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Summer ballet intensives are an exhilarating experience and a major part in a dancer’s growth and development, although our bodies are the key element, to actually enhance our performance and gain the full potential from a summer ballet intensive, it’s essential that we have all the right kit. Just like a football player, we can’t expect to reach our maximum (and then some more!) just by turning up. We need the right equipment. Although, with the stress of packing, it’s easy to forget vital tools and supplies, and the little things, when we’re getting prepared for the summer intensive.

Which is why, here at Zarely, we’ve comprised the ultimate ballet summer intensive checklist.

Dance shoes

Stating the obvious, the first thing to check off your ballet summer intensive checklist is that you have a pair of dance shoes, of every sort! This is especially important for when you’re heading off to your summer intensive audition. In addition to your basic ballet slippers or jazz shoes, ensure you pack a pair of dance shoes for every discipline you do. This could be tap, pointe, Greek or soft musical comedy. You never quite know what exactly you’ll be asked to perform, especially if a company is particularly interested in you and what you have to offer. A choreographer may just want to see something different from you or see a different style from the group, even if it isn’t specified in the audition notices, be prepared for any last-minute changes, this is even more important if you have written on your application form that you are trained in a particular style. Don’t forget ladies, always take an extra pair of dance shoes that have a heel.

Extra tights

A summer ballet intensive checklist isn’t complete without a range of dance tights. To get the most out of your performance and ensure that you are prepared for every eventuality, it’s vital that you have a selection of tights packed and checked off your ballet summer intensive checklist.

A pair of Z1 rehearsal tights from Zarely with special light-reflecting fabric and comfortable waistband will ensure you look and feel your best whilst rehearsing. The smart compression technology will prevent your legs from swelling and inflammation whilst taking breaks throughout rehearsals and auditions, keeping you in peak fitness throughout the summer.

Usually, at the end of a summer intensive there will be a final performance so make sure you have a pair of outstanding tights that will perfectly reflect light to give the impression of never-ending extended legs. We recommend packing a pair of Z2 performance tights or two to keep you well stocked up to take centre stage. Due to the nature of the intensity of a summer ballet intensive, it’s not uncommon for dancers to feel exhausted and pushed to their absolute limits. Efficient recovery is key to a long and prosperous career as a dancer. After a full day of working to the limits in a summer intensive pushes your body, mind and muscles to the absolute brink so it’s essential that you have the right tools to help your body recuperate.

A pair of Z3 recovery tights will give gradual compression to enhance the blood flow to the major muscle groups and provide flexibility around the hips to provide relief and minimise soreness, fatigue and swelling, keeping you at your best for longer.


There’s no doubt about it, you’re going to have excessive sweating, run the risk of stains after quick lunch breaks so you’re going to need a healthy stock of leotards. As temperatures in studios and theatres fluctuate and vary, you never quite know what to expect in terms of short sleeves, long sleeves or halter neck. But, if there’s one thing we do know, it’s don’t accommodate wearing a t-shirt or jacket over the same leotard to save time and money. In the long run, you’ve wasted your summer intensive. The whole idea of a summer intensive is to push yourself and push your dance technique further. The last thing you want is hiding your body lines behind a loose-fitting jacket or a baggy t-shirt. To get the most out of your summer intensive, we suggest adding four or five different leotards to your ballet summer intensive checklist. A leotard is one of, if not, the most important investment in dance.

The right ballet leotard will boost your confidence and rocket your technique. For a unique look to make you stand out from the crowd we suggest the Alicia Black Mesh Leotard, and for day-to-day dance rehearsals combining comfort with high-fashion we suggest the Ana leotard which is available in a range of flattering colours.

Warm up clothes

For day to day activities, lighter warm-ups and for looking at the height of athleisure wear fashion, we suggest packing some clothes that can be layered on top of your dancewear that can also be removed easily. If you’re entering a studio feeling cold, the last thing you want is to start moving with cold muscles. The Carolina front-draped sweatshirt is a perfect addition for your summer ballet intensive checklist. If you’re looking for a sweatshirt perfect for warm-ups then this is it. With innovative mesh side details to keep you fresh, and a drawstring to transform the look between loose fitting and slim-fit it’s everything you need for keeping warm during warm-ups. The elastic warm knit is made with thermoregulation engineered to cope with both hot and cold. A warm up needs a Carolina front-draped sweatshirt. The sweatshirt could be a match made in dancer heaven at your summer intensive with a pair of Lia black leggings. The pioneering Italian fabric will provide optimum muscular compression during your summer intensive with your comfort and style in mind. Don’t fade into the background at your summer intensive, this could be the start of something big.

Hairbrush, comb, elastic bands, pins and hairspray

Classical dancers in particular need to be duteous and thorough to ensure that they have the neatest hairstyle among the group. To sport a look that will stay intact during the execution of the toughest of movements, you’ll need to ensure you have all the right kit to nail that hairstyle. A summer ballet intensive usually comes with a whole host of new faces and new names, it can be tough finding your place in a new crowd. There is always that one dancer who forgets, loses or breaks their hair tie, or runs out of hairspray on the first day, it not only looks good for your professionalism to the company and the other dancers to offer your assistance, but it’s a great way to make friends and find yourself in a friendship group. It’s nice to be nice.

Towel, deodorant and cologne

In the height of summer, it’s going to get sweaty. Dancers, you’re going to sweat, profusely. Whilst doing partner work, or when it all gets a bit too much, you’ll want to use a towel to lift off that excess sweat to stop you smelling. It’s also vital for whilst doing partner work. Overly sweaty skin can be hazardous whilst doing lifts, for yourself and your partner. It’s also a good idea to pack a second towel to use after showering. Deodorant will keep your fresh and a dash of cologne will make you feel and smell fresh on a particularly heated day.

Antiseptic wipes, ointment and band-aids

Accidents happen, there’s no doubt about it. Whether that’s a fall, a cut, a scrape or a blister, you’ll want antiseptic wipes or ointment to clean any kind of cut or tear on your skin to prevent infection. A large assortment of band-aids is exceptionally important. We’d definitely recommend getting your hands on some blister band-aids too, they are a god send.

Reusable water bottle

You will go through gallons and gallons of water during your summer intensive. It’s absolutely essential to top up on water and keep yourself hydrated throughout the day. Think of the environment and instead of an excessive amount of throwaway plastic water bottles, invest in a beautiful reusable water bottle which can be topped up throughout the day from the water fountains or sinks.

Healthy snacks

It’s a good idea to eat small amounts of food periodically through your summer intensive, so be sure to add plenty of healthy snacks to your ballet summer intensive checklist. You’ll need to be well-stocked with protein bars, nuts and fruit to keep you going for longer. A car can’t go without fuel, neither can your body.

Extra photo and work summary

Even if you’re already on your summer intensive, the chances are you might bump into a choreographer that is dropping by to scout talent for their company or next big show. Be sure to always have an extra copy in your bag, you know, just in case.

Now that your bag is packed, it’s ready to go and enjoy your ballet summer intensive. Well, until you have to pack it again tomorrow! But, at least now you have THE ballet summer intensive checklist of checklists!

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