Summer Study/Workshops – Dance Advantage Solutions For All Stages Of Your Dance Life Fri, 12 Jan 2018 12:02:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Blossom This Summer at Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company’s Summer Intensive Sat, 06 Jan 2018 05:35:39 +0000 If you are a young dance artist, consider a summer intensive in Israel, a region rich in groundbreaking contemporary dance, and study at the International Dance Village, a place of inspiration, creation, community and peace of mind.]]>

If you are a young dancer serious about spending a summer immersed in movement with like-minded peers and stellar faculty, consider looking abroad toward Israel, a country rich in groundbreaking contemporary dance, and one of its leading companies, Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company.

Smiling Kibbutz intensive students


While most top dance companies are based in major urban areas, Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company’s heart and home is located in a kibbutz (a communal village) located in Ga’aton on the rolling hills of the historic Galilee region of northern Israel, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.  The International Dance Village is truly a unique location unlike any other in the world.  It is the life project of world-renowned choreographer Rami Be’er, the Artistic Director of Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, widely-recognized as one of the top international contemporary dance companies. Through his vision, leadership and dedication over the years, the International Dance Village has developed into a first-class dance center, offering 10 dance studios, a performing arts center and theater, a café and restaurant, a swimming pool, a social hall and much more.  It has truly become a haven for dancers and dance students from all walks of life, from around the world. Read on and learn more about the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company’s  Summer Intensive program, and visit their website for more details.


DA: What makes Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company’s Summer Intensive special?

The Summer Intensive program hosted by Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company is one of a kind for several reasons.  But first and foremost it’s because it’s the only one taking place at an International Dance Village. This special dance place has a strong tradition of innovation in contemporary dance, as the founder, Yehudit Arnon, a Holocaust survivor, envisioned bettering the world through the creation of a strong dance community.  She founded the dance company and the International Dance Village in Kibbutz Ga’aton in Western Galilee of Israel in the early 70’s and shortly thereafter, collaborated with renowned choreographers such as Mats Ek, Ohad Naharin, Jiří Kylián, Christopher Bruce, Kei Takei, Susanne Linke, Hada Oren, and Oshra Elkayam with the purposed of keeping the contemporary dance community in Israel fresh and innovative.  Her work has been proudly sustained and continued by Rami Be’er, the Artistic Director of Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company.

In this context, 10 years ago, the Summer Intensive was born to offer young and aspiring dancers, high school and university aged dance students from all over the world, the opportunity to discover a unique and innovative dance environment, where they could express themselves and evolve as professional dancers.

We can proudly attest to the fact that alumni and past participants at our Summer Intensive have repeatedly said that they’ve gained a new family here, aside from learning a lot of impressive and advanced dance techniques from renowned teachers.  They’ve also developed a deep connection with one another, which was one of the best take away from the Kibbutz Summer Intensive. Young students get to live in the beautiful and inspiring International Dance Village along with Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company’s dancers, teachers and choreographers. They have the opportunity to learn so much from them while also seeing them perform live.  It’s like no other place you’ve seen before.


Smiling dancers at Kibbutz Dance Company's Summer Intensive

For dancers coming to study and live here; whether they’re company dancers or studying at our Summer Intensive, it’s really a dream come true and a place of inspiration, creation, community and peace of mind.


Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company - Horses in the SkyDA: Can you tell us about the audition process and what students can expect?

Coinciding with our belief and desire to offer young and aspiring dancers from around the world with a first-class dance education during their summer break, we’ve made it a point to not require dancers and dance students to audition for the Summer Intensive.  Instead, we’ve created a Summer Intensive, offering an opportunity for dancers of all levels to attend and study with us.  From beginner and intermediate level dance students to more pre-professional dance students and dancers, we offer five different group levels so that the Summer Intensive can accommodate for all students of all levels and all backgrounds from across the world.

DA: How can students best prepare themselves for an intensive summer program abroad?

There is nothing specific that students necessarily have to do in order to prepare for the Summer Intensive aside from getting themselves psyched and excited to have the time of their lives; dancing and learning from one of the world’s leading contemporary dance companies in an International Dance Village like no other in the world, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea while making lifelong friends and new connections like-minded dancers and inspirational teachers from across the world.

International Dance VillageDA: What kinds of cultural or social activities can students participate in during this Summer Intensive?

Having the opportunity to live on a kibbutz (a communal village) where the International Dance Village is situated alongside our main and second companies, is quite a special experience.  This is your chance to live in the serene, beautiful, and historic Galilee region of Israel where you’ll be able to explore the region, its historic landmarks such as the ancient city of Akko, Jerusalem, float on the water of the Dead Sea (the lowest place on earth!), and hang out with friends on the beaches of the Mediterranean Sea.  Following classes each day, we offer free time to swim and relax by our pool with friends and around the kibbutz and after dinner, we have fun and engaging social activities of all kinds.

DA: What specific advice do you have for students, so they can get the most out of their experience with world renowned faculty?

Our best suggestion is to arrive to the International Dance Village and the Summer Intensive as a ‘sponge,’ willing to listen and absorb all the new information, dance techniques, and repertoire that you’ll be learning together with fellow participants from our teachers and company dancers.  This is a truly special opportunity to be able to study firsthand with professional dancers, choreographers and international teachers with vast experience and offers a tremendous chance to improve yourself exponentially from a technical standpoint but at the same time, develop yourself as an artist while developing on a personal level from such an international dance experience.

DA: What are two or three tips you can share for dance students traveling to Israel for the first time?

Israel is truly a wonderful and unique region of the world with a plethora of history, diversity, culture, great cuisine and is also widely known as global leader in innovation and technology.  With that said, the dance scene in Israel is also world-renowned and therefore there is much to offer for dancers and dance students coming from abroad for these special summer dance workshops.  Naturally, summertime in Israel offers perfect summer weather, so prepare yourself for that as well as being immersed in an extremely welcoming community that is the International Dance Village; where dancers from all backgrounds are welcomed and are given support and guidance by our staff and faculty as they continue to develop in their careers as blossoming dancers.

Go deeper inside Kibbutz Dance Company’s 2018 Summer Intensive, learning more about the faculty, classes and how to register at


Visit the website for the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company’s 2018 Summer Intensive.


Rami Be'er at Kibbutz Summer Intensive
Artistic Director Rami Be’er, Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company



Disclosure: Dance Advantage received compensation for publishing this sponsored post.
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Things You Miss After Summer Intensives Are Over… Sat, 20 Aug 2016 14:45:21 +0000 Got summer intensive withdrawal? Of course you do! How could you not miss these things...]]>

Got summer intensive withdrawal? Of course you do! How could you not miss these things…

Doing What You Love All Day Long

Living the dream…

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Checking out a New City

Just preparing for touring life…

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Polishing Your Ballet Skills

Bunhead heaven…

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Working on Different Dance Styles

(Even if you’re terrible at them…)


Pas de Deux Class

Yes, accidental kicks and scares aside, it’s really pretty magical, isn’t it?

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Extra Pointe Classes

Your toes may say “no,” but your heart says “yes!”

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Or Jumping/Turning Class…

Flight lessons!

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Learning Classical Repertoire

So exciting!

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The End-of-Program Performance

(Cue post-show blues.)

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Your New Dance Friends

Thank goodness for social media!


Get Ready For Next Summer…

Auditioning, Planning, and Preparing for Summer Dance Intensives


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Picking The Perfect Summer Dance Program Thu, 04 Feb 2016 15:30:26 +0000 Students from Houston Ballet Academy and the school's director, Shelly Power share tips and advice on picking a summer dance intensive that's the perfect fit.]]>

When you don’t have much experience outside your home studio, figuring out which of many summer dance programs best suits you is difficult. As a young dancer, your worst fear may be to arrive at a dance intensive only to discover that you don’t enjoy the atmosphere of the program and are going to be stuck there for several weeks of your summer.

