet to American Ballet Theatre


James Whiteside, formerly a principal dancer with Boston Ballet, will join American Ballet Theatre as a soloist in September, announced artistic director Kevin McKenzie.

James Whiteside (Photo courtesy Boston Ballet)

Born in Fairfield, Connecticut, Whiteside began his training at age nine at the D’Valda & Sirico Dance and Music Centre, where guest faculty included Franco De Vita and Raymond Lukens.  He continued his training at the Virginia School of the Arts for one year under the direction of Petrus Bosman and David Keener.  In 2002, Whiteside joined Boston Ballet II, was promoted to the corps de ballet in 2003, and became a second soloist in 2006.  He was promoted to first soloist in 2008 and to principal dancer with Boston Ballet in 2009.

Whiteside’s repertoire with Boston Ballet includes George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, The Four Temperaments, Rubies, Antony Tudor’s Dark Elegies, and Mark Morris’ Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes, plus Albrecht in Giselle, Frantz in Coppélia, and original roles in many Jorma Elo works.


New ABT Apprenticeship Program Designed for Easy Entry into Company


American Ballet Theatre has created an Apprentice Program designed to prepare six dancers of outstanding potential to work as apprentice members of ABT’s corps de ballet.

Under the direction of ABT Studio Company artistic associate Kate Lydon and ABT ballet master Clinton Luckett, the dancers will train intensively for 10 weeks beginning September 10 and then advance to apprentice level during the company’s performances of The Nutcracker at BAM Howard Gilman Opera House. Their apprenticeship will continue throughout ABT’s performance season ending July 2013.

Training will include daily technique class with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School principal Franco De Vita and ABT’s artistic staff, variations class with ABT staff teachers, and pas de deux instruction, along with full immersion into the ballets in ABT’s repertory, including tutorials in ballet story lines, history, style, and mime.

In addition, dancers will attend seminars in hair and make-up and company etiquette in preparation for entering the main company. Physical therapists and Pilates instructors will provide one-on-one attention to address issues specific to individual dancers.

“This important period of training will serve to ease the transition from student to professional while maintaining the healthy ranks of ABT’s corps de ballet during performance seasons,” artistic director Kevin McKenzie said.

For more company news, follow American Ballet Theatre on Twitter at or on Facebook at


Seo and Hammoudi Move up the Ranks at American Ballet Theatre


Hee Seo has been promoted to the rank of principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre and Alexandre Hammoudi has been promoted to soloist, according to a release from the company.

Seo was born in Seoul, South Korea, trained at the Universal Ballet Academy in Washington, D.C., and is the recipient of the 2003 Prix de Lausanne Award and the 2003 Grand Prix at the Youth American Grand Prix in New York. She joined the ABT Studio Company in 2004 and worked her way through apprentice and the corps de ballet before being promoted to soloist in 2010.

Hammoudi is a native of Paris, France who trained at the English National Ballet School in London and the School of American Ballet before becoming a member of the National Ballet of Cuba at age 16. He joined the ABT Studio Company in 2002, and was promoted to apprentice in 2003 and the corps de ballet in 2004.


Public Invited to View ABT Summer Intensive Students in Final Performances


Final performances for American Ballet Theatre’s New York Summer Intensive Program are scheduled for July 27 at noon and 4pm at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria, New York.

The performances mark the conclusion of ABT’s 17th annual New York Summer Intensive, a five-week training program for dancers ages 12 to 22. Students will perform selections from La Sylphide, Giselle, Romeo and Juliet, Les Sylphides, and Etudes, as well as an excerpt from Alexei Ratmansky’s The Nutcracker. Additionally, original choreography by Olga Dvorovenko, Erika Pujic, Richard Toda, Adrienne Hurd, Raymond Lukens, and Leslie Browne will be featured.

Participants are chosen through a cross-country audition tour sponsored by Freed of London, Ltd. This year, more than 3,400 students auditioned in 24 cities across the United States, in Toronto, Canada, and Bermuda. More than 1,100 students are participating in intensives in New York City, North Carolina, Alabama, Texas, and California.

For directions to the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, visit Tickets ($15 for adults, $10 for children and students) will go on sale to the public July 27 at 11am in the theatre lobby. Visit for more information.


Angel Corella Bids Farewell to ABT with One Final Swan Lake


In the ballet world, they call him the charming one. In fact, the word “charming” is used so often to describe Angel Corella, American Ballet Theatre’s dashing Spanish star, that it seems to have become part of his name.

Angel Corella with Paloma Herrera in Swan Lake, 2005 (AP Photo/ABT, Gene Schiavone)

But, according to CBS News, anyone seeking to disprove the thesis that Corella, now 36, is eternally charming will be sorely disappointed by sitting down with him. His famously sunny smile is in ready supply. He speaks with abundant generosity of the many ballerinas he’s partnered. And he seems to be in awe of the 17-year ABT career that he’s been privileged to have had.

On Thursday, Corella danced one final time with ABT, appearing in Swan Lake before returning to Spain to focus full-time on the company he founded and directs, Barcelona Ballet. For several years he’d been splitting his time between Spain, where he was building a classical ballet company in a country that had none, and New York, where ABT runs a demanding eight-week spring season.

Corella grew up outside Madrid, the only boy in the family, and endured the taunts of classmates in his youth—even rocks were thrown at him—because of his love for dance. (Spain is a country that reveres soccer players, he says, often at the expense of everything else.)

It was one of his three sisters, Carmen, whom he credits with dragging him out of bed at dawn to ballet classes (she is now a principal dancer at Barcelona Ballet.) The young Angel soon began winning awards, and his gold medal at a major Paris contest in 1994 led to an offer to join ABT at the age of 19 as a soloist.

He arrived speaking almost no English, but the rapport between Corella and the New York audience was immediate. Only 10 months later, he was promoted to principal, an instant star due to his extraordinary leaps and especially his stunning turns. But as important as the technique was the spirit behind it: a buoyant, joyful, seemingly boundless energy.

To read the full story, visit


Alexei Ratmansky Sets New Three-Part Work to Shostakovich


American Ballet Theatre will premiere the first of a three-part work, choreographed by artist in residence Alexei Ratmansky and set to symphonies by Dmitri Shostakovich, during its fall 2012 season at New York City Center.

The first work, set to Shostakovich’s “Symphony No. 9,” will have its world premiere on

October 18. The second and third works, set to Shostakovich’s “Symphony No. 1” and “Chamber Symphony for Strings (Op. 110a)” respectively, will receive their world premieres during the company’s 2013 spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House. The complete trio of works will be presented as a full evening of one-act ballets during the spring season.

The works will feature sets by George Tsypin and costumes by Keso Dekker. Tsypin previously designed the sets for ABT’s production of Othello, choreographed by Lar Lubovitch in 1997.  Dekker designed Ratmansky’s Souvenir d’un Lieu Cher that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Dutch National Ballet in March of this year.

For ticket and other information, visit

Got news? Email and include your name, email and phone. We like accompanying photos too with photographer’s credit and photo description. 


Moscow-born Semionova to Join ABT as Principal this Fall


Popular guest artist Polina Semionova will join American Ballet Theatre as a principal dancer in September and perform with ABT during the company’s New York seasons, as well as its national and international tours.

Polina Semionova in La Bayadère (Photo by Rosalie O’Connor)

Semionova first appeared as a guest artist with American Ballet Theatre in 2011 and her repertoire with the company includes Nikiya in La Bayadère, Kitri in Don Quixote, Myrta in Giselle, and Odette/Odile in Swan Lake.

Born in Moscow, Semionova studied at the Bolshoi Ballet School before joining the Berlin State Opera Ballet as the company’s youngest principal dancer in 2002. She has appeared as a guest artist with English National Ballet, Tokyo Ballet, Teatro alla Scala, Vienna State Opera Ballet, Zurich Ballet, the Mariinsky Ballet, Mikhailovsky Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, Munich Ballet, and Dresden Ballet.

Semionova’s awards include a gold medal at the Moscow International Ballet Competition (2001), First Prize at the Vaganova-Prix Ballet Competition in St. Petersburg, the Junior Prize at the Nagoya International Ballet Competition (2002), Daphne Prize (2004), German Critics Choice Award (2005), and the Dance Open Award (2010).

For performance information, visit ABT’s website at

Got news? Email and include your name, email and phone. We like accompanying photos too with photographer’s credit and photo description. 


ABT’s New App Provides Instant Connection with Fans


In an effort to keeping in up-to-the-minute touch with its global audience, American Ballet Theatre has launched its very own app. The ABT app is available for $1.99 in the iTunes Store and provides the following features:

American Ballet Theatre (Photo by Rosalie O’Connor)

  • Details on upcoming programs with up-to-date casting
  • Photos and background information on principals, soloists, corps de ballet, and apprentices
  • Info on future performances that can be searched by venue, by ballet, or by individual dancers
  • A continually updated archive of choreographers, composers, designers, and ballets since ABT’s founding in 1940
  • Social networking functions that allow users to share with friends, as well as invite others to performances via e-mail
  • Full-screen photo galleries
  • Details of performance venues, either on the web or on a map
  • News items and press releases
  • The ability for fans to add ABT performances to personal calendars
  • Ticket ordering via phone and online

The ABT app is compatible with iPhone and iPod touch (iOS 4.0 or later). For details, visit

Got news? Email and include your name, email and phone. We like accompanying photos too with photographer’s credit and photo description. 


JKO/ABT Faculty Lead Master Classes at Ballet San Jose


Franco De Vita, principal of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre, and Raymond Lukens, JKO faculty member, will lead master classes May 30 to June 4 at the Ballet San Jose studios, San Jose, California.

The schedule for De Vita’s classes includes:

Ages 8 to 10: May 30, 5:30 to 7pm
Ages 10 to 12: May 31, 5 to 6:30pm
Ages 12 to 14: June 1, 5:30 to 7:30pm
Ages 14 to 16: June 4, 5 to 7pm

Lukens, artistic associate in the ABT/NYU master’s program, will lead the following classes:

Ages 16 and older: June 4, 5 to 7pm

Company class (open to all professional dancers): May 31, 5 to 7:30pm

All classes will take place at the Ballet San Jose studios, 40 North First Street.  Class size is limited. Students and dancers should call 408.288.2820 x223 or email to pre-enroll, or enroll on the day of class as space allows. Class fee is $15.

Got news? Email and include your name, email and phone. We like accompanying photos too with photographer’s credit and photo description. 


ABT’s Eric Tamm Honored with Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellowship


American Ballet Theatre corps de ballet member Eric Tamm has been awarded a 2012 Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellowship, which recognizes young artists of extraordinary talent.

To encourage the personal and artistic development of young artists, the one-year Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellowship provides funds to cover training and expenses outside of ABT’s regular season, including guest coaches/teachers, master teachers, a physical therapist/trainer, specialty teachers to explore artistic areas outside of dance, pianists, and studio space. Tamm is also interested in studying dance on film and continuing his academic studies in arts administration.

