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For aspiring ballerinas, summer intensives can provide a leg up




Ballet student Adele Hall stretches before a Level 6 class at Westside Ballet on Thursday, March 6, 2014. Hall was one of 90 students that tried out for Boston Ballet's summer intensive program in January at the Santa Monica dance studio.
Ballet student Adele Hall stretches before a Level 6 class at Westside Ballet on Thursday, March 6, 2014. Hall was one of 90 students that tried out for Boston Ballet's summer intensive program in January at the Santa Monica dance studio.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Ballet student Adele Hall stretches before a Level 6 class at Westside Ballet on Thursday, March 6, 2014. Hall was one of 90 students that tried out for Boston Ballet's summer intensive program in January at the Santa Monica dance studio.
Ballet students Allegra Davis, left, Girogia Zabriskie and Erin Power rehearse choreography during a class at Westside Ballet School in Santa Monica.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Ballet student Adele Hall stretches before a Level 6 class at Westside Ballet on Thursday, March 6, 2014. Hall was one of 90 students that tried out for Boston Ballet's summer intensive program in January at the Santa Monica dance studio.
Ballet student Allegra Davis takes part in a Level 6 class on Thursday March 6, 2014. The school first opened in 1967.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Ballet student Adele Hall stretches before a Level 6 class at Westside Ballet on Thursday, March 6, 2014. Hall was one of 90 students that tried out for Boston Ballet's summer intensive program in January at the Santa Monica dance studio.
Dancers rehearse to piano during a class at Westside School of Ballet.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Ballet student Adele Hall stretches before a Level 6 class at Westside Ballet on Thursday, March 6, 2014. Hall was one of 90 students that tried out for Boston Ballet's summer intensive program in January at the Santa Monica dance studio.
Ballet student Girogia Zabriskie puts toe pads inside her pointe shoes before an advanced class at Westside Ballet School. Broken toes and tendonitis are common in ballet.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Ballet student Adele Hall stretches before a Level 6 class at Westside Ballet on Thursday, March 6, 2014. Hall was one of 90 students that tried out for Boston Ballet's summer intensive program in January at the Santa Monica dance studio.
Ballet student Sofia Roshin takes part in an advanced class at Westside School of Ballet in Santa Monica. In 2012, 15,600 people were employed as dancers in the U.S. and those numbers are projected to grow less than 1 percent a year for the next 10 years.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC


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Minutes before her audition with Boston Ballet, 16-year-old Anna Barnes ran through her list of things to remember: Shoulders down, legs turned out, stretch. Oh, and keep the nerves in check.

"It's really hard," she said. "You can just go crazy in your mind and that never helps."

Barnes was one of about 90 aspiring dancers who gathered at Westside Ballet in
Santa Monica in late January to try out for Boston Ballet's summer intensive program.

Summer intensives, which run for several weeks at ballet companies across the country, are seen as a critical stepping stone for young dancers wanting make it in the ultra competitive professional ballet world. 

KPCC's Mary Plummer has the story