For a 25th 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.

Held at Hope since 1995, the summer school will culminate with two concerts on Saturday, July 20, at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. at the Knickerbocker Theatre, located in downtown Holland at 86 E. Eighth St. The public is invited to the performances, and admission is free.

The students arrived on Sunday, July 7, for a program that is running through July 20 at multiple locations on Hope’s campus as well as at the Holland Area Arts Council.

About 250 dance students, instructors, counselors, and artists are participating in the summer school. The students, ranging in age from 11 to 18, come from throughout the United States. The faculty consists of prominent ballet professionals.

The Cecchetti Council of America is dedicated to maintain 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 summer school is designed to strengthen the technique, broaden the perspective and develop artistry of students.  The curriculum includes classical ballet, pointe, variation, pas de deux, jazz and a performance workshop, and 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 rehearsal. The summer school also includes a training program for men in addition to the regular daily classes, a seminar for teachers, and a diploma course for professional ballet students, dancers and teachers.