The First International Ballet Summer Intensive Wraps up with Tremendous Success

September 03 2019
Students in training at the the Utah Asia Campus Studio | Photo by Momburim Photography Students in training at the the Utah Asia Campus Studio | Photo by Momburim Photography

by Molly Powers 

Ballet students from America and Korea gathered in Incheon, Korea in August for three weeks of rigorous ballet training and rehearsal in the state-of-the Art University of Utah Asia Campus studios. The International Ballet Summer Intensive, or IBSI, provides a unique opportunity for U of U students to pair high caliber training with travel and cultural exchange. School of Dance Professor Jay Kim created this program with a focus in Russian Vaganova ballet training and gathered a faculty whose careers span the globe in prestigious companies including Kirov/Mariinsky Theatre, Royal Swedish Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, Norwegian National Ballet, Zurich Ballet, National Ballet of Spain, Universal Ballet, Boston Ballet, and Tulsa Ballet Theatre. IBSI Directors Jay Kim and Oleg Vinogradov were joined by renowned international faculty Sasha Lunev, Dragos Mihalcea, Seh Yun Kim, Victoria Stocki, and Michelle Armstrong.  

The program came to a close on August 16 with a Gala performance that was attended by 1,600 Korean ballet fans. The evening highlighted the skills developed by students over the course of the Intensive, and included roles in variations, excerpts, and character dances from the classical ballets of Don Quixote, Swan Lake, Le Corsaire, and Paquita. Professor and IBSI General Director Jay Kim served as Master of Ceremony of the performance along with Oleg Vinogradov, former 23-year Artistic Director of the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg Russia, and three Korean national government representatives who enthusiastically spoke as key note speakers in support of the ballet event. The program also included a special performance by the fabulous breaking fusion dance crew “Heima”, who were Finalists on NBC’s World of Dance season 3.
68517612 107502437281959 6496481559569235968 nIBSI students and faculty on their Incheon Global Campus tour
Incoming U of U Freshman Megan Lynch is a double major in ballet and history, and was one of IBSI participants. When she was invited to attend the program she said she could not let the opportunity to study ballet abroad pass her by. “I enjoyed the diverse group of dancers,” she explained. “We had fun cultural exchanges happening every day inside and outside of class.” Days were filled with enriching training, says Lynch. “We started each day with a bit of conditioning before technique class, followed usually by Pointe, Variations or Men’s class, a lunch break, and then Gala rehearsal.” 

IBSI is not all work and no play; outside of the studio, students got the chance to visit Incheon and Seoul and enjoy Korean culture, history, fashion and cuisine. “Almost every night we are able to explore, and each Sunday we went to Seoul. Some of the most memorable places I have been to are Chintatown and the Sinpo International Market."

With the successful completion of the first summer of IBSI, Director Jay Kim is looking forward to the future of the program. “The Incheon, campus, and ballet communities were generous in their excitement and praise of the IBSI program and Gala acclaiming it as comparable to a professional company. It is very rewarding that success came to fruition after this past year of preparation and hard work in creating this program,” said Kim. “The fabulous facility, wonderful leadership, faculty, and training, combined with talented American and Korean students, within a culturally enriching environment, resulted in a very unique and high caliber educational experience. IBSI student feedback was overwhelmingly positive, expressing that it was an unforgettably enriching experience in their lives and ballet careers. We hope to continue to expand the program to many other countries in the future.” 

For more info about IBSI, visit dance.utah.ed/ibsi