Rochelle Mendoza-Axle, Courtesy Stiskin

In today's dance world, versatility is key. It's not enough to be a master of one style—even when they specialize in one area, dancers are frequently asked to fuse multiple genres, or step out of their comfort zone for specific projects. With their wide variety of summer programs, Joffrey Ballet School aims to prepare dancers for the demands of a professional career. We asked five faculty members to share how they do this:

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Sponsored by Joffrey Ballet School
via joffreyballetschool.com

Summer is a great time to make new friends, broaden your horizons and get tons of dancing in at a summer intensive. As you get closer to college-age, it can also be a great time to get valuable information and extra training that can come in handy later when you're thinking about college auditions. With 19 summer programs running throughout the U.S. (plus a ballet intensive in Genoa, Italy, and a musical theater intensive in London), Joffrey Ballet School offers a wide variety of experiences that give you both top-notch dance training and a taste of what college life will be like:

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Sponsored by Joffrey Ballet School

Hi everyone! Have you recovered from your food coma yet? Me neither. Consider complementing your more-than-deserved feasting with some binge watching. Our current rec? AwesomenessTV's new show, which follows Joffrey Ballet School students as they audition to be part of the Joffrey Elite program. It premieres this Saturday, just in time to give you a reason for not leaving your bed. Watch it here!

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A show of hands: Who would absolutely freak out if they were offered an apprenticeship with Complexions Contemporary Ballet? How about a full-time position with the Joffrey Ballet Concert Group? If you're anything like us, just the thought of performing with these coveted companies has your heart beating like crazy. So take a moment—breathe—and let us tell you about an exciting new opportunity.

Are you up to the challenge? (Photo by Bround Creative, courtesy DanceOn)

DanceOn, the dance entertainment network that brought us the YouTube series "Dance School Diaries," launched a new contest today, along with the Joffrey Ballet School and Complexions, called Rise to the Challenge. The contest tests a dancer's ability to replicate a short phrase choreographed by Complexions' Desmond Richardson and JBS's Davis Robertson. Here's how it works:

  1. YouTube videos of the eight challenge movements will be released in two chunks. The first four videos went live TODAY (November 12).
  2. To enter, go the contest website and watch the four clips. (Bonus: This group of videos are demonstrated by gorgeous Complexions dancers. #Swoon)
  3. Find one you think you can replicate? Film yourself doing the movement and post it to YouTube with #RiseToJBSChallenge before the first half of the contest closes on November 26.
  4. DanceOn and JBS will choose one winner for each video.
  5. Look out for DanceOn's announcement of the first four winners on December 1 on the contest website.

If your not feelin' any of the first four movement challenges, don't fret. Another four videos will launch on December 3 and run until December 17, with the final four winners announced on December 22.

CEO of DanceOn Amanda Taylor let DS in on pro tip for contestants: "Even though we're asking you to recreate a phrase, we want to see originality. Think about things like music choice, emotional connection, costume—make creative choices to stand out."

OK now for the part you've been waiting for: the prizes. Each of the eight winners will receive a two-week scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet School Summer Intensive!

A chance to dance for Desmond Richardson? Yes, please. (Photo by Bround Creative, courtesy DanceOn)

But it doesn't end there folks. Remember how I was blabbing on about how exciting it would be to dance with Complexions or the Joffrey Concert Group? Well here's the kicker: Desmond Richardson will choose one grand prize winner (from the eight winners) to compete at the first ever Élite Dance Tournament in L.A., hosted by JBS and Complexions. The grand prize includes round trip airfare, four master classes and a chance to meet guest judge (you may have heard of him) Nigel Lythgoe.

One of the Élite Dance Tournament finalists will receive a Complexions apprenticeship, while another will receive a full-time paid position with the Joffrey Concert Group. But there are TONS of other prices to be earned, as well. According to artistic director of JBS Christopher D'Addario, there are over $100,000 worth of scholarships (including college scholarships) available! Check out the Élite Dance Tournament website for more info.

Phew. I think that pretty much sums it up! I'm exhausted just talking about all these incredible opportunities. So go ahead, pick your video, polish your moves, grab your camera (read: iPhone) and prepare to #RisetoJBSChallenge.

Dance News

NYC's renowned Joffrey Ballet School is turning 60 this year—and they're celebrating on dancemedia.com.

Now through October 28, JBS will be posting one new video a week on their own dancemedia.com channel. Each will give a behind-the-scenes peek at the school. You'll see mini-documentary films profiling students from the 2013 summer intensive, exclusive interviews with the school's top instructors, footage of JBS's pre-professional Concert Group and much more.

The first video, featuring the Concert Group performing at the 2013 Florence Dance Festival in Italy, is up now. Take a look—and visit the JBS channel each week for new installments!

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