Dancers in purple at barre
Students of Houston Ballet Academy’s 2015 Summer Intensive Program

Photo: Jamie Lagdameo | Image provided courtesy of Houston Ballet

Sixteen-year-old, Divya Rea from Wheaton, Illinois and Noah Miller, 17 years old, from Lake Forest, California faced the same fears and decisions in their hunt for the right summer dance program. They found the Houston Ballet Academy summer intensive and now attend the school’s year-round program in Texas’s largest city.

Noah began looking out of state for a summer dance program when he was fifteen after receiving a very direct signal that it was time.

“I was approached at YAGP (Youth America Grand Prix) and given the offer and knew that people were beginning to look at me and I needed to be seen by more people,” he says.

It was important to Noah that a program’s teachers look at each individual student and care for them. He also took into account his future, considering the types of dancers the companies usually hired.

Noah attended two, much shorter summer intensives before eventually settling on Houston Ballet’s program.

Shelly Power, Houston Ballet Academy Director (who will begin her new role as Artistic Director and CEO of Prix de Lausanne this summer), thinks students should experience a variety of summer programs.

“However,” she adds, “when they are getting close to realizing where they wish to concentrate their future training or time, they should be consistent with one program. This is usually for the older student.”

Divya has been auditioning for summer dance programs since she was 12 but didn’t feel ready to leave home for the summer until she was 13 years old.

“Not only did I feel ready to take care of myself,” she remembers, “the director of my home studio told me he thought I was ready to go.”

Divya reminds younger students that it’s okay to be nervous.

“Going anywhere new can be scary, especially far away from home. It is normal to worry about where you fit in and what might happen, but don’t let those worries override your excitement. Going to a summer dance intensive is an unforgettable experience. You will meet so many people from different places who all have the same passion for dance that you do. I remember before my first summer program, I would stay awake at night thinking about all the uncertainty in the coming weeks. But, by the end of the six weeks I had made so many new friends and I was reluctant to leave them and go back home.”


The Selection Process

Divya chose Houston Ballet’s program as the right one for her from the very beginning. To make that decision she broke the search process into steps, starting with figuring out what she was really looking for in a summer program.

Defining your goals and desires is indeed the first, perhaps most difficult step of the search process and, according to Power, much depends on the level of dedication the student has, the number of years in training, prior attendance, long-term training goals, desire to perform, one’s budget, and more.

As you narrow your choices, these goals must become more specific in order to find the best fit.

So what are the important questions students should ask?

How ready (physically and mentally) am I to commit to the length of the program?

“A lot of younger students have never been away from home for 5 or 6 weeks. Many students are not used to dancing 6 days a week all day long,” says Power. “Coping mechanisms are important when deciding on a summer intensive. Students must be prepared to deal with competition, homesickness, time management, good healthy sleep habits, and injury prevention with maturity and an ability to communicate when one or all of these arrives.”

Houston Ballet offers a three week course in the summer for level 5’s to ease the adjustment for younger students. They also have several resources available to support students, including a nutritionist, athletic/artistic trainers, psychologist, and trained chaperones.

How well have I researched the school and/or company where I plan to spend my summer?

To help summer program students immediately get to know Houston Ballet, they begin with a performance from the company, followed by a performance by the second company, Houston Ballet II. But long before you arrive you should thoroughly research all of or your choices via the web and other resources.

“Students should know something about the company (if the school is attached to a company), the rep of the company, and the teachers of the school,” explains Power, “and ask themselves ‘why are they choosing this school?’”

What is my end goal?

This is the time to have conversations with your home school director in order to “see” yourself more clearly and more clearly define your goals.

Power says to ask yourself these key questions:

  • Am I interested in a year round program in the future with this school I am choosing? Is that important to me?
  • Am I interested in performing and does the program offer a performance opportunity?
  • Do I want a lengthy program where I will see the most change in my technique?
  • Is the training in line with what I am looking for?
  • Will I get a variety of training such as pas de deux, variations, pointe class, strengthening, modern, contemporary?


Claudio Munoz teaches Houston Ballet Summer Intensive students
Houston Ballet II Ballet Master, Claudio Munoz instructing Houston Ballet Academy students during the 2015 Houston Ballet Summer Intensive Program. (Noah is on the far left.)

Photo: Jamie Lagdameo | Image provided courtesy of Houston Ballet

Don’t Make The Decision Alone

Noah Miller and Divya Rea
Headshots of Noah Miller (Photographer: unknown) and Divya Rea (Photographer: Jamie Lagdameo) | Images provided courtesy of Houston Ballet

After Divya and Noah decided what they wanted from a program they researched programs online, talked to their teachers, and talked to students who attended those programs.

“The director of my home studio was the first person to tell me it was time to audition for summer programs,” Divya explains. “He gave me suggestions of which auditions to take and which programs would help me the most. I knew many people from my home studio who had gone to Houston Ballet’s summer program, and they always returned stronger and more artistic.”

Noah, too, turned to his teachers and found their knowledge helpful.

“They gave me really good tips on multiple intensives. Throughout the years they have had many of their students go to many programs, so they know a lot about some intensives.”

Your family’s thoughts must be taken into consideration as well.

“The biggest concern for my family is the cost,” says Noah, “and while I was younger, how far away it was from home, and how long the intensive was.”

Budgeting, according to Shelly Power, is always a concern for students and their families. She advises that students consider, but not base their decisions solely, on scholarships.

“The student should consider where they want to train first and then decide, if possible, on the offers any schools might make,” she explains.

Tip: If you are offered a scholarship, respectfully respond on or before the deadlines to improve a school’s ability to manage enrollment, housing, and wait-lists.


Safety was a concern for Divya’s parents.

“They wanted a program that was well chaperoned. I wanted a program that had world-class training, the potential to attend the year-round program, and an intense dance schedule.”

Most company schools, in addition to providing excellent technical and artistic training and giving students first hand experiences with repertoire that reflects what the company performs, also offer city living. This may be a new experience for many students, therefore, it is natural for students and their parents to want it to be a positive one.

Power suggests learning about the city which is home to the intensive you are considering and to ask yourself how you will handle living there.

“Experiencing how the summer is handled and prepared will give the student an idea of what the year round program will be like,” she reminds.

Your family knows you well and can help you compare programs to find the right one.

“I spent a lot of time looking at sample schedules and thinking about the class offerings,” she says. “I had countless papers with the pros and cons of each of my options. Once I saw it all in writing, my choice was easy.”

Tip: Divya’s father made a spreadsheet to make her search easier. You can try this to keep track of relevant information and deadlines about the summer intensive programs you are interested in, too. (This spreadsheet of 2015 intensives from BalletScoop is a great example.)


Houston Ballet II Ballet Mistress, Sabrina Lenzi instructing Divya during the 2015 Houston Ballet Summer Intensive Program. Photo: Jamie Lagdameo | Image provided courtesy of Houston Ballet
Houston Ballet II Ballet Mistress, Sabrina Lenzi instructing Divya during the 2015 Houston Ballet Summer Intensive Program.

Photo: Jamie Lagdameo |
Image provided courtesy of Houston Ballet

Narrowing It Down

If you are struggling to decide between programs, Noah suggests focusing on your goals.

“Choose the one you know you would get the most out of, whether that be the training, or potential job offers,” he says.

