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Which Ballet Summer Intensive to Pick

Summer intensive auditions are coming to a close and chances are, you have started to receive some of your acceptance letters in the mail. Most of you audition for tons of different summer ballet programs and will be accepted into multiple intensive programs. So how do you make an educated decision about which summer intensive to attend? Here are a few helpful hints to make sure you end up in the right place.

1.) Cost- If your family is on a budget, the cost of the summer intensive that you choose will definitely be a factor in the decision making process. Did you get a scholarship? If you received a scholarship to a particular program, this means the school has an extremely high interest in you. Choose which program makes sense for your family financially.

2.) Program Length- Three week, four week, or six week? How comfortable are you being away from home for long periods of time? I used to get homesick when I went to summer intensives at age 12 and 13, so I would choose no more than four week programs. Also, will you be missing out on your family vacation?

Photo from Chautauqua Ballet Intensive

3.) Travel- How comfortable do you feel traveling far away from home? For example; since I was from the East Coast, I was hesitant to travel far from my family to attend San Francisco Ballet School’s Summer Intensive. Travel also fits into the cost category as typically you will either need to fly or drive to the program.

4.) Style- Does the school that you choose fit with the style you currently train in? Or is it different? How will your current school director feel about this? Going to a summer intensive like School of American Ballet, for example, might mean a change in technique. If your hope is to be accepted there year round, it is definitely worth it.

5.) Preference- Sometimes the best thing to do is follow a hunch. Where do you want to go most? If money is not an option go to where your heart follows!

Which ever ballet summer intensive program you choose, make sure you go into it with an open mind. This will ensure that you make the most of any situation and remember- write down your corrections!

Ballet Auditions – What to Wear

When it comes to auditioning for summer ballet intensives or ballet companies, the first impression is everything. Artistic Directors and ballet instructors are looking for dancers who look cleanly and neatly put together. They look for someone who catches their eye, but not in an “in your face” way. That’s why you want to make sure you look your best. Here are a few tips to help you look your best in summer intensive and ballet company auditions.

1.) Ditch the warm-ups. Unless you are injured, or want the director to think that you are injured, do not wear warm-ups in an audition. Even worse, you could give them the impression that you are hiding something. If you arrive early enough to the audition registration, you should have plenty of time to warm-up while you are waiting for your audition to begin. As soon as you enter the audition room, all warm-up attire should be off.

What not to wear- Are you going to a ballet audition or the gym?

2.) Wear an appropriate leotard. You are better off to pick a simple leotard in a style and color that flatter your body and show it in the best possible light. Many custom leotards from companies such as Yumiko may be beautiful but come off as too complicated and will distract the Artistic Director or teacher from your dancing. Also stay away from strappy back leotards or anything that cuts your back in half. School and company directors are looking for lines and I’m not talking about the ones sewn onto your leotard!

3.) Make sure it fits. The last thing you want to be worried about in an audition is your leotard falling off or riding up in the wrong places. Test out the leotard you plan on wearing to your next audition in class to make sure it is comfortable. Fidgeting will also distract both the director and yourself from the dancing.

A classic Mirella leotard in a flattering color is always best.

4.) Steer clear of bright colors but don’t wear black. Nothing will drive a director crazy like a fluorescent, striped or patterned leotard. Stick with solid colors that flatter your hair and skin tone. The only illusions being created should be through your dancing, not your outfit 😉

5.) Confidence. Nothing looks better than confidence. Wear it proudly and you will succeed!

I hope that these tips help you out in your upcoming summer intensive and ballet company auditions. If you need more advice about what to wear, how to fix your hair, and what is the best makeup, I have dedicated an eBook called The Ballet Audition Preparation Guide to answering these questions and tons more.

 

Ballet Summer Program 101

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!

Happy Dancing,

Nikol Klein Author/Professional Ballet Dancer/ Ballet Strength Coach