Congratulations on surviving audition season and deciding on where to spend your summer training! Whether it’s your first intensive or fiftieth, here are a few things we wish we had known before we went away for the summer. Know that we're cheering you on and praying for you. As always, if you have any questions or thing you might want to add to the list, feel free to drop us a line here!
Overpacking is ok–I am a firm believer in bringing everything you might need just in case. Just make sure you can get it through the airport or packed nicely in the car.
A lot of dorms will let you ship a box or two prior to your arrival. This is nice if you have to bring bedding (oh, make sure you have the right size sheets), cooking utensils, costumes, etc. Don’t forget that you have to bring everything home too. ;-)
Be sure to pack an ankle, knee brace, and ice pack (the instant ones are convenient) just in case as well as extra blister care, toe tape, band aids, and toe pads. Your foam roller may take up a lot of space in your suitcase but it might also save your legs–if it doesn’t fit, a stick will suffice. And don’t forget the arnica and icyhot or tiger balm.
Also, calculate how many pairs of pointe shoes you will need and sew them before you leave. Remember that you will be dancing more than usual and might need to pack an extra. It’s always good to have a clean pair of ballet shoes ready for performances as well.
Don’t try to figure out why she got level 6 with sickled feet and pique turns with bent knees while you’re stuck in level 4. Really, it’s a waste of brain energy and not worth it. Choose to learn as much as you can regardless of the level you are placed in. Remember there’s a bigger picture going on. More than the director’s decisions, Jesus placed you in the level where you will bring Him the most glory. Keep that in mind as you love as He loves, and dance from a heart of grateful worship.
Choose to be yourself–and be confident in who you are. You’ll be in a new environment with lots of new teachers and styles. Of course we want them to like us but be careful not to compromise by chasing an elusive goal of being the dancer “they” want you to be. Remember, your identity does not lie in other people’s opinions (or the cast list). You are a royal princess of the King of Kings–dance in His confidence.
Don’t get distracted–whether it be boys or petty girl drama, try not to get sucked in. Remember you are there to dance. It might be tempting to critique the way that girl dances more like a chicken than a swan; your pas de deux partner’s dreamy eyes might make you wonder if he’s really your prince–whatever it might be, stay focused.