On this point, even program staff can be of help to you during your hunt for the right program. Power says she would love to hear more potential attendees ask program staff or administration, “What do I need to do personally to get the most out of the program?”

Divya adds that you should also trust your instincts in the decision process.

“Think back to the style of the audition class and ask yourself which program will make you most excited for the summer and give you a reason to wake up every morning and go to class.”

She remembers loving the Houston Ballet intensive audition class she attended in Chicago. Houston Ballet sends teachers that will be teaching in the summer on audition tour and administrative staff are available for questions on the audition site. In this way, the audition process can provide many clues about what to expect from the program.

The kind or amount of attention you may receive at the audition does not necessarily provide clues about the program’s interest in you, however. Power warns,“The audition is always a fast paced process and students are better served if they don’t make assumptions.”

Tip: During the audition process, keep the lines of communication open. Schools are often willing to communicate and find solutions if there are concerns about overlapping deadlines or program dates.


The Choice Is Made

Once you’ve reached a decision, there’s still work and preparation to do! If you’ve accepted an offer, stand by your commitment and be sure to read carefully and follow the school’s policies before and during attendance.

In addition to coping skills, Power says that successful intensive students are also physically prepared before coming to the summer program as well as interested in improving their technique. They also keep that perspective throughout, always asking themselves what they need to do to get the most out of the program.

Upon making her decision, Divya felt glad to know that a fellow dance classmate would also be attending and was excited about the myriad of classes on the Houston Ballet Academy’s schedule as well as the intensity of the workload.

“I felt that my dancing could grow the most in Houston’s program,” she recalls. “It’s four years later and Houston Ballet Academy is still the program for me.”


Male dancers at Houston Ballet's Summer Intensive
Students of Houston Ballet Academy’s 2015 Summer Intensive Program

Photo: Jamie Lagdameo | Image provided courtesy of Houston Ballet


Noah appreciates that the Houston Ballet summer intensive’s class offerings are well-rounded.

“We get a curriculum of ballet, modern, jazz, character, body conditioning, and even pantomime,” he says. “Stuff I haven’t seen people do in any other intensive.”

Houston Ballet Academy’s six-week program also provides performance opportunities, events that allows students to get to know the city of Houston, and a great dormitory setting. Lunches are available on site and there is an athletic trainer available for taping, maintenance, and support.

Divya is excited to go to class every day at Houston Ballet Academy but she realizes that one program can’t be right for everyone.

“It is a question of what you want to accomplish and who will help you get there,” she wisely states. “For a dancer, summer is a special time with minimal unwanted commitments. It’s a chance to pursue what you want to pursue without distractions. Whichever program you attend, if you make sure it is exciting and challenging, it will be a summer you never forget.”



Houston Ballet

Houston Ballet Academy has provided the highest quality ballet training to aspiring dancers since 1955. During its summer intensive program students are completely immersed in dance for three or six weeks and obtain training both enriches and complements their previous dance education. Students dance for six to eight hours a day, six days per week, learning from world-class instructors and Houston Ballet company members.

Audition Tour dates and locations can be found on Houston Ballet Academy’s Audition Tour Page.


For more upcoming summer program auditions, search the audition listings at


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Summer Intensives for the Non-Ballerina Mon, 02 Mar 2015 15:00:01 +0000 In a summer intensive world largely dominated by pointe work and pas de deux, it can be difficult for a dancer to find a program focused on a style other than ballet. So what are all of us jazz, tap, modern, hip hop and other dance lovers supposed to do? Find the answer here. ]]>

Although recent wintery weather reports may indicate otherwise (shout out to the northeastern United States), summer will be here before we know it – which means summer intensives.

Whether you’re an intensive veteran or a first-timer, it can be difficult to know where to start when looking for the right program, especially if you’re searching for one that isn’t ballet focused. So what is a dancer to do?

1. Know what you want.

If you know you want an intensive that isn’t ballet based, figure out what you are looking for in your summer study experience. Numerous factors can contribute to this step:

  • What style are you looking for? Jazz? Modern and/or contemporary? Tap? Musical theater? Hip hop? Some programs offer class in a wide variety of styles; others concentrate on a few related genres. For example, Steps on Broadway holds an intensive that offers classes in everything from hip hop and jazz to Pilates and theater dance, in addition to a dose of ballet. The Rockette Summer Intensive, in contrast, focuses on the Rockette repertoire – jazz, tap and Rockette precision technique.

    Lehrer Dance Company performing in Vladivostok 2013
    LehrerDance will teach their fusion of modern and jazz at their intensive in June. “LehrerDance in Vlad 2013″ by U.S. Consulate Vladivostok is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.
  • What do you want to learn? Think about your ultimate dance dream job. Is it in the spotlights of Broadway? Touring with a pop legend as a backup dancer? Look for the intensive that can bring you closer to that goal.
  • What kind of environment do you want? Dance companies host intensives, but so do universities, studios and dance schools. Some schools may offer a side of dance that could be completely new to you, giving you a chance to broaden your dance background. Northeastern Illinois University, for example, teaches Spanish dance through their Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater intensive. University of California Los Angeles’ intensive offers classes in Polynesian dance, postmodern techniques and more.
  • What kind of experience level would you like? Intensives that require auditions are likely to be more rigorous and have higher expectations than those that do not.  That being said, programs that do not have auditions still hold a wealth of knowledge to benefit you. Think about how much experience you have and how that would correspond with the intensity of the program.

Other elements to consider…

  • Do you want to travel or stay local? Keep in mind that not all intensives provide housing and meals, so know what your needs will be if you have your sights set on out-of-town programs.
  • How much time do you have or want to focus on dance? Intensives can range anywhere from a week to the duration of the summer.
  • Do you want to perform, or just study?

2. Research intensives.

hip hop class at Alabama Ballet Summer Intensive
Some ballet companies, such as Alabama Ballet, have intensives that teach jazz, hip hop, modern and other dance forms in addition to ballet. “Alabama Summer Intensive 2013″ by Melissa Dooley is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Now that you’ve considered what you want most in an intensive, it’s time to seek out programs that meet those criteria.  So where do you find out about summer study, exactly?

  • Do a web search. Visit your favorite dance companies’ websites or the websites of colleges you’re considering and see if they offer summer study programs. Google makes search by location easy (check here for search tips). Remember to be specific and to try a variety of terms like summer dance program or workshop when searching.
  • Check the January issue of Dance Spirit or Dance Magazine, or use this summer intensive directory on, to search intensives by state. Along with basics such as contact info and location, each of these resources note the program’s classes, whether an audition is required, if video auditions are accepted, if scholarships are available, if there will be a performance opportunity and if housing is provided.
  • Ask around. Fellow dancers in your classes may have attended a program that would be just right for you – and can give you first hand insight on what it was like. Your dance teachers may be able to suggest some programs that would be a good fit for you. Teachers often have connections around the local dance scene, too, and may know about some programs close by that you may not know about otherwise.

3. Apply/audition/register!

Some intensives require that you pre-register for auditions. An audition fee may be charged in some situations as well. Carefully evaluate which auditions are right for you. Visit each program’s website to make sure you’ve made all the necessary preparations for the big day.

4. Decision time…

You may find yourself trying to decide between more than one intensive, even after you’ve narrowed your focus and auditioned for just a few options. Don’t despair – it’s an honor whether you’re accepted to one or 100 intensives, so don’t look at it as a burden.

The big question is, what are your goals for this summer?

The right program for you is the one that most closely matches what you want to take away from this summer.

  • Find out what kind of extracurricular activities are available to make your moments outside the dance studio just as memorable.
  • Think about the location and facilities you like best.
  • Consider the backgrounds of the faculty members at each intensive and where each program’s alumni are now. If filling the shoes of a particular alum or instructor one day sounds like absolute perfection, it’s probably the program for you.

