Summer always marks a change of pace for many of us, or at least a change in our daily routines. For the students at MBA summer means the opportunity to work intensely on improving their technique and artistry, allowing students to work without the stress of homework and academic responsibilities. MBA students have the opportunity to attend summer programs at other dance academies as well as attending MBA’s summer program. This summer six of our students (Emilee Alexander, Corinne Jarvis, Madison Massara, Luca Massara, Gabe Rajah, and Sierra Post. attended programs at other dance schools nationally and internationally. Emilee Alexander attended the Long Beach Summer Intensive (which included a tour performing in China); Corinne Jarvis attended a 5-week intensive with Miami City Ballet School and two-week intensive at the Princess Grace Dance Academy in Montecarlo, Monaco; Madison Massara attended 5 week intensive at the Pennsylvania Ballet School; Luca Massara and Gabriel Rajah attended a 3-week program at San Francisco Ballet School; and Sierra Post attended the Butler University Summer intensive program. Many of these students also attended partially or in full the MBA summer program. We asked them to share their experiences with our MBA families. Last week we heard from the students about how they got into the programs and what they were like.
Below is is what they had to say about what they learned from the programs and how they compared:
How do you think the training and environment at MBA compares to the summer program you attended?
For Sierra the environments of both programs were very similar, they both used Vaganova technique, and have a positive atmosphere. She said, “I feel that MBA is helping me to be prepared for the world of ballet. I was happy to get into the highest level (level three) at the summer intensive“. For Luca, the environment seemed different. In San Francisco he and Gabe danced with selected dancers from around the world in a big City. At MBA we have excellent training from a selected team of teachers; in San Francisco the instruction was excellent but it included many different teachers. For Madie one of the highlights of her summer intensive was that she got the opportunity to take class with Pennsylvania Ballet company members as well as working with the director of the school Aranxta Ochoa and with the company director Angel Corella. Madie got to partner with Mr. Corella in pas de deux, definitely a highlight for her!. For Corinne the training at MBA clearly is outstanding, the largest difference is working with talented students from all over the world. She believes she learned a lot by watching them. For Emilee, “I don't think they can be compared, both places offer a different experience and training. They both offer different opportunities which I am glad to take advantage of.”
In what ways do you think attending the summer program impacted your training?
Luca stated that his experience at San Francisco will have a large impact on his training at MBA because it gave him the opportunity to work on technique classes for men only so he could focus on the needs of a male dancer. He also had the opportunity to have partnering classes 3-4 times per week which he believes strengthen his skills as a partner. For Madie, her experience at Pennsylvania Ballet focused on aspects of her dancing that needed improvement, and she also broadened her knowledge of repertoire. For Emilee, attending the Long Beach summer program allowed her to experience different teachers, who pushed her to go further. She also learned new repertoire and had the opportunity to perform. Also all of the different pieces we learned. She had the opportunity to perform seven new pieces from Long Beach's repertoire. For Corinne the Monaco program in particular helped her strengthen her passion for ballet, and helped her develop a deeper understanding of the basics of technique, the importance of artistry and the critical importance of musicality.
What advice do you have for other dancers about summer programs?
Sierra: “When you are at a summer program, treat every class like it is an audition, because it is. The teachers will look at how you take class and will decide what parts you get for the end of intensive performance. They will also decide if you should be invited next year (it is not always a guarantee that you will be invited back, you have to work for it).”
Luca: “work hard, stay focused on your training, and don’t let yourself get distracted by dorm life and others.”
Madie: “Be respectful, stay focused, try your best and teachers will want to work with you.”
Emilee: “Soak up as much as possible. Summer programs have guest teachers you may not normally have the opportunity to take class from. Get as much as you can from those classes and if the opportunity presents itself, introduce yourself to the teachers. That connection can come in handy later on. Keep an open mind. And make lots of friends!”
Corinne: Make sure to find the right program for you. It makes a HUGE difference.
Focus on the basics: doing a proper plié and tendu is actually a lot harder than fouettes, and I promise, Mr. Makhateli, Miss Jaglowski and Miss Sabas and anyone else teaching at MBA will and can teach you to do phenomenal grand jetes and pirouettes and look great in a variation, but they can not make you work and focus and if you don’t listen and work on their corrections from barre, trying to apply them in center won’t work (and it is their corrections that will allow you to improve and be accepted into great summer programs and eventually get a good job).
Listen to the music: it is everything to a dancer. Do not sacrifice technique or artistry because they are equally important. Enjoy what you do. When you practice on your own, practice every aspect of it: legs, arms, head, start, and FINISH.