Where are you headed this summer and how will you prepare?
Dance Wellness Editor Jan Dunn, on the website 4dancers.org, has written a great post on how to prepare your body for summer intensive programs.
While it might seem early to start thinking about summer programs, it’s not. Like most things, successful preparation is a process and begins early. I recommend you read the whole post here, but in the meantime, here are some points she addresses:
- Aerobic Conditioning: dancers who are aerobically fit have fewer injuries than those who aren’t. It’s never too early to get started on this.
- Work on muscle balance: for ballet dancers, that means working in parallel as opposed to turnout; you can use Pilates, Gyrotonics, the gym.
You know the drill, you’ve done the exercises, you’ve read the articles, now go find a teacher and get started! Almost all dancers cross train nowadays, so if you aren’t, it’s definitely time to get on that.
- Climate change: if you’re going somewhere hotter, colder, more humid, or at a higher altitude, it will affect your dancing, so be prepared.
Ask the school how dancers prepare for those changes or google the climate. For example, a quick google search of “how athletes adapt to high altitudes” reveals a number of handy articles with basic tips for the transition.
A piece of my own advice for dancers who are doing company auditions is to do some summer intensive auditions as well, especially with companies you’d like to dance for. For example, if your dream company is Boston Ballet, go ahead and do their summer program audition as well as the company audition. If you don’t get a company contract, but get accepted to the summer, it might be an option to consider.
Once you’re at the summer program, make sure the artistic director sees you by setting up a meeting with him or her and expressing your interest in dancing with the company. You can ask him/her to come watch you in class to see if you’d be a good fit for the company. It might sound crazy as a strategy for landing a company contract but it has worked for some dancers, including me!
Above all, think ahead. There’s no harm in thinking strategically about your future, even if so much of the decision-making is out of your hands.