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Princeton Ballet School's Summer Intensive Program Kicks Off This Week


On Monday, June 23, ballet students from around the world started their first day of training at Princeton Ballet School's studios in the Princeton Shopping Center. This is Princeton Ballet School's 32nd year of offering their Summer Intensive course, making it one of the oldest programs in the United States.

This year's summer intensive welcomes over 100 students from all over the United States, including dancers from California, Ohio, Virginia, Georgia, Indiana, Florida, Illinois, Texas, and Utah. In addition, Princeton Ballet School attracts many international students, including dancers from Hong Kong, Mexico, Japan, Switzerland, and Italy.

The dancers live on the Princeton University campus for five weeks, training every day at an advanced level at Princeton Ballet School. The intensive training will be predominantly made up of ballet class, but will be augmented with other classes, including partnering, variations, body mechanics, pointe, and men's class.

The Summer Intensive also includes an impressive list of full time faculty members. Princeton Ballet School is the official school of American Repertory Ballet, and its Artistic Director, Douglas Martin, is one of the main teachers. He and his wife, Mary Barton, came to ARB after many years as principal dancers in the Joffrey Ballet. Barton, now ARB's resident choreographer, will also teach extensively in the program, as will Kathleen Moore, a former principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre, and now ARB company teacher and PBS faculty member. The other integral faculty member is Maria Youskevitch, also formerly a soloist with ABT, an accomplished master teacher throughout the US, and the ballet master of ARB Workshop, the pre-professional wing of ARB. Mary Pat Robertson, Director of Princeton Ballet School, also teaches as part of this team, including a course called Body Mechanics, about best practices for maintaining a healthy dancer's body.

Princeton Ballet School's Summer Intensive will be an important formative experience for its many students. Students will not only be able to develop their ballet technique, but will also develop skills in injury prevention, as well as creativity, leadership, and discipline, through the expertise of the teachers and variety of classes offered, including a choreography workshop. Students will learn both original and classical choreography, and have the opportunity to go to Lincoln Center to see the Bolshoi Ballet's production of Swan Lake. While experiencing important aspects of their dance training, Princeton Ballet School's Summer Intensive students will be able to connect and make friendships with fellow ballet dancers from all over the world, and share in their dedication to ballet.

About American Repertory Ballet and Princeton Ballet School: American Repertory Ballet's mission is to bring the joy, beauty, artistry and discipline of classical and contemporary dance to New Jersey and nationwide audiences and to dance students through artistic and educational programs. The organization comprises: American Repertory Ballet professional company, the preeminent classical and contemporary ballet company in the state; Princeton Ballet School, one of the largest and most respected non-profit dance schools in the nation; and ARB's Access & Enrichment initiatives, including the long-running and acclaimed DANCE POWER program. The performing company is a classical and contemporary ballet company committed to presenting ballets from the 19th and 20th centuries alongside new and existing works by choreographers from today. Founded in 1963, the company is currently under the artistic leadership of Douglas Martin, former principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet. Its rich history of repertory includes established masterpieces by distinguished American choreographers such as George Balanchine, Gerald Arpino, Alvin Ailey, Paul Taylor and Twyla Tharp; cutting edge works by choreographers such as Val Caniparoli, Kirk Peterson, Dominique Dumais, Harrison McEldowney, Amy Seiwert, Susan Shields, Melissa Barak, Patrick Corbin, Trinette Singleton, and ARB Resident Choreographer Mary Barton; and former Artistic Directors Dermot Burke, Marjorie Mussman, Septime Webre and Graham Lustig. ARB has been designated a "Major Arts Institution" by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts consistently for the past two decades, and has repeatedly been awarded a Citation of Excellence by the Council. ARB was voted the Jersey Arts People's Choice for "Favorite Dance Company" in 2008, 2011 and 2012.

Princeton Ballet School has gained a national reputation for its excellent dance training since its founding in 1954 by Audrée Estey. Under the direction of Mary Pat Robertson, Princeton Ballet School currently serves approximately 1,200 students, starting at age three, and includes a large open enrollment division for adults. Princeton Ballet School has studios in Cranbury, New Brunswick, and Princeton and offers classes in ballet, modern dance, jazz, hip-hop, cardioballet and Pilates. Students from the school have gone on to dance in professional ballet and contemporary dance companies in the US and abroad. Graduates have danced with such diverse organizations as New York City Ballet, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Miami City Ballet, Complexions, Mark Morris Dance Company, Twyla Tharp, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Ballet West and on Broadway.

The Access & Enrichment wing of American Repertory Ballet reaches out to the community not only through its DANCE POWER program and signature On Pointe series, but also with free programming, master classes, residencies, lecture demonstrations and School Time Matinees throughout the state. In 1984, American Repertory Ballet partnered with the New Brunswick Board of Education to create DANCE POWER. Today, it's the longest-running uninterrupted arts/community partnership in New Jersey. The legendary Gregory Hines was DANCE POWER's Honorary Chair for 18 years before his untimely passing in 2003. In 2001, Mr. Hines endowed a scholarship at Rutgers University that earmarks annual funds for a DANCE POWER student to attend the university.

Pictured (L to R): Princeton Ballet School Director Mary Pat Robertson, Gillian Schadrack of Switzerland, Katherine Spinnler of Switzerland, Christabelle Tan of Hong Kong, China; Andrea Cabrera of Mexico, Olimpia Rivera of Italy, and Nanae Matsusima of Japan Not Pictured: Flavio Altieri of Naples, Italy; Agnese Trippa of Florence, Italy; Alessia deCarolis of Avezzano, Italy.

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