Forty-nine dancers from around the country have come to Butler University to participate in the second annual Summer Intensive, a three-week program designed to immerse 13- to 18-year-olds in the culture of dance.
On July 29 at 11:00 AM in Butler’s Schrott Center for the Arts, the public will be able to see what these dancers can do when they perform the ballet Don Quixote as well as jazz and modern works choreographed by the faculty members working on the Summer Intensive program.
Admission to the performance is free.
Butler Dance Professor Marek Cholewa, who oversees the summer program as Artistic Director, said the purpose of the intensive is to help students grow and develop as they prepare for the next stages in their dance education.
The dancers participate in classes from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM, Monday through Saturday. There is a strong focus on ballet, which is reflected in the ballet, pointe, partnering, and repertory classes. The students also take daily jazz, modern, and character classes, and all ballet, pointe, modern, character, and partnering classes include live accompanists.
There is even a physical therapist on site twice a week for the dancers to visit if needed.
This year, there are 49 female dancers, ages 12-17, participating in the intensive. Of those, 41 are out of state—coming from as far as California, Florida, and Connecticut. There are 43 who stay in Butler’s Residential College dorm and six who commute to campus every day.
“Students live here to immerse themselves in the culture,” Cholewa said. “We can talk about how we do things, but the best way for them to learn is when we work together.”
Four current Butler male dance majors, Nick Bentz, Francis Mihm, Graeham Toomey, and Nathaniel Tyson, also participate in the program so that the women have the opportunity to take partnering classes.
The faculty includes Butler Dance faculty members Cholewa, Derek Reid, and Susan McGuire, as well as adjunct professors Rosanna Ruffo, Monica Munoz, and Nick Owens.
The summer intensive is organized by the Butler Community Arts School and staff: Karen Thickstun, Director; Courtney Shelburne, Administrative Assistant; and Meredith Hunter-Mason, intern and current Dance major.