The renown Princeton Ballet School (PBS) puts Princeton on the map in the dance world. This premiere dance school was founded in 1954 by Audrée Estey. She established what is now called the American Repertory Ballet (ARB) in 1963 and appointed PBS as its official school.
One of the most acclaimed [dance schools] in the country.
Mary Pat Robertson started teaching at Princeton Ballet School in 1980, and took the helm as the School Director six years later. The Summer Intensive Program at PBS is one of the oldest programs. She titled the program Intensive Summer of Study in a brochure, and the phrase Summer Intensive began to spread like wildfire soon after. Robertson is also a Summer Intensive faculty member. She developed the syllabus with faculty input, and inaugurated the Professional Training Program and PLUS programs.
By securing live music in the classrooms, hiring high caliber faculty, embracing a nurturing philosophy, and having state-of-the-art studios, it’s no wonder that in 2007 the United States Congress cited Robertson for her 20+ years of leadership of Princeton Ballet School, and for its evolution into one of the most acclaimed (dance schools) in the country.
Students do not have enough time to dedicate to dance during the school year. Five weeks in the summer allows them to immerse themselves. The pool of students extend beyond the Greater Princeton Area. Both the Summer Intensive and Trainee programs are global.
Princeton Ballet School students are encouraged to do Summer Intensive at PBS for the first summer or so, and then they are dispersed throughout the country, while students from other locations come to PBS. It’s program is more selected than American Ballet Theatre’s program amongst others, and it very impressive on resume.
An intensive program can also make or break you in terms of a career. If it’s too demanding at this level, it is probably not the right choice for you professionally. PBS Summer Intensive truly provides a stepping stone to a professional career.
Douglas Martin joined ARB in 1993, and was appointed Artistic Director in 2010. He has just celebrated five complete seasons in this position, and starts his 23rd season at PBS/American Reparatory Ballet. He is also a faculty member of the Summer Intensive Program. Martin has been an integral part of the teaching staff at the Princeton Ballet School, and has also served as the School’s Music Director and ARBW Ballet Master.
The Princeton Ballet School is sharing the joy of dancing with a broader audience. Select Master Classes of the Summer Intensive Program were open to observers. Leading them were three impressive PBS alumni who are now working as professional dancers.
Michael Mindlin started dancing for audiences at the tender age of 10 in A Christmas Carol at McCarter Theatre as well as other theaters in the area. He has since performed on Broadway in Mamma Mia, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 9 to 5, Bring it On, and is now appearing in Disney’s Aladdin. Mindlin taught on July 13.
Semperoper Ballet solist Sarah Hay spent the summer away from Dresden, Germany. Hay has danced with North Carolina Dance Theatre, Los Angeles Ballet, and Pennsylvania Ballet, has appeared in the Hollywood blockbuster, Black Swan starring Natalie Portman. She is also the star of the new ballet TV drama series Flesh and Bone. Hay taught on July 17.
After attending PBS, Unity Phelan continued her training at the School of American Ballet, the official school of New York City Ballet. She is now a member of the corps de ballet after being an apprentice. She was spotlighted as a member of the corps de ballet in season 2, episode 1 of AOL’s City.Ballet., where they shared the news of her getting the opportunity to perform in Agon. Phelan taught from July 20 through 28.
Princeton Ballet School’s Summer Intensive 2015 ends with the performance An Evening of Dance on July 31 at 6:30 PM in the Berlind Theatre at McCarter Theatre Center. This year’s performance will include a variety of pieces, ranging from restaged excerpts from classical ballets to new works by Princeton Ballet School faculty members. Tickets are available for $27 here, and can be purchased until Thursday, July 30. They are not available at McCarter Theater.