Eric Tamm (Photo courtesy ABT)

A native of San Francisco, Tamm began his ballet training began at 14 at the Irine Fokine School of Ballet in Ridgewood, New Jersey. He attended summer programs at Kaatsbaan’s Extreme Ballet and on full scholarship at American Ballet Theatre. In January 2004, Tamm was selected for the ABT Studio Company Associate Program (now the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at ABT) and was named a Chisholm Foundation Scholar. He joined ABT’s studio company in April 2005, the main company, as an apprentice, in January 2007, and the corps de ballet in December 2007.

Got news? Email and include your name, email and phone. We like accompanying photos too with photographer’s credit and photo description. 


‘First Position’ Dancer in the Spotlight at ‘DWTS’


Michaela DePrince, a 17-year-old student of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre, is scheduled to perform on ABC-TV’s Dancing With the Starson April 24 at 9pm ET.

Michaela DePrince (Photo courtesy First Position)

DePrince will dance a pas de deux with Adé Chiké Torbert, choreographed for the occasion by ABT ballet mistress Susan Jaffe as part of the program’s “Spotlight Performances.” The performance will be accompanied live onstage by singer Natasha Bedingfield.

DePrince, who is featured in the soon-to-be released documentary First Position, will also dance at the year-end performances of the ABT Studio Company and the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University on May 4 and 5.

For more information about the ABT Studio Company and the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School, visit To see the trailer and information for First Position, visit

Got news? Email and include your name, email and phone. We like accompanying photos too with photographer’s credit and photo description. 


‘Center Stage’ Star’s Appearance Has Hearts Aflutter at Ballet San Jose


Ballet San Jose School students have been lining up for autographs and photos with Sascha Radetsky, American Ballet Theatre soloist and Center Stage star, since he started rehearsing in the San Jose studios in late March in preparation for his appearance as Prince Charming.

Radetsky, whose performance as Charlie in the movie Center Stage turned him into an international heartthrob, will dancing the role choreographed by Ben Stevenson when Ballet San Jose presents CinderellaMay 4 to 6 at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts.

Sascha Radetsky (Photo courtesy Ballet San Jose)

Born in Santa Cruz, California, Radetsky began ballet at the age of 5 shortly after his older sister started dance classes. At 15 he received an invitation to join the Russian Bolshoi Academy and later studied in the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C. Radetsky went on to study ballet in the San Francisco Bay Area with Damara Bennett and Ayako Takahashi.

He joined ABT as an apprentice in 1995 and became a member of the corps de ballet in 1996 and a soloist in 2003. His repertoire includes Espada and the lead gypsy in Don Quixote, Cavalier and the Nutcracker Prince in Kevin McKenzie’s The Nutcracker, Benno and von Rothbart in Swan Lake, and Prince Charming in James Kudelka’s Cinderella. He also created the role of The Arabian Man in Alexei Ratmansky’s The Nutcracker.

Radetsky joined Dutch National Ballet in 2008 as a principal dancer, where his repertoire included Albrecht in Giselle and Masetto in Don Giovanni. He returned to ABT as a soloist in 2010 and is married to fellow ABT soloist Stella Abrera.

Radetsky will dance the role of Prince Charming opposite Alexsandra Meijer’s Cinderella.

His performance dates and times will be announced at Tickets are $20 to $100 and are available on the website or by calling the box office at 408.288.2800.


Corella Bids Farewell to ABT with ‘Swan Lake’ Performance


Retiring American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Angel Corella will give his farewell performance in the role of Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake on June 28, dancing opposite Paloma Herrera as Odette/Odile.

Born in Madrid, Corella began his ballet studies in Colmenar Viejo and later studied in Madrid with Victor Ullate and Karemia Moreno. Corella won First Prize in the National Ballet Competition of Spain in 1991 and the Grand Prix and Gold Medal at the Concours International de Danse de Paris in 1994. He won the Prix Benois de la Danse in 2000 and received the National Award of Spain in 2003.

Angel Corella (Photo courtesy ABT)

Corella joined American Ballet Theatre as a soloist in April 1995 and was promoted to principal dancer in August 1996, performing and originating many lead roles. His television appearances include a performance at the 1996 Kennedy Center Honors, an episode of Sesame Street in 1998, and Born to Be Wild, Le Corsaire, and Swan Lake for WNET’s Dance in America.

Corella has danced as a guest artist with The Royal Ballet, The Australian Ballet and at La Scala. In March 2008 he made his debut with the Kirov Ballet, dancing Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake opposite Diana Vishneva as Odette/Odile.

Corella is artistic director and principal dancer of Barcelona Ballet (previously Corella Ballet Castilla y León), a company he founded in 2008. For ticket information on his final performance, visit


Big Names, Big Events Highlight ABT Spring Season


The box office is now open for American Ballet Theatre’s 2012 spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House, May 14 to July 7, featuring a new production of Onegin, the New York premiere of Alexei Ratmansky’s Firebird, and Ethan Stiefel’s farewell performance.

The season opens with a Gala Performance featuring ABT’s principal dancers May 14 at 6:30pm. Principal dancers include Maxim Beloserkovsky, Roberto Bolle, Angel Corella, Herman Cornejo, Irina Dvorovenko, Marcelo Gomes, David Hallberg, Paloma Herrera, Julie Kent, Gillian Murphy, Natalia Osipova, Veronika Part, Xiomara Reyes, Cory Stearns, Ethan Stiefel, and Diana Vishneva. For information, call the special events office at 212.477.3030, ext. 3311.

Appearing this season as guest artists will be Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg, principal dancers with The Royal Ballet; Denis Matvienko, former principal dancer with Maryinsky Ballet and current artistic director of Kiev Ballet; Vadim Muntagirov, principal dancer with English National Ballet; Polina Semionova, principal dancer with Berlin State Ballet; and Ivan Vasiliev, principal dancer with Mikhailovsky Ballet.

Season highlights include: John Cranko’s Onegin June 4 to 9; Firebird, with Christopher Wheeldon’s Thirteen Diversions and George Balanchine’s Apollo, June 11 to 13; and Firebird with Sir Frederick Ashton’s The Dream June 21 to 23; and a 20th Anniversary Salute to ABT artistic director Kevin McKenzie on June 12; along with runs of Giselle, La Bayadère, The Bright Stream, Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, and Le Corsaire.

Stiefel, now the artistic director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet, will bid farewell to ABT in the role of Ali the Slave in Le Corsaire on July 7.

For more information, visit



ABT Training Curriculum Sessions Planned at Ballet San Jose


American Ballet Theatre (ABT) will hold National Training Curriculum Teacher Training Sessions at Ballet San Jose in San Jose, California, for dancers and dance educators who have reached an advanced or professional level of ballet training.

Session 1 (May 30 to June 6) will be led by the curriculum’s creators, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School principal Franco De Vita and Raymond Lukens, director of ABT’s National Training Curriculum.

Franco De Vita with student (Photo by Rosalie O’Connor)

Session 2 (August 12 to 17) will be led by Susan Brooker, a member of the National Training Curriculum development committee and the Artistic Board of Examiners and Instructors.

The Session 1 tuition deposit is due April 16. The registration form can be found at Information regarding registration and tuition deposit deadlines for Session 2 will be announced shortly.

The ABT National Training Curriculum embraces sound ballet principles and incorporates elements of the French, Italian, and Russian schools of training. It aims to assist beginning through advanced teachers in training dance students to use their bodies correctly, focusing on kinetics and coordination, as well as anatomy and proper body alignment. Artistically, the National Training Curriculum strives to provide dance students with a rich knowledge of classical ballet technique and the ability to adapt to all styles and techniques of dance.


Kozlova’s Students Join ABT Dancers in Spring Show of Ballet Classics


Valentina Kozlova’s Dance Conservatory will present its spring concert featuring guest dancers Craig Salstein and Alex Hammoudi of American Ballet Theatre on April 7 at 7pm at Symphony Space, New York City.

Kozlova student Veronika Verterich (Photo by Brian Mengini)

Kozlova, a former principal dancer with the Bolshoi Ballet and New York City Ballet, will present her Dance Conservatory Company in an original ballet by guest choreographer Nina Buisson, along with excerpts from ballet classics including Raymonda, La Bayadère, Flames of Paris, and Diana and Acteon.

Symphony Space is located at 2537 Broadway (at 95th Street). Tickets are $30 or $20 for students and seniors. For reservations, contact 212.864.5400 or visit

More information on the conservatory can be found at


Raymond Lukens Named Head of ABT’s National Training Curriculum


Raymond Lukens, artistic associate of the ABT/NYU master’s program and a faculty member of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre, has been named director of ABT’s National Training Curriculum.

ABT launched the National Training Curriculum in 2007 with the aim of providing the best practices in dance education and dancer health. Lukens co-created the program with Franco De Vita under the direction of ABT artistic director Kevin McKenzie, in collaboration with an artistic advisory panel and a medical advisory board.

Its aim is to provide dance students with a rich knowledge of classical ballet technique and the ability to adapt to multiple styles and techniques of dance, while focusing on kinetics, coordination, and proper body alignment. There are currently 650 ABT certified teachers in 48 states, and in 19 countries. Lukens conducted ABT’s first international teacher training seminar in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2011, and in Lima, Peru, earlier this month.

He has obtained the highest qualifications as a pedagogue in London with the Cecchetti Society and is a certified ballet teacher for the Dance Educators of America (DEA) Teacher Training School. Lukens created the syllabi for the New York University master’s degree program in ABT Ballet pedagogy.

For more information about American Ballet Theatre’s National Training Curriculum, visit


Summertime Teacher Training


It's a full house for a dance teacher workshop at the American Dance Festival in 2011. (Photo by Sara D. Davis, courtesy ADF)

Your guide to workshops and intensives across the U.S. and beyond

Programs are listed in alphabetical order by sponsoring or producing organization.

