Over 200 Student Dancers Head to Pittsburgh for Intensive Summer Program


Starting in June, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School curriculum gets intense. More than 200 students will come to Pittsburgh from 31 states and four countries to train in PBT School’s 2015 Intensive Summer Program (ISP) and Company Experience Workshop at PBT Studios in the Strip District.

When the company’s main-stage performance season winds down, PBT School ramps up with two programs designed for professional-track ballet students seeking an immersive training experience. The summer begins June 8-19, with The Company Experience, a two-week workshop emulating a professional dancer’s daily rehearsal routine. From daily technique class to learning classical and original repertory, 80 students will train eight hours a day with Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr, Ballet Master Steven Annegarn, Ballet Mistress Marianna Tcherkassky and company dancers, including principals Julia Erickson, Yoshiaki Nakano, Alexandra Kochis and Christopher Budzynski; soloists Gabrielle Thurlow, Luca Sbrizzi and Alejandro Diaz; and Corps de Ballet members Caitlin Peabody and William Moore.

Then from June 22, to July 25, PBT School’s five-week Intensive Summer Program fills all five dance studios with a vigorous dance curriculum for 209 students from ages 12 to 22. Under the direction of PBT School Co-directors Marjorie Grundvig and Dennis Marshall and PBT Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr, the students train six days a week with PBT School faculty and distinguished guest teachers in classes including technique, pointe, partnering, repertoire and contemporary dance.  In between, they’ll have access to PBT’s Pilates studio and enrichment clinics, including workshops on nutrition, injury prevention and stress management.

“These programs give students the opportunity to really focus in on honing their technique and deepening their understanding of what it takes to dance professionally,” said PBT School Co-director Marjorie Grundvig. “They meet other students from across the country and around the world who share their sense of commitment and passion for their art form. The creative energy can make it a really transformative experience for young dancers.”

Throughout the program, the students will lodge at Byham House, PBT’s student residence in Lawrenceville, as well as residence halls on the Chatham University campus. When they’re not in the studio, students will have the chance to explore the city and take part in excursions to Pittsburgh attractions. The program culminates July 24, and 25, with a friends-and-family studio showcase featuring ISP students dancing the repertoire they’ve learned throughout the summer.

Each year, PBT School embarks on a nation-wide ISP audition tour, which draws more than 700 candidates from around the country and a number of international students who audition by video. Following the summer program, many ISP students return to PBT School to continue their training during the regular school year. PBT School’s 2014-2015 enrollment included 55 out-of-state students and 11 international students, who have relocated to Pittsburgh to enroll in the full-time High School and Graduate programs of PBT School’s Pre-Professional Division.

About Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School

Under the direction of PBT Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr and School Co-Directors Marjorie Grundvig and Dennis Marshall, PBT School provides a diverse dance curriculum to 1,000 students annually across its Children’s, Student, Pre-Professional and Adult Open Divisions.  Ranging from pre-ballet to Pre-Professional, PBT School fosters the expression, discipline and joy of ballet at every level and cultivates the next generation of professional dancers. Strengthened by daily exposure to the professional company, PBT School students experience training that extends from the studio to main-stage performance opportunities in PBT productions at the Benedum Center.