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International Ballet Intensive to perform at Brenau
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Dancers will take to the stage 7 p.m. July 20 at Brenau University’s Hosch Theater for a performance to conclude the International Ballet Intensive Summer Dance Program. Photo courtesy International Ballet Intensive.

Young dancers will take to the stage 7 p.m. July 20 at Brenau University’s Hosch Theater for a performance to conclude the International Ballet Intensive Summer Dance Program.

“It’s an exciting performance and it showcases our students’ wide variety of talent and ability,” said Carrie Preus, residence hall coordinator and marketing coordinator for IBI. “It will give the audience a sense of the depth and breadth that is available in the dance community.” 

The dancers, who range in age from 13 to 18 years old, have come from across the country and even the world to participate in a four-week program at Brenau University that leads to the final performance.

“It’s just a neat opportunity to see outside dancers and outside choreographers come and set work here in Gainesville,” she said about the performance, mentioning they have had students from Florida all the way to Bulgaria in the past as well as several international instructors.

This year’s show, which will roughly last an hour and 20 minutes, will include one classical ballet, one neoclassical ballet, one jazz and one contemporary piece.

Preus said the classical ballet will feature excerpts from “Giselle,” while the neoclassical ballet will demonstrate a little bit of a different style. 

“A neoclassical ballet is a ballet that was performed in the early 20th century,” she said. “The lines are longer (and) the steps are a little bit quicker and faster compared to the classical ballet.” 

As for the contemporary piece, it will showcase the dancers’ skills as they perform en pointe.

“Contemporary ballet is a mix between ballet and modern dance,” she said. “And the choreographer has added the pointe shoe to give it more complexity, and it’s technically harder.” 

The night’s performance will include traditional character dances. 

“Character dance isn’t traditionally taught in American ballet school, and it’s becoming almost a lost dance art form,” she said. “It’s a really useful tool for our students, because if they ever ask to do a character-type role they’ll have the skills underneath their belt to be able to perform. They’re demonstrating a wide variety of different character forms and styles set to a really intricate piece of choreography.” 

Danita Emma, founder and director of IBI, said all the students were selected through an application process. 

“We have auditions,” she said. “You have to be talented. And also, it’s a conservatory atmosphere, so they have to be able to live in that atmosphere and environment. Quality is very important to me — the quality of dancer, the quality of teacher.” 

Emma founded IBI six years ago for “dancers who have a professional interest.” 

“I started this summer program because I have taught for a very long time and been part of many summer intensives and many professional ballet schools and companies,” she said. “What I found was that in the summer, there were like 30 to 35 and sometimes 40 kids in class. I decided that I was going to ceiling off the classes, and there’s usually no more than 17 in a class. That way, we’re able to give more individual attention and coaching to the dancer.”

She said the summer program’s final performance will entertain everyone.

“Children would love it and adults would love it,” she said. “It’s just for all ages.”

Tickets for general sitting can be purchased at the door one hour before the performance. 

International Ballet Intensive Gala Performance 

When: 7 p.m. July 20

Where: Brenau University’s Hosch Theatre, 429 Academy St. NE, Gainesville

How much: $12 for adults; $9 for seniors and students; free for children under 7 

More info: 706-833-6805,