Summer intensives and programs are such an exciting part of a dancer’s training. You can experience new schools, meet new dancers, and learn different techniques, styles, or be told something you’ve heard a million times in a new way that just makes sense to you. My first summer intensive got me out of my comfort zone and into a new space, new studio, and different group of dancers. I didn’t know ANYBODY there and that was both terrifying and freeing all at the same time. I was nervous because I didn’t know anybody and hoped everyone was nice, and I felt free because I could explore my own movement in a brand new environment that allowed me to explore habits and maybe make some new ones.
Well, you’re here; you’re doing it! You signed up for a summer intensive and are excited to learn, dance, and explore what your body is capable of over the next week or two. Then it hits. That sluggish, tired feeling only 45-minutes into your first class of a 6 hour day filled with dance! Oh no! Were you running out the door because you overslept your alarm, missing your typical, filling breakfast? Maybe you sluggishly arrived at the studio just in time to start plies? Either way, let’s plan and prep so you can have your most successful and fulfilling summer intensive!
Tip #1 - Eat something in the morning
This might look like a “typical” breakfast: waffles + eggs, an omelet, a yogurt bowl, or cereal + banana. It can also look like a sandwich or leftovers from dinner if breakfast food isn’t really your jam! What’s important is that you eat something to get your body going and ready to dance. This might require a little bit of planning/prepping on your end. Overnight oats or premade egg bites can be made in one big batch and last you the whole week!
Tip #2 - Pack a lunch, snacks, and water
For me, there’s nothing worse than realizing that I didn’t bring enough food with me to power my dancing and focus for the day. That’s right - food does more than fuel your body! It helps your brain, your mental clarity - having trouble remembering that combination or that repertoire you learned two days ago? It could be that you were actually hungry or needed some water to fully focus and embody that new movement.
Tip #3 - Have fun!
This might be the most difficult thing to remember to do when throwing yourself into a summer intensive, especially if you don’t know anybody else in the program or are new to a school. It’s more than normal and natural to feel this way. Just remember that there are other dancers in your same position and likely experiencing exactly what you’re feeling. I find it helpful to introduce myself to each of the other dancers individually, maybe find something that you have in common with them, and aim to have lunch with a different dancer or group of dancers every day. You might even change where you stand at the barre each day or where you do centre combinations. Not only does this help you to dance around different people, but it’s likely you’ll notice, observe, maybe learn a few new things by watching other dancers work on their own technique and artistry.