At Charlotte Ballet, we recognize that a student’s transition from the academic training setting to the world of professional dance is a vital point in the journey of a dancer. Our Pre-Professional Division is designed to support and grow dancers during this critical and exciting time.

We asked Academy faculty members Kati Hanlon Mayo and Anita Paclowski-Justo more about the program and how our 2019 Summer Intensive can bring students to train at Charlotte Ballet year round.

How are students admitted into the pre-professional division?

Anita Pacylowski-Justo (APJ): Pre-Professional Division students are recruited from Charlotte Ballet’s Summer Intensive, as well as our own Academy. The Academy uses the Summer Intensive as a time to evaluate dancers for acceptance into our year-round training programs at the Trainee and Senior Trainee levels. Sometimes we are able to audition students via video, if there is space available in the program.

What is unique about the training students receive in the pre-professional division?

APJ: The purpose of our Pre-Professional program is to provide a transitional experience for dancers as they move from the academic ballet setting to the world of professional dance. It is also an opportunity to increase the stylistic range and versatility of a dancer by exposing them to a variety of dance styles in class, rehearsals and performances. Students in this Division are primarily training for professional performing careers in classical ballet or modern dance, but are also encouraged to pursue their interests in teaching and choreography.

Kati Hanlon Mayo (KHM): The training at Charlotte Ballet is lead by a team of instructors who emphasize strong classical ballet training coupled with exposure to cutting edge choreography and styles unique to Charlotte Ballet. We want our dancers to be well rounded and experienced in adapting to diverse styles in order to prepare them for a successful career in the ballet world today.

What is unique about the Summer Intensive?

APJ: It is the perfect pairing. Strong technique classes with performance opportunities in multiple styles: Ballet, Jazz and Contemporary/Modern. Technique classes with Charlotte Ballet faculty along with guest teachers that bring their wealth of history from their professional careers paths into their teaching methods to a pool of dedicated students from different locations/schools.

KHM: Our Summer Intensive not only focuses on refining and strengthening each dancer’s technique but we also offer a Summer Repertory Performance at the end of our program in our studio theatre. This performance experience is similar to that of a professional dancer. Throughout the 5 week Intensive the dancers rehearse with several choreographers in a variety of classical and contemporary styles and  perform with full costumes, lighting and sets.

What should students look for in their summer intensives and how does Charlotte Ballet provide these things?

APJ: Excellent faculty and artistic leadership. Summer can be a time when the mind and body receptors are ready for the maximum capacity of information. It is like a sponge. Students crave full days and instruction from a variety of teachers. Soaking all the information they can and then letting the length of the program to build the repetition essential for the student to be able to apply. I always witness growth in student after the summer is complete and they return to their home studios/academies. The mind, body and spirit has processed all that wonderful knowledge and it gives them a great springboard for the year.

How can the Charlotte Ballet summer intensive help students achieve the ultimate goal of becoming a professional dancer?

KHM: We really hope our Summer Intensive not only helps each dancer to improve individually through personal corrections, coaching and feedback from our instructors, but we also want them to experience pushing beyond their conceived artistic limits in new choreography, similar to that of a professional dancer’s daily life experience.

What is most beneficial about the Summer Intensive and the Pre-Professional Division?

KHM: I would say the most beneficial part of the Summer Intensive is the experience and knowledge of our instructors coupled with their ability to encourage and support each dancer. Similarly, in our Pre-Professional Division our instructors support each individual dancer in their journey to improve while also encouraging them to be their best selves as artists and individuals.

Anything else that prospective students should know?

APJ: We (your training team) are looking for enthusiasm, fierce focus and a kind-of-individuality that allows us to help the student uncover their own unique gifts. This comes from being brave and being able to feel okay messing up and try new ideas.