Horton Pedagogy Workshop
Sponsoring or producing organization: Ailey Extension
Dates: July 9-13, introductory session; July 16-20, intermediate/advanced session
Location: The Ailey Studios, New York, NY
Fees/cost: $775 per session, $1,400 for both (through June 10); $800 per session, $1,425 for both (through July 1)
Special requirements/prerequisites: All participants must have a book, The Dance Technique of Lester Horton, and three DVDs on Horton technique (available from the Ailey Extension). A larger package ($199.11 plus tax) with the required materials plus two additional DVDs and two CDs is recommended.
Registration deadline: July 1
Description: Review the Horton vocabulary and learn the range and depth of this technique under master teacher and Horton scholar Anna Marie Forsythe. Refresh your teaching skills while sharing experience and knowledge with other Horton teachers.
Contact: 212.405.9500;;; The Ailey Extension, The Joan Weill Center for Dance, 405 W. 55th St., New York, NY 10019

Teachers Intensive
Sponsoring or producing organization: American Academy of Ballet
Dates: August 3-8
Location: Purchase College SUNY, Westchester County, NY
Fees/cost: $140 per day, discount for 3 or more days
Special requirements/prerequisites: Minimum age of 18
Registration deadline: None
Description: Top-notch faculty, excellent studios, and small classes, with a special program for teaching preschoolers, a session with a dance physiotherapist on recognizing and treating injuries, beginner to advanced pointe work, and the unique Performance Awards program, taught throughout the U.S. and in 10 other countries.
Contact: 212.787.9500;;; American Academy of Ballet, 250 W. 90th St. #3A, New York, NY 10024

ABT National Training Curriculum Teacher Training
Sponsoring or producing organization: American Ballet Theatre
Dates: August 1-8, Training Session #1: Primary Level through Level 3
Location: American Ballet Theatre, New York, NY
Fees/cost: Tuition: $1,500; materials, $150
Special requirements/prerequisites: Advanced or professional level of ballet training
Registration deadline: June 1
Description: A program for the development and training of young students that embraces sound ballet principles and incorporates elements of the French, Italian, and Russian schools of training. This program aims to assist teachers in training dance students to use their bodies correctly, focusing on kinetics, coordination, anatomy, and proper body alignment.
Contact: Jenna Bitterman, 212.477.3030 ext.1169,;; American Ballet Theatre, 890 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

Dance Professionals Workshop
Sponsoring or producing organization: American Dance Festival
Dates: DPW Dance Sampler—Option 1: June 23-July 1, Option 2: July 1-8, Option 3: July 8–15, Option 4: July 15-22; DPW Intensive—June 24-July 1
Location: Durham, NC
Fees/cost: $875
Special requirements/prerequisites: Undergraduate degree or 5 years of professional experience
Registration deadline: None
Description: The DPW Dance Sampler allows you to choose the dates you would like to attend ADF in a self-guided exploration of Six Week School classes and performances. The DPW Intensive is a nine-day workshop that provides the opportunity to take classes specifically designed for dance practitioners and educators.
Contact: 919.684.6402;;; American Dance Festival, Box 90772, Durham, NC 27708

Ballet Magnificat! Teachers Workshop
Sponsoring or producing organization: Ballet Magnificat!
Dates: July 14-22 or July 14-28
Location: Jackson, MS
Fees/cost: 1 week, $757; 2 weeks, $1,222
Special requirements/prerequisites: Teachers 18 or older
Registration deadline: May 18
Description: Teachers from across the world come for training and development classes with our professionals. Our format allows teachers from a variety of backgrounds to come together to learn, be refreshed in the Lord, and share ideas.
Contact: 601.977.1001;;; 5406 I-55 North, Jackson, MS 39211

Cecchetti USA International Summer School
Sponsoring or producing organization: Cecchetti USA
Dates: August 5-11
Location: University of California–Santa Barbara
Fees/cost: $675 tuition, $395 room and meals
Special requirements/prerequisites: All teachers welcome; need not be Cecchetti trained.
Registration deadline: July 1
Description: Classes for students and teachers cover Cecchetti Syllabus Grades 4-10 and Final Diploma. Teachers’ course covers Associate, Licentiate, Fellowship, anatomy and conditioning for dancers, and music.
Contact: 805.636.9444;;; Judith Hawkesworth, 414 Greene St., Camden, SC 29020

CNADM Summer Dance Workshops/Training School & Convention
Sponsoring or producing organization: Chicago National Association of Dance Masters
Dates: July 16-19 (training school), July 20-23 (convention)
Location: DoubleTree Chicago, Oak Brook, IL
Fees/cost: Variable; housing not included
Special requirements/prerequisites: Ages 16 and up
Registration deadline: Early-bird registration ends June 15.
Description: World-class instruction with core classes in tap, jazz, ballet, and modern, with specialty classes in hip-hop, contemporary, and more. Training School classes focus on teaching skills. Convention is a continuing-education workshop serving the needs of professional dance educators. Concurrent tracks run for student instruction.
Contact: 815.397.6052;;; Kathy Velasco, CNADM, 220 E. State St., Suite G, Rockford, IL 61104

Bill Evans Laban-Based Modern Dance Technique Intensive for Advanced Dancers and Dance Teachers|
Sponsoring or producing organization: Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth
Dates: June 22-July 27 
Location: Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX
Fees/cost: To be determined
Special requirements/prerequisites: None
Registration deadline: June 15
Description: All courses are integrated by principles and methods that support individual growth and regeneration. Evans Laban-Based Modern Dance Technique, Bartenieff Fundamentals/Somatics, pedagogy seminars, Laban Movement Analysis, Evans repertory. Faculty: Bill Evans, Don Halquist, Heather Acomb, and Jenny Showalter. For advanced modern dancers and established and emerging dance educators, including college dance education majors. 
Contact: 585.964.9196;;; Bill Evans Dance Workshops, 6908 Benedict Beach, Hamlin, NY 14464

18th Annual Summer Dance Institute for Teachers
Sponsoring or producing organization: Creative Dance
Dates: July 9-13 (one-week refresher course) and July 16-27 (two-week foundational course)
Location: Creative Dance Center, Seattle, WA
Fees/cost: $500 (one week), $800 (two weeks)
Special requirements/prerequisites: See website
Registration deadline: See website.
Description: Directed by dance educator and author Anne Green Gilbert, the institute covers a variety of dance techniques, world dance, choreography, BrainDance, and the creative process, with takeaway conceptual lesson plans for different ages and settings and the chance to explore brain-compatible dance pedagogy and best practices.
Contact: 206.363.7281;;; Creative Dance Center, 12577 Densmore Ave. North, Seattle, WA 98133

Teacher Training and Certification Program
Sponsoring or producing organization: Dance Educators of America
Dates: June 25-30 and July 2-7
Location: New York, NY (June) and Las Vegas, NV (July)
Fees/cost: $1,200
Special requirements/prerequisites: None
Registration deadline: May 18
Description: In its 70th year, the DEA Teacher Training and Certification Program is a dynamic, multi-dimensional program of study, enhancing the knowledge and teaching techniques of all dance professionals, based on the “How-What-When-Why” of teaching.
Contact: 914.636.3200;;; Dance Educators of America, P.O. Box 8607, Pelham, NY 10803

Teachers Training School
Sponsoring or producing organization: Dance Masters of America
Dates: July 22-26
Location: SUNY Buffalo, NY
Fees/cost: $475 ($400 for DMA members); dorm lodging (double occupancy) at $300 for six nights; three-meals-a-day plan for $260
Special requirements/prerequisites: Teachers must be at least 18 years old.
Registration deadline: May 1
Description: DMA’s Teachers Training School program provides a comprehensive curriculum, outstanding faculty, a unique focus on technique and teaching skills, and the nurturing of camaraderie among dance educators. This is a four-year graded intensive program that ends with a diploma and DMA certification after final exams, though many teachers opt to continue in our advanced curriculum program.
Contact: 718.225.4013;;; 214-10 41st Ave., Bayside, NY 11361

Simonson Method of Teacher Training, Presented by Lynn Simonson
Sponsoring or producing organization: Dance New Amsterdam
Dates: June 1-28
Location: Dance New Amsterdam, New York, NY
Fees/cost: $1,250Special requirements/prerequisites: Completed application form and brief phone interview with Lynn Simonson
Registration deadline: Until full (tends to fill quickly)
Description: Participants learn to teach and communicate information regardless of the movement form they are teaching. The course is based on communication, verbal articulation, anatomy awareness, injury prevention, visual assessment of body alignment, rhythmic nuance in teaching and cueing, drum accompaniment, music choices and rhythms suitable for level taught, choreographic skills, and class structure.
Contact:;; Sydnie Liggett, DNA education programs coordinator, Dance New Amsterdam, 280 Broadway, 2nd Fl., New York, NY 10007

Dance Teacher Web Conference & Expo
Sponsoring or producing organization: Dance Teacher
Dates: August 6-9
Location: Red Rock Resort, Las Vegas, NV
Fees/cost: $449 until March 15; $549 thereafter. Room rate $109.
Special requirements/prerequisites: For dance teachers, studio owners, administrative staff, college dance majors
Registration deadline: July 22
Description: Pick up choreography and teaching strategies; tips to make your students shine in the studio and at competitions; help with management and marketing issues; clues to developing financial, tax, and insurance plans and creating ads and brochures; and lots more.
Contact: 203.545.7167;;; Dance Teacher Web, 1580 Post Rd., Fairfield, CT 06824

Isadora Duncan Teacher Workshop
Sponsoring or producing organization: Isadora Duncan Dance Foundation
Dates: One-week sessions in June and August; see website for details.
Location: New York, NY
Fees/cost: $400 to $600; see website
Special requirements/prerequisites: An introductory course or its equivalent in Duncan technique
Registration deadline: See website.
Description: Workshops with Lori Belilove and Cherlyn Smith include daily classes in Isadora Duncan dance technique and repertory, field trips to museums, viewing of rare Duncan video, discussion, networking, and tunic-making.
Contact: 212.691.5040;;; 141 W. 26th St., 3rd Fl., New York, NY 10001

Bill Evans Dance Teachers’ Intensive:
Developing a Personal Pedagogy of Dance Technique
Sponsoring or producing organization: Bill Evans Dance Company and Department of Dance, The College at Brockport, SUNY
Dates: June 24-July 7
Location: Brockport, NY
Fees/cost: $850, two weeks/$550, one week; single room, $500/$250; double room, $280/$140
Special requirements/prerequisites: None
Registration deadline: May 31
Description: All courses are integrated by principles and methods that support individual growth and regeneration. Modern dance, ballet, Bartenieff Fundamentals/Somatics/Feldenkrais, hands-on teaching labs, pedagogy seminars, Laban Movement Analysis, improvisation/composition. Faculty: Bill Evans, Don Halquist, Kitty Daniels, Debra Knapp, Suzie Lundgren. For established and emerging dance educators, including college dance education majors.
Contact: 585.964.9196;;; Bill Evans Dance Workshops, 6908 Benedict Beach, Hamlin, NY 14464

Finis Jhung Teacher & Adult Student Workshop
Sponsoring or producing organizations: Finis Jhung and The Ailey Extension
Dates: August 11-12
Location: The Ailey Studios, New York, NY
Fees/cost: $375 until May 1; $425 thereafter
Special requirements/prerequisites: Teacher or advanced-beginner adult student
Registration deadline: August 10
Description: Whether you’re a teacher or an adult student with a passion to learn more about ballet technique, this 10-hour weekend workshop will turn mystery into mastery. Learn the “untaught” preparations that can make a world of difference for you and your students. Teach and do what really matters. Bring your dance clothes so you can take class, or sit and observe.
Contact: 800.357.3525;;; Ballet Dynamics/Finis Jhung, 119 W. 72nd St., PMB 353, New York, NY 10023

