Summer Intensive: Set Yourself Up For Success
Many teen and adults dancers who are serious about training spend their summer away from home, being exposed to a new dance setting. Summer Intensives offer a variety of exposure to technique, choreography and amazing faculty that you may not interact with otherwise. The Malashock Dance Summer Intensive is no exception. It’s a great way to explore your love of dance in a world other than your current school, and improve! Here are a variety of tips that will set you up for success while you are attending a Summer Intensive!
1. Find out as much as you can about the host Company and the faculty.
I have found that people are more than happy to fill you in on details about their program if you give the Company a call. Some unique details and personal stories may have been left out of the marketing materials. Like their Facebook page and explore social media groups. Google search the faculty to see where they have danced and taught. Find new friends on the Company’s Facebook page that are attending, and chat with them before you go. Though you won’t necessarily continue friendships with all these people, it helps to make connections initially. This way when you arrive, you’ll know someone!
2. Pay Attention to Correspondence.
Read every correspondence from your school very carefully. Updates can show important changes that you might need to know. Malashock Dance sends a comprehensive welcome packet that has information about the Intensive, but also resources to find inexpensive hotels and transportation.
3. Prepare Mentally as Well as Physically.
A few months before, create a list of goals for yourself and stay focused on your purpose for going.
Do you need to have a “game plan” for moments of frustration? Do you need to exercise your retention skills so that you can pick up choreography at a faster pace than usual? Do you need to rest or nurse an injury so that it doesn’t flare up during the intensive?
Maybe you are hoping to make lots of friends, to really get a ton of attention, have a blast. While all of these things might happen, they may not happen exactly like you expect. Be flexible and have an open mind and you will enjoy whatever happens.
Bring things that are familiar and comfortable that make you feel at home. Take pictures, a comfy blanket, posters, your favorite perfume, a stuffed animal… whatever you can use to make yourself a home away from home.
4. You Don’t Have to Prove Yourself!
You’ve already been selected to participate, so you can rest assured that you are “good enough.” When you arrive, remember that any anxiety or nervousness you are experiencing is normal AND whatever you are feeling, most likely, others are feeling it too! Have a positive attitude, a friendly smile, genuine warmth and sincerity. This will assure the other dancers that you are there to make friends and have a positive experience. It’s not the time to be competitive or snobby. Try your best to break the ice and make others feel welcomed and comfortable.
Respect others and they will show respect back. Remember to respect differences, especially if students come from other countries/cultures. Definitely avoid gossip, and keep comments about other dancers to yourself. Even if you are saying something nice about a dancer going across the floor, they may not know that, and will likely assume your comments are critical or negative.
5. Respect the rules.
Listen carefully and familiarize yourself with school rules and observe their policies. They may be different than what you are used to, but isn’t that why you are here? Try something different and new! After all, the school was generous enough to offer you a spot, your family was generous enough to help you get there, now it is your turn to show generosity in the way that you conduct yourself. Be a good representative of your family, your hometown, your dance school/program.
6. Have Fun!
You will undoubtedly be challenged and pushed to grow, but remember that you and everyone else still needs to have some fun! Find out if there is a fun coffee house, restaurant, or tourist attraction close by, and go check it out with some of your new dance friends! Keep things light in the studio and in the theater. Everyone will benefit from your positive energy, and you will do better if you are in a healthy, positive state of mind.