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5 Questions to Consider When Researching a Summer Intensive

Feb 15, 2024 | Ballet

You’ve always loved to dance. Early on, you spent Saturday mornings in the studio, learning the intricacies of each move. The more you learned, the deeper you fell in love with ballet. If you’re looking to really take your study to the next level, a summer intensive might be right for you. 

We’re going to cover a few questions you should know the answers to before you start sussing out potential summer ballet intensives. But first, what is a summer intensive? Like the name implies, the sessions are held after the school year ends. Intensives can range from one to six weeks and cost a few hundred dollars up into the thousands, especially if your intensive is in a city like New York or Paris. As part of your research, be sure to look on your prospective schools’ websites for scholarships and tuition assistance.

Of course, you’ll need to figure out where you’re applying to, and with so many summer intensives-also called summer ballet camps-available, it might be hard to choose. Relax-we’re here to help! We’ve put together a list of questions that you need to consider before you make your first Google search. 

1-What are your goals for attending a summer intensive?

Maybe you aspire to be a principal in the American Ballet Theatre or see yourself performing locally before moving into teaching ballet. Maybe you want to explore other forms like contemporary or neoclassical. Knowing where your dance career is headed will help you find the right summer intensive for you.

2-What are your weaknesses as a dancer and performer?

The work you’ll put in will definitely improve your strength and flexibility. Your technique, too.  Many programs bring in guest instructors from all over, and even if they’re providing the same corrections you’ve been hearing, that new voice might just give you that “ah-ha” moment when it clicks. 

3-What do the programs offer for residence life?

Experiencing a different part of the country or even the world brings many opportunities for personal growth. If this sounds good to you and you have the budget for it, you’ll want to really dig into what a residency program offers. Are the dorms chaperoned? Do they have onsite medical care, such as a nurse or physical therapist? You’re going to be pushed really hard, and that could lead to tight hamstrings or sprains-you’ll want to get issues addressed quickly so you can get back to the studio ASAP.

4-What other resources or curriculum do they offer that would help you meet your goals?

Many intensives do offer supplemental classes to help you with character, for example, or expose you to other forms of dance like hip-hop or jazz. Depending on where you go, you might find yourself in the audience of live production performed by the host company. 

5-What are other benefits of a summer intensive?

Intensives can help in ways beyond the technical and artistic concerns of ballet. You’ll be in class with other students, some of them coming from outside your local area, learning from teachers who will make you a better dancer. Along the way, your confidence will soar, you’ll make connections within the dance community, and probably develop lifelong friendships. 

Are you ready to take your dancing to the next level? Pennsylvania’s Midstate area is home to the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (CPYB). CPYB is world-renowned for offering classical ballet training led by their prestigious faculty. CPYB also offers a summer intensive that includes the option for dorm-style living at Dickinson College in Carlisle. Applications are being accepted now.

Between the time and money that’s involved, a summer intensive is a big commitment. But as thousands of dancers at all levels will attest, it’s an experience they wouldn’t trade for the world.

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