Kansas City Ballet's Summer Intensive is unlike any other

KANSAS CITY - The Kansas City Ballet's Summer Intensive certainly lives up to its name.

"We dance all day long," said dancer Jenna McCoy. "Don't get too many breaks."

Girls and guys ranging in age from 12 to 22 come to Kansas City from all over the country each summer.

"There's so many different teachers here," said McCoy, who is from Oklahoma City. "We get a wide variety of backgrounds that teach us. So it's really interesting to get different perspectives from people."

It's essentially summer school for some of the country's brightest, up-and-coming ballet hopefuls.

"It's very tough to where you walk in everyday feeling like you're not the best or what you did yesterday could be better than what you did," said student Dajuan Lashan Johnson, who is from St. Louis.

Some of the students are recruited with scholarships. Others pay to be here.

Just about all of them leave the five-week program one step closer to a career in ballet.

"To be able to use my life experience and be able to share that with these young bright students is an amazing and fulfilling thing," said the school's director Grace Holmes.

The students learn a wide variety of styles and techniques, from Jazz to even Hip Hop.

"We have the most amazing students," said Holmes. "They're all happy and driving themselves."

On the road to a ballet career, drive and determination is what takes to make sure their next dance isn't their last.

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Justin Wilfon can be reached at justin.wilfon@kshb.com.

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