As the reality of your summer intensive draws near, follow these tips to prepare yourself, to avoid injuries, and to stay confident and strong throughout the summer!
Lisa Fiebert, SAS Assistant and free-lance professional dancer, also shares her personal experiences with us.
Photo: Ally Brodsky, by E. Patino
1 week prior to Intensive
Take Class – Take classes to strengthen your technique. For endurance, increase your daily class load.
Cross Train – Add cross-training to your routine – running, elliptical, Pilates, weight training, or even different dance styles – all to better prepare your body to handle multiple classes a day.
Set Goals – It is not all about the physical preparation…so take time to set a few optimistic but obtainable goals to reach during the intensive. Goals help you stay on track and push yourself to get the most out of your classes. They can be technical, such as perfecting your pirouette, or artistic, such as improving your musicality or performance skills!
Lisa’s Advice: “In addition to caring for your body, such as cross training and a healthy diet, treat yourself to a new leotard – you’ll want to look good AND feel great on your first day!”
1 day prior to Intensive
Do not overdo it – Today is not the day to go for a run and do 100 crunches and push-ups! Give your body a moment to rest and avoid being sore on your first day. Do not worry, you will be working hard once the intensive begins.
Hydrate – Water and nutrition are just as important leading up to the intensive as they are during. Starting day 1 hydrated will ensure you start off on-track. Importance of Water for Dancers
Pack your bag – Avoid rushing in the morning by preparing fully the night before. Pack your dance bag with the necessary dance attire and prepare your lunch and snacks. Also, it never hurts to review any last minute checklists.
Sleep – Get 7 – 8 hours of sleep the night before your summer intensive begins, so you feel well rested and ready to learn on your first day.
Lisa’s Advice: “Whether you are driving or taking the subway, map out where you need to go for your first day. You do not want the added stress of getting lost on day one!”
1st day of Intensive
Listen – Today you will learn what is expected of you so be sure to pay attention and take it all in – remember you are here to learn and improve!
Ask Questions – Are there additional resources such as physical therapists, nutritionists, discounts, etc., offered to you while you are there? Is anything expected of you beyond attending classes?
Be Confident – Without being overly confident, go in with the attitude that you can do this! Do all you can to come out a stronger, better dancer.
Lisa’s Advice: “Give yourself time to warm up before class. You will be dancing longer hours then you’re used to so you need to get your body ready.”
During the Intensive
See Dance – Take advantage of the performances and resources available to you. Expand your mind while you train your body. In NYC, check out Licoln Center, New York City Center, The Joyce Theater, or New York Live Arts.
Care for your body – …And listen to it! Stay hydrated and eat enough calories to get through your classes, which for dancers can be a lot. If you are feeling pain, be sure to tell an instructor. If you let a pain fester, it could grow and ruin your intensive.
Track Your Goals – Keep a journal to assess the progress of those goals you wrote down before the intensive began. Track what you have accomplished and how you can reach the rest.
Rest – …on Sunday. Most summer intensives do not meet 7 days a week as your body needs time to rest. Go sightseeing if you’re in a new city…hang out with friends…let your muscles heal and prepare for Monday’s early morning ballet class.
Enjoy yourself – Most importantly, enjoy making new friends, meeting new teachers, and having the chance to do a lot of what you love for a few weeks!
Lisa’s Advice: “Pay attention to ALL the teacher’s corrections. Just because a correction is not for you does not mean you cannot learn from it.”