If you are like the majority of young ballet dancers right now, you are getting ready to go away for a summer program soon. You worked so hard to prepare for your auditions. You even got in to the summer program of your dreams, but the preparation doesn’t end there. You want to take as much away from that summer intensive as possible and come back a new and improved dancer in the fall! So what can you do to maximize your ballet summer intensive experience?
The following are the things that the best dancers do to maximize their summer intensive progress;
1.) Listen– I know that it may sound simple, but you must listen and absorb everything that the instructors are saying. Most ballet summer intensive programs have guest teachers like Gelsey Kirkland or David Howard who are fountains of knowledge and experience. You don’t want to miss a word that they are saying as one small correction could make a world of a difference in your dancing!
2.) Write it Down– I talk about the “dance journal” a lot in my previous posts and in my book, but I can’t stress enough just how important it is for you to write down all of your corrections. This is something that I did in my professional career as well as when I was a student. Years later you can look back at all of your corrections and see how much progress you have made.
3.) Focus– Let’s face it, your parents are paying all of this money for you to go away to a summer intensive for you to dance. They are not paying for you to go goof around or worse yet, get in trouble. Share experiences, have fun, and make friends with the fellow dancers but don’t let it get in the way of your education. Remember, you are there to dance!
4.) Embrace Change– Sometimes we go to a summer program and find that it’s not the perfect fit and we don’t like the technique or the teachers. In this case, do your best to stay positive and learn what you can from the experience. Sometimes it is beneficial to learn other styles or techniques to make you stronger in the technique that you do best. (example: classical dancer going to a Balanchine summer intensive)
Absorb everything you can from the new teachers you will be meeting and learning from this summer! Come back to your year round ballet school confident and as the best dancer that you can be. Keep these tips in mind as you head out to your ballet summer intensive!
I had a chance this morning to bring the video camera into my workout session. I wanted to show my loyal blog followers the type of workout that I do in the off-season to keep my body lean and toned. It is sometimes hard for Professional Dancers to get into the studio over the summer because there are no classes available and/or they cannot afford to pay for them. (Yes, these days most studios are even charging professionals to take class!) If you are not lucky enough to have a studio near you offering free classes, you definitely need to look into the things you can do in the comfort of your own home! I happen to be lucky enough to have an oversized 3 car garage and a ballet barre, so I am able to give myself class at home.
A lot of the exercises I do in the video, mainly the plie jump squat, work on specific weaknesses that I need to target. The plie jump squats help improve my spring in jumps both in ballet class and on stage. I also make sure to add a 10 lb kettlebell to the equation so that I feel lighter when I perform the same movement in ballet class.
I will be making more of these videos in the near future and will be releasing instructional videos too! Stay tuned and please, bookmark this page.
Best in Health,
Nikol Klein, Professional Ballet Dancer/ Certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist
You can also follow BalletStrength on Twitter!
Here is a video of me performing some of the strength training techniques I use for Ballet Cross Training in the off-season.
You will notice some simple ballet moves taken up a notch. I do a lot of work in the parallel for strength and stability in my hips, knees and ankles. I also do lots of Plyometrics like the “Plie jump squats” that are shown in the video.
Please, don’t try this at home, and be sure to visit www.balletstrength.com for details on how you can gain Ballet Strength!
**By the way, my book, Beginning Ballet Strength is now available at www.balletstrength.com!
See you in the gym,
Nikol Klein, Professional Ballet Dancer, ISSA CPT/SPN
It’s all you hear about in the news, and it has effected the Dance Community.
It is hard to stay optimistic when you hear about companies such as New York City Ballet cutting as many as 11 dancers from their rosters. If NYCB, a company who I would consider top notch, is having financial issues, imagine how the small regional Dance Companies are struggling. (link to article)
Sarcamento Ballet cancelled the rest of it’s season. (link to article)
Even worse yet, no companies are hiring for the 2009-2010 season discouraging potential professional dancers from persuing their talents.
What do you do when this happens to you? How do you survive when you are laid off and have no place to dance? I have experienced this first hand as the company that I dance for had to cancel it’s February show of Coppelia due to lack of ticket sales. Instead of complaining about something I couldn’t control, I decided that I needed to do what was in my best interest.
You can look at these periods of layoff as blessings in disguise. Come on, you know you can’t dance forever, so this is the perfect opportunity to discover your other talents. Take this time off to enroll in a college class, pass on your knowledge by teaching dance, or think about heading off to a new company.
I have taken this wonderful opportunity to continue to develop my Personal Training business. Over the two months that I have been laid off from ballet, I have been able to sign on 10 new clients, create videos, and work on my marketing campaigns.
Be proactive. Don’t let these hard economic times get you down! Develop your other interests and begin paving a path to your career transition after dance.
-Nikol Klein, ISSA CPT/SPN and Professional Ballet Dancer
Learn More at www.nikolklein.com