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Make the Most of Your Summer Intensive—Here’s How

BalletMet’s five-week summer intensive for professionally aspiring dancers kicks off on June 17.

More than 180 students from all over the country will join us this year to take rigorous classes from supportive faculty at our Downtown Columbus studios.

It’s one of the largest groups we’ve had to date, and we’re excited to welcome them.

Ahead of the first week of classes, Academy Director Maria Torija shared some helpful recommendations on making the most of your summer intensive experience.

What are some things you hope summer intensive students do before they get here?

From a training standpoint, it helps if they haven’t take vacation before. Our summer intensive is meant to help them learn and improve and to introduce them to different dance forms. Of course, we have ballet, but we also do flamenco, contemporary dance, jazz, etc. And though we have Pilates and yoga classes that are conditioning classes, they have to really be in shape to be able to cope with those different disciplines. Our summer intensive is known for being a lot of hard work. Ballet classes are two hours long, which is great because they get to do everything. But if your muscles aren’t trained, you could get injured. So their bodies must have been moving. Also, it’s important, especially with the younger students, that they’re ready to leave home for a few weeks, to meet new friends. It can be hard. You miss family, and you don’t know the people. But be open and willing to meet new people. The more people you meet, the more experiences you’ll have in life and the more prepared you are for your future.

What do you want them to know about those first few weeks of the intensive?

Because intensive students come from many different schools and methods, they have to be open to learn from other teachers and learn other types of methods. Be open to other disciplines. Be in class to work hard, to concentrate, to focus, to really listen and to be a good colleague to your classmates. Be here to learn, and you’ll get a positive experience. Also, in the first weeks, make sure to sleep enough. It’s normal to be really tired during the first two weeks. Take care of your nutrition. Be organized. Be in the studio before class to start the class warm. And listen to your teachers.

What are some common mistakes you see students make throughout summer intensive? How can they avoid them?

Some students come, and they’re too used to their own training. They adapt after a week or two, but they should try to be more open. Also, sometimes they don’t express soon enough when they’re feeling pain, and then they have to sit out because they get injured. We don’t usually have many injuries in our intensive, and we have The Ohio State University Sports Medicine team here helping, but sometimes they feel the teacher will think they’re not a hard worker. So they don’t tell them, and it gets worse. But we’re all humans. We totally understand if there’s something going on. Say it soon enough to avoid the disappointment of sitting out.

What would you say makes BalletMet’s summer intensive stand out?

First, we are here to help everybody. Also, we offer a lot but not too much, so they really get something out of their intensive. They have several hours of ballet classes where they really improve. Then they learn new disciplines. Then they have a whole conditioning program. The fact that they get to perform is also something they really like. They have repertoire—we teach them excerpts of classical and contemporary rep, so that makes them happy. Also, the positive atmosphere the whole faculty projects. We really make them work but in a positive way.

What’s your personal favorite part of summer intensive?

Getting to know kids from other places and to help them and see how they change throughout the five weeks, how they develop and evolve and how the experience helps them.

What are you most looking forward to about this year’s group of students?

I’m looking forward to meeting and working with talented dancers from our school and other schools! We have a very talented, extraordinary group this year.