Ultimately, no matter which program you choose, you’ll learn, make friends and spend the summer doing what you love: dancing!

What intensives have you attended that weren’t ballet-focused?

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Reel Deal: Ace Your Video Audition Tue, 15 Apr 2014 16:21:14 +0000 Video auditions are used to qualify dancers for summer dance intensives, college and conservatories, and employment with dance companies. Professional dance videographer, Nel Shelby gives tips on making the best audition video possible.]]>

Nel Shelby Productions is a New York City videography company with extensive experience in dance-specific video production. In an earlier interview, Nel Shelby gave Dance Advantage readers tips on How To Make a Video to Market A Dance Studio.

In their search to find more ways to help dancers and choreographers, Nel Shelby Productions has discovered there is high demand for filming and editing excellent quality audition videos for dancers looking to attend summer dance intensives, enroll in college dance departments and conservatories, and even send video samples of their dancing to professional performing companies.

So of course, we want to know how to make the best audition video possible and asked Nel Shelby Productions for their best advice.

Making Your Dance Audition Video
Image courtesy M4D Group

Don’t get too fancy with your dance audition video

Most dance schools, programs and companies would prefer to see a one-camera video shoot rather than two-cameras.

Two-camera edits involve putting together multiple angles, and the choices made about showing your dancing from certain angles may seem suspicious… “Why did they cut to a close-up of her torso there?” “Was she off-balance on releve?”

You don’t want to look like you’re hiding something.

Let them see you in the best light

Film the audition material in a relatively clean space with great light.

Nel Shelby Productions brings their own lighting equipment to every studio they film auditions. You never know if you’ll have enough natural light, and it’s very important the dance program or audition judges can see you.

Bring a coach

Shelby always reminds clients who are creating audition reels to bring a teacher or coach. After all, they can make sure you look great on camera, but your videographers don’t know the choreography or variations. Bringing an additional set of eyes, already familiar with the movement material, helps you get the most out of your session.

Practice makes perfect video

Dancers should come fully prepared with all variations, exercises and choreography set and well-rehearsed for their audition video shoot. Warming up and setting hair and make-up before the session is also important.

Talk to your videographer

Many dancers need a quick turnaround in video delivery for auditions and other applications. Nel Shelby Productions says they need to know the application requirements and deadlines before you film your dancing so they can work with clients and plan accordingly to deliver their dance video as fast as possible.

Talk over the dance audition guidelines with your video team, too. Things like: how variations should be ordered on the DVD, or if a menu is necessary to navigate through to specific chapters of your audition.

A Dance Audition Video Example:

Watch an excerpt of Brittany Shinay’s dance audition video made by Nel Shelby Productions.

Nel Shelby Productions

Learn more about Nel Shelby Productions and get occasional video tips by signing up for her newsletter.

Is This The Right Dance Audition For Me? Tue, 28 Jan 2014 16:07:13 +0000 It's audition season for dance companies, college programs, and summer study. Dancers face many decisions. The first is figuring out which opportunities are the right ones to pursue. Start by asking the right questions as you prepare to audition and interview.]]>

Asking the Right Questions

A Dancer's Next Steps: Auditioning and InterviewsThe search for the right opportunities to interview or audition for a college dance program or dance company must relate to your personal career aspirations. The clearer you are with yourself, the better able you will be to research and make choices about where you may want to work or study.

It is important to always know why you are at a particular dance audition even if it is just for the experience, because that will keep you focused and less anxious.

Here are some questions to help you decide which auditions are right for you:

  • What is the mission of the company, school or organization?
  • What is the size and structure of classes and/or rehearsals?
  • What is the performance repertoire?
  • Who is their audience?
  • What do others have to say about their educational/professional experiences there?
  • Will I get the training I need?
  • What is the pay and regularity of work?
  • Are there other benefits (e.g. compositional opportunities, touring, work with respected and established artists)?
  • Is any travel involved?
  • Does it matter to me if it is a stage or film/video job?
  • Am I being realistic about my technical level, my time and my financial needs?

Expectations of Auditioning Dancers

Different opportunities come with different criteria and expectations.

In a professional situation, people are expecting a level of preparedness and will assess whether you can step right in and handle the work.

In a college or pre-professional position, they are evaluating your potential and are looking to see if you can adapt to their particular approach for further training and development in particular style or repertoire.

Don’t forget that those interviewing you are looking for a whole person and are not just selecting/hiring your abilities. If you are inviting and approachable people will to want to talk to you learn more about your experience and what you have to offer.

If you approach every interview as a conversation, it becomes an opportunity to introduce yourself and to learn about someone or something else which goes a long way to lessening the stress of feeling judged and vulnerable.

“We’re Not Hiring.” What Now?

If you are technically strong enough and decide to try out for a professional company right out of high school there are many ways to become involved even if there are no actual job openings at the time.

Becoming an apprentice is an invaluable way to continue training and get a deeper understanding of the workings of a professional company. Your presence also allows directors to see how you handle their material and observe your demeanor as a professional.

Many companies do not hold auditions but select their apprentices or new members by word of mouth from colleagues.

Remember that you are auditioning all the time, often observed and considered for a role or opportunity without your knowledge.

Interning in the office or backstage is another way to also get valuable experience that can lead to ways of making a living in the arts as well as to help you understand how organizations function while allowing you to become a part of a team.

After selecting the right auditions or opportunities, dancers have a few more decisions to make, including what to perform for an audition.

Janaea Lyn Rose McAleeJanaea Rose Lyn (McAlee) is the currently full-time faculty and Dance Coordinator at Estrella Mountain Community College in Arizona. Previously she was Assistant Professor of Dance and Performing Arts Program Coordinator at Cecil College in Maryland. She is the author of Dance This Notebook with Artist Laura Higgins Palmer and is a contributing writer for Choreoclinic. Janaea was Founding Artistic Director of  both Convergence Dancers & Musicians and Dance Matrix, and she remains active as a Third Generation Isadora Duncan Dancer. Information at

(Interview photo by David Davies)
Six For Summer Study Success Mon, 28 Jan 2013 14:36:44 +0000 6 TIPS for summer dance program success:
1. Have fun but stay focused.

There’s a lot going on at a summer intensive and not all of it is dance-related. Making friends, hanging out with new people, enjoying a change of scenery — this is all part of the experience but, in the end, you’re there to dance. Don’t lose sight of this.

Silhouette of a dancer in a forest setting.2. Take care of your body.

Intensives are intense. Eat right. Stay hydrated. Get some sleep. Make time for warm up. Careless showing off can have consequences. Know your limits. Rest. Ice. Pay attention to pain.

3. Embrace what’s new or challenging.

Be open to unfamiliar ways of doing something and to different teaching styles. This exposure is one of the advantages of attending a summer program. Your positive attitude and willingness to adapt is crucial to success while you’re there and great practice for professional life as a dancer. Plus, the connections you make now can affect or play a role in your future.

4. Absorb and apply.

This is a primary principle of dance but is amplified during summer study when there is so much to take in. Relish this time. Be a sponge and take it home with you.

5. Record your findings.

Intensives go by fast. Writing down corrections, concepts, quotes, feelings, combinations, moments of clarity or confusion will help you hold on to and process all that you are absorbing.

6. Don’t lose your spirit.

You came for a challenge but when the going gets tough, it’s easy for your mind to be ensnared by punishing comparisons and negative competitiveness. Be gracious with yourself, knowing that you cannot be perfect and still be learning something. Great growth comes from mistakes and failure. Encourage others to do their best so that you always have motivation to do your best.

