Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School Announces Virtual Summer Programs

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In response to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School (PBT School) will transition its summer programming - including the "Company Experience" Workshop, Intensive Summer Program and Student and Children's Division classes - to virtual online learning platforms for the summer of 2020. The virtual programs will allow PBT School students across the country to continue their dance education without the added risk of a studio or dormitory environment.

Classes and programs scheduled to start after July 26, 2020 have not yet been made virtual, but are subject to change based on public health and safety guidelines and best practices.

When PBT School closed its studios in the Strip District in response to the emerging threat of the coronavirus in March, it pivoted to a virtual learning model for the remainder of the academic year. Students in all divisions were given access to a portal of content created by PBT School faculty and staff to continue their dance education from the safety of home. This education included content curated by PBT School, worksheets, presentations, recorded classes and live classes, during which students are able to interact with PBT School faculty.

Through the success of its school-year digital programming, PBT School was able to transition its summer programs to similar virtual models. Teachers will be outfitted with upgraded video equipment to enhance the at-home learning experience and make it easier for instructors to see students and deliver individual guidance.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (PBT) and PBT School will also welcome Susan Jaffe as its new artistic director this summer. Once declared "America's quintessential American ballerina" by the New York Times, Jaffe comes to PBT from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA), where she has served as Dean of Dance since 2012. Jaffe succeeds Terrence S. Orr as PBT's seventh artistic director.

PBT School's "Company Experience" Workshop will be held for advanced, professional-track student dancers ages 16+ from June 8-19, 2020. Students get a preview of the life of a professional dancer through close interactions with PBT Company dancers and PBT faculty. In its new online form, this workshop also includes an opportunity for students to connect with one another via Zoom, additional conditioning classes and Q&As with artistic staff, including retiring PBT Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr, incoming Artistic Director Susan Jaffe and renowned dramaturg Byam Stevens. Students will have the opportunity to learn exciting repertoire, including new work created by PBT Company dancers.Tuition for the program has been reduced to $650.

The Intensive Summer program is a five-week immersive training program, taking place June 22 through July 5, 2020, for serious ballet students ages 12+. Over the course of the virtual program, these students will get over 100 hours of training in cross-disciplinary dance training designed to reflect the needs of today's professional dance world, including technique, pointe, variations, men's classes, modern, jazz, hip hop, conditioning classes, Pilates and yoga. Classes will be conducted via Zoom on PBT School's updated video equipment and class sizes have been reduced to maximize individual attention. While students won't be in the studios or dormartories, there will be opportunities to socialize through trivia nights, movie watch parties, live cooking classes and more. Tuition has been adjusted to $1,500.

PBT School Children's and Student Division programs, designed for young dancers ages 18 months to 13 years, will be held virtually through July 26, 2020. This includes Grown Up & Me, Pre-Ballet, Preparatory Ballet, Ballet Foundations, Jazz Levels 1 and 2, Ballet Levels 1 and 2 and the Junior Intensive Summer Program. Tuition for these programs has been adjusted to reflect the switch to online classes. Children's and Student Division programs scheduled to start after July 26, 2020 have not yet been made virtual, but are subject to change.

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