The Russian Vaganova method of training is used in the education of the dancer. Noted for its logical development and graceful artistry, it is a scientific system that steadily builds and develops strength and precision through the progressive introduction of difficult movements. The emphasis on artistry adds beauty and dimension to strength and skill. Students benefit from increased energy, coordination, flexibility, confidence, and improved posture and stamina. This method was originated, developed and perfected in the professional ballet schools of the Soviet Union, producing dancers like the famous Rudolph Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Natalia Makarova, Maya Plisetskaya, and Nina Ananiashvili.
Summer Hamille began teaching the Vaganova method (Russian style) of ballet over 30 years ago at the school for the Branitski Ballet Company in Minneapolis. She later taught at the American School of Russian Classical Ballet for three years developing dancers from the teen through adult ages. She moved on to the Summit School of Dance where she was the principal instructor responsible for building and expanding its ballet program. During the seven years of her employment there she developed the ballet offerings from only six hour-long ballet classes per week at one studio to full-fledged (90 minutes) leveled programs at two studios with a variety of classes meeting daily to fulfill the demands and interests of the students. She also directed a student performing group – choreographing new works and setting classical ballets on the dancers.
Upon moving to Wisconsin in 1999 she taught for the Wisconsin Academy of Ballet (Spring Green) and the Monona Academy of Dance (in Monroe) for a season before opening the Southwest Academy of Ballet Arts in June 2000.
Summer has performed with the Minnesota Dance Theatre, St. Paul City Ballet, Continental Ballet Company and Branitski Ballet Company in the Minneapolis area as well as the Madison Ballet in Wisconsin. She has held roles from corps de ballet to principal dancer and performed in many full-length ballets including “Coppelia,” “Nutcracker,” “Cinderella,” and “Golden Bough,” and has danced excerpts from many others such as “Swan Lake,” “Don Quixote,” and “Giselle.”
After her move to Minneapolis in 1983, she began training in the Russian Vaganova method under Lirena Branitski. She has participated in workshops taught by Russian masters: Gabriela Komleva (Kirov), Luba Gulyeva (Kirov), Max Ratevossian (Bolshoi) and Lirena Branitski (Kiev). In addition, she has trained under former American Ballet Theater stars Ted Kivitt, Lise Houlton and Bonnie Mathis.
She holds a B.A. degree from Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota.