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!
Take care of your body
First of all, come prepared–you will be dancing 6-8 hours a day. As much as possible prepare your body for this beforehand. DO NOT take the time off between recital and your intensive; this sets you up for injury and prohibits you from improving to your maximum potential during the summer. If classes are not available at your home studio, crosstrain–take a pilates, yoga, TRX, or gyro (my fav) class, keep your aerobic stamina up as well by jumping rope or swimming laps. You might even ask your director if you can give yourself class in the studio.
get to sleep at a reasonable hour–your body will thank you (and you’ll spend less on Starbucks ;-)
make wise food choices–know what fuels your body best and be smart about what to eat. Ice cream might be available every meal but will it get you through grande allegro? You might need to run to take advantage of the Wal-Mart run to stock up on some bananas and protein bars if the cafeteria is not adequate. Bottom line is take care of yourself with what you put in your mouth.
Be smart about injuries–at this level, you know the difference between good pain and bad pain. If you need to sit out or see a doctor, do not be afraid to ask. Pushing through bad pain (and worsening the situation) to impress someone for a short time, is not worth jeopardizing your career. And, no, it does not mean you’re a wimp if you sit out (but on the flip side, don’t be a wimp and sit out because conditioning made you feel like a granny). Don’t forget to ice when you need to.
Make friends–you may know one or two people or even none at all. Remember that most everyone is in the same boat. Go ahead and introduce yourself. Remember that you’re on this journey with other people. Keep in mind, the dance world is very small. Be kind to everyone and look for ways to encourage your fellow dancers. Let Jesus invite people into His story through you.
Be gracious to your roommate–do your best to get to know her, encourage her, care about her for the person she is. But also be considerate of her privacy and preferences. Communicate with each other about when you prefer to take showers (if you share a bathroom), when lights go out at night, or if something in particular is annoying you (but go about it nicely). Keep your belongings neat and tidy and be courteous of her space as well.
Call home–your fam wants to know what you’re up to.
Happy sweating (er, I mean dancing)!