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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Princeton Ballet School


Guest aCrach8

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Guest aCrach8

I am attending this school's intensive this summer, and I was wondering if anyone had any information on the program. It is my first year to attend this school, and I have no idea what it is going to be like. Thanks for any info.:)

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Guest JRSDANCER87

Hi~!

Sorry it has taken me so long to get to this, my internet has not been working at all! At any rate, I am a full year round student at Princeton Ballet School currently, and have attended the summer intensive program for the past two summers. I can give you an idea of what it is like. Every day, there are 4 "class slot" schedules. The first class of the day is always ballet, and it goes from 9:30 to 11:20. Then you have a 10 minute break. The second "class slot" goes from 11:30 to 12:30 and is usually pointe, variations, a lecture, or body mechanics (like pilates). Then you have lunch from 12:30 to 1:30. In the afternoon, after lunch, there are 2 one and a half hour class slots. For the first and second week of the intensive, those two slots can consist of jazz, another ballet class, American Repertory Ballet variations, a lecture, or modern (or both because there are two slots). For the third, fourth, and fifth week, you will have one of the above classes during one of the time slots, and the second time slot will consist of your rehearsal for the end of the program presentation. The first class slot goes from 1:30 to 3:00. After that, you have a half an hour break until 3:30. The second class slot is from 3:30 to 5:00 and then the day is over. To help you out, here might be the schedule you would get one week (I am going to type in one of the weekly schedules they gave me last year) and this schedule is from the third week where you would have started rehearsals and the name in parenthesis is the teacher:

Monday:

9:30 - 11:20 --- ballet

11:30 - 12:30 --- variations

1:30 - 3:00 --- Rehearsal

3:30 - 5:00 --- Modern

Tuesday:

9:30 - 11:20 --- ballet

11:30 - 12:30 --- pointe

1:30 - 3:00 --- ballet

3:30 - 5:00 --- rehearsal

Wednesday:

9:30 - 11:20 --- ballet

11:30 - 12:30 --- body mechanics

1:30 - 3:00 --- rehearsal

3:30 - 5:00 --- jazz

Thursday:

9:30 - 11:20 --- ballet

11:30 - 12:30 --- pointe

1:30 - 3:00 --- variations

3:30 - 5:00 --- rehearsal

Friday:

9:30 - 11:20 --- ballet

11:30 - 12:30 --- variations/lecture

1:30 - 3:00 --- ballet

3:30 - 5:00 --- rehearsal

Saturday:

Theatre dance for half an hour

There are two classes of theatre dance on saturdays, so it depends on which one they put your class into. That's basically the schedule. Those are all of the classes you will take, and that's basically what the schedule will be like for the last three weeks (for the first two you will probably have a ballet class twice a day most times during the week because rehearsals for the performance have not started yet). It will vary from week to week also. In case you are staying in the dorms I will tell you that they have buses for you to take that are not public transportation, and they have a meeting on the first sunday night before the program starts the following monday to assign buses, and explain all of the rules and other things to all of the dorm students. There are also "open enrollment" classes that are given at the ballet studio later on at night ranging from starting at around 5:15 to 7:45. They can start anywhere between those two times and end anywhere from 7:00 to 9:15 at night. These classes are on the same schedule every week, and you will be able to pickup a schedule at the front desk when you get there. For the students in the summer intensive, these classes are free (where as they would normally cost $16.00. Last year, they gave each student of the summer intensive a name tag so that the teachers could get to know the students who do not dance there year round, and they asked that the students wear their name tags to the open enrollment classes as sort of a "ticket in" because the other people attending these classes will have slips which they payed for ect. They will tell you how you can be identified as a summer intensive student when you get there. If you are staying in the dorms and would like to take these night classes, there is a sign up sheet (one for each open class occuring that evening) on the front bulletin board as you walk into the ballet school, and there are 15 numbers, and you just have to sign up so that the RA's who are driving the buses will know when they need to bring you there and pick you up (you and many others). As for these night classes, there is usually one ballet a night, and one or two jazz a night. Some years there have been a modern class once a night as well, but for the most part, it is ballet and jazz/theatre. On the schedule, they will tell you the times of these classes but because I have it right here, I will give it to you. Here are the times of the open night classes and what type of class they are weekly (this schedule does not change weekly, it is always the same):

Monday:

6:00 - 7:30 --- ballet (advanced)

7:30 - 9:00 --- jazz (intermediate)

Tuesday:

6:15 - 7:45 --- ballet (advanced)

7:30 - 8:45 --- modern (intermediate/advanced)

6:15 - 7:30 --- spanish dance (all levels)

Wednesday:

6:15 - 7:45 --- ballet (advanced)

Thursday:

6:15 - 7:45 --- ballet (advanced)

7:30 - 9:00 --- jazz (advanced)

7:15 - 8:30 --- modern (advanced)

Those are the classes that are offered. I have indicated what the level is so that you can see what you might want to take (for example, I once took the intermediate/advanced class of modern because it's not my era and I don't know modern dance that well. I didn't bother to put down the beginner or intermediate ballet classes because if you are attending the summer intensive, you would most definetly be beyond prepared to take the advanced ballet classes. One thing I will tell you is that for the first of the five week summer program, the teachers do not allow for the students of the program to take these open classes. This is because the students are just starting to get back into the swing of things, and they do not want you to over work too soon and wind up with an injurry. The classes will still take place during the first week (they have already begun now because other students take them as well), but the summer intensive students are not encouraged or really allowed to take them for the first week. Therefore, these classes are offered to the students in the summer intensive during the second, third, fourth, and fifth week of the summer program. Students in the summer program do not have to take these classes if they choose not to. While they are encouraged and welcome to come to any of the classes they desire, it is not a requirement and is not mandatory, therefore you do not have to take them, but the option is open to you between weeks 2 and 5. That is all there is to know about the class times.

