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Ballet Academy East Creates Boys' Scholarship Program for Upcoming Academic Year

by Bonnie Rosenstock
August 21, 2013
Ballet Academy East
1651 Third Avenue, 3rd floor
New York, NY 10128
212-410-9140
Pre-Professional Ballet Division auditions for male students, ages 7-18, will be held on Wednesday, August 28 at 4:45 p.m., and Monday, September 16 at 5:30 p.m., at BAE. Girls' auditions will be held on the same dates. To apply to attend an audition, visit www.baenyc.com, click on "Pre-Professional Division" and follow online instructions; or call 212-410-9140; or send email to info@baenyc.com
Ballet Academy East is putting out a call to young males who want to pursue a professional career in ballet, inviting them to audition for eight full-year tuition scholarships to their Pre-Professional Ballet Division program, which runs from September 17, 2013 to June 22, 2014.

"Anyone can apply, whether there is need or not, but I hope students who need it will have the opportunity," said BAE founder and director Julia Dubno. "BAE has an exceptional faculty and curriculum with which to develop male dancers," she continued, "and we want to reach out to male students who otherwise might not have the opportunity to benefit from our training."

"BAE offers students the absolute best training in a healthy and nurturing environment, and the creation of this new program allows us to include more male students," stated Darla Hoover, Associate Artistic Director of the Pre-Professional Division.

BAE is looking for students with good physical facility, who also possess strong determination. "I should clarify that we aren't necessarily looking for perfect ballet bodies," said Dubno. "The training BAE students receive can develop a lot of those important qualities, such as turnout, flexibility and strength. We have had a number of male graduates of our program who did not start out with what is considered 'perfect facility' go on to successful professional careers."

The comprehensive BAE syllabus was created by Hoover, based on the teachings of Marcia Dale Weary, the artistic director of Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, where Hoover trained. It is designed to develop technically strong, expressive ballet dancers, who ultimately can adapt to any style. The curriculum includes technique classes, pointe, partnering, variations, stretch, men's weight training, modern and character. All teachers follow the syllabus, not only the vocabulary covered in each level, but also how it's broken down and taught, so there are "no holes," said Dubno. "Once they've reached Level 9, they are ready to audition. They have developed clean, strong technique with no mannerisms and not any one style, so they will be employable by any number of different companies," she said.

The Pre-Professional Ballet Division scholarships are open to boys from the lowest levels (that is, no prior experience) to those with training. The program consists of nine levels, based solely on ability. "However, we rarely have a 12-year-old in Level 1, unless it's a special case, that is, if the child shows a great deal of natural ability and would be able to progress quickly," said Dubno.

The Level 1 class is given seven days a week and averages 15 students per class. "We might have three teachers in the room, so there is a lot of hands-on work at that level," she said. "One way we might differ from the other excellent pre-professional programs for boys is that our program is smaller and, therefore, there is a great deal of individual attention placed on each student."

In the other levels, there are between 15 to 20 students. Students at any level are expected to take all the classes within their level and are welcome to take any classes at any levels below. "Often, when I come in on a Saturday morning in Level 3, I see students in Levels 6 to 9 who want to get that slow work in. It's wonderful to see that," she said.

The foundation for males and females is the same at the beginning, explained Dubno. But BAE maintains separate Level 1 boys' classes in order to give them the feeling of camaraderie. As the boys move up in level, they add partnering classes, weight training (the women take Pilates), and men's classes, where they work on the "manly steps" they need to master in order to be completely well-rounded performers. Those "manly steps" include double tours, coupe jetés and a variety of other bravura jumps.

Performing opportunities are an essential part of the training and career preparation. There are two performance seasons per year, in February and May, consisting of four performances each. Hoover as well as guest choreographers and dancers stage the ballets. Past guests included former American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Cynthia Gregory, who staged "Les Sylphides"; Margo Sappington, former Joffrey Ballet dancer and Tony and Drama Desk Award nominee for outstanding choreography; Daniel Ulbricht, principal dancer, New York City Ballet; Tom Gold, former NYCB soloist; and Rex Wheeler, dancer with the Sacramento Ballet. Former ABT principal dancer Cheryl Yeager, who is on the BAE faculty, recently presented the "Sleeping Beauty" prologue and coached all the fairies, which was staged by Roger Van Fleteren, Associate Artistic Director of the Alabama Ballet and former ABT dancer.

