Summer Intensive Prep Part II :
Show up with Confidence + Get Noticed
When you head off to intensive, whether it’s your first or your fifth, it’s a valuable time to make contacts for your future career aspirations. If you’re headed to intensive with the goal of a traineeship or spot in the year round program the stakes are even higher.
To ensure that you make a positive impression you’ve got to go in prepared from day 1. This means being both physically and mentally prepared.
Your cross training and technical training plan need to be set up to get you ready for the intensity of intensive. Even if you’re not injured, you might seek out a physical therapist for some support in training your weaknesses. If you’re prone to ankle sprains for example, a physical therapist can provide a plan to strengthen your ankles to avoid injury.
Compare the number of hours of dance you’ll face at intensive to your current regimen. Find ways to build up towards the number of hours at intensive. Rather than trying to match it now, just look into adding 30 minutes to an hour each day until you’re closer to the summer intensive schedule.
This physical preparation can go a long way and will support you more than going from 0 to 60 in a short period of time.
Knowing you’re prepared physically can support your mental state and confidence. Being assured in what you can do in the studio is going to allow you to dance more freely.
To further support your mentality for intensive, give yourself some positive mantras to repeat both before and during class. Stress your abilities, talents and capabilities.
“What you envision in your mind, how you see yourself, and how you envision the world around you is of great importance because those things become your focus.” Ed Mylett
If you find yourself judging the other dancer’s in your class, it likely means you’re judging yourself quite harshly as well. Start to think of positive attributes for your peers. What are they doing well? Start to see the positives in those around you and it will be easier to see the positive in yourself.
Dress for Success
Only bring leotards with you this summer that make you feel amazing and beautiful. Silly as it sounds what you wear can have a big impact on how you show up! If you have to bring some that you don’t love, at least save the best tights and leotard for placement class.
You want to look at placement class as another audition (with less pressure). Don’t forget – you already got in so the stakes are not that high but it’s important to go all out for your placement class.
However, if placement class doesn’t go as well as you’d hoped all is not lost. If you end up in a lower level than you think you belong, look at it as an opportunity to work your hardest and really stand out. It might give you the chance to really shine and possibly get a soloist role in the end of summer performance. Or, maybe you’ll be moved up in levels later – both are possible.
Dancer’s aren’t typically trained to network but it can be as valuable in dance as it is in business. Do your best to help teacher’s remember your name – volunteer to demonstrate a combination, be will to answer questions, be willing to go first.
Whichever teacher you feel most comfortable with, look for ways to engage them in conversation around your development and potential. Maybe ask a specific question about a combination or variation after class. Of course, only do this if the teacher has time and isn’t running off to teach another class.
If you’re hoping to stay year round or get a trainee spot, try to schedule a conversation with one of the people who makes that decision. You might keep this til the end of the 1st or 2nd week, not the end, that way if you need to step things up you’ll have time.
Express your great interest in staying for the year. Ask how they feel you’ve been doing so far and finally inquire as to what they see as your areas for growth. A mature conversation like this is not always easy but it’s important to practice using your voice! It will serve you in your professional career and beyond.
Be Present in Every Class
Summer intensives can feel long. You might be there for 6 weeks and that’s a long, intense time to stay fully present. Do your best to stay energetic and engaged in each and every class you take – even the “fun” classes like hip-hop and modern.
You never know who might be paying attention to your work ethic and energy even in your non-ballet classes.
In your ballet classes, take each and every correction as though it’s your own. If a teacher is having one dancer try a new approach to something, you should be actively trying that new approach as well.
And don’t forget – don’t mark arms!! Ever!