Making the Leap from Student to Artist at Mason’s Summer Dance Intensive
By Catherine Probst Ferraro
Mason’s School of Dance faculty members have made their careers working with world-renowned dancers such as George Balanchine, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Mark Morris.
Hoping to share the skills they’ve learned with other aspiring artists, the School of Dance will welcome dancers from across the country to its first summer dance intensive, SummerDance. The dance intensive takes place from July 15 through 29 on Mason’s Fairfax Campus.
The intensive is designed to help intermediate and advanced dancers between the ages of 16 and 22 who are interested in developing their skills as they pursue professional careers in dance.
“This dance intensive is different from other dance programs because we are focusing on serious dancers who want to increase their level of artistry,” says Elizabeth Price, the school’s director. “The goal of the dance intensive reflects the overall mission of the School of Dance—to work with each individual student on improving his or her skills and talent.”
Christopher d’Amboise, Heritage Professor of Dance, spearheaded the development of programming and classes for the summer intensive.
He has observed that the recent trend in college dance programs is to invite professional dancers to campus to work with students for an extended period of time. But with the combined years of experience and talent of Mason’s dance faculty, it made sense for the school to host its own intensive.
“All of the [Mason] faculty have had professional careers with extraordinary artists and have performed extensively all over the world,” says d’Amboise. “We are all very excited about the opportunity to mentor younger students in the finer art of performing.”
Enrollment is limited to 30 students. Throughout the two weeks, students will participate in a variety of classes an have the opportunity to take lessons in modern dance, world dance, ballet, and jazz.
According to Price and d’Amboise, several specially designed classes will also be offered during the intensive. One of these classes is the Art of the Solo, which is designed to help students stand out from the crowd and show off their abilities. In this class, students will work one-on-one with a faculty member to compose a solo performance that showcases his/her individual style. At the completion of the class, students will create a personal DVD of their work.
Another special class being offered is the Art of the Audition. In this class, students will under go a mock audition and receive tips and techniques to help present themselves in the best light.
Students will also be able to immerse themselves in the Mason community by taking advantage of many of the campus facilities. They will stay in the Chesapeake residence halls and take classes in the de Laski Performing Arts Building. Meanwhile, their families can stay at the Mason Inn Conference Center and Hotel, eat at Southside dining facility, and use the Aquatic and Fitness Center.
The intensive will culminate with a performance by the students in the Harris Theater.
According to Price, students in Mason’s dance program are very excited about summer intensive and the opportunity to share their experiences with others.
“It’s a very exciting time for our dance program, and we hope the summer intensive will help spread the word about our nationally recognized program,” says Price.
This article originally appeared on the university’s News site.
To read more stories about Mason, check out the university’s News site.