Summer Course Survival

Many of you are going to be attending at a ballet summer course. I remember that very well! It is such an exciting time when you are a student, but it can often be overwhelming.

Here are some things I think can help you get the most out of your summer!

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1. Absorb EVERYTHING. It does not matter what class, what teacher, or what correction- take it in! I know you have all heard this before, but even if a teacher is correcting another student, act as if they were speaking to you. You can learn SO much this way. Also, take one day at a time. It can get to be exhausting if you think of all of your classes as a whole. Focus on one class at a time, and really be present. You will be amazed at how relieving yet helpful this can be.

SAB summer course students. Photo by Rosalie O'Connor
SAB summer course students.
Photo by Rosalie O’Connor

2. Enjoy making friends. If you are one of those people who just keeps to yourself and doesn’t try to meet anyone new, it will be a LONG summer. I’m not saying you have to be the best of friends, but be FRIENDLY! It is nice to have people to talk to about your classes, things you found challenging that day, or one of the fun dorm activities. Believe me, you will be glad you did!

   3. Eat well. A summer intensive is NOT the place to try and lose weight or have a free for all of junk-food-fest. You need energy through proper fuel and should make sure you are getting a variety of nutrients. Have a nice healthy breakfast, such as a fortified cereal with milk and fruit or eggs and toast, and with that, grab something for a snack for later, such as a banana, yogurt, or some nuts. Have a balanced lunch like a small salad and soup or sandwich, and then a dinner that replenishes your muscles, such as chicken with veggies and rice, or a piece of fish and pasta. Dark chocolate is a great dessert option because of the antioxidants. If you keep your body fueled properly, you will get so much more out of your classes.

     4. If your summer program offers seminars, ATTEND THEM. I was a seminar FREAK and went to every single one. Ones that will most likely be offered include nutrition, injury prevention, strength, talks with a company dancer, or performance and technique seminars. These are created specifically for you as students, so take advantage!  I still remember things I learned at summer course seminars. Please go and listen closely! You will thank me later!

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NYCB Principal Sara Mearns speaking to SAB summer course students.

5. Take care of yourself. Get enough sleep, drink lots of water, and make sure your warm up properly before every class. Getting injured during a summer intensive is never good. You only have a limited amount of time at that particular school, so you want to make the most of it. If you are out for a few weeks watching class because you failed to take care of yourself, it is valuable time you missed. So be careful!

6. Be memorable in a good way. If you are looking to attend that school during the year or want to come back next summer, you want them to like you! Have a positive attitude. Remember that teachers correct you because thy want to help you, so don’t give them any obnoxious looks or comments. Also pay attention. Learn the arms and heads – be sure and do every combination the way the teacher gave it. That will go a LONG way with them. Always look your best- no ripped tights or leotards with holes. You want to look like you could be thrown on the stage at any second.

7. Most importantly, HAVE FUN!!!!! That is why you dance, right? Enjoy every minute of it! There are a million people who would love to be in your shoes, so take full advantage of every opportunity. Smile, breathe, and have the time of your life!

Photos from my very first summer program! Joffrey Ballet School, age 11.

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