Is a Summer Intensive program right for you? What will you get out of it? Where should you go? Ballet schools almost everywhere offer some kind of Summer Intensive that combines a rigorous schedule with a lot of new and different teachers, students, and often an entirely new city and dance community.
How do you know if you’re in the right place? And what should you expect once you get there? Where will you live? How do you prepare for the experience? What about the audition?
We talked with Kristina Windom, Upper Division Head at The Washington School of Ballet who helped answer some of our questions about Summer Intensives.
How do you know if a school or studio is right for you? What should you look for?
Do your research and look at the faculty, the history, the mission of the organization. If students are interested in attending the year around program, look at the company repertory and see if this is something you are interested in. Find out how they hire, what percentage of school students (from their professional training program) get hired into the Studio Company or Company. Most importantly, talk this over with your family, include them in this big decision, especially if a student is interested in what the school can possibly offer them further down the road.
What are 3 things students should know before they audition for a Summer Intensive?
The program they are interested in attending should fit the time frame for the family -meaning it is important to schedule family summer vacation around Summer Intensive study if the student is serious about their training. Family must be on the same page with this.
Do the research and find out more about the training style, the teachers, the commitment. It can be difficult to train 3-8 weeks with teachers that specialize in a particular classical ballet style of study, so do your research and learn and be prepared. A high-level student should embrace this, but I advise younger less advanced students to stay with a similar style they are comfortable with and are training at their home school.
Does the program offer housing?
This is important because when families look into a summer experience for their child, a program that offers a housing component can change the dynamic of their experience. Most serious dance schools with venerable summer programs have this down. They include interesting activities for the students outside of the studio experience so they can enrich their summer memory and make lifetime friends.
What advice would you give to anyone auditioning for Summer Intensive?
Don’t over audition. Auditioning for multiple schools can be stressful for the student and the family. Do your due diligence and narrow down to 3-5 summer programs you are interested in. Wear dance attire for the audition that makes you feel beautiful from the inside out.
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