MTD Tips | Choosing a Summer Intensive

After many hours of training and a handful of auditions, many dancers have the opportunity to pick a summer intensive to attend. At MTD, we know that making the perfect choice regarding a summer intensive program can be difficult. So, we gathered 9 questions you should ask yourself before making a final decision on your summer of 2018 program.  

1. What is your purpose?

Perhaps the most important part of picking a summer intensive is deciding what you want to get out of the program. Do you want to improve technique? Increase your artistry? Learn choreography?
Pick a program that meets your desired end goal.
Insider tip: If you are considering going to school for dance or potentially entering a certain company, look into a program provided by that institution. You will not only be able to determine if you see yourself there in the future, but you will have the chance to network with the faculty and current dancers.

2. How much will you dance?

When considering a program, it is important to know what your typical day looks like. If you are hoping to improve technique, seek out a program that has ballet scheduled everyday. Are you hoping to experience what company life is like? Pick a program that has a schedule comparable to an eight hour workday. Are you looking for something more recreational? Pick a schedule that has only a few classes a day which will leave you plenty of free time.

3. Where is the program located?

Many dance programs are scheduled with at least a one day break. This allows dancers free time to explore the city they are in. If you have always dreamed of going to the Big Apple or La La Land, summer dance intensives are a great excuse to go and live out your dream.. Not to mention, if you are in a big city, there are opportunities to attend dance productions or potentially audition for other dance programs.

4. How much does it cost to attend?

Attending a dance program can cost a lot of money, from room and board to the countless pointe shoes, expenses aren’t cheap. However, it is important to know that many programs offer scholarships or work studies, this will reduce the cost of your overall attendance. Some programs even offer discounts depending on how many weeks you plan to attend. Don’t forget…extensive research will get you the best bang for your buck.

5. Who are the faculty members?

Doing your research on potential faculty is extremely beneficial when picking a summer intensive. Quality of teachers often indicates the quality of the program. Look for teachers who have extensive experience and a respected background. Also, keep in mind that teachers can be a great networking resource especially if they have worked with a company you have interest in.

6. How large are classes?

Another important consideration when picking a program is class size. Many dancers enjoy working in a classroom with a limited amount of students. This not only allows you the chance to meet all of your peers on a personal level, but also it provides the instructor with the ability to offer feedback to each dancer. Feedback from a teacher who is unfamiliar with you is greatly beneficial, because they often reinforce new perspectives.  If class size is not located on the program’s website, try contacting the program coordinator.

7. Are there performance opportunities?

Summer intensives are a great opportunity to learn new choreography or repertory pieces. Not only is it awesome to experience new choreographic styles, but also it is a unique experience to rehearse with a new group of peers. While most summer intensives have a showcase, if you are extremely interested in performing it is important to verify that there will be performance opportunities.

8. How do I get accepted into the program?

Most summer intensive auditions occur between January and mid-April. While many programs require an in-person audition, there are also a lot that offer video auditions as well. If you are hoping to attend a summer intensive this year, it is important to apply as soon as possible. Keep an eye out for our next article when we share 10 Audition Tips.
Insider tip: Don’t have time to audition? Not ready to commit to a long program? Consider attending a dance festival, camp, or convention. Not only do these events offer great experiences, but also many of them do not require an audition.  We suggest you check out the 360° Dance Festival.

9. What are alums saying about their past experience?

Perhaps the greatest resource in picking a summer intensive is finding someone who has attended the program before you. Program alums offer valuable insight into the program and often offer audition tips as well.
If you do not know someone personally who attended the program, you may have to do a little work. Ask your teachers if they are familiar with anyone who has attended a specific program, or use social media to your advantage and reach out to a dancer who has attended.