Hey everyone, I hope you all are doing well. I bring to you a new version of my summer course survival guide. It has completely new tips from my earlier post which you can read here. So let's begin!
One class at a time
You may have multiple classes a day but if you’re constantly worrying or stressing about the other classes you have, you’ll a) get overwhelmed really fast (been there) and b) you won’t get as much out of the class as you deserve. You paid for the tuition to make sure the money doesn’t go to waste. Be in the moment, what can I improve on right now. Focus on your turnout, using your muscles, making sure everything is in the correct placement etc. Keep going like that throughout class.
Pay extra special attention to Week One Corrections
This tip applies to anything from starting a new studio to the beginning of a summer intensive. The corrections you get during the first week are the most important because it’s what stood out to the instructors about you. It’s what you need to work on the most. These teachers don’t know you or they don’t know the new you if you had them in a past summer intensive so really focus on what they tell you during the first week of classes.
Don’t focus on your level placement
We’ve all been there. Hung up on who got into which level. Let me tell you something. The level placement doesn’t matter! It just creates more drama and it’s really not worth it. You’re here to focus on your dancing, not what level you’re in. You can improve no matter what level you’re in. And honestly, you can improve more in a level below you than at your current level or a level above you.
For example, one point during my junior year, I wasn’t able to make Level Four classes anymore so I started taking Level Three classes. And let me tell you, those classes helped me improve the most. They weren’t all about the impossible double-time-reversed combinations you get sometimes. They were completely technique based. And they were really slow classes. It was literally sixty minutes of adagio. And they were excruciating by the end. But given how technique based they were, my barre-work, balances in center, turns and jumps improve drastically over the four weeks I took Level Three classes. I was a completely new dancer when I started back at my current level senior year. And that four weeks of technique focus helped me kick butt at the competitions.
So don’t worry about the level you’re placed in. You may have amazing artistry etc, but if the instructor thinks you need to go back to the basics, they may put you in a level lower. The teachers know what they’re doing. If you’re focusing on who’s higher who’s lower, you’re not gonna get as much out of the intensive as you deserve. I know how hard it is. Trust me. And trust me, you’ll be thankful they did that when you see how much you improved.
Always remember this quote, “Beginning dancer: knows nothing. Intermediate dancer: knows everything; too good to dance with beginners. Advanced dancer: dances everything; especially with beginners.” ~Unknown
Stay in the same place every class
This is one thing I never fail to do. I have my own section of the barre, floor etc that I feel comfortable and confident in. No matter where I’m dancing, I’m always in that general area. Staying in the same spot, during a summer course really helps teachers remember who you are, especially if they have you once a week. Once a teacher knows who you are, they can correct you more and help you improve more. Most teachers at summer intensives have too many students to remember everyone’s name, especially if there are dancers with the same name in the same class.
Just don’t be a bitch to the other dancers if you don’t get your spot one day. You’re not a superior being to the other dancers and you’re all here to learn. Teachers watch everything so if you’re mean to a dancer, they will take note of that and it’s not a good thing for you at all.
Dieting and nutrition
You’ve heard it before, and you’re gonna hear it again. Eat properly at summer intensives. It’s called an intensive for a reason. Start as early as you can for pre-intensive prep. Drink well, eat everything in moderation etc. Make sure you’re taking class daily, stretching daily etc. And remember to listen to your body, if you feel pain or feel sick, take a break. Don’t push+! yourself so hard that you break during the intensive.
Just know that everyone has bad days and has to deal with mean teachers, fellow dancers etc. I’ve been there, trust me, it’s not fun. But just take each day one class at a time. And be nice to everyone, try and make friends with your fellow dancers, roommates etc. It’ll be hell for you if you don’t. Again…been there.
Photo from a summer intensive I did in 2014. I'm the oldest dancer
in the picture by at least three years. #shortgirlproblems
(L to R: Lauren, Audrey, Dana, Mackenzie (teacher), me and Reese).
As always, I hope you liked this post and if you did please share it and give it a +1 on Google+, follow me on all my social media sites which will be linked below and let me know in the comments what summer intensive you're doing this year/or what your summer plans are.
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