A number six6 POSTS to set you up for summer success:

Auditioning, Planning, and Preparing for Summer Dance Intensives

Links and resources for each stage of the pre-summer process.

10 Practical Tips for Summer Program Auditions

Audition season takes planning and mental preparation. These are tips from a classical ballet teacher who has been through it.

10 Tips For Parents on Preparing for a Summer Intensive Program

From city accommodations to vitamins, this one looks at a rigorous summer from the parents’ POV.

10 Creative Ways To Pay For Summer Study

If you can’t or don’t want to rely on your parents for funding, this student offers tested ideas for raising money.

Taking The Stress Out Of Your Summer

A summer intensive student has some tips for being prepared and getting through your first summer away from home.

Class Placement and Coping With Problems

Peer advice on some of the greatest challenges you’ll face while away for your summer intensive.

Where are you in your summer planning process?

Tell us in the comments and feel free to post your questions!

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Summer Dance: Fiction With Real Insight And Heart Tue, 22 Jan 2013 14:30:46 +0000 It’s that time of year when so many young dancers are thinking ahead to summer. If you are contemplating the exciting possibilities that await at a summer intensive or training program, if you have fond memories of your own summer experiences, or if you’d just love to step into that world for a moment, I think you’ll love Lynn Swanson’s novel, Summer Dance.

Summer Dance is available on (for Kindle, too).
Summer Dance is available on (for Kindle, too).

Intended for tweens, but worthy of an all-ages audience, Summer Dance will appeal to both non-dancers and dancers alike. In the midst of tough competition and very authentic episodes of teenage drama, the characters develop …well, character, learning and demonstrating ways to get along and even work together.

Summer Dance author, Lynn Swanson, has a degree in dance from University of Michigan, an MA in creative writing from Michigan State, and has enjoyed teaching ballet and creative movement to children for many years.  She took some time to talk with us about the themes in her book, her own summer dance experiences at Interlochen Center for the Arts, and her career as both dance teacher and writer.

Dance Advantage: How many of your experiences as a dance student at Interlochen went directly into Summer Dance?

Lynn Swanson: Interlochen was the main impetus for writing the story. It is enchanting there, and when I went, camp was a full eight weeks and it was intense. You had to learn to pace yourself socially as well as technically and keep a cool balance. There were highs and lows in terms of energy and emotion.

Now camp there is mostly three week sessions, but they still cover a lot of ground. The geographic locale is made of tall and wonderfully smelling pine trees, lakes, and dirt paths to everywhere. There is no boy’s camp across the lake, and we were so busy dancing that nothing like the adventures with the boys in my book ever happened! Being at Interlochen for four summers changed me into a mature dancer and inspired me, so that I returned home in joy and expansion.


DA: The competitive nature of summer programs and the dance world is a very real and very central theme in your story right from the start, yet unlike so many narratives featuring dancers, I appreciate that you have successfully resisted over-dramatizing this aspect. How did you ‘keep it real’ as the writing unfolded?

LS: I simply wrote from my heart. Before writing anything new, I would completely re-read everything I had written and feel it in my heart, then proceed in a place of solitude trying to keep it close to my heart.

My own experiences in competing gave me the wisdom that competition is purely being the best at that moment that you, yourself, can be and has really nothing to do with anyone else in the room.


DA: What do you think is most important for young dancers to keep in mind as they come face to face with competition or even rivalry at a summer intensive (or elsewhere)?

LS: The most important thing I would tell a young dancer about competition is to remember what I learned from my special teacher:  “If you didn’t get chosen, it may have absolutely nothing to do with the quality of your dancing. There are different parts for different people. The choreographer has in mind a certain type of look or expression for a certain part. Maybe your hair is the wrong color!”

Of course, you have to seriously ask yourself if are ready technically to dance a certain part or dance, too, and keep going to class and keep going to audition.


DA: You’ve made no mention of the Internet in Summer Dance. How deliberate was this choice?

LS: To use or not to use references to present technology was an issue. First I excluded it, then I included it, then I removed it again.

Interlochen has a strict rule against students carrying and using cell phones so they can focus on their art. There are computers in the library, but most students are so tired at the end of a day of dancing they go to dinner and then just stroll around the lake or attend an evening music concert.

My final outside reader, a mature ballet dancer and teacher, felt strongly that there should be no references to technology. She thought the story had an “old-fashioned” feeling that references to technology ruined. No one who has read the book, especially young people, have even mentioned it. In fact, critics have called the book “refreshing,”  so I think I made the right decision.


DA: I couldn’t agree more. Your characters and the joys and obstacles they face seem timeless, which I too found refreshing. What inspired the choice for your fictional camp Lakewood’s motto, Leadership, Cooperation, Enthusiasm, and Improvement

LS: Those words to live by actually came from a wonderful cheerleading coach. Her name was Miss Hess, and she was the cheerleading coach at Michigan State University. She started what, I think, was the first cheerleading camp in the country.

I went there for two 5-day sessions during high school and won the  “First Place Individual” award the second year I attended. Miss Hess wanted to instill us with these virtues, and when I began to teach dance, I tried to teach them to my students. There is more, after all, to all of us than technique.


Duck Lake in Interlochen, Photo by wahoowinsDA: Absolutely! Give us two ways students can exemplify each of these four virtues both away and at home in their dance classes.

Well, the easiest one, I think is “improvement.”  This would manifest in continuing to improve technique, but could also apply to one’s attitude.

As for “enthusiasm,” I would say there is nothing worse than trying to teach a class where a student is frowning all the time or dragging along rather than being on top of things. We all have bad days, but if a dance student is constantly coming to class or rehearsal  showing a lack of enthusiasm, perhaps there is an underlying issue that needs to be discussed and resolved.

Cooperation,” is key for all young people to learn and demonstrate in all activities, at home and at dance or at school. If it is combined with enthusiasm, you have your ideal student! Don’t block someone else’s dance space, don’t get out in front if you aren’t sure of the combination, don’t annoy the accompanist by hanging on the piano or starting across the room on the wrong beat, don’t pair yourself with the same person for en diagonale all the time. The list goes on. Spread yourself around within your own dance space! For Sara, [the main character in Summer Dance] she had to cooperate by dancing a role she had been understudying, though she felt she was no good at it at all. Everyone depended on her.

Leadership” means something as simple as getting in the front line when you are confident about a combination, it means remembering the choreography from rehearsal to rehearsal, it means focusing every minute you are in class with full concentration, it can mean beginning to teach dance to the young people in your neighborhood. It can mean not engaging in gossip and supporting others.


DA: While at Lakewood, Sara experiences modern dance and tries her hand at choreography for the first time. How do summer programs help students open up and leave their comfort zone.

LS: I found my summer dance programs to be the ideal place to try new things. There you are, away from your regular teacher and classmates, with new instructors who don’t know what you are capable of.

You just have to give it your all and you might be surprised to find you like that way of moving even better than the old way of moving. And if you find that you like the old way more, you have learned something important about yourself. I do think all dancers must continue ballet classes, as it is the foundation for a good enough technique for other forms of dance.


DA: What might students do to overcome some of their fears or resistance to doing familiar things a new way or trying things that are unfamiliar and strange?

LS: Just jump in! Nothing was ever accomplished by whining on the sidelines or hanging on the barre.


DA: I love that you’ve woven historical dance names and concepts throughout your story. Why is it so important for young dancers to learn about the past?

