For a 12th year, young dancers are spending two weeks at Hope College advancing their artistic talent through the International Summer School of the Cecchetti Council of America.

The summer school will culminate with two concerts on Saturday, July 22, at noon and 1:30 p.m., at the Knickerbocker Theatre, located in downtown Holland at 86 E. 8th St. The public is invited to the concerts, and admission is free.

The students arrived on Sunday, July 9, for a program that is running through July 22 at multiple locations throughout campus as well as at the Holland Area Arts Council.

About 275 dance students, instructors and artists are participating in the summer school. The students, ranging in age from 11 to 22, come from throughout the United States. The faculty consists of prominent ballet professionals.

The Cecchetti Council of America is dedicated to maintaining the standards and method of ballet training established by Enrico Cecchetti, who lived from 1850 to 1928. The organization uses his teaching and writings in a sequence of grades, measured by degree of difficulty and physical development, and provides a system of accredited examinations to test each student's proficiency within the grade levels. The council began in 1939 as a committee of the Dance Masters of Michigan, and was incorporated as a nonprofit educational association in 1951.

The summer school's curriculum includes classical ballet, pointe, variation, pas de deux, character, jazz, improvisation, mime and a performance workshop, with lecture topics including dance history, nutrition, and injury prevention and care. The students' daily activities include two ballet technique classes, one dance-related class and one performance-related rehearsal. The summer school has been held at Hope since 1995.