Thursday, 12 May 2016

Your Best Body: Summer Course Survival Guide

Hey, everyone. I hope you all are doing well. Finals are next week so I'm doing a lot of study group meet ups and cramming every chance I get for finals. I'm not worried about my abnormal psych final at all, it's stats and English that concern me. Hopefully, I'll pass (preferably with a B or higher) in all my classes.
     As summer intensives draw near, some of you may be nervous about it, especially if it's your first time. Never fear, my "Summer Course Survival Guide" is here! Enjoy. And please share with others who may need the help. Enjoy. 

My history.
     First of all, I'm going tell you a little bit about my history with summer courses. My first real summer course was the one I did with my dance studio summer 2013. Obviously, it wasn't a course like that of SAB or ABT, but let me tell you, it was so much different from the previous courses I had done. We had different guest teachers every week, we had pas de deux class, everything was on pointe, and it was amazing. Since I had danced at this studio before, I didn't have to audition because I was already placed in a specific level. I was in Level 4/5 which is the highest level at the studio. I absolutely loved it the program and I really wish I could do at least one week this summer.
     I also attended PNB's program for a day (when I was visiting Seattle). 

Tip #1: Be a sponge (absorb everything).
     "Be a sponge" was something my old dance teacher, Justine, told me before I started the Northwest program. When I say, be a sponge, I literally mean to absorb every correction given, even if it's not given to you. That will really show the teachers how much you care about ballet. It will also help you get the most out of your program since most of them are only six weeks long.
     If you apply the corrections given, chances are if you audition again, you'll get in because the teachers know how much you want to improve.

Tip #2: Be friendly.
     We've all seen it before, those girls who have that "mean" look on their face and are never nice to anybody. You must be friendly to EVERYONE even people you may not like. Teachers pay attention to everything from the way to talk to the other dancers, the way you look, to how much you're willing to put into the program. If you're friendly to everyone, chances are the teacher will notice and be more willing to correct you. Just don't be overly friendly, especially to people you don't like. Teachers will catch on to that.
     I've seen it before, a girl wasn't being friendly and barely got any corrections all summer. That's a) a waste of money and b) a waste of everyone's time.
     Also, asking questions after the classes are over is a good way to get the teachers to like you. Don't be that girl who just says, "Thank you" and walks out. No one wants to help an unfriendly person. AND ALWAYS CURTSY!!!

Tip #3: Attend seminars and activities.
     If the program you're doing holds seminars, attend them. They are specifically designed to help Y-O-U! The program I do doesn't offer seminars, but if they did, I'd attend them all, with a notebook in hand so I can write down what’s said and ask questions later. Attending seminars will also help you get the most out of your program. The seminars that would be particularly helpful would be nutritional ones as well as ones on injury care and prevention. Even strength training ones would be good to attend.
     Attending activities such as trips to museums, performances, sightseeing etc are very important because it helps you make better friends, and it also can take your mind off of ballet for a while, especially if you're struggling with something or if you got yelled at (been there).

Tip #4: Eat well and drink lots of water.
     I cannot stress enough how important it is to eat healthy and to drink lots of water. You need to be alert throughout the day, so eat a good breakfast. It really is the most important meal of the day. Some suggestions I have are yogurt and granola, or toast, eggs and sausage for breakfast. A small pasta salad with veggies or a small soup and sandwich would be optimal for lunch. You want your lunch to be small so you don't feel bloated if you have a class after lunch (been there, many times). A good dinner could be pasta with veggies and meat if you haven't already eaten some, or fish and rice. Of course, having a treat after dinner is okay, as long as it's small.
     Eating well and drinking water will help you replenish your muscles, give you energy, and give your body time to heal if you get injured. Doing these things will also help you from being less sore.

Tip #5: Pay attention!!
     Paying attention is crucial if you a) want to be liked by the teachers and b) to get the most of your program. Really watch how the arms, headlines are placed etc. I've seen it before when a teacher looks like they're gonna explode if an arm or headline is missed. This is not a time to add your own flair to the moves. Do them exactly as the teacher showed you. They'll like you more that way.
     Warming up is also very important because most of the time, the teachers expect you to be warm already. It's a waste of their time and yours if you haven't warmed up already. Get to the studio early to warm up.  The barre work is also designed to warm you up, but you should also be stretched out, especially when it comes to adagio. If you get there early and the teacher isn't busy, it's also a good time to ask a few questions, if you wanted. Just don't be obnoxious with your questions.
     Know the combination! I cannot stress enough how important is to know what you're doing. I've always had trouble with memorizing combinations, especially if it's super complicated. If you're not sure about the combination, go in the second group, especially if there are like fifty of you in one class. It will help you so much. But if you know exactly what you are doing and are supremely confident, then go ahead and be first.
     Don't talk in class or be late. It's rude and disrespectful to the teachers and the other students. It's happened before when a girl kept on talking to me, so I finally had to tell her to shut up and pay attention. This same girl was over a half hour late to class and had to forfeit the entire class because she wasn't warmed up properly.

Tip #6: HAVE FUN!
     You've heard it before, have fun while your learning and dancing. After all, that is why you dance right? You don't want to have a miserable summer so be ready to give it your all while dancing, and have fun with it. Attend all the activities and seminars, make friends and be prepared to be a better dancer than you were before the start of the program.

     If you would like to know how to pack for a summer intensive please check out this video made by my friend Kathryn Morgan.

     As always, if you liked this post, please give it a +1 on Google+, follow me on all my social media sites which will be linked below leave me a comment below telling me which summer intensives you're doing and share with your friends if you'd like. Love you all!!

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