Module Certification Program in Laban Movement Analysis
Sponsoring or producing organization: Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies
Dates: June 4-June 21 for each of two modules
Location: New York, NY
Fees/cost (per module): $3,250. Application fee: $225
Special requirements/prerequisites: Introduction to Laban Movement Analysis (15 hrs.), Introduction to Bartenieff Fundamentals (15 hrs.), Introduction to Anatomy & Kinesiology (20 hrs.), completed application, and interview
Registration deadline: May 25
Module I: Immersion
You will become acquainted with the fundamental categories of the Laban system, explore your movement possibilities according to your own body uniqueness and begin perceiving the power of Laban Movement Analysis (LMA) as applied to your field of interest. Classes include theory and movement experientials and are accessible to students from all disciplines. This course serves as the first of four Modules within the LIMS® Certification Program in Laban Movement Studies, which awards the Certified Movement Analyst (CMA) title.
Module II: Concentration
Students will be immersed in LMA Theory, Bartenieff Fundamentals, Movement Observation, and Seminar in LMA history and application. This course is meant for students who have successfully completed Module I. Students will subsequently need to complete Module III and IV and a Final Certification Project before receiving the title of CMA.
Contact: 212.643.8888;;; 520 Eighth Ave., Suite 304, 3rd Fl., New York, NY 10018

Leap N Learn Teacher Workshop
Sponsoring or producing organization: Leap ’N Learn
Dates: August 2-5
Location: Lafayette, LA
Fees/cost: See website.
Special requirements/prerequisites: None
Registration deadline: See website.
Description: Dr. Annie Spell and Beverly Spell will share an in-depth examination of the learning process of 3- to 12-year-olds as well as creative movement ideas, stress management, and assertiveness training, with discounts on Leap ’N Learn products.
Contact: 888.211.5180;;; Beverly Spell, P.O. Box 474, Milton, LA 70558  

Summer Workshops: Teaching Contemporary Limón
Sponsoring or producing organization: Limón Institute
Dates (Swiss session): July 30-August 10
Location: Bern, Switzerland
Dates (U.S. session): August 13-24
Location: New York, NY
Fees/cost: TBA
Special requirements/prerequisites: Designed for dance teachers already teaching Limón-based classes or interested in doing so.
Registration deadline: None
Description: This workshop examines the use of Humphrey/Limón principles in contemporary dance training. The program includes daily technique classes, phrases from repertory (contemporary and classic), exploration of the underlying principles, the use of rhythm and music in Limón classes, and a chance to present class materials and contemporary dance phrases based on Limón principles.
Contact: 212.777.3353;;; 307 W. 38th St., Suite 1105, New York, NY 10018

PeffPointe Teacher Training 2012
Sponsoring or producing organization: Mme Peff Modelski
Dates: June 22-24
Location: Visceral Dance Center, Chicago, IL
Fees/cost: $375
Special requirements/prerequisites: None
Registration deadline: March 15
Description: Ballet-based dance teacher training intensive. While focusing on maintaining balance as a constant action, the main themes are pointe work, extensions, and jumping. We will renew, refresh, and revitalize the perception of how the terminology works when interpreted daily in the studio as action. Fun, easy, interesting.
Contact: 630.730.8737;;; Mme Peff Modelski, 351 W. 55th St. #104, Clarendon Hills, IL 60514-1785

Dance Education Laboratory June Intensive: Dance Improvisations and Explorations for Middle and High School
Sponsoring or producing organization: 92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Center
Dates: June 11-14 and June 16-17
Location: 92nd Street Y, New York, NY
Fees/cost: $375 until June 4, $400 thereafter  
Special requirements/prerequisites: None
Registration deadline: June 8
Description: Learn how to provide clear and stimulating instruction in dance exploration, improvisation, and composition. Empower your students’ artistic voice and choreographic decision-making. With Randi Sloan, MFA.
Contact: 212.415.5500;;; 92nd Street Y Dance Education Laboratory, 1395 Lexington Ave., New York, NY 10128

DEL Summer Institute: Full-Day Intensive—92Y WonderDance Teacher Training: A New Early Childhood Dance Education
Sponsoring or producing organization: 92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Center
Dates: July 9-13
Location: 92nd Street Y, New York, NY
Fees/cost: $550 until July 2, $575 thereafter
Special requirements/prerequisites: None
Registration deadline: July 6
Description: The curriculum encourages learning through play, providing a stimulating, multi-sensory, and nurturing community for diverse young learners to discover their innate movement capacity. Become a WonderDance educator and help children develop self-awareness, kinesthetic understanding, self-confidence, and the joyful expression of their dancing heart and mind. With Ann Biddle, MA, and Deborah Damast, MA.
Contact: See previous entry.

DEL Summer Institute: Full Day Intensive—Language of Dance Fundamentals (Module 1, Part 2)
Sponsoring or producing organization: 92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Center
Dates: July 16-20
Location: 92nd Street Y, New York, NY
Fees/cost: $550 until July 9, $575 thereafter
Special requirements/prerequisites: Language of Dance Fundamentals, Module 1, Part 1
Registration deadline: July 13
Description: Explore and apply the Language of Dance (LOD) approach to dance education and movement practices that promote dance literacy and holistic learning. Investigate the LOD Movement Alphabet to experience and integrate Motif Notation in dance practices. Successful completion of this course leads to Language of Dance Fundamentals, Module 1 Certification. With Tina Curran, MFA, EdD, and Susan Gingrasso, MA, CMA.
Contact: See previous entry.

DEL Summer Institute: Morning Workshop—Constructivist Play in the Dance Class
Sponsoring or producing organization: 92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Center
Dates: July 23-27
Location: 92nd Street Y, New York, NY
Fees/cost: $185 until July 16, $200 thereafter
Special requirements/prerequisites: None
Registration deadline: July 20
Description: Constructivist dancemaking strategies demand creative higher-order thinking and a strong sense of personal commitment and engagement. Constructivist play in the dance class celebrates child-centered instruction, supports collaborative problem solving and risk taking, and gives dance teachers a unique perspective on their students. Develop innovative strategies for observation, analysis, and assessment. With Mila Parris, PhD.
Contact: See previous entry.

DEL Summer Institute: Afternoon Workshop—Dance Education and Technology
Sponsoring or producing organization: 92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Center
Dates: July 23-27
Location: 92nd Street Y, New York
Fees/cost: $375 until July 16, $400 thereafter
Special requirements/prerequisites: Laptops with iMovie, Audacity, and Photoshop Elements required.
Registration deadline: July 20
Description: Explore strategies to bridge technology and dance education. Investigate the creative processes enabled by new technology. Integrate dance technology into your classroom to redefine and transform the way you teach and learn about dance. No previous experience with technology is necessary.
Contact: See previous entry.

12th Annual Teacher Workshop
Sponsoring or producing organization: The Pulse on Tour and Broadway Dance Center
Dates: July 13-15
Location: Sheraton NY Hotel, New York, NY
Fees/cost: $390 through May 13, $400 thereafter
Special requirements/prerequisites: For studio owners, teachers, and assistants 18 and older
Registration deadline: June 6
Description: More than 50 classes in all styles of dance, taught by the Pulse faculty, Broadway Dance Center master faculty, guests, and industry specialists. Seminars for studio owners cover studio PR, website tips, business strategies, pre-dance ideas, increasing revenue in today’s economy, recital suggestions, retail training, and more.
Contact: 877-PULSE-01;;; The Pulse on Tour, 347 W. 36th St., Suite 1501, New York, NY 10018

Teacher Training Workshop
Sponsoring or producing organization: James Robey Jazz Dance Technique & Syllabus
Dates: July 16-20
Location: Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance, Ridgefield, CT
Fees/cost: Module fee only: $695. Module fee with syllabus (all 6 levels): $1,095. Discounted accommodations available at the West Lane Inn, Ridgefield.
Special requirements/prerequisites: None
Registration deadline: June 1
Description: Teacher Training Workshops provide a comprehensive, tactile experience of the Jazz Dance Technique & Syllabus™. Teachers learn the tools and techniques to pass on the exercises to their students in a stress-free environment with hands-on, in-depth explanations. Teachers electing to complete all three modules receive official certification.
Contact:;; James Robey, P.O. Box 615, Ridgefield, CT 06877 

Bill Evans Modern Dance Teachers’ Intensive
Sponsoring or producing organization: Saint Mary’s College of California
Dates: July 14-19
Location: Moraga, CA
Fees/cost: TBA
Special requirements/prerequisites: None
Registration deadline: June 15
Description: All courses are integrated by principles and methods that support individual growth and regeneration. Modern dance, rhythm tap, Bartenieff Fundamentals/Somatics, pedagogy seminars, Laban Movement Analysis, improvisation/composition. Faculty: Bill Evans, Don Halquist, Heather Acomb, Jenny Showalter. For established and emerging dance educators, including college dance education majors, and advanced modern dancers.  
Contact: 585.964.9196;;; Bill Evans Dance Workshops, 6908 Benedict Beach, Hamlin, NY 14464


Back to School at ABT


Teacher training homes in on discipline, musicality, and artistry

By Roxanne Claire

Just as dancers need to continue to train as long as they’re dancing, teachers need to take time to learn new, fresh ways of approaching both students and material. Last year I did just that by participating in American Ballet Theatre’s Teacher Training Intensive.

Attendees at an ABT teacher training intensive focus on a class demonstration. (Photo by Susie Morgan, courtesy ABT)

I walked into the large fourth-floor studio at ABT with some trepidation. I had no idea what to expect. I was surprised to see so many people, every one of them (50 or so) moving like a dancer. At the back of the room were two tables of coffee, fruit, and—what else?—bagels. We were in New York, after all.

I was there to take the Primary–Level 3 Intensive, the first of three teacher-training segments. If I passed this first segment, I would qualify not only to advertise myself as an ABT-certified teacher and present my students for exams, but to take the two subsequent sections, Levels 4–5 and Levels 6, 7, and Partnering.

I’m cradling a large three-ring binder I had picked up in the hallway outside the offices and take a quick look inside. In addition to detailed descriptions of the curriculum, there are handouts on dance medicine, physical therapy, nutrition, and child development.

The first seven days of the eight-day program are packed with lectures, observation classes, and participant presentations. (The last day is reserved for written and oral exams.) Jenna Bitterman, the program’s national training curriculum manager, steps to the front of the room. After a warm welcome and a brief orientation, she turns the proceedings over to Raymond Lukens and Franco De Vita, co-authors of the curriculum.

De Vita, principal of ABT’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School, and Lukens, an instructor at JKO and artistic associate for the ABT/NYU master’s program in ballet pedagogy, are longtime colleagues with many years of experience in teaching ballet. Their love for the art, and for teaching, is evident not only in their passionate involvement in the intensive but in the curriculum itself. It’s obvious that an enormous amount of work has gone into the analysis of every step and exercise, sometimes reaching back into history to understand the development of a particular movement.

