In its fifth year, Summer Dance Intensive draws worldwide talent

The Syracuse University Summer Dance Intensive, administered by University College and co-sponsored by SU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, has brought students from as far away as Europe and California to participate in one of the premier dance programs in the United States. Now in its fifth year, the students, ages 12 to 18, have the privilege of studying with internationally acclaimed teachers and guest artists during two- or three-week sessions.

Among the world-renowned faculty selected by artistic director Danita Emma is dance legend Madame Gabriela Darvash. A Kirov-trained teacher, Darvash was artistic director and resident choreographer for the State Opera Ballet in Romania and is now company teacher for the Alvin Ailey Dance Company. Momchil Mladenov, a former principal dancer with the National Ballet of Bulgaria and currently a principal dancer with Suzanne Farrell Ballet at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., will also instruct the students.

A highlight of the program will be a work choreographed by Kathryn Posin, a well-known choreographer whose works have been featured by many major ballet companies. Other distinguished faculty are Karen Brown, former principal dancer for the Dance Theater of Harlem; Michael Job, former principal dancer for the Boston Ballet; and Anthony Salatino of the Syracuse University Drama Department.

Held on the SU campus, the program prepares aspiring young dancers to meet the challenges of today’s dance world. Students take daily technique classes in ballet, modern and jazz in an intense conservatory environment. With its emphasis on technical growth and artistic performance, the Summer Dance Intensive provides a challenging experience for aspiring dancers. Evelyn Kocak, who just left the Staatsballett Berlin and joined the Pennsylvania Ballet, will be returning to SU’s Summer Dance Intensive for her fourth year. “All the instructors are encouraging, passionate and highly trained professionals, passing on their superb knowledge, experience and love of dance,” says Kocak. “The smaller class size enables the teachers to pay greater attention to each dancer, thereby creating a more personal atmosphere than some other programs. I’m especially happy and proud to have such high caliber training in my hometown of Syracuse.”

Eileen Coffman attended the Syracuse University Dance Intensive program in 2006 and went on to study at other summer dance intensives, including the American Academy of Ballet, the Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts and the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City. She will be returning to SU’s Summer Dance Intensive program this summer. “Unlike other programs, students attending this intensive aren’t treated as just another number in a class of 30 to 40 students,” says Coffman. “The instructors are highly knowledgeable, not only in various forms of dance technique, but in every aspect of a dancer’s success. They are endlessly devoted to helping each student reach that success. I am really excited to start this Summer Dance Intensive at SU and couldn’t be more confident that the training I’ll receive this summer will improve every level of my dancing, even beyond my own expectations.”

The program culminates in a public performance at Syracuse Stage on Saturday, July 31, at 1 p.m. The performance is free and open to the public.

For more information, visit the Summer Dance Intensive web site at