Summer Exploration: Training Program Students Venture Out

The power of knowledge is not just in knowing something, but in what you decide to do with it. This summer our current and newly graduated Training Program students have spread themselves out throughout the world with the hope of increasing their knowledge and bettering their art. Read more about four of their experiences at Springboard Danse Montreal, Jacob’s Pillow Dance, and the Cambrians Summer Intensive below.

Alejandro Perez

Hometown: Los Angeles

This summer I had the wonderful opportunity to be a part of The Jacob’s Pillow Ballet Program on a full scholarship. With no doubt I would say that it has been one of the best experiences I’ve had in my life yet. I had the opportunity to perform at the Ted Shawn Theatre as a part of the opening Gala for their 85th Anniversary, as well as on the famous Inside Out stage. This place surrounds you with a community like no other. From nature to the festival theaters to the people, there’s just no place like it. It’s a place where an artist can go to dream and be encouraged to create art. The energy that this historic landmark holds is simply fulfilling.


What was your daily schedule?

My daily schedule was generally from 9am-6pm. We would usually start with a ballet class in the morning then rehearse material for about two and half hours. After that we would eat lunch and then come back for another three hours to rehearse. We would usually end our days off with dinner and some type of meeting getting us ready for the next day.

I learned how important is it to value the past in order to better dance today. We should appreciate what came before us in order to make your present-day experience in dance flourish.

What was the most challenging part of the your experience at the Pillow?

The most challenging part for me was trying to keep my own voice in the midst of it all. Going into these summer programs, you meet so many other amazing dancers that it can be both discouraging and intimidating. I constantly kept reminding myself to stay true to who I am even if I wasn’t the best in the room.

I want to add that as an artist you must be self-motivated. Growing up, I didn’t have anyone to push me towards my goals aside from myself. My parents didn’t know anything about dance so I had to make my path clear for them and for myself. If the love you have for something is truly real then let the obstacles stopping you disappear.

Matisse Maitland

Hometown: Coquitlam, BC, Canada


Why did you want to go to Springboard? What were you hoping to learn/gain?

I wanted to go to Springboard because of the amazing opportunities it provides, from all of the available networking, to performing in excerpts and creations by renowned choreographers.

What was your daily schedule?

Every morning we would have a warm-up class in either ballet, Gaga, or contemporary. For the first week we would have a three-hour workshop with a different choreographer every day, where a casting panel would come through to decide which principal company we would be cast in for the next two weeks. For the second and third week that three hour block turned into rehearsals with our principal company. Additionally, there was an optional emerging choreographer piece you could be involved in, with those rehearsals at the end of the day. 

I learned again the importance of finding ways to grow as an artist while still staying true to a choreographers’ vision.

What was the best part of the intensive? What was the most challenging?

The best part of the intensive was probably getting to work with such a remarkable group of humans so closely. The most challenging part was rising to the caliber and expectation of the program.

Charlotte Keefe & Uma Shannon

Hometowns: Foster City, CA and Massachusetts respectively

What was the best part of the Cambrians Summer Intensive for you?

Charlotte Keefe (K): The best part was the people; that usually is the case for me. I made wonderful friends. I love building the close relationships of which dance allows. When you allow yourself to be vulnerable in front of/with others, you become very close very quickly.


Uma Shannon (S): I enjoyed myself the most on the final week of the first session. This was when we were asked to create and collaborate with each other, influenced by choreography and instruction from the past weeks. We took the space to create and navigate the intricacies of collaboration. This was also the most challenging experience for me.

What was your daily schedule?

In the morning we had a daily ballet class. It was followed by modern, then yoga, or improvisation classes. Our days ended with repertory classes or other workshops.

What did you learn about yourselves that you might not have known before attending the Cambrians Intensive?

K: I learned a new great way to make material with a partner. There was no talking. We just took turns adding our own step to the sequence until we had a phrase. We can remix, repeat, or retrograde the phrase to make even more material. It was a great choreographic technique!

S: I have never had much of an interest in the historical importance of modern dance, specifically Trisha Brown’s momentum-based movement vocabulary. Over the last three weeks The Cambrians workshop taught me to appreciate aspects of dance history, training, and philosophy that I had little interest in before.

It also expanded my understanding of momentum-based movement. The generosity and support from Ben Wardell, dancer, creator, and founder of The Cambrians, has been extraordinary. His instruction and knowledge of the body was a privilege to learn from. You can see and feel the love he puts into his the work, making any space zing with inspiring energy.


How has your experience studying with LINES for the past two years impacted your outlook on entering the dance world?

K: After graduating the LINES Ballet Training Program, I’ve learned the importance of patience and perseverance. Finding a job is a full time job, and I have to be open to everything while following a direction that I know interests me.

S: The information I received from Alonzo and the artists I learn and share with daily at LBTP, has inspired me to live in the present.

This is not a simple task but a life-long practice. I believe in the human spirit, but I also fear it. I must keep actively understanding and questioning our existence.

Cover photo and Alejandro’s photos by Christopher Duggan; Matisse’ photos by Jason Lam; Charlotte and Uma’s photos by Jason Lam and Rob Kunkle