De Vita and Lukens speak with quiet authority on the various schools of ballet—Bournonville, Vaganova, RAD, Cecchetti, French, Italian. They, in collaboration with members of an advisory board (which included ABT artistic director Kevin McKenzie and JKO faculty member Lupe Serrano, a former ABT prima ballerina), have synthesized the many approaches into one cohesive, coherent set of principles and guidelines.

The curriculum
Over the next week, De Vita, Lukens, and BalletMet Academy director Susan Brooker share not merely a system of ballet education, but a pedagogical philosophy seasoned with humor and vivid teaching techniques. “When you love the taste of something,” says Lukens, demonstrating a port de bras, “you want to keep the taste in your mouth as long as possible. Savor the end of your exercise.” He slowly lowers his arms to fifth position en bas and smiles. “Deli-cious!” (One unusual aspect of the curriculum is the renaming, at least for this RAD-trained dancer, of some positions of the arms. What I know as “low first” becomes in the curriculum “fifth en bas.”)

The intensive begins with an overview of what Lukens and De Vita call the Ten Principles. Underlying the curriculum is an emphasis on working with the natural structure of the body. Line, weight, and coordination all flow from this basic idea. Coupled with the focus on anatomy is a respect for both safety and age appropriateness.

“We noticed,” says Lukens, “that all major ballet institutions go slowly at the beginning.” For this reason, placement and the careful progression of movements form the core of early training. In the three years it takes to complete Primary, for instance, children ages 5 to 7 perform all movements either in the center or across the floor, not at the barre. Similarly, Level 1 students spend a year learning the placement of coup-de-pied, moving on to frappé only in Level 2. Much of the intensive, then, focuses on breaking a step or position down to its basic elements and identifying when and how to teach those elements.

This idea is perhaps the single most important aspect of teaching I learned at the intensive. Other things I was eager to use right away were preparations for pas de chat and polka, which broke down the steps into clearly defined positions and, for the polka, presented them in image-rich form. “Imagine you are making the letters A, I, A, P,” says Lukens, illustrating his contention that young children must be taught in terms of shape, not position.

What to expect
The intensives are intense. I spent each day from 9 to 5, usually with only an hour for lunch, listening to presentations or watching a class and taking notes. Every level is covered thoroughly. It is presented first in lecture form; then participants watch an ABT instructor lead a group of children through the material. Next, an ABT instructor leads participants through a class. (Participants have the option of observing instead. I found it most helpful to stand at the back of the room, marking the exercise and then making rapid notes.)

Participants are required to spend the evening making up their own enchaînement or exercise to demonstrate that they have grasped the theory and outline of the material. In order to make the best use of each teacher’s creativity, there are no set exercises in the ABT curriculum as there are in other systems of ballet instruction. Instead, teachers create their own exercises, following the principles of movement and the material assigned to each level.

Each participant then presents his or her assignment to the group and one of the program’s instructors and receives feedback from both the instructor and other group members. Finally, the material is reviewed and groundwork is laid to progress to the next level. Each level is distinguished by its approach as well as the material to be covered. At the lower levels, for example, each exercise includes only one movement. A cou-de-pied exercise consists of placing the foot on the ankle and then returning it to the floor. A higher-level class will combine this with another movement, a frappé, for example. At another level, this will be combined with a change of foot or change of timing for a longer, more complex exercise. This sequence is repeated for each of the four levels covered in the Primary to Level 3 Intensive. Time is reserved on the next-to-last day for review, in preparation for the written and oral exams the following day.

The examinations, though nerve-wracking (especially for those of us who have not taken any exams recently), are straightforward. In the oral presentation, I was asked to present an exercise for a given level. I was also asked to identify a common fault seen in dance students, along with my suggestions for how to correct this fault. Participants are also expected to give proper instruction to the accompanist. Even though many teachers don’t have the good fortune to have live music for classes, the ability to tell an accompanist what is wanted is part of the intensive’s training. Similarly, the curriculum stresses musicality in the students. Developing the ability to clap a 2/4 or perform an enchaînement while responding to the character of the music is included in every level of the curriculum.

In addition to outlining the material to be covered at every level, the program offers instruction on structuring class time (barre, center, and allegro) and the nature of the student–teacher relationship that is best suited to quality instruction.

A positive environment is crucial for quality instruction. One rule of thumb is the “three pluses,” three positive comments for every suggestion for improvement. “This, this, and this were good; what I’d also like to see is this” is an excellent way of creating in the student the ability to hear a correction without defensiveness. It is important for the teacher to remain an authority figure, however. Says Lukens, “Students have to fear the teacher a little.”

Structure also contributes to atmosphere. “You have to have ritual,” says Lukens. It puts students in the right state of mind, helping them focus better. One means of ritual is a consistent class format.

Another ritual that serves a dual purpose is the JKO tradition of starting classes with skipping. “We noticed that children no longer knew how to skip,” says De Vita. (Children today typically engage in fewer high-impact activities than previous generations did, which can lead to a negative effect on bone density.) An added advantage of using skipping to start the class is that children are immediately drawn into a state of classroom focus. Also, it is a graceful way of warming and loosening muscles, preparing them for class work.

The experience
It’s amazing how exhausting it is to listen so carefully and think so deeply. Still, I found the time and energy during my stay in New York to take part in the cultural life of the city. Too, it is energizing to be in an atmosphere of professionalism and learn an exciting new way of teaching students.

The program is longer and more expensive ($1,500 for Primary–Level 3; $1,300 for Levels 4–5 and Levels 6, 7 and Partnering, plus materials fees, travel, and living expenses) than other teacher trainings I have attended. However, I found it to be one of the most worthwhile. Well planned and presented by a dedicated and inspiring faculty, it reflects the same level of excellence as the curriculum.

A teacher, says Lukens, needs discipline, musicality, and artistry. The ABT program has all three.

If You Want to Go

  • To apply, you need to submit a resume. In my intensive I met many professional dancers, some retired, some transitioning. Many participants, however, were longtime teachers. What ABT looks for is evidence of solid technique. You cannot teach what you do not know.
  • For lodging, the ABT office provides a list of suggestions. There are many choices for a quick lunch nearby, including a Whole Foods. Transportation is readily available via a subway station a few blocks away.
  • Do dress for movement. Even if you opt not to take the participant class, you will need to demonstrate your homework. And after sitting all morning, a few minutes of stretching can relieve an aching back.

ABT Studio Company Open Auditions Set for March 3 in NYC


American Ballet Theatre will hold open auditions for the ABT Studio Company, a pre-professional program under the direction of ABT artistic director Kevin McKenzie and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School principal Franco DeVita, March 3 in New York City.

The Studio Company’s mission is to train young dancers in preparation for entering ABT’s main company or other leading national and international professional ballet companies. To audition, dancers must be between the ages of 16 and 19 and have reached an advanced level of ballet training. Space is extremely limited.

The audition will be held at the ABT studios, 890 Broadway. Registration begins at 1:45pm and the audition class starts at 2:30pm. Dancers should bring a current resume that includes height and date of birth, a photograph in first arabesque, and a headshot. The audition will consist of technique, partnering, and ABT repertory. Information on dress codes and video auditions can be found at

For more information about the audition process, call 212.477.3030, ext. 1177 or email


Ballet Star and Multi-Tasker Ethan Stiefel to Say Farewell to ABT in July


Ethan Stiefel, a principal dancer for American Ballet Theatre since 1997, will retire from the company with a farewell performance July 7 in the role of Ali, the Slave in ABT’s production of Le Corsaire.

Last September, Stiefel joined Royal New Zealand Ballet as artistic director. Prior to accepting that post last May, he had served as dean of the School of Dance at North Carolina School of the Arts since 2007.

Of his retirement from ABT, Stiefel said, “Although it is not easy to step away from performing, I am gladdened by the fact that I have other invaluable opportunities to continue to contribute to the art form. I am deeply grateful to everyone who has helped to shape my success as an artist and has supported me throughout the years.”

Stiefel began his professional career at age 16 with New York City Ballet, where he quickly rose to the rank of principal dancer. He was also a principal with the Zurich Ballet as well as ABT, and has made guest appearances with Australian Ballet, Zurich Ballet, Munich Ballet, Hamburg Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, and Teatro Colon.

Ethan Stiefel in Le Corsaire (Photo by Rosalie O’Connor)

Stiefel has been a guest teacher for many institutions including ABT II, ABT’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School, The National Ballet of Canada, and The Royal Ballet School. He recently staged and choreographed a new version of The Nutcracker for UNCSA. He also has numerous film, TV, and video credits, including a starring role in the movie Center Stage. Stiefel was a juror for the Prix de Lausanne in 2001 and served on the selection committee for the 2010 International Ballet Competition. held in Jackson, Mississippi.

For more information, visit


Raffa, ABT Ballet Mistress, Named Prix de Lausanne Honorary Judge


Nancy Raffa, ballet mistress and former dancer with American Ballet Theatre, will serve as an honorary guest judge of the 40th anniversary Prix de Lausanne international ballet competition, January 30 to February 5, in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Raffa was the youngest and first American female to win the gold medal at the Prix de Lausanne, doing so in 1980. She joined the ABT corps de ballet in 1981 and danced with the company for four years. Raffa also performed as a principal dancer with Ballet de Santiago, Ballet National Française de Nancy, and Miami City Ballet.

She joined the staff of the Miami City Ballet School in 1994 and became coordinator for the school’s summer intensive program and Ballet for Young People program. She has twice won special teacher’s recognition from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. In 2005 she was named director of ABT’s Summer Intensives and was appointed ballet mistress with the company in 2007.

The Prix de Lausanne is an annual international competition for dancers ages 15 to 18. Visit for more information.


NYC Dancers to Celebrate Career of Choreographer David Fernandez


Choreographer, dancer, and master teacher David Fernandez will be honored during a program entitled Some Dance Company, featuring performances by dancers from New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Dance Theatre of Harlem, and other New York companies.

The program takes place February 27 at 7pm at El Teatro at El Museo del Barrio, 1230 Fifth Avenue (at 104th Street), New York City.

David Fernandez (Photo courtesy Kimberly Giannelli Production)

Born in Mexico City, Fernandez began his training at the Centro de Arte y Ballet. In 1989 he was awarded a scholarship to study at Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, later joining the company and winning the Jeffrey Mildenstein Award. While studying at the Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Theatre he began choreographing, and his work has been featured in festivals and competitions nationwide, including the Youth America Grand Prix, the Jackson Competition, and the New York International Choreographers Festival.

Fernandez, who teaches for the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City, Scarsdale [NY] Ballet Studio, and Westport [CN] Academy, has also created works for the Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble and New York City Ballet principal Joaquin de Luz.