LS: Oh, yes.  It is very important for dancers to know a bit of dance history. This allows them to feel themselves part of a special arena, to take their place with confidence as part of that history. I think it is thrilling to know you are dancing in a piece that many others have danced before you. There are many established modern dance pieces as well as ballets that provide the opportunity to feel a sense of this.

Can you imagine dancing in Balanchine’s “Serenade,” without an understanding of the history of it, or dancing in Paul Taylor’s “Ariel,”  with no one telling you who choreographed it or anything about that technique. We can show visual recordings of performances so new students can carry on tradition. But, even if one never dances a traditional dance performance, dance history makes a dancer feel part of something large and important.


DA: As a young dance student, did you do a lot of writing or keep a journal?

LS: When I was young I wrote poems and short stories and kept them in a big white coat box under my bed. I never kept a journal. I was the writer in the family of six girls and wrote poems, starting at about age 10, to family members as gifts, which I still do. When I was older and leaving home, I dumped out everything in that box into a burning barrel in the back yard, thinking it was all embarrassing, youthful trivia. When I was a master’s student in creative writing, I wished I had kept the writing.


DA: So, “don’t burn anything,” might be the advice you give to students with an interest in writing. What would you say to those who, like you, have dual interests but may be unsure if they need to put all of their energy into only dance or writing?

LS: The vast majority of artists perform in more than one area. It was difficult for me at times to work as a writer/editor full-time, to dance and teach dance, and to keep up writing. It was such a happy time for me when I became a full time master’s student in writing and could take dance classes, too. The trick for me was to not dance so much if I was intensely writing, and not write so much if I was rehearsing or performing.

Then, I reached an age where I felt too old to perform, didn’t dance on pointe anymore, and cut way back on the dance classes and finished writing the book. I would tell young people not to worry if they feel sad ignoring one of their passions temporarily because the flames of passion may burn low, but they never really go out. You have to trust that.


DA: So true. Your role as a dance educator comes through loud and clear in this book. It’s educational without being boring. What is the primary lesson you hope young readers will take away from your story?

LS: The primary lesson or inspiration I would like young people to take from Summer Dance is that it is not only possible, but important to try to be a good person in the midst of experiencing new people, new situations, and trying conditions.

Stay close to your own heart, be honoring of other people. Try to live in Leadership, Cooperation, Enthusiasm, and Improvement. It is like doing a perfect barre!

One of the most important life lessons. Thank you, Lynn!


Summer Dance is the winner of the Moonbeam Silver Medal award, was featured in Girl’s Life magazine, and was “Editor’s Pick” in the summer issue of Dance Spirit magazine. Pair it with ballet music from the story, including Nutcracker, Les Slyphides, Les Patineurs, and Swan Lake, and it’s the perfect gift for an aspiring dancer. Get your copy at Amazon,, Barnes & Noble, and other retailers.


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10 Tips To Make It Your Best Ballet Summer Yet Thu, 19 Jan 2012 14:41:13 +0000 Whether you’re just getting started thinking about auditions or have been planning since November, guest Juliette Clarke of BalletScoop wants to help you make this your best summer intensive audition season yet! Negative thoughts, preparation tips, and the big decision - it's all covered in these ten tips.]]>

I consider Juliette Clark a Summer Intensive specialist. She’s been through it and knows her stuff, dispensing article after article on her blog, BalletScoop about the entire process. Though it may be cold and wintery where you are right now, it’s a perfect time to be strategizing for your summer ballet intensives, so enjoy her valuable advice!

IMAGE An audition participant at The School at Jacob's Pillow In-Person Auditions IMAGE
Photo by Karli Cadel courtesy Jacob's Pillow Dance

Goodbye Nutcracker… Hello, audition season!

Yes, the season of Sugar Plums and Cavaliers are over, just in time for you to start focusing on the summer intensive audition season.

And there are more programs than ever before to choose from. Whether you’re just getting started in thinking about auditions or have been planning since November, I’ve got tips to help you make this your best audition season yet!

1. It’s all for you.

Say the word “audition”, and most performing artists will instantly feel a little pang of stress. And there is no question that you are going to be evaluated and judged during the audition.

Don’t forget this season that the point of all this auditioning is for you to get acclimated to the audition process and, ultimately, enjoy an excellent training program that will improve you as both a technician and an artist.

Next time you find yourself with a number pinned to your leotard while you attempt to nonchalantly measure up your competition or hide behind a classmate, redirect those stressful, negative thoughts and focus on what you can glean about the program from the experience.

  • Does the audition run smoothly?
  • Is there clarity of instruction?
  • If the audition is also a master class, are you able to understand and apply the material?

Adjusting your perspective in this way can help relieve pressure and focus you in on the information presented at each moment, which helps you perform at your peak.

2. Your best pied forward.

With so many students to be seen in multiple cities, you may only have a brief window of the adjudicators’ attention in the grand scheme of their audition schedule.

Be sure to present yourself as put-together as possible and emphasize your professional attitude by sporting a clean, well-groomed look in every audition.

Style your hair simply and smartly, wear your best-fitting and sharpest looking dancewear, and triple check for dress code requirements.

3. Luck favors the prepared.

In the weeks leading up to your auditions, get a little strict with yourself about rest, proper eating, fluid intake and good training habits if you haven’t been as careful as you should be.

Nothing will kill your audition season faster than an unexpected illness or injury.

You want to be able to give it all you got when the moment comes and that means training hard every day that you’re in the studio and making sure your body is recovering properly from each workout.

Treat your body well and it will return the favor.

4. Did I mention luck favors the prepared?

Torn tights, popped ribbons and empty cans of hairspray all love to turn up at the most inopportune moments.

Prevent unnecessary stress and hassle by preparing yourself similarly to how you would for a performance.

  • Throw an extra pair of tights and a spare audition-worthy leo in your bag.
  • Include an emergency kit with sewing supplies, water, tampons for the ladies, and all the hair and shoe accoutrements you could possibly need.
  • Make an envelope in advance with your audition fee and extra copies of your photos.

Also, with so many schools working to fill their summer ranks in just two or three short months, audition conflicts are going to happen.

Be sure that you’ve checked, checked and rechecked your audition season itinerary to avoid last minute panic about which audition to attend.

IMAGE The School at Jacob's Pillow In-Person Contemporary Program auditions IMAGE
Photo Karli Cadel courtesy Jacob's Pillow Dance

5. Audition early and often!

While DVDs are accepted late into the spring by many schools, schools with placement limits frequently fill up before DVD auditions are in.

If you have the option of attending a live audition, take it! You will have the opportunity to get a taste of what the instructors are like and show exactly how you perform alongside other talent.

In that same vein, dancers can benefit from auditioning for as many schools as they can schedule, within reason.

Every audition is a chance to get more comfortable with the process and be seen by important dance decision-makers, so show ‘em what you got, in living color.

6. DVDs are doable.

If you are auditioning by video, abide by the dress code of the live audition and follow the DVD guidelines carefully.

Check out DVD Auditions for the Distance Dancer (Part I) and Part II for help creating an awesome DVD that you can be excited to send out.

If it’s an option, submit your video by YouTube for a super-fast application delivery. Many schools prefer this because, well, clicking a link is just so easy!

7. Use the buddy system.

Sometimes there’s no better stress relief than to have a friend auditioning alongside you.

Having someone in the room to root for and that you know is rooting for you can utterly change the dynamic of the day.

Not to mention that you can be a big help to each other by sharing rides, helping each other with hair and makeup and having someone to chat with while waiting in the lobby for your group to be called.

8. Embrace the non-comfort zone.

Chances are you’ll have very few auditions take place at your home studio. When they do, you may feel still like a fish out of water when someone you’ve never met asks you to perform foreign combinations.

