Ballet West Academy hosts dancers from around the globe for Summer Intensive
More than 750 ballet students from all over the world converged upon the Frederick Quinney Lawson Ballet West Academy this summer for its annual Summer Intensive. If you have images of a summer dance camp, think again. The dancers were on a regimented schedule that had them waking up before 6:00 a.m. so they could be in the studio at 8:00 a.m. Once they would arrive at the ballet campus, they took classes from world renowned teachers until 6:00 pm. They did this rigorous schedule for six days a week for six weeks!
With students from 45 states and five countries, the amount of organization and detail which must go into planning the Summer Intensive is astounding. Luckily, Academy administrators have dozens of years of experience organizing this epic event, to the point that it is now a well-oiled machine. (Of course, the best laid plans can go awry with food allergies, injuries, and typical teenage drama.)
From Hawaii to Maine and Florida to Alaska, along with Japan, Australia, Canada, Brazil, and the U.K., students come from many backgrounds, making the Ballet West campus flourish with energy. “This is one of the most diverse and advanced talent pools the Summer Intensive has ever hosted,” said Academy Director Peter LeBreton Merz. “We’re happy to host these dancers all on one campus and teach the next generation about etiquette and advanced technique.”
The students are trained by some of the most notable dancers and repetiteurs from around the globe. Karin Averty, former Principal Dancer with both the Paris Opera Ballet and San Francisco Ballet, spent the first week teaching the Black Swan variation. Other teachers include Stephanie Saland, former Principal at New York City Ballet; Lisa Slagle, former Principal with the Joffrey Ballet in New York; and Nadia Pavlenko, newly-named Principal of the Ballet West Academy Salt Lake City Campus.
Dancers do escape the studio to explore Utah, with trips to baseball games, the Great Salt Lake, and to Park City. Students not from Salt Lake City stay at the University of Utah’s dorms with several resident interns keeping a close eye on them. Demi Soloist Tyler Gum was this year’s Resident Advisor, and ensured that all those well-oiled plans stayed on track!