Tickets are $25, $50, and $100 (includes a donation to Career Transition for Dancers) and can be purchased at


Colbert Tries Tights on for Size During Hallberg Interview


American Ballet Theatre/Bolshoi dancer David Hallberg held his own in the interview portion of his Wednesday night appearance on The Colbert Report on Comedy Central, but the same could not quite be said for host Stephen Colbert during the performance part of the show.

The New York Times reported that Hallberg danced an excerpt from ABT’s production of The Nutcracker with soloist Hee Seo. Colbert—in suit jacket, black tights, and ballet slippers—soon joined in, mimicking Hallberg’s jumps and tours en l’air and briefly partnering Seo. At the end, snow fell from above and, in Bolshoi tradition, the audience threw 200 roses at the performers’ feet.

Hallberg, 29, said later he was happy to have been on the show. “I feel like Colbert’s viewers are my contemporaries,” he said. “This is a chance to show them the dedication dance requires and this is a valid art form.”

He said he hadn’t given Colbert too much advice except: “He was entering like a little weasel. When you enter from off camera, you need to present yourself.”

To read the full story and see a video clip of the broadcast, visit


ABT Heads out January 7 to Audition Students for Summer Intensives


American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensive National Audition Tour will kick off January 7, 2012 in Austin, Texas, and Tucson, Arizona, and will visit a total of 24 cities through February 11, 2012.

Intermediate and advanced students, ages 9 to 24, are invited to audition for ABT’s 2012 Summer Intensive programs to be held in New York City; Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Austin, Texas; Orange County, California; and Pembroke, Bermuda.

ABT Summer Intensives focus on developing well-rounded dancers through exposure to a wide variety of disciplines and ABT’s artists, history, and repertory, with an emphasis on classical ballet technique and key elements of ABT’s National Training Curriculum.

Auditions for ABT’s Summer Intensives are open to all male and female students who have achieved intermediate or advanced levels of ballet training. Applicants for the Collegiate Summer Intensive may also audition at any of the audition sites. Applicants for the Young Dancer Summer Workshop may audition at select sites. Students can audition by video for all programs. For more information on any of the Summer Intensives, please visit


David Hallberg on U.S. Movie Screens in Bolshoi’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’


David Hallberg, who announced two months ago that he was leaving American Ballet Theatre and joining the Bolshoi Ballet, will pop up on U.S. movie screens Sunday as Prince Désiré, partnering Svetlana Zakharova as Princess Aurora, in the Bolshoi’s The Sleeping Beauty, the Huffington Post reports.

David Hallberg (Photo by Rosalie O’Conner)

The November 20 broadcast (with repeats on November 22 and December 6) is the dance world’s latest foray into the high-definition arts broadcasts that have proven so successful for the Metropolitan Opera.

Since the Soviet era, Russian state-run television has broadcast Bolshoi performances domestically. But now—in addition to the Bolshoi theater’s just-completed $700 million renovation— the company boasts an American male star for some additional U.S. appeal. Colorado-based NCM Fathom is joining the Bolshoi’s U.S. partners, Emerging Pictures and its Ballet in Cinema program, for this particular performance.

Nearly four hundred cinemas throughout the nation have scheduled Beauty screenings. For details on locations and times, visit

To read the full story, visit


Photography Exhibit Illustrates Dancers’ Relationship to Movement


“Displaced,” an exhibition of 34 portraits of dancers by photographer and former American Ballet Theatre dancer Matthew Murphy, is now showing at the Dance New Amsterdam’s Gallery at 280 Broadway, 2nd Floor, New York City.

The works will be on view through December 10, free and open to the public.

“Displaced” features 20 of New York City’s greatest dancers, some at the beginning of their stage careers and others who have transitioned to roles behind the scenes. Murphy’s project separates the dancers from their stage personas and focuses on the idea of how intricately a dancer’s identity is tied to movement.

“When I was 21, my career with American Ballet Theatre was cut short by illness. Leaving a profession I’d been dedicated to since childhood caused me to spend a lot of time questioning whether I could still call myself a dancer even though I’d stopped doing pirouettes,” he said.

“Over time, as I readjusted my relationship with the dance world, I began to realize that the act of dancing isn’t what makes someone a dancer, it is a mentality, and therefore still part of their identity.”

Rather than focus on athleticism and virtuosity, the series looks at the dancer without the dancing. Each subject was photographed on a hardwood floor with the idea that the images would be presented at unusual angles, furthering the viewers’ experience of seeing each subject in a familiar setting, yet in a new way. By getting the dancers off of their feet, it alters their interaction with the camera and asks them to step away from their regular vocabulary to embrace stillness in a world that’s largely defined by movement.

Murphy is a New York City-based photographer specializing in theater and dance. His work appears regularly in The New York Times, and additional credits include Bravo TV, New York Magazine, Playbill, Vanity Fair, The Village Voice,, Broadway World, Dance Magazine, The Financial Times, Dance Spirit, Movmnt Magazine, Dance Teacher, and The New York Post.

DNA’s Gallery hours are 9am to 10pm, Monday through Sunday. For more information, visit To view some of Murphy’s works, visit


ABT ‘Nutcracker’ Production Illustrated through Online Storybook


Fans eagerly awaiting the return of Nutcracker season can whet their appetites with a sneak peek behind the scenes of American Ballet Theatre’s production through a special online storybook.

The online storybook tells the tale of The Nutcracker ballet, illustrated by photos of the ABT production. There are pages of information on choreographer Alexei Ratmansky and other members of the creative staff, videos of dress rehearsals, and online games. Several ABT dancers share their special recipes for holiday fare such as pumpkin upside-down cake and sugar cookies, and sharp-eyed fans can try to guess which ABT company member is pictured in photos from Nutcrackers long ago.

To view the online book, visit ABT will be presenting The Nutcracker December 14 to 31 at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, New York. For tickets, call 718.636.4100 or visit or


‘Firebird,’ ‘Onegin’ Featured in ABT’s 2012 Met Season


Highlights of American Ballet Theatre’s 2012 season at the Metropolitan Opera House will include a new production of John Cranko’s Onegin, with scenery and costumes by Santo Loquasto, and the New York premiere of Alexei Ratmansky’s The Firebird.

Gillian Murphy and Roman Zhurbin in Le Corsaire (Photo by Gene Schiavone)

Principal dancers for the upcoming Met season include Maxim Beloserkovsky, Roberto Bolle, Angel Corella, Herman Cornejo, Irina Dvorovenko, Marcelo Gomes, David Hallberg, Paloma Herrera, Julie Kent, Gillian Murphy, Natalia Osipova, Veronika Part, Xiomara Reyes, Cory Stearns, Ethan Stiefel, and Diana Vishneva. Guest artists include Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg, principal dancers with The Royal Ballet; Polina Semionova, principal dancer with the Berlin State Opera Ballet; and Ivan Vasiliev, principal dancer with the Bolshoi Ballet.

The season opens with a gala performance May 14. Onegin, last performed by ABT in 2002, will be presented June 4 to 9 in eight performances. Ratmansky’s The Firebird, an all-new production of the Igor Stravinsky classic, will fly in on June 11 for eight performances.

Sharing the program with The Firebird will be Christopher Wheeldon’s Thirteen Diversions and George Balanchine’s Apollo for four performances beginning June 11. Sir Frederick Ashton’s The Dream will have four performances along with The Firebird from June 21 to 23.

In addition, the season will include performances of six full-length ballets: Giselle, La Bayadère, The Bright Stream, Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, and Le Corsaire. For full details on the season, visit


Curtain Rises on Ballet, Musical Theater Secrets with City Center Series


Studio 5 at City Center, an intimate forum for informal conversations with some of today’s most compelling figures in dance and musical theater, kicks off October 11 at 6:30pm when Damian Woetzel gives audiences an insider’s peek into American Ballet Theatre.

Victoria Clark (Photo courtesy

In the first part of this three-part series curated by Woetzel, the renowned dancer-turned-director will be joined by ABT dancers who will demonstrate and discuss highlights of the company’s upcoming City Center season. In part two on January 9 at 7pm, Woetzel will be joined by choreographer Christopher Wheeldon for a discussion and demonstration of his work. One additional event will be announced shortly.

A second series begins on October 17 at 6:30pm when Tony Award-winning performer and master teacher Victoria Clark will explore City Center’s beloved Encores! series with music director Rob Berman. She will be joined by casting director Jay Binder on December 5 at 6:30pm, with the final event on February 6 at 6:30pm featuring a panel of musical theater composers and writers.

Studio Five events take place in the Barbara and David Zalaznick Studio at City Center, 130 West 56th Street (between Sixth and Seventh Avenues), New York City. For details, visit


ABT’s Misty Copeland Inspires Young Dancers at Boys & Girls Club


Misty Copeland, the first African American female soloist for American Ballet Theatre, took her first ballet classes in a Boys & Girls Club. The dancer returns to her roots by traveling to watch a class and talk to young dancers at a Boys & Girls Club in the Bronx in a webisode of “A Day in the Life” on

In a blog on, Copeland spoke about her experience: “Every morning, I wake up and am grateful for the opportunity to live out my dream as a professional ballet dancer. Now is a particularly exciting time in my life and career, as I am creating my own path as an African-American woman in the world of classical ballet. Each day presents new challenges and exhilarating adventures.

“Being invited by Morgan Spurlock and his amazing team to participate in ‘A Day in the Life’ was the perfect opportunity for me to share my life with the world. Although the day they chose to follow me may seem like a crazy day, I think most people would be surprised to know that the filming occurred during my time off from American Ballet Theatre (ABT), the company that I dance for. I had a great time shooting it, and I hope viewers will enjoy seeing the things I do within a day—and it doesn’t even include the six hours of dancing I normally do at ABT!”

To view clips of Copeland’s visit, go to


Bolshoi Welcomes First American Dancer into Its Ranks


David Hallberg (Photo courtesy ABT)

David Hallberg, a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre, will join the Bolshoi Ballet of Moscow, the first American to do so. The Bolshoi said he would have a starring role for the 2011-12 season, according to The New York Times.

The move comes 50 years after the historic defection of Rudolf Nureyev from the Kirov (now Maryinsky) Ballet of Leningrad. Since then many Russians have joined Western troupes, but Hallberg, 29, is the first to move in the opposite direction on a permanent basis, The Times reported. He will continue to appear with ABT and other companies for limited periods.

Hallberg, born in Rapid City, South Dakota, joined ABT’s corps de ballet in April 2001. He was promoted to soloist in January 2004 and principal in May 2005. His roles with the company have included the Boy in Afternoon of a Faun; the title role in Apollo; Solor in La Bayadère; Romeo, Paris, and Benvolio in Romeo and Juliet; Prince Désiré in The Sleeping Beauty; Prince Siegfried, von Rothbart (Act III), and Benno in Swan Lake, and James in La Sylphide.

Sergei Filin, who took over as the Bolshoi’s artistic director this year, had seen Hallberg perform during a “Kings of the Dance” tour in Russia, as well as during an ABT visit. “He is a remarkable romantic and classical dancer,” Filin told The Times.

