June 2021 Carmel\u2019s own Indiana Ballet Conservatory (IBC) is pleased to have students returning to its Summer Intensive\u2014an eight-week program designed to give serious students a well-rounded dance education and exposure to the Vaganova-based curriculum provided by IBC. Taught by world-class instructors in a professional atmosphere, IBC\u2019s Summer Intensive program will allow students to experience the training that has consistently won awards and recognition in the ballet world. IBC\u2019s Summer Intensive program has quickly grown into one of the most well-regarded and sought-after summer programs for career-minded students. A Brief Overview of IBC IBC was founded in 2010 by Artistic Director Alyona Yakovleva-Randall. IBC\u2019s mission as a preprofessional ballet school is to be committed to providing the best classical ballet training to its students and launching the next generation of dancers onto the world stage. IBC students continually place in top positions in national and international competitions and pursue professional careers in dance throughout the globe. Alyona Yakovleva-Randall Surviving the Unexpected With the generosity of its current students\u2019 and alumni\u2019s families, as well as supporters from throughout the community, Yakovleva-Randall shared that she was able to keep the school\u2019s operations running throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Swan Software Solutions, Harlan Foundation, the Griskie Family Foundation and the Wildshore Foundation are some of IBC\u2019s most committed donors who have helped to keep IBC\u2019s mission moving forward with little pause but a great deal of innovate thinking and flexibility on the parts of both the instructors and students. With safety at the forefront of its classes, IBC was able to transfer from online Zoom instruction back to in-person instruction in its studio. Yakovleva-Randall emphasized that she and her staff continue to work with county and state health officials as the pandemic restrictions become more relaxed and as more people become vaccinated. IBC continues to regularly test for COVID-19 among those who have not been vaccinated and follows all of the current recommended social distancing and disinfecting protocols. Innovative and Inspired Thinking IBC proudly presented its annual Summer Gala in 2020, safely outside on the Connor Prairie stage, and is excited to be returning to Conner Prairie for this year\u2019s Summer Gala 2021 at the conclusion of its Summer Intensive program. Devout fans of IBC\u2019s performances may recall that prior to 2020, IBC had collaborated with the Center for the Performing Arts and presented its beloved \u201cThe Nutcracker\u201d in the majestic hall of the Palladium. Obviously, with the pandemic numbers surging last fall\/winter, IBC was unable to perform in that venue but pivoted its programming so that it could perform at its studio for three scaled-down audiences comprised of family members of the students. Yakovleva-Randall has reassured her patrons that IBC has secured the dates of Nov. 27\u201328 for \u201cThe Nutcracker\u201d and is thrilled beyond measure to be performing again at the Palladium! That being said, it was still a significant revenue loss for IBC. So, in February and March of 2021, Yakovleva-Randall and her staff rearranged their studio into a \u201cblack box theater\u201d for performances that showcased contemporary pieces inspired by Shakespearean sonnets as fundraisers for IBC. \u201cWe had great support from our current families, our alumni and our generous donors and foundations,\u201d Yakovleva-Randall shared. \u201cThis is how we survived, financially. And I truly, truly appreciate it.\u201d The Importance of In-Person Instruction IBC moved from its traditional in-person, in-studio instruction to a virtual platform during last year\u2019s governor-ordered shutdown as a direct result of the pandemic. Yakovleva-Randall explained that while student participation was \u201cgreat,\u201d it does not equally replace the benefits of in-person instruction. \u201cWe survived the Zoom teaching,\u201d Yakovleva-Randall said. \u201cAnd as we were in very close communication with the health departments, we slowly reopened our studio, beginning with one-on-one private lessons. We\u2019ve been lucky enough to operate without a complete stop, and none of our students quit the professional program.\u201d With the pandemic restrictions relaxing, IBC is thrilled to be able to operate its Summer Intensive program in person, which is not only better for the students\u2014it\u2019s safer. \u201cMy students adapted to the different training on Zoom and were able to keep themselves in shape,\u201d Yakovleva-Randall said. \u201cThe dancers need a full barre observation with a mirror and space. For actors and musicians, it\u2019s a different story. You can sing and practice lines in your kitchen, but it is dangerous to try to do pointe work. With in-person instruction, we can see the students\u2019 muscles and observe everything at 100%. Instruction through a computer, it\u2019s at 50%. You can see the body, but you don\u2019t see the details of the muscles moving.\u201d For more information on IBC\u2019s 2021 Summer Intensive Program and its upcoming performances, visit indianaballetconservatory.org.