Instead of locking up mentally, embrace that non-comfort zone!

Take a deep breath, focus on what’s being shown and enjoy the opportunity to experience styles of training you may have never been exposed to before. You might just find ways of combining steps and movement that provide renewed inspiration for your dancing.

9. It’s a two-way street.

I already mentioned that it’s good to take note of your audition experience to determine if the school is a good fit for you.

Once you have received your acceptances and rejections it will be time to make those final decisions.

(As you sift through your options, remember to always be courteous and inform each school the moment you decide not to attend – another dancer’s summer could be dependent on that info if they are waitlisted.)

Make easy decisions first.

For example, if summer partnering classes are must-haves, you know you can rule out Kaatsbaan or Kirov. From there, consider other factors including alumni employment, class sizes and any scholarships made available to you.

Dancers hoping to find employment through a summer program at a professional company should pay close attention to the requirement details for hiring consideration, like length of stay and age.

Check out choosing your summer intensive for a detailed plan of attack.

10. Have fun!

Ok, don’t laugh. I mean it – auditions should be exciting for young dancers.

Don’t take it all too seriously.

Above all, you’re dancing because you love it – auditions are just a chance to do more of what you love!

Merde and a happy summer audition season to all!


IMAGE Question Mark IMAGEWhere are you auditioning this summer?

Share additional tips in our comments!

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The Successful SI: Class Placement and Coping With Problems Thu, 04 Aug 2011 13:47:57 +0000 Summers away from home can be stressful. In a second installment on surviving summer intensives, Alison offers advice for dealing with complications like dance divas and messy roommates, and how to handle yourself professionally and with grace when receiving placement in a class level.]]>
Summers away from home can be stressful.

In Part I – Home Away From Home, I shared my tips for how to prepare, handle fears, make friends, and practice respect throughout your summer dance experience.

Now I’ll offer some thoughts on dealing with the possible complications that can arise during an intensive summer program and how to handle your class level placement with grace.

Class Placement

IMAGE An empty studio IMAGEObservation

Over the first few days of most intensives you are observed in class. During these days, give it your best. Let the teachers see your capabilities. The classes in which you’ll be placed will help you grow and get your money’s worth from the program.

Level Placement

After the observation period you are placed according to your ability and where the training can most effectively help you.

When you are placed, do not feel superior or inferior. Remember there will always be dancers better AND worse than yourself.

A girl from my home school began feeling very superior to all the other students. She had lovely technique, but like most students, still many areas that needed correction. She began thinking that our teachers and her fellow students were the reason she was not improving. She stopped taking any corrections in class and you could tell she was unteachable at that point. Do not let that ever be you!

Accept your placement with grace. Typically these schools have run intensives for a while and they are professionals. They know where you might gain the most valuable training. Before complaining or being upset, trust them.

If you are feeling unhappy with where you’ve been placed, give it a few days in those classes. If you are absolutely sure that it is not a good fit, then speak up with humility and respect. Typically, at least at my intensives so far, there is an artistic liaison with whom you can speak.

If you make a request and it is not honored, then consider that your answer. Trust that you are where you should be and focus on learning everything that you possibly can in that level.

One of my Russian teachers said that the truly gifted student can learn from even the worst teacher. I think it is rare that we cannot learn something where we are.

Do not focus on anyone but yourself. Remember why you came and keep your focus there.

Always strive for personal growth. For me, I know that I have a ton that still needs to be worked on in my technique. So, whether I am at a low or high level, personal improvement is my focus.

Professional dancers understand this and keep reaching for that unattainable perfection in their technique through continued training, coaching, and classes. It is what I respect most about dancers.

When Things Go Wrong

I’ve loved the teachers, training, and fellow students and have noticeably benefited from my three summer experiences so far. However, I have talked to others who’ve had not-so-great experiences.

Fellow SI students have helped me compile a list with some possible solutions, though no two situations are ever exactly the same.

Bad fitting roommate

I have never had this issue, but other folks tell me it can make an SI everything from annoying to unbearable. You might try:

  1. Talking to the roommate (they may feel the same way about you).
  2. Ask yourself honestly if you are contributing to the situation.
  3. Spend time with other students. All you really have to do is sleep there.
  4. If all else fails, bring in a third party to determine if a switch needs to be made.
Slob roommate

Once again, I have been fortunate. I am not a housekeeping poster child, but my mom has taught me to be respectful of others and the environment we share. None of my roommates have ever been messy or dirty. Yet, if paired with someone who is, you might consider:

  1. Telling them how you feel about living in squalor
  2. Offer to have a clean-up party together
  3. In worse case scenario, bring in a third party (before you have bugs).
You are terribly homesick

I felt like this at the beginning of last summer. I had never been away before and everything was so foreign at first. This summer I am a little older, more comfortable and have had no trouble. These are the things that helped me last year:

  • Call home often.
  • Talk to someone you can trust. If things get unbearable and you cannot get beyond it, maybe you should let an adult help when decisions must be made.
  • Write it down. I kept a journal every night before bed. I wrote down my feelings. Sometimes the next morning I could see I was just overly tired and sensitive the day before.
  • Focus on the limited time that you will be here.
  • Remember how much you wanted to do this.
  • Recall the real reason you are here and focus everyday on the joy of dance!

For me, and typically, I think, homesickness is temporary. I am so glad I stuck it out my first summer and ended up having a blast!


I left to go away this summer with an injury sustained during rehearsal week for our spring showcase. I was not thrilled to say the least! If you are injured:

  • Learn to distinguish between sore muscles (dull pain) and a possible injury (sharp pain). You WILL be sore. Know your body and acknowledge the difference.
  • Ask a professional what you need to do. Typically all SIs have some sort of medical help, if you should need it.
  • IMAGE A sign encouraging dance students to report their injuries IMAGE

    Treat an injury before and after class. I am very careful to do this daily.

  • Know when to speak up. There is a fine line. I hate to complain if I do not have to. Yet, reporting an injury is the mature thing to do. I knew a girl who thought she was “weak” if she complained about an injury, so she continued to dance on it. Of course, it got to where she could not dance at all and had to sit out every day. The final result was surgery. That is scary! So let someone know. Keeping it a secret will only lead to possible worsening of the injury and longer healing time.
Dealing with Divas

While I have not had the problem this summer, I have experienced it at my last SI and at my home school. Everything from girls pushing me out-of-the-way to get in the front line, timing my variations, trying to intimidate me, telling me I was too short, whispering to others right in front of me… name it!

In these situations act professionally and refuse to be bullied:

  • Do not retaliate.
  • Remember, girls behaving this way are insecure inside. Truly accomplished dancers do not have to demean others to feel good about themselves. It is their insecurity, not yours….so do not let it affect you!
  • Just focus on yourself and use the opportunity to your advantage. Seek to improve daily and just keep looking forward.
  • Let no one make you feel inferior. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, they cannot do it “without your permission.”
  • Smile at them. Kill them with kindness, as my mom always says.
  • Ignore them. They will eventually leave you alone.

Sometimes this is easier said than done, I know!

Summing Up Summer

Remember, at ANY Summer Intensive, you only get out of it what you put into it.

“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty”Winston Churchill

Have fun! It is all in the way you see it.

Every day is a new opportunity to grow and improve as a dancer, to unite with fellow ballerinas or ballerinos-in-training, and just develop as a human being.

I hope each of you have had an amazing summer. I know that I have!

I am so thankful for these amazing opportunities that I have been given. I will never forget them – wonderful memories forever!

Keep dancing for it will bring you joy!

What are some other solutions to these SI problems?

Are there other situations that can or have caused stress during your summer away?