Hallberg looks forward to dancing with Bolshoi star Natalia Osipova. “The Bolshoi style is bigger and more emotional, in a way that I love,” he said. To see the full story, visit


Tickets On Sale for ABT’s ‘The Nutcracker’ at BAM


American Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker will return to the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House in Brooklyn, New York, for 22 performances December 14 to 31.

The Nutcracker features choreography by ABT artist in residence Alexei Ratmansky, scenery and costumes by Richard Hudson, and lighting by Jennifer Tipton.

The opening night cast will be led by Veronika Part as Clara/the Princess and Marcelo Gomes as the Nutcracker/Prince and will feature an opening night celebration at the BAM LePercq Space. Tickets begin at $250. For more information, call the Special Events Office at 212.477.3030, ext. 3245.

Tickets for all other performances begin at $25 and are available at the BAM box office in the Peter Jay Sharp Building at 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, by phone at 718.636.4100, or online at For more information, visit ABT’s website at


Former ABT Dancer Named Assistant Principal at JKO School


Melissa Allen Bowman, a former dancer with American Ballet Theatre and current artistic director of ABT’s Summer Intensives, has been named assistant principal of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre.

Under the direction of JKO school principal Franco De Vita, Bowman will oversee all students in the open-enrollment program, who range in age from 5 to 12. The school follows a specific graded curriculum, divided by age, which is outlined in American Ballet Theatre’s National Training Curriculum. The faculty of ABT’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School includes members of ABT’s artistic staff, ABT alumni, and other prominent teachers.


Born in Orange County, California, Bowman received her early training with Lois Ellyn, formerly of New York City Ballet. At 15, she was invited to join the corps de ballet of American Ballet Theatre, where she danced for the next seven years. During that time, Bowman launched her own ballet company, the Emerson Dance Theatre, which featured up-and-coming ABT dancers.

From 1989 to 1992, she danced with the Bern Ballet of Switzerland and the Zurich Ballet. In 1999, Bowman joined the staff of Pittsburgh Youth Ballet, where she became resident choreographer and associate director. Since 2001, she has served on the faculty of ABT’s Detroit Summer Intensive. Bowman was named artistic director of ABT’s Summer Intensives in 2007.

For more information about the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre, visit


Time to Grab Those Fall ABT Tickets


Online and phone orders for American Ballet Theatre’s fall season begin Monday, July 25.

The season runs from November 8 to 13 at New York City Center, with mixed-repertory programs featuring works by Twyla Tharp, Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor, Alexei Ratmansky, Martha Clarke, and a premiere by Demis Volpi.

To order, call 212.581.1212 or visit or


ABT to Launch Child-Friendly Website


American Ballet Theatre this month will launch a children-oriented website,, with features designed to encourage youngsters’ love of ballet.A sneak peak at ABT’s website for kids

Among the planned offerings are narrated plots of story ballets, illustrated with images from ABT productions; a chance to ask ballet questions of company dancers (sample query: “How do you spin without getting dizzy?”); a parents’ guide to child-friendly ballets; and tips on pre-ballet and post-ballet activities for kids.

The site, aimed at children 4 to 12 years old, “will function as a searchable hub for training, school, and family programming and also offer interactive elements such as games, podcasts, [and] information on ABT and its repertoire,” the company promises.


UNCSA Partners with ABT’s Onassis School to Create Training Program


The School of Dance at University of North Carolina School of the Arts has formed a partnership with the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

The partnership will make UNCSA the “exclusive affiliate school” of JKO, and is designed to attract the best students with a more direct route to plum jobs with ABT and its studio company. It also raises the profile of UNCSA, enabling it to use the ABT logo on its website and in recruiting and fundraising materials.

The partnership will offer the same course of instruction in New York and Winston-Salem, and students can transfer out of one school and into the other. JKO is a pre-professional ballet training program for students ages 11 to 18. Like UNCSA, it acts as a feeder not only for ABT but also for other leading dance companies. Unlike UNCSA, it does not have dormitories, a dining hall, or a place to take academic classes.

Under terms of the partnership, ABT’s national training curriculum will be implemented at UNCSA, and ABT’s artistic staff and teachers will lead master classes at UNCSA and sit on juries evaluating students. The partnership is slated to last five years beginning this fall. Ethan Stiefel, principal with ABT, served as UNCSA’s dance dean until this spring. School officials credit him with coming up with the idea for the partnership.

For more information, visit


Modelski’s Magic


Madame Peff’s distinctive approach to training dancers and teachers

By Maureen Janson

When Madame Peff Modelski teaches ballet class, everyone in the studio experiences a dynamic fusion of knowledge, professionalism, and love of the art form. Combining wit and intelligence, Modelski has developed a thorough approach to teaching and coaching that has captivated adult dancers for the past 35 years.

After a lengthy performing career that included dancing with American Ballet Theatre and Metropolitan Opera Ballet and in several Broadway shows, Modelski taught daily advanced classes at Steps on Broadway in New York City for more than 25 years. And she continues to teach and coach professionals in her unique way. From her current base in Chicago, she travels the United States conducting her trademarked PeffPointe© Teacher Training workshops.

Madame Peff Modelski, who taught at Steps on Broadway in New York City for more than 25 years, now passes on her ballet expertise in Chicago. (Photo by Eduardo Patino)

Last winter, I talked to her after an advanced ballet technique class at Chicago’s Visceral Dance Center.

What led you into teaching?
I was a good dancer in my prime and I was demonstrating class for Nenette Charisse in New York. Very often somebody would say, “I don’t know how to do that,” and she’d say, “Peff, explain what you’re doing.” When she fell and broke her collarbone, she and the management of Steps asked me if I would fill in for her classes until she returned, and that’s what I did. Then they asked me to do some other classes, and it escalated from there. When [Charisse] finally retired from Steps, they had given me another class to teach and I began to develop my own ways of doing things.

And from that, you developed your PeffPointe Teacher Training workshops. Tell me about those.
I organize the workshops in the sequence of a ballet class as I teach it. We have discussions about different ways to approach things, how people learn, what provides a learning environment in which you can take enough time. Learning takes time. That’s the thing that makes it so valuable.

What do you mean when you say “how people learn”?
They learn by seeing, by feeling, or by hearing. One of those ways is primary [for each person], and the other two kick in after that. With one dancer I can say something and get a result, and another one, I just have to make a gesture and there’s an acknowledgment. With another, I may have to take her and physically move her.

It’s important to teach for people who can see, people who can feel, and people who can hear. I don’t just teach the way I am as a learner, because it isn’t fair. It leaves out two-thirds of the class.

In your class today, you used an anatomical approach to teaching. Do you incorporate that into your workshops too?
In the teacher trainings we discuss the construction of the foot, how the knee works, how the hip works and its relationship to the lower back, how the spine works, how the shoulders work, how the head works. And we explore those in terms of ballet, then take a closer look at pirouettes, jumps, développés, stretching, and pointe work.

We talk about the specifics of the establishment of balance, the use of the eyes, the whole vestibular system. We look at what the actual pattern and pathway is of the feet and the hands in every position and step.

In the training and in my teaching, I am very specific in what I say. There is never a “whatever.” I believe that everything counts all the time—every word, every facial expression, every response. That is what the dancers are receiving. Children in particular are sponges, sometimes more than we want them to be.

You teach adults, but do most of the teachers who come to your workshops teach children?
Yes, and so we talk about when in the syllabus it is appropriate to start jumping, when it’s appropriate to start doing long relevés, because of the delicacy of the growth tissue in the feet. I think teachers should have a chart that says a 6-year-old can remember this much and do this much physically in their bodies, a 12-year-old can do this much, and if you can edge it till they’re 14 to put them on pointe, it’s going to be easier.

But the world wants quick displays. So there’s a fine line between teaching the best way that you know you can and running a business. Teachers now have to figure out how to expand the teaching in such a way that the kids get what they need and the parents are satisfied.

Do you ever cover topics other than teaching?
Sometimes, if given the time, we can explore studio issues, behavioral issues, or kids with special needs like ADHD. We also talk about how to take care of yourself as a teacher. Many teachers come with very sore legs and lower backs.

What would you say to those teachers?
You have to do some kind of warm-up for yourself, something that works for you, whether it’s a little bit of Pilates or yoga or breathing. Put the computer down; do your accounts later on. Do something that prepares you for the whole day as a whole you.

Then, in every single class, change your shoes. Keep changing them. A change of shoes, specifically heel height and padding, gives the feet and the whole body enough change of position to avoid exhaustion and deterioration.

Stop demonstrating for every single combination. Do it with the students the first time, then let them do the work. Many teachers demonstrate everything and they are shouting and yelling on top of it, so they’re pouring themselves into the studio all day long. I don’t think a teacher has to prove anything. I think a teacher has to teach.

How do you address issues like attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?
I’ve learned not to be judgmental about what people need in order to take care of themselves. When the brain is affected by ADHD, the body needs a great deal of organized movement, not itinerant, uncoordinated movement, in order to calm down.

One of the things you can do for someone who has a hard time standing still at the barre is to have them sit with a weighted blanket on their laps or around their shoulders for a few minutes before they start class. It has been proven now in therapy for kids with ADHD that the blanket helps release an endorphin in the brain that relaxes people. So you give them the gift of time with a weighted blanket to calm down. After several times, they will come into the studio and take the blanket for themselves.

Can your teacher workshops help those who teach dance forms other than ballet?
When you are teaching dancing, you are still teaching that the first relationship is the contact of the feet to the floor. I don’t care whether you are teaching tap, flamenco, circus tightrope walking, or modern. It’s universal. So you ask, “How does the foot work, how can you make it work better, how can you keep it safe? What parts of it can’t do things that you’re asking it to do? What parts of it can?” And then you work on how to incorporate the rest of your body into that.

How do you approach your coaching work?
I always start with a series of questions: “What’s the easiest part of this variation? And what’s the part you like the best?” They’re not always the same. And then, “What’s the hardest part?” And the dancer will show me what the hardest part is and sometimes we’ll troubleshoot how they’re going into the movement, the way they’re coming out, or what they’re doing with themselves to try to maintain something. And then how we link it, from the easy part to the hard part.

How do you bridge those gaps?
Hopefully the link is where my knowledge helps. I ask what has to happen in that moment to make the hard part easier. I take apart the initiation of movement. In other words, what are you physically doing just before you start to physically move? What are you thinking? How are you breathing? What is it that you intend to do first? Are you lifting or pushing? And once the dancers are familiar with my language, after three or four hours they start to say, “Oh, I was lifting!” or “Oh, I wasn’t pushing,” or “I went backward instead of forward.”

I always ask the dancers, particularly the pros, because nobody ever does, “How does it feel?” If they say, “It feels like I know I can do it,” I ask, “Can you do it again? Do it the way you want to do it now. Let’s run it and see what happens and how you are able to make your decisions turn out to be your own variation and not my take on it.” After a while, it has to be theirs.

