The academic year at the studio is coming to an end, and competitions are in a countdown to the last one. Now, it is time to start asking yourself the hard question; what summer dance program do I want to attend? There are numerous camps, intensives, or short dance programs around the world that you could chose.
A few things to take in to consideration – What style do you want to focus on? Do you want to travel out of the state or country for the experience? Do you want to work with a specific company or instructor? Do you have a budget that you need to stay in?
Over the years I tried many different dance intensives some that have last three weeks while others have lasted the whole summer. First you need to decide how much time do you want to dedicate to your passion of dance. When I was thirteen years old I went to my first dance camp in Tyrone, Pennsylvania at an all girls boarding school for three weeks (Grier Summer Camp). There I got to study jazz, ballet, and lyrical and meet some great friends as well as participated in talent shows, and explored other art related activities like yoga and creative writing.
After my first dance camp experience and throughout high school, I stayed closer to home and attended summer long camps at various studios in my home town area of Syracuse, New York. These various studios brought in experts from Julliard, NYCB, Boston Ballet, and the Russian Ballet. The prices of dance intensives can be crazy expensive especially if there are no options of scholarships. In many cases there are not any available or if there are, they are limited and may only provide you funds for the intensive but not for room and board. Don’t knock out your local area studios as potential options, you never know when studio owners may have a great connection to bring in amazing artists and instructors at a more affordable price.
Once I got to college, I worked over the summers to put together funds for summer dance intensives that were focused around specific companies. One company that is still one of my favorites is Paul Taylor Dance Company (now Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance). I did an intensive in New York City with the Taylor Company where we learned three pieces of repertoire, technique classes in both modern and ballet, as well as conditioning classes such as Yoga and Pilates. We danced eight hours a day, five days a week. Luckily, I had family near the City that I stayed with but my commute was about forty-five minutes into the city and out each day. I had long days getting up at 5:00 AM, but it was worth getting to work with dancers such as Suzanne Farrell; what a dream!
Don’t let money hinder attending a dance intensive. There are ways around it. If you want to go to one in a big city spend the summer before saving up for it and figure out if you have family you can stay with in the area. Don’t knock out the ones close to home either because they can give you some great insight right in your own backyard, and finally be smart and take care of your body at these intensives. Don’t spend all night going out. You need rest and healthy eating to keep your body at top performing ability.