2021 Summer Intensives: The Choice Between Virtual or In-Person Training

Photo Credit: Ballet West

As the primarily virtual 2021 Summer Intensive audition season winds down, many dancers are now facing the important decision of which program to attend. While quality of training is usually the number one determining factor in selecting an intensive, this year, an equally crucial aspect to consider is the safety of the program.

In-person training will pose some unique challenges this summer, as many programs are offering limited class sizes and requiring students to find their own housing to minimize group living.

Last summer, companies and schools were thrown into the virtual training ring, quickly adapting and maneuvering through a global pandemic. This year, however, school directors and teachers are significantly more prepared to offer high-quality training from studio to screen.

They’ve learned the ins and outs of Zoom, the ups and downs of poor Wifi connections, and the tips and tricks of a physically hands-off approach to teaching.

Whether you’re looking for an at-home or in-studio intensive, there are many options offered to best suit your needs. To make an informed decision, let’s take a look at some of the most popular intensives, their current plans for virtual or in-person training, and the safety protocols they’ve put into place. 

Virtual Ballet Summer Intensives 2021

American Ballet Theatre

  • ABT will hold Virtual Summer Intensives in 2021 with the potential for in-person Summer Intensives if possible.
  • Students will take a minimum of three classes per day, consisting of technique, pointe, and supplemental classes like modern, yoga, and dance history.
  • The decision to hold in-person Summer Intensives will be made in April 2021 with regard to local health guidelines as well as regulations of University partners where applicable. 
  • Students enrolled in the Virtual Summer Intensives will be given priority to enroll in the in-person Summer Intensives.

Dance Theatre of Harlem

      1. One-week Intensive: 7/6/2021 – 7/10/2021

      2. Two-week Intensive: 7/6/2021 – 7/16/2021

      3. Four-week Intensive: 7/6/2021 – 7/30/2021

Dance Theatre of Harlem Students Photo by Joseph Rodman, courtesy DTH
Students at Dance Theatre of Harlem Photo by Joseph Rodman, Courtesy of DTH

    School of American Ballet

    • The Young Dancer Virtual Workshop (ages 10-12) will take place virtually from August 2 – 13, 2021.
    • Classes will be held Monday through Friday with each level taking two classes between 12 and 4pm ET. 
    • Classes will include: Technique, Pointe, Pilates, and Cultural Education.

    Ballet West Virtual Academy

    • In addition to their in-person Summer Intensive (see below), Ballet West Academy also plans to host drop-in online classes throughout the summer.
    • These classes will be open for all with no ballet experience required. The program will be hosted on the existing Ballet West Virtual Academy.
    • Classes will not follow a series or an intensive format. Visit the online platform to purchase a virtual pass.

    Hybrid Ballet Summer Intensives 2021 

    The Washington Ballet

    • Washington’s Ballet Summer Program will offer both their Upper-Level 5-week program and the Lower Division (ages 8-12) Summer Intensive in either a fully in-studio training format or a fully virtual training format.
    • The Upper Level includes levels 4-9. (Upper, Pre-Professional, Trainee Divisions.) The 5-week Upper-Level program will culminate in a recorded performance to be shared with family and friends for both virtual and studio students.
    • The Lower Division (ages 8-12)  Summer Intensive includes classical ballet technique, jazz, and conditioning.
    • Housing: Not offered for students attending classes in person. 
    Julie Kent teaching pointe class. Photo by Mena Brunette, Courtesy Washington School of Ballet
    Julie Kent teaching pointe class. Photo by Mena Brunette, Courtesy Washington School of Ballet

    Houston Ballet

    • Houston Ballet Academy is offering smaller student-to-teacher-ratio summer training in either an in-person or all-virtual format.
    • Check out their Covid-19 Guidelines here.
    • Housing: To be Determined and/or not available.


      In Person Ballet Summer Intensives 2021

      The School of American Ballet

      • SAB’s Summer Course currently plans to hold an in-person, five-week intensive. The program is preparing to operate with rigorous health and safety guidelines in place, including mandatory distancing and mask-wearing. 
      • All levels will receive at least one two-hour daily technique class and additional daily classes in pointe, variations, partnering, character or ballroom. 
      • The plan for in-person training is dependent upon the progress of the pandemic and updates to public health policies.
      • Housing: Available in SAB's residency hall. SAB is projecting that CDC guidelines and state and local regulations will continue to mandate lower occupancy in our Residence Hall, and they are preparing to operate our 2021 summer programs with rigorous health and safety guidelines in place. 

      Joffrey Ballet

      • The Joffrey Academy Summer Intensives are planned to be held as scheduled and follow current health and safety protocols. Space in each program may be limited due to capacity restrictions. All program schedules subject to change.
      • The Academy is planning to hold all 2021 Summer Intensives in-person. Should it be required that programming transfer to a hybrid or virtual model due to COVID-19 restrictions, families will be informed of any changes.
      • There is currently no physical contact during class, including hand corrections and partnering. For safety reasons, there are currently no partnering classes planned within the Academy's curriculum.
      • Housing: Students are able to stay at the University Center's Residence Hall in a shared room with a shared suite bathroom. Because students will not be able to move into University Center housing early to quarantine for 10 days before the program start date, per the City of Chicago Emergency Travel Guidelines, students must be prepared to arrive with a negative Covid test result.

      Pacific Northwest Ballet School

      • Pacific Northwest Ballet School’s 2021 Summer Course is currently set to be fully in-person. 
      • There is a contingency plan in place for online training if state and local health guidelines and mandates deem it necessary.
      • Housing: Housing will be provided at Seattle Pacific University for a limited number of students if in-person classes are able to take place.
        Students in class at Pacific Northwest Ballet School's Summer Program. Angela Sterling, Courtesy PNB.
        Students in class at Pacific Northwest Ballet School's summer program. Angela Sterling, Courtesy PNB.

        San Francisco Ballet School

          • SF Ballet School plans to hold an in-person, 5-week Summer Session in 2021, utilizing the SF Ballet Studios and the new Bowes Center Dormitory just blocks away. 
          • SFBS expects that there will be continued guidance by the San Francisco Department of Public Health that may include including regular Covid testing, wearing masks in class, physical distancing, and smaller class sizes.
          • Housing: Chaperoned housing is available at the Bowes Center for the Performing Arts dormitory, located just a few blocks away from the SF Ballet studios. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided in the cafeteria. 

          Ballet West Academy

          • Students at the Ballet West Academy Summer Intensive will have the option to attend the full 5-week session or only attend the first 3-week session with a required 4 hours per day of in-person instruction.
          • Housing: Dual occupancy dorm-room with Breakfast & Dinner provided at the University of Utah.

          Miami City Ballet

          • MCB plans to hold a completely in-person intensive for students ages 12 to 18.
          • Miami City Ballet School will not be offering any housing options for the 2021 5-week Summer Intensive.
          • Housing: Miami City Ballet School will not be offering any housing options for the 2021 Summer Intensive.
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