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Dance intensives
Schools offer summer programs for students

The intensive is a tradition in dance. Students spend hours with a dance professional, learning new steps and gaining knowledge of the dance world from someone who has experienced it. It truly is an intense experience, but one that helps students increase their knowledge and develop their proficiency.

The Academy of Dance on Montgomery Cross Road is Savannah’s newest school of dance, but it already has its own summer intensive. Founder and director Paula Fichtenkort has brought professional dancers William Moore and Sylvia Dansby to town to teach a summer intensive for her students that began July 30 and will continue through Aug. 17.

“I want to bring in people to give the children a chance to get better,” Fichtenkort says. “They can do things in the summer they don’t have time for during the rest of the year.” Classes run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. “They really get a lot out of it,” Fichtenkort says. “They don’t have school work to worry about, so they are clear to dance.”

Moore was 14 years old when he began dance training. In 2003, he joined the Columbia Classical Ballet. He’s won numerous gold and silver medals in competition.

Dansby was formerly with the Columbia City Ballet and still does guest performances there, and Moore joined the company in 2006. He has performed in Off the Wall & Onto the Stage: Dancing the Art of Jonathan Green, The Lion King of Mali, Frankenstein and The Nutcracker.

Fichtenkort’s students have seen Moore on stage. “The girls just loved watching him perform,” Fichtenkort says. “He’s an extremely good jumper. They saw him in The Nutcracker and Off the Wall.”

Students in advanced classes sometimes search out intensives with large professional dance companies. Three of Fichtenkort’s students, Amanda Edwards, Lily Stephens and Evan McGaughey, recently completed an intensive ballet program with the Atlanta Ballet.

The Academy of Dance isn’t the only school to host an intensive. The STUDIO at 2805b Roger Lacey Ave. will a summer ballet intensive with Kristin Sloan of the New York City Ballet Aug. 6-15 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“Most of my students are pretty professional,” says director Veronica Moretti Niebuhr. “They’re looking to become dancers.”

The intensive allows the students to spend a large block of time with Sloan. “They’ll be dancing all day, learning technique, plus working with someone who will teach them some of Balanchine’s repertoire,” Niebuhr says. “It gives them a lot of self confidence.”

In addition to the intensive, Niebuhr’s students will be taking part in a master class

with Sayat Asatryan and Olga Tchekakova, formerly of the Bolshoi Ballet. It will be held Aug. 17 with a children’s class for ages 7-9 and an intermediate-advanced class.

Asatryan and Tchekakova live in St. Barbara, Calif. part of the year and St. Simons Island on the Georgia coast the rest of the year. “I’ve known them a number of years,” Niebuhr says.

“This will be a nice opportunity to work with them,” she says. “They are doing a children’s class this time, and the Russians take a different approach with children’s classes.

“They really focus on body conditioning when the children are younger,” Niebuhr says. “It’s a little more intense.

“Here, we see ballet as a recreational-type thing,” she says. “My goal is to give my girls as much experience as I can so they can grow and become better dancers.”

For information about The Academy of Dance, call 921-2190. The fall term begins Sept. 6. For information about the STUDIO, call 695-9149. A summer ballet intensive with Kristin Sloan of the New York City Ballet will be held Aug. 6-15 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The drop-in rate is $85 per day. A master class with Sayat Asatryan and Olga Tchekakova, formerly of the Bolshoi Ballet, will be held Aug. 17. A children’s class for ages 7-9 will be held from 4-5 p.m. and will cost $20 and the intermediate-advanced class will be from 5-7 p.m. at a cost of $30.