Your placement in this summer program is decided on the first day of classes. The first monday that you go, everyone who is attending the summer intensive takes class together in our largest studio as sort of a "placement class". At the end of the day after lunch (this first day you have only two classes), levels will be posted, and you will have a second ballet class with just your level and which ever teacher your level is assigned to that day. This day is less dense than the other days, because a lot will be going on. The levels are not done based on ability in most cases, therefore they do not number the levels like 1, 2, 3, and 4, but rather by things that do not have to do with levels. For example the first year I went there for the summer program the levels were called Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Bach, and Chopin. You will see the name of the level with your name under it, and on all of your schedules (which are handed out weekly), you will be able to tell what studio you are in, and what classes you are taking based on where your "level" is written in. It is sort of your identification and how you will know where you need to be at what times.

The dress code at Princeton ballet is different in the summer than it is in the school year. During the summer, you can wear any leotard that you wish. Some teachers will be more flexible than others. Some of the teachers will let you wear whatever it is that you want, others would prefer it to be a solid color (but do not care what color), and others prefer black. In most cases, the teachers prefer that you wear regular pink ballet tights. Usually you are able to wear skirts for pointe and variations class, but usually the teachers do not permit them in class along with leg warmers and other things of that nature.

Now for the performance and rehearsals! There are 3 parts to this performance. You are required to be in one of them. The 3 parts are Faculty rehearsed ballet, student choreography, and Theatre dance. The past two summers, I have chosen to do the faculty rehearsed ballet. What it is, is you learn bits and pieces of whatever ballet they decide to do (two years ago it was swan lake, and last year it was gisele), and then you get costumes and perform it. You are rehearsed by one of the faculty members. This choice gives you an extra ballet class at the end of the day some days (usually 2 days) during the week. The choreography is always on pointe. The student choreography piece works a bit differently. You can sign up to either be a student choreographer, or a dancer in the student choreography. I'm not quite sure if everybody who would like to choreograph gets to, but last year many of them did. What happens is the director splits you up into small groups of maybe five or so, and the choreographers get to work with three or four of the dancers. You put together a piece with your group (if you are a dancer, following the choreography of the choreographer) and then perform it for each other in front of the director and other little groups. Towards the end of the intensive, around 5 choreographers are selected and they get to choreograph a piece for the show for them, and the other dancers to be in. This dance is usually never strictly ballet. Sometimes it is done on pointe, but has some modern or other movements in it, and sometimes it is strictly more modern based. It winds up turning out equally as nice as the faculty ballet, its just different. The faculty rehearsed ballet is strictly ballet usually abt's version of the ballet, and the student choreography can be a variation of different types of dance. The third part, the theatre dance is open to whoever would like to participate. It doesn't require much rehearsal, because the everybody learns it during their theatre dance classes. Towards the end, the teacher starts giving people different sides to stand on and such like that and then there is one day where you have a 10-15 minute rehearsal during lunch. Since everybody knows the dance, she just places people in lines and you come out and do the dance. You do not have to be a part of this if you do not want to, but what I can tell you is that in the past two years of attending Princeton Ballet School's summer intensive, I have danced in the theatre dance part, and it is always the first thing to be performed, and the audience loves it. It is a lot of fun if you like jazz :)

At any rate, I hope that all of this helps you! I'm not attending PBS's summer intensive this year (for the first time) because I'm going to Washington School of Ballet's summer intensive, so I won't see you, but I hope that some of this has helped answer any of the questions you may have had! If you have any more questions, feel free to post them in a reply! If not, I wish you luck and have a great time! I think you will enjoy it :rolleyes:

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  • Administrators

Well, that was certainly a most thorough account of the Princeton program! Thank you, Jen!

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Guest aCrach8

WOW! Thanks SO much Jen. YOur reply was really very helpful. i just have one question about the placement. You said that it is not based on ability. What do they usually base placement on? It seems that this would hinder learning as people in the levels would be at different stages in their technique. How many levels are there? Thank you once again for your help.

 

Rachel

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Guest JRSDANCER87

Oh, I'm so sorry! While I was trying so hard to concentrate on what it was I was writing and trying to include everything I forgot to mention that! I apologize! They tell you that they place you in leves based on what you, personally, need to work on as a dancer. Perhaps one level is working on their turnout and how to use the right mucsles to turn out, while another level is working on strength. To some degree they place you based on ability (for instance the 13 yr old who is attending the program as their first summer intensive and the 18 year old who has attended 5 summer programs already are not placed in the same level), but it's focused much on what you personally as a dancer need to work on, and then they give you teachers who will work with you well on that. There are 4 levels, by the way. It is done to some degree based on ability because as you have noticed/stated, dancers need to be in a class with other students of their ability. Basically the lowest level and highest level you can tell that they are the lowest and highest because of the students who place there, but the middle two it is much harder to tell. They will tell you based on where you place, that it's got a lot to do with what you as a dancer need to work on, but you will be able to tell where everyone stacks up based on the people in the other levels as well (though they will not provide you with that information). Your first day is when they will decide that. I hope that helps, again I apologize. If you go into buddy board, you can ask for my contact information and contact me about anything else that you need to :) Hope that helps!

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Guest aCrach8

Thanks so much- I dont know how to get into buddy board- I dont think tha I am eligible since I am new here. but thanks anyway for all your information.

Rach

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  • Administrators

The Buddy Board is open to teen members when they have been here at least two weeks and have made 30 posts. When that happens, you will need to request admittance and then I can activate the feature which allows you to see the BB!

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