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Any experience with young dancer SIs?


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My son will be 9 this summer which will be old enough for the young dancer "summer intensive" programs for the Bolshoi Ballet which is held in Connecticut and ABTs program. Has anyone's son had any experience with these programs? The photo gallery for the Bolshoi program shows only 2 boys. I didn 't know if that is because they are so incredibly picky that they only accepted 2 boys or if they had very few boys audition. Also, the boy in the photo for the ABT program looks like one of the boys that is playing Billy Elliot in the Chicago production. My son is doing well for his age but not THAT well!! Just wanting to know what to expect. Regardless, the audition experience alone will be good for him even if he doesn't get in. Oh, we are also interested in the Joffrey program, especially since it is not far from home but there is very little information on their website. Any information about these programs or any others for a 9 year would be greatly appreciated. Luckily my husband's company has offices in many large cities so he would be able to travel there for business and we could stay in his hotel during the SI to keep costs down for programs that are not residential. Thank you!

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My DS has done both the ABT YDSW and Joffrey. Within ABT's program there are a number of 'levels,' so, if accepted, your son would be placed in the appropriate group and they do take boys who are not that advanced into the program. There are many boys in the ABT program.


As for Joffrey, my DS did their program (2 weeks each time, i think) two summers in a row. If i recall correctly, at the time he was the only boy in his age group, so he was solely with the girls. However, he did not do Joffrey this past summer so the number of boys may have been different. you could call and ask.

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The Rock School has a lot of boys in every level. There are a lot of young boys who attend this SI. If you are a member of FB- look at their FB page - they have many pictures from the SI which show how many boys they do have that attend.


My son is 11 and has not done a large SI yet- because I just do not think he is mature enough yet- but when he does he will probably attend the Rock first just because of the amount of boys and the program itself.

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My 11 year old son attended the ABT YDSW this summer and there were 16 boys of all different levels and ages. He absolutely loved it and had a boys class every day. That was his favorite part of the SI. Basically, the schedule was technique in the morning with his level, then boys class with all of the boys, lunch, a special class and then choreography for the performance at the end of the week. They danced from 9:30 - 3:30 each day. The casting director for Billy Elliot did come in to watch the boys.


Another bonus to the program was that the boys that attended were recently asked to audition for the ABT Nutcracker in December. Unfortunately, we don't live close to NYC so we can't do it but what a great opportunity for the boys that do.

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Since you don't live in NYC where did your son stay during the program? Did you stay there with him? We are trying to determine what the total cost would be if he were to be accepted. I am not familiar with any of the residence options that are listed on the ABT website and didn't know if a hotel was the best way to go or if anyone had any specific recommendations. Since my son would only be 9 I don't that I think would be comfortable sending him to NY by himself - I would most likely go with him. Thanks!

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You have to stay with them since they don't offer residency for the YDSW. We stayed in an apartment in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn which we absolutely loved. Some families stayed in hotels and some stayed in sublets. They will send you a list of available apartments and links to sites to sublet apartments.

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Don't overlook Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet's SI. By far the best value for the money. Housing, quality of classes, focus on technique! I have never seen a dancer not come home stronger and improved! Between my two dancers (one male, one female) we spent 8 summers in Carlisle. My dancers went on to big Ballet School SI's in their teens, but NEVER had the quality of training they received at CPYB!!! Food for thought. It's easy to get caught up in the allure and bragging rights of these bigger SI's but for focused training at the proper level of your dancer, CPYB can't be beat. (IMHO) :thumbsup:

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SCscck - How many boys attend the CPYB program? On their website, they only show girls in the pictures. This one is definitely on my list of programs to consider. Do they have an audition tour or just video auditions?

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I'm sure it varies from summer to summer, but when my son attended, there were always at least 10-15 boys in his men's classes. This is a program that accepts all, then levels appropriately. His technique classes were male and female. Then there is a men's class - at least two levels, many summers three. They have 2 technique classes per day, one men's class, and as I recall partnering was in the evenings...depending on the level, partnering is usually two evenings a week, or Saturday mornings if they are 8-10 and this is the first partnering they have experienced. If they don't have partnering there is an optional evening class for their level.


This is ballet boot camp at it's finest. It's a no frills program, and they don't do a final performance. The focus here is to build and fine tune the finest technique during the most formative years. Three to four 1.5 hour classes daily, Monday - Friday and one or two classes on Saturdays. Your dancer will come back strong and craving more if he works hard and takes advantage of the classes.


The years our son attended, there was always a "boys house" with a House Mother. The house was located on Dickenson College Campus and within walking distance of most of the studios. There is also a bus that provides rides from dorms to studios, the Barn (the original studios where Marcia Weary began the school) and to the cafeteria and back all day long. We opted out of the boys house and either stayed in a hotel, or rented a place. Our daughter attended for a few years before our son was old enough so I was able to get housing leads with the local mothers. There are several hotels that have kitchenettes so you can pack lunches and snacks. Our son was 8 when he began going to CPYB and we just didn't feel he was ready to stay alone, or in a house with boys ranging in age from 10-ish to 20-ish. It is do-able, but we decided I would go along for the fist 3 summers(with two non dancing boys in tow - don't ask!). Then he started staying with a local dance buddy for his remaining summers in Carlisle. The local students tend to stay with the SI for the summer and not go away to other programs until their teens. (it's that good-take a look at how many CPYB alum are dancing in major companies all over the world)


Hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions. :thumbsup: Happy to share any of our experiences. Other SIs they moved on to around 14-15 etc.

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We did 1 week of August Experience with young dd (8) and agree with all of the above posters. DD has never worked so hard or looked so good dancing. Did one private lesson with Pat Sorrell. It's a really impressive and serious endeavor. We will go back and glad to hear that so many others find it comparable to the bigger SIs that DD cannot do right now. It really opened our eyes.

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That is another great suggestion, Learningdance. I always forget about the August program because we never did it, but my friends that have say it is wonderful and a smaller group. No housing for that program as I recall, but worth every minute of it. ~ especially the young ones. Thanks for adding that.

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CPYB sounds amazing. My son really needs strong technique training especially since he has hypermobile joints. Plus, I like the fact that everyone gets in and we wouldn't have to go through the whole audition process. Thank you so much for all of the information!

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Thanks so much for the info on CPYB. I hadn't even heard of it before but now that I have mentioned it to some people I have heard nothing but great things about it. Most people I have spoken with say that the 5 week program is the way to go for kids who take a lot of classes during the year as they didn't feel there was enough dancing in the August program - but still felt the training was excellent. We go back to school in early August in our area anyway so the August program wouldn't work for us anyway. Does anyone have any suggestions on a hotel in the area? Since my son is so young I would want to go with him so we would stay in a hotel or short term apartment. Thanks!

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