By Susie Guthro
When the last chord of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker finale sounds and the curtain makes its final close, it signals the start of another wonderful season for the young dancer. Summer intensive audition season is there to pick up where the thrill of performing leaves off for many serious ballet students. Summer intensives can be the highlight of a student’s year. Whether it’s a two-week or a six-week program that spans nearly the entire summer, an intensive program provides a young dancer with opportunities that enrich, validate, and expose them to the world of pre-professional dance.
My earliest experience of a summer intensive, at the age of 11, opened my eyes to what a summer of ballet could be. With classes ranging from ballet to modern, pointe to character dance, and dance history to workshops on hair and make-up, I felt as though I had won the lottery. I had found my people; other students from all over the country who had the same passion for ballet as me, and new teachers with new corrections and styles from which to learn. That summer I progressed faster with daily ballet classes that didn’t have to compete with schoolwork, and gained strength and stamina from multiple classes and hours of dancing everyday. From that summer forward, not one passed without going through audition season again, and attending a new program nearly every summer of my adolescence.
Now, as a ballet teacher at South Shore Conservatory (SSC), I encourage my students to attend auditions for summer programs, and champion them through both acceptances and yes, the rejections that come with auditioning. There is something incredibly exciting about sending a student off for a summer of dance. Maybe it’s because I know how important those summers were for me, or maybe it’s because I want them to have an opportunity to measure their ability in a national arena. All I know is that a summer intensive can provide a young dancer with that taste of what it means to dance all day; learning from other teachers, and growing not only as a strong dancer, but a strong young adult.
This year I am pleased to announce that South Shore Conservatory was chosen as one of the national audition locations for Burklyn Ballet Theatre’s 2017 Summer Intensive. It is quite an honor. Housed at Johnson State College in the White Mountains of Vermont, Burklyn offers a comprehensive program designed to provide dancers ages 10-25 with a professional company experience of performing each week, in addition to a core of curriculum classes.
Over the years, several of our SSC students have had the opportunity to attend Burklyn with great success, and it is a program I always encourage my students to audition for and attend. I hope many area dancers will take advantage of joining us at SSC on January 15 for a master class and audition with Arthur Leeth of Burklyn Ballet, and who knows, maybe secure their spot for a summer filled with ballet!
Burklyn Ballet Theatre’s auditions, for ages ten and up, take place at South Shore Conservatory, 64 St. George Street, Duxbury on Sunday, January 15, 2017, from 12-2 pm. Registration begins at 11:30 am.
Susie Guthro is Chair of South Shore Conservatory’s Dance Department. She is an American Ballet Theatre (ABT®) Certified Teacher.