How the American Ballet Theatre Works

American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive

Encouraging and nurturing young talent is one of the American Ballet Theatre's main missions. The ABT operates the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School in New York City, which offers classes for children and young dancers at a pre-professional level. The American Ballet Theatre also provides advance study programs for dance educators, including an ABT certification program. A partnership with New York University also enables dance educators to obtain a masters degree in dance education with a concentration in ballet education.

But it's ABT's Summer Intensive that inspires fear and awe among young dancers. Summer Intensive is probably the most intense -- and rewarding -- way to spend a school break. Young dancers take classes from current ABT members and alumni, along with renowned guest instructors. Classes range from pointe to hip-hop, with less physical subjects such as dance history and nutrition offered, too.

Summer Intensive at the ABT studios in New York City lasts for six weeks, but shorter programs are offered at various locations -- usually college campuses -- throughout the country. Costs vary depending on the location. The New York City program is more than $2,700, not including housing and food. At the other locations, students are housed and fed on campus. Scholarships are available to help with costs, however. The NYC Summer Intensive is designed for dancers age 12 through 22, while the programs in other areas have an age limit of 18. The ABT also offers a collegiate summer intensive and a young dancer summer intensive.

The young dancers, who are chosen by auditions -- either in person or through submitted DVDs -- take classes for about eight hours a day, Monday through Friday, with some electives and special programs scheduled on Saturdays.

For lots more information on dance and the arts, see the links below.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • American Ballet Theatre. "Welcome to the American Ballet Theatre." (April 14, 2010)
  • Anderson, Jack. "Through Modern American Ballet History with American Ballet Theatre." New York Theatre Wire. (April 14, 2010)
  • Dunning, Jennifer. "A Co-Director is Leaving the American Ballet Theatre." The New York Times. May 21, 1992. (April 14, 2010)
  • History of Ballet Positions. "History of the American Ballet Theatre." Feb. 10, 2008. (April 14, 2010)
  • The Internet Movie Database. "Plot Summary for Center Stage." (April 14, 2010)