Atlanta Ballet Welcomes Dancers for Summer Intensive

Anderson Souza leading Summer Intensive class. Photo by Amber Times.

Things have gotten rather lively at Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education this week, as young dancers from across the country and globe fill the hallways and dance studios of the Michael C. Carlos Dance Centre for the start of the summer intensive professional training program. After showcasing their talents at auditions across the country, these select students will sharpen their skills with high-level classical ballet technique combined with the exploration of other dance styles and genres, such as musical theatre and hip hop, as well as wellness workshops.

Throughout the years, the Atlanta Ballet summer intensive program has evolved from a pure focus on technique to providing experiences that will prepare students for the rigors of potentially becoming a professional dancer. At the heart of the program, the summer intensive faculty are invested in the dancers’ self-discovery. Dancers take a variety of classes, rehearsals, and repertory, followed by a performance at the end of each program, giving them an opportunity to showcase their talents and progress of the past few weeks.

The summer intensive also provides a direct pathway for young dancers interested in a career in dance. Not only is it a wonderful platform for students to gain professional contacts and to network in the arts, but it also gives them the opportunity to potentially launch their career on the pre-professional track. The summer intensive serves as a natural recruiting ground, with multiple alumni graduating to Atlanta Ballet 2 and eventually, Atlanta Ballet. In fact, this was the pathway followed by Atlanta Ballet dancer, Brooke Gilliam.

Atlanta Ballet Dancers_Brooke Gilliam & Patric Palkens_Corridors_(c)Shoccara Marcus_2024_0676-min
Brooke Gilliam and Patric Palkens in a performance of Corridors, choreographed by Garret Smith. Photo by Shoccara Marcus.

After attending the intensive for two summers, Gilliam was offered a merit scholarship to the Conservatory Program, which is now currently Academy VI. From there, Gilliam was invited to join Atlanta Ballet's second company, Atlanta Ballet 2, eventually moving onto Atlanta Ballet. Now in her sixth season with Atlanta Ballet, she has progressed from learning ballets in the summer intensive program to performing them as a professional dancer to teaching them to the next generation of dancers.