The normal cost of the program for the full academic year varies according to level. For example, for Level 1 students, required to take classes twice a week minimum, the cost is $2,500. Levels 6 to 9 study six days a week, and it is $7,950.

BAE's alumni include Chase Finlay, NYCB principal dancer; Ariel Rose, Miami City Ballet; Trevor Felixbrod, Alabama Ballet; Ian Bethany, Ballet Austin; Kendall Britt, Ballet Memphis; Alexander Castillo, soloist; Christopher McDaniel, Los Angeles Ballet; and Devon Carbone, Bavarian State Ballet II; among others. "We are very proud of our alumni and feel they represent BAE and the training here, probably better than anyone else," said Dubno.

In addition to the Pre-Professional Ballet Division, BAE also provides three other divisions. The Enrichment Program, ages 7 and up, is for those who wish to study ballet less intensively and does not require an audition for admission. The Young Dancer Division offers pre-ballet, creative movement, tap and modern from ages 18 months to 6 years. Open Classes are for adults of all levels, with the main focus on ballet. But they can also take tap, modern, jazz, Zumba, yoga and Pilates.

"The Pre-Ballet Program is an institution," said Dubno. "It is very large and successful, with about 1,200 students. If I see a little child walking down the street, they are either here or have been here."

Dubno declared that each of BAE's divisions is unique in its focus and personality. "But there is one thing they all have in common: a very gifted, dedicated and passionate faculty. I have been the director of BAE since 1979, and I truly love what I do. It is an honor to work with such talented people. It is a joy to see our students grow and flourish."
Current young BAE students: Tristan Massa (front)and Jimmy Chen. Both are entering level 3 in the fall, having just completed level 2.

Current young BAE students: Tristan Massa (front)and Jimmy Chen. Both are entering level 3 in the fall, having just completed level 2.

Photo © & courtesy of Rosalie O'Connor


BAE grads Trevor Felixbrod, currently a dancer with Alabama Ballet and Laura Wolfe, currently a dancer with Kansas City Ballet in Brian Reeder's 'Vivaldi Variations'.

BAE grads Trevor Felixbrod, currently a dancer with Alabama Ballet and Laura Wolfe, currently a dancer with Kansas City Ballet in Brian Reeder's "Vivaldi Variations".

Photo © & courtesy of Rosalie O'Connor


BAE grads Erica Pereira, currently a soloist with NYCB and Chase Finlay, currently a principal dancer at NYCB in 'Graduation Ball' staged by John Gardner.

BAE grads Erica Pereira, currently a soloist with NYCB and Chase Finlay, currently a principal dancer at NYCB in "Graduation Ball" staged by John Gardner.

Photo © & courtesy of Rosalie O'Connor


BAE alum Ariel Rose, currently a dancer with Miami City Ballet in Lew Christensen's 'Con Amore'.

BAE alum Ariel Rose, currently a dancer with Miami City Ballet in Lew Christensen's "Con Amore".

Photo © & courtesy of Rosalie O'Connor


BAE graduate Alexander Castillo, currently a soloist with Los Angeles Ballet and dancer Katie Kim in a BAE Studio Performance of 'Les Sylphides' staged by Cynthia Gregory, choreographed by Michel Fokine.

BAE graduate Alexander Castillo, currently a soloist with Los Angeles Ballet and dancer Katie Kim in a BAE Studio Performance of "Les Sylphides" staged by Cynthia Gregory, choreographed by Michel Fokine.

Photo © & courtesy of Nan Melville


Current BAE student, Alexandros Pappajohn in class.

Current BAE student, Alexandros Pappajohn in class.

Photo © & courtesy of Ellen Crane


Current BAE student Christopher Thompson in class.

Current BAE student Christopher Thompson in class.

Photo © & courtesy of Faith Williams

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