Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I Got Summertime on my Mind

I know it’s only February, but if you haven’t decided which summer dance program you’re going to attend, you should probably decide soon. This is the time when applications are sent in and auditions are held. It’s better to start early so you don’t miss any deadlines. I just recently started researching summer intensives and came to find that I had already missed the auditions for the Rockettes Summer Intensive. This was disappointing because I really wanted to try their program. In the post "Adventures as a Tourist in the City That Never Sleeps", I talk about what it was like to be a part of the Rockette Experience workshop. This was only one day, so it would have been awesome to try their summer workshop, which is longer. Oh, well. Maybe next year!

I did a lot of summer dance intensives in high school. My dance studio attended the Maryland Dance Festival every year where I was awarded various scholarships to these programs. Some examples of workshops that I participated in include places like: The UCSCA (Upper Chesapeake Summer Center for the Arts) program at Washington College, The Maryland Youth Ballet in Bethesda, and Point Park’s Summer Dance Intensive. I’ll talk more about these later. I haven’t danced at any intensives the past two summers because of teaching commitments, but I have done smaller workshops. I want to try something new this summer in order to get back out there and enhance my skills. I believe that summer dance programs are key in improving technique, performance quality, and versatility. Usually you get a variety of different teachers and genres in any program you go to. You may also get performance experience if you’re lucky. This pushes you out of your comfort zone and into a whole new level of ability.

So far, I’ve found a couple of workshops at Broadway Dance Center and some at Koresh Dance Company in Philadelphia. I’ve always wanted to go to BDC, which is in New York City, but never got the chance. I think I would really enjoy their workshops since they have some of the best teachers in the business. There are such a variety of classes to choose from as well. Not only do they have workshops, but they also have daily classes from morning till night so you can just drop in for fun. The same thing applies for Koresh. They have drop in classes as well as workshops and they are a contemporary ballet company. I would still like to find a program that is a couple weeks long so I can get more extensive training and have more of an opportunity to build new friendships and connections.

Out of all the summer intensives I have attended, Point Park’s was by far my favorite. This might have had to do with the fact that I was a little older and it was three weeks long, so I made many new friends and had a great time. I actually went twice because I loved it so much. I felt like I gained so much in every aspect. It was almost like boot camp, but a fun boot camp. The classes were all challenging physically and mentally so I got in excellent shape and built my stamina to the highest it had ever been. I gained an incredible amount of flexibility, technique, and pure excitement for dance. Being away from home for that long can be scary at first, but this experience truly brought me out of my shell. I didn’t want to leave when it was over! I would definitely recommend this summer program to any dancer who is looking to improve drastically.

Me and some of my friends from Point Park on the 4th of July!

One of the amazing studios we danced in

I went to Washington College when I was 11. It was only a week long, but it was my first time away from home, so I struggled with that a bit. But, it helped that I already knew some of the other dancers attending. We went on a field trip, went to social events held by the camp, and the dancers created a video for our performance at the end of the week. There were all art forms at the camp, so we all got to see everyone’s talents during the show. The Maryland Youth Ballet’s program was wonderful and it really improved my ballet technique. This was also a week long, and as you can probably tell from the name, it is strictly ballet. At the time, ballet was my favorite dance style, so this was right up my ally. We worked on ballet and pointe and I gained a lot in those aspects. Many professional ballerinas went to that school, so I felt honored to be able to train there for a week :)

Here are some links for more information on these summer programs that I have listed in case anyone is interested. Enjoy!


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