Reflections of Summer Intensives 2019

At Neglia Ballet, when summer arrives it doesn’t mean ballet takes a vacation. In fact summer is an important time for intensive training. As an International Ballet Training Center, Neglia Ballet believes in providing students a variety of experiences to enhance their education and growth. That includes inviting students from Japan and Argentina to participate in our 5-week summer intensive program or leaving Buffalo to experience training in other parts of the country or the world.

In the summer of 2019, 3 of our Pre-Professional students experienced 3 different training programs on the West Coast, in Florida and abroad in Sicily, Italy. Here are some of their reflections:

Maggie Weatherdon: San Francisco

My experience at the San Francisco Ballet’s 2019 Summer Session was absolutely incredible! I spent 4 weeks over the month of July living in the dorms and dancing 6 days a week. I met some amazing friends and my roommates were great, which I found helped me to settle in better. We had 3 to 4 classes a day including technique, pointe and contemporary or pas de deux. On occasion we would also take a floor barre class and once a week we would have the dreaded conditioning class. The first week I was so sore and I felt like I could barely move by the end of the week. I’m not kidding when I say; literally everything hurt! The teachers I had were really helpful and gave many corrections, but I felt that they were more focused on the lower body. For example, they were always correcting turnout and lines of the legs or shape of the feet. I think that this is great, but I also feel that I am someone who would get more out of corrections pertaining to my upper body. Throughout the course of the program I was really thankful to have Sergio and Heidi as my teachers because they focus so much on artistry. Many of the faculty at San Francisco commented on the fact that I am able to express and make a step more exciting by the use of my port de bras and upper body. I felt very lucky to train at Neglia because I was able to set myself apart from the 24 other girls in my level and this allowed for many of the teachers to take notice of me. All of the classes were challenging and everyday I looked forward to learning more and more. I really enjoyed learning about the company and having the opportunity to take class with so many different teachers. Overall, my time in SF was amazing and I’m really happy to have made new connections and to have gained a deeper appreciation for the training I am getting at Neglia!


Mollie Gaughan: Sicily

The trip to Palermo, Sicily was two of the best weeks of my life and an experience that I will carry with me forever. I was taught by many different teachers from all over the world that each brought new perspectives on dance. I experienced many new and fun things, like, partnering and acting class. Other highlights of the trip were enjoying the amazing food and the beautiful beach. I made many new friends from Sicily, Spain, and other parts of America. I had some of the best times and laughs with the friends that I met and I developed a very close friendship with one of the Italians, Manuel. Going on this trip taught me independence and responsibility. I am truly grateful to Heidi to have had this experience and to be able to spend it all with my best friend, Ava. I made so many memories on this trip and I will never forget it. Spero di tornare presto! (I hope to return soon!)


Ava DiNicola: Sicily & Sarasota

Mollie & Ava with teacher Alexander Sergeev from Mariinsky

The two weeks I spent with Palermo Ballet Summer Intensive at Teatro Politeama gave me the opportunity to learn from instructors from all around the world and the various repertoires that they taught. During acting and contemporary partnering, I learned that there is much more to a ballet than just the technical aspects. It was amazing hearing from their experiences and advice that they shared. I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to come back and it made it all the more special to go with my best friend. I left with the memories of the friends I made in such a beautiful city! 








I also had the opportunity to spend three weeks with Sarasota Ballet in Florida. Besides the ballet, modern, and jazz classes, I took conditioning where I learned lots of cardio work and a theatre class where I could incorporate acting and dancing. It was also great to learn some Balanchine technique and hear stories about the teachers’ dance backgrounds. I enjoyed making new friends and dancing in the beautiful city of Sarasota! 

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