You mentioned troubleshooting in both your classes and coaching sessions. What do you look for when you troubleshoot?
When I troubleshoot I look at how the feet land on the floor, and then I look at the eyes. I’m looking at where they are in relation to the place right underneath the anklebone that takes two-thirds of the body weight. If the eye is over that, you’ve got your balance, so you’re probably going to already feel that. If you’ve been looking at the mirror doing a tour jeté and landing backward, then the eyes are not over the feet, so you’re going to fall backward.

You also developed PeffPointe© Pointe Training. Tell me about that.
The thing about pointework is that it’s the very top of the profession; it’s the most elite part. The shoes are satin, you are creating an illusion, and it should be silent. That means there’s an awful lot you need to know.

The first thing I do is look at the feet, then I look at the shoes, and I look at how the shoes are worn, and I can get a pretty good idea of how an entire figure thinks it’s going to stand on that and be able to do something without losing its balance. Then we have to talk about how the foot works, what the technical level is, how they transfer their weight, and how they’ve been taught to go from flat to pointe for relevés, and from one foot to the other for piqués.

I’m looking at what they are doing physically, but I’m also looking at the quality, and if that’s not there they can’t dance in the shoes; they can only clomp around.

How do you help someone who doesn’t have the quality? Or do you just say it’s probably better to go back to class and not work on pointe?
It depends. If I’m working with a dancer who has had very bad training, I look at the shoes and first make sure they are tied properly so that at least the shoe and the foot go together. Then we work on how to step onto the shoes and how the rest of the body can feel supported. I try to help them find some comfort level to start with so the brain can relax a bit. And then I try to get them to move so they have a sense of that and a sense of ownership.

What are some of the most important things for young teachers to know?
I think teachers get so little feedback about the quality of their teaching, except after the fact. And so they need to learn to recognize when they’ve been successful day to day.

Teachers should take all the time they need. What a phenomenal responsibility it is to be a teacher! We take people out of their ordinary lives and give them a moment that is a little more beautiful to take with them for the rest of their lives.


Tharp, Volpi, Taylor on Program for ABT’s Fall City Center Season


American Ballet Theatre’s return to New York City Center this fall will be highlighted by the New York City premiere of a new work by Demis Volpi and major revivals of Merce Cunningham’s Duets in honor of the late choreographer, Paul Taylor’s Black Tuesday, and Martha Clarke’s Garden of Villandry.

The season, November 8 to 13, will celebrate the 25th anniversary of Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room and include performances of Duets, an exploration of the duet form set to music by John Cage; Taylor’s Black Tuesday, a homage to 1930s America, and his Company B; Alexei Ratmansky’s Seven Sonatas; and the pas de deux from Tharp’s Known by Heart.

Simone Messmer in Black Tuesday (Photo by Fabrizio Ferri)

An opening night gala November 8 will include the new ballet by Volpi, a dancer with the Stuttgart Ballet who won the Erik Bruhn Prize for Best Choreography in 2011. Also on the program will be Garden of Villandry and Tharp’s In the Upper Room and Sinatra Suite, a suite of dances from Nine Sinatra Songs, with costumes by Oscar de la Renta. Garden of Villandry was choreographed by former Pilobolus Dance Theatre members Clarke and Robert Barnett, along with their fellow Crownest dance company co-founder Felix Blaska. The performance will be followed by a benefit dinner at The Plaza Hotel. For more information, call the special events office at 212.477.3030 ext. 3311.

Tickets for ABT’s fall season at City Center, priced from $25, go on sale by phone at 212.581.1212 and online at on July 25. The City Center box office will open for sales on September 6. For more information, visit ABT’s website at


ABT Promotes Isabella Boylston to Soloist


Isabella Boylston has been promoted to the rank of soloist with American Ballet Theatre, effective immediately.

Born in Sun Valley, Idaho, Boylston began dancing at the age of 3. While training at the Academy of Colorado Ballet, she won the gold medal at the 2001 Youth America Grand Prix in New York City. In 2002, she trained at the Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, Florida, on full scholarship.

Isabella Boylston in The Bright Stream (Photo by Rosalie O’Connor)

Boylston joined ABT’s Studio Company in 2005. She was named an apprentice to the main company in May 2006 and joined ABT’s corps de ballet in March 2007.

Her repertory with the company includes the Ballerina in The Bright Stream, an Odalisque in Le Corsaire, a flower girl in Don Quixote, the second girl in Fancy Free, the peasant pas de deux and Moyna in Giselle, a Harlot in Romeo and Juliet, Princess Florine and the Fairy of Fervor in The Sleeping Beauty, the pas de trois and the Polish Princess in Swan Lake, the Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, the lead in Theme and Variations, and roles in Ballo della Regina, Birthday Offering, Brief Fling, Désir, Everything Doesn’t Happen at Once, and From Here On Out.

She created leading roles in Lauri Stallings’ Citizen, Alexei Ratmansky’s Dumbarton, and Christopher Wheeldon’s Thirteen Diversions. Boylston won the 2009 Princess Grace Award and was nominated for the 2010 Prix Benois de la Danse.

American Ballet Theatre’s spring 2011 season at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City continues through July 9. For additional information, visit


Carreño to Dance ‘Swan Lake’ in Final Performance With ABT


American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Jose Manuel Carreño will dance Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, alongside Julie Kent in the role of Odette and Gillian Murphy as Odile, in his final company performance on June 30.

Jose Manuel Carreño (Photo by Fabrizio Ferri)

An on-stage reception with Carreño and ABT company members will immediately follow the performance. The performance is set for 7:30pm, with the reception beginning at 10:30pm, at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York City. All guests must have a performance ticket to attend the reception.

For more information on tickets, and to submit a reservation form to attend the reception, visit


Vasiliev To Replace Injured Cornejo in ‘The Bright Stream,’ ‘Coppélia’


Ivan Vasiliev, a principal dancer with the Bolshoi Ballet, will appear with American Ballet Theatre as a guest artist for three performances during the 2011 Metropolitan Opera House season.

Vasiliev will replace Herman Cornejo, who will withdraw from scheduled performances as Pytor in The Bright Stream at the June 11 matinee and the June 14 evening performance due to injury. Vasiliev will also replace Cornejo in the leading role of Franz in Coppélia on June 16. Vasiliev’s appearances will be his first with ABT.

Ivan Vasiliev (Photo by Damir Yusupov)

Born in Vladivostok, Russia, Vasiliev received his early ballet training at the Dnepropetrovsk Ballet School in Ukraine and later at the Belorussian State Choreographic College in Minsk. He joined the Bolshoi as a soloist in 2006, making his debut with the company at age 17 as Basilio in Don Quixote. He was promoted to principal dancer in 2010. Vasiliev is coached by former Bolshoi star Yuri Vladimirov.

Vasiliev’s repertoire with the Bolshoi includes the title role in Spartacus, the Nutcracker Prince in The Nutcracker, Colas in Sir Frederick Ashton’s La Fille mal gardée, Solor and The Golden Idol in La Bayadère, Conrad in Le Corsaire, Philippe in Alexei Ratmansky’s The Flames of Paris, The Young Man in Roland Petit’s Le Jeune Homme et la Mort, and featured roles in Christopher Wheeldon’s Misericordes and Asaf Messerer’s Class Concert.

For more information, visit


Official ABT Training Uniforms Available Online Through IDS


International Dance Supplies (IDS), the official supplier of the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) National Training Program Uniform, announced the new range of uniforms is now available to buy online.

Working closely with Franco De Vita, principal of ABT’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School, IDS has created a vibrant yet classic look with an exciting range of fresh new colors, styles, and quality fabrics for both the school and the students in ABT’s National Training Programs. The new uniform is made by IDS in the UK to the highest specifications and has been tested and approved by the ABT Faculty.

ABT uniforms available online (Photo courtesy of IDS)

For more details or to purchase the uniforms, visit or call toll free at 866.939.8909.


Angelina Ballerina Joins ABT Dancers in Kids Program


ABTKids, a hour-long program designed by American Ballet Theatre for children and families, will present a performance of highlights from the company’s 2011 spring season on May 21 at 11:30am at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.

Narrated by ABT principal dancer Julie Kent, ABTKids includes a special guest appearance by Angelina Ballerina, the little cartoon mouse with big dreams, and performances by ABT dancers. The program will include Irina Dvorovenko in the “Rose Adagio” from The Sleeping Beauty, Paloma Herrera and Alexandre Hammoudi in the Swan Lake Act 2 pas de deux, and Yuriko Kajiya and Daniil Simkin in the Don Quixote Act III pas de deux, along with excerpts from Coppélia, The Bright Stream, and Cinderella.

A post-performance meet-and-greet with Angelina Ballerina in Damrosch Park is free to all ticket holders. All tickets for ABTKids are $25 and are available online, at the Met box office or by phone at 212.362.6000. The Metropolitan Opera House is located at Broadway and 65th Street. For more information visit


Kozlova’s Conservatory Students Present Ballet Classics


Vitali Krauchenko of American Ballet Theatre and Albert Davydov of the New Jersey Ballet will join students of Valentina Kozlova’s Dance Conservatory Company in a performance April 16 at 7pm at Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway (at 95th Street), New York City.

Dancers will appear in excerpts from Paquita, La Bayadère, Flames of Paris, Don Quixote, and the Auber Grand Pas Classique, as well as Margo Sappington’s Night and Day, set to the Cole Porter classic. The performance will also feature three Kozlova students, Sarah Steele, Alicia Fotino, and Veronika Verterich, all medalists in recent junior ballet competitions in Russia and Berlin. For more information, visit


Retiring Dancer Jose Carreño to Be Feted at ABT Opening Night Gala


A tribute to principal dancer Jose Manuel Carreño will highlight American Ballet Theatre’s opening-night gala May 16 at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.

Jose Manuel Carreño in Diana and Acteon (Photo by Rosalie O’Connor)

In honor of his farewell season, Carreño will be joined onstage by ABT’s Paloma Herrera and Xiomara Reyes, San Francisco Ballet’s Lorena Feijoo, Joan Boada, and Taras Domitro; and Boston Ballet’s Lorna Feijoo and Nelson Madrigal in the ABT premiere of Jorge Garcia’s Majisimo. Majisimo is set to music from Jules Massenet’s opera El Cid. The evening will also feature ABT principal dancers in highlights from the spring season.

Performance-only tickets, beginning at $25, are available online at, at the Metropolitan Opera House box office, or by calling 212.362.6000.

A gala dinner under the tent at Lincoln Center will follow the performance. Gala benefit tickets prices at $1,500, $2,000, and $2,500 include the performance and post-performance dinner. For gala benefit ticket information only, call ABT’s special events office at 212.477.3030 ext. 3239. A portion of the proceeds from the spring gala will support ABT’s education and community outreach programs.

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