Former dance stars lead Ballet’s Summer Intensive

Published 1:30 am Saturday, June 9, 2018

Fifty dancers have been studying with acclaimed dancers Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner, who returned to the Andalusia Ballet’s Summer Intensive for the second consecutive year.

McKerrow and Gardner are a husband-and-wife team who spent most of their stage careers with American Ballet Theatre in New York City. McKerrow joined ABT under the direction of Mikhail Baryshnikov in 1982, and became a principal dancer in 1987.

Gardner joined ABT in 1978, and was promoted to soloist in 1984.

The pair now travel and work as teachers and coaches.

“They have brought great energy to our classes,” Meryane Martin Murphy said. “We also have had several professional male dancers here with us.”

The guest dancers also bring an international flair to the program. There are two dancers from Columbia now dancing in the United States, a third who has dual citizenship in the Netherlands and the United States, and a fourth from Mobile.

Having guest professionals lifts the level of the intensive and provides an opportunity to do advanced partnering, Murphy said.

The older dancers learned a pas de deux from “Don Quixote,” and the younger dancers learned variations from the ballet, all of which was presented at the close of the session Friday evening.

Murphy expressed her appreciation to Kyle and Susan Gantt for hosting the guest dancers, and Tim and Katherine Dantz for hosting the teachers. The Dantzes also hosted an outing for students at their house on Gantt Lake.