UBSI Challenges and Inspires Young Artists

12 June 2018 Published in News and Announcements
UBSI Challenges and Inspires Young Artists Photo By Nora Lang

The School of Dance will host the Utah Ballet Summer Intensive (UBSI), 4 weeks of training aimed at sharpening dancer’s skills while immersing participants in a six day a week program featuring classes offered by nationally and internationally renowned instructors. From June 18 to July 13, dancers will have a chance to learn from master teachers as well as U of U faculty and will gain insight into what life is like as a ballet major at the University of Utah. The dancers have been recruited on a national level, and range in age between 15 and 23. Participants include some first-year University of Utah Ballet majors, who typically participate in the intensive either the summer before or after their freshman year.

The intensive’s guest teachers range in background from professors at other universities to directors of companies. Maggie Wright Tesch, a School of Dance Ballet program Faculty member and organizer of UBSI, gives insight into the guest artists coming this year: 
“We want to expose students who take the program not only to potential work opportunities and the real-world level of training they will be required to have in this business, but also to some of the best teachers out there. And no, they are not of one training style and that is on purpose...dancers have to be able to adapt in order to work, so we strive to challenge dancers to move between teacher's styles with ease...eventually!”

UBSI’s guest artist list includes Susan JaffeVictoria MorganLauren AndersonKevin ThomasKatherin Baum-Hofer, Tamara KingElizabeth JohnsonJerry Opdenaker, and Anthony Krutzkamp, as well as School of Dance Faculty Members Maggie Wright TeschRob WoodJustine Sheedy-KramerLuc VanierRosie Banchero, and Christine Moore. Small class sizes insure personal attention from instructors for each UBSI participant.

The four-week intensive is designed to give students a taste of the curriculum offered by a University level Ballet Program, and to show what makes the U’s program unique. It is a great way to see if the U’s program is the right fit for training after high school.

“The biggest difference between our summer program and others is the amount of time spent in the area of creative research, which in our field is considered choreography” explains Tesch. “We bring in instructors who are experienced teachers of choreography and they spend time teaching the craft. The students aren't just choreographed on, as in most summer intensives, which has its value, and we do that as well, but we teach them the craft. That element of our profession is grossly overlooked in student's training below the university level.”

The summer intensive is meant to be rigorous, and to push dancers to learn and grow. Tesch explains that participants should come ready to dance, be prepared to be faced with a lot of new information and experiences in a short period of time. “Dancing in a university setting is just as challenging as any other pre-professional training program, but here, they will be working towards a degree. I hope they leave with a taste of how challenging our program is and how much they will learn and experience here, from classical work to contemporary, technique in both ballet as well as modern, African and jazz. We try to show what creating movement is. Not something to be afraid of, but another form of expression they should perhaps explore. Most young students are only ever told how to dance, or what steps to do and how.... We want them leaving with a small taste of how to find their own voice in dance through choreographic exploration and critical thinking skills.”