Alison Shames is just an ordinary 14-year-old girl who loves ballet and hopes to be a professional one day. She began her ballet training at 12 years old and trains 6 days per week for 4-6 hours each day with some amazing teachers from Norway, Dominican Republic and Cuba. Alison studies Vaganova technique, modern, contemporary, character, classical variations, African movement, and loves flamenco, Bollywood, Chinese fan, and other cultural dances. She attended her first ballet intensive last summer at Boston Ballet School and is looking forward this year to the Bolshoi Ballet Academy and Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet summer intensives. She has difficulty naming only a few of her ballet inspirations but includes Tamara Rojo, Adiarys Almeida, Carlos Acosta, Maria Kotchekova, Natalia Osipova, Vladimir Malakhov, Alina Cojocaru, Li Cunxin, Sokvannara Sar, Joseph Gatti and Svetlana Zacharova among them. A resident of the southern United States, Alison loves that dance is a universal language and brings the world together. You can find her Tweeting @Balletgirl96.

The Successful SI: Home Away From Home Tue, 02 Aug 2011 13:46:20 +0000 Away from home for her second summer, Alison is attending two ballet intensives, one in Connecticut, the other in New York City. As she shares some of the things she's learned about summer intensives along the way, including how to prepare, handle fears, make friends, and practice respect, she is living the summer dance experience.]]>
The Summers of a Young Dancer

It is common as a serious ballet student to use summers to train away from home, get exposure to a larger ballet world than your home school, and improve.

Away from home for my second summer, I am attending two incredible ballet intensives, one in Connecticut, the other in New York City. So as I write for you some of the things I’ve learned about summer intensives (SIs) along the way, I am also living it!

Before You Go

IMAGE Screenshot of a 2011 ballet intensive Facebook group. IMAGEFind out as much as you can from others who have gone to the intensive before you.

I have found that people are more than happy to fill you in on details about your program that may have been left out of your school packet. I try to join a Facebook group of other people who are attending my intensives. Though you won’t necessarily continue friendships with all these people, it helps to make connections initially.

Read every correspondence from your school very carefully.

Updates can show important changes that you might need to know.

Prepare mentally.

Set goals for yourself and stay focused on your purpose for going.

A saying I like is “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing!“

Do not go with any preconceived expectations or you will surely be disappointed.

As my mom always says, “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst,” and you can handle anything!

Maybe you are hoping to make lots of friends, to really get a ton of attention, have a blast. While all of these things might happen, they may not happen exactly like you expect. Be flexible and have an open mind and you will enjoy whatever happens.

Make sure that you pack (compactly) everything on the list sent to you.

This year I went to a remote area at first, so there was not really a place to get things that I forgot. But always pack as tightly or lightly as you can. Getting through a busy airport, onto a subway, and up thousands of stairs is always easier with less unnecessary baggage.

IMAGE Alison's home away from home. IMAGE
Alison’s home away from home.
Bring things that are familiar and comfortable that make you feel at home.

Of course you will need bedding, toiletries, cleaning products, sleepwear, clothing, dance wear and shoes, but take pictures, a comfy blanket, posters, your favorite perfume, a stuffed animal… whatever you can use to make yourself a home away from home.

Increase your activity in advance to keep up with the rigor of a summer program.

Take some extra classes, run, or workout with cardio and strength training. Get used to eating healthily, keeping hydrated, and getting plenty of sleep. Continue this pattern after you arrive at your intensive and you will feel and perform much better.

When You Arrive

I really think this is the hardest part of the entire summer intensive experience!

Remember, whatever you are feeling, most likely, others are feeling it too.

Have a positive attitude, a friendly smile, genuine warmth and sincerity.

I’ve got along with everyone at both of this year’s summer intensives. Yet, there are those that I am drawn to and choose to get closer to. While you won’t be friends with everyone at your intensive, you will eventually fall into a group where you feel comfortable and that you genuinely belong.

Seek to break the ice and make others feel welcomed and comfortable.

Try not to always be the one that others have to speak to first. I used to wait for others to speak to me but I am getting better at this. Now I try to greet others and make them feel at home. I reach out to anyone who looks lost, alone, or uncomfortable.

Ask others about themselves. Most people feel comfortable sharing about themselves when asked, but not everyone.

Respect others and they will show respect back.

Respect differences, especially if students come from other countries/cultures.

Respect your roommates. Keep your surroundings neat and clean. No one appreciates living in someone else’s filth and clutter.

Respect the rules. Listen carefully and familiarize yourself with school rules and observe their policies. They vary greatly. After all, the school was generous enough to offer you a spot, your family was generous enough to help you get there, now it is your turn to show generosity in the way that you conduct yourself.

Be a good representative. You represent others – your family, your hometown, your particular ballet school/program.

Be wise.

You are not at home so use good judgment.

  • Never go off alone.
  • Always let others know where you are going if not at the school or dorm.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Know who is with your group and who is not.
  • Listen to and trust your instincts about people.
  • Know good proactive self-defense.

Second Summer Seasoned by the First

As I traveled for hundreds of miles toward my second summer of ballet intensives, I could not help but think of flying to Boston about the same time last year for my first summer away.

Since I started at a late age, it was all totally foreign and new to me. I was just told that I should do it. So I auditioned and chose the school that seemed the best for me in regards to training, scholarships, and overall reputation.

I had no idea what to expect. My mom knew that I must really be in love with ballet because:

  1. I had never, and I mean never, been away to any overnight camp of any kind.
  2. I did not know a soul at this place that I was going.
  3. It was literally hundreds of miles away from my hometown.

Though it’s my second summer away, I initially felt some of those same feelings again: a combination of joy, excitement, apprehension, and outright fear of the unknown situation that lay ahead of me.

Of course now, all my initial fears are put to rest and this is the most amazing summer that I have ever experienced! I am so very thankful for the honor and privilege of going to these two schools.

Feel afraid, but do it anyway,” when it is something healthy and good, of course.

So that is exactly what I did this summer, and the results have been fantastic!

What was your first summer intensive away from home like?

Do you have more tips to share?

Alison Shames is just an ordinary 14-year-old girl who loves ballet and hopes to be a professional one day. She began her ballet training at 12 years old and trains 6 days per week for 4-6 hours each day with some amazing teachers from Norway, Dominican Republic and Cuba. Alison studies Vaganova technique, modern, contemporary, character, classical variations, African movement, and loves flamenco, Bollywood, Chinese fan, and other cultural dances. She attended her first ballet intensive last summer at Boston Ballet School and is looking forward this year to the Bolshoi Ballet Academy and Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet summer intensives. She has difficulty naming only a few of her ballet inspirations but includes Tamara Rojo, Adiarys Almeida, Carlos Acosta, Maria Kotchekova, Natalia Osipova, Vladimir Malakhov, Alina Cojocaru, Li Cunxin, Sokvannara Sar, Joseph Gatti and Svetlana Zacharova among them. A resident of the southern United States, Alison loves that dance is a universal language and brings the world together. You can find her Tweeting @Balletgirl96.

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Sunday Snapshot: Staring At The Sea Sun, 26 Jun 2011 13:25:02 +0000 Blossoming dancer and dance photographer, Kristen Newsom, shares a picturesque photo - an arabesque on the New England coast - and her dual passions for dance and photography, as she looks forward to another summer at Burklyn Ballet and a new semester at Sam Houston State University.]]>
IMAGE Staring at the Sea by Kristen Newsom - a dancer stands in arabesque on a rocky New England coastline. IMAGE
© Kristen Newsom - All rights reserved

At a young age Kristen Newsom developed an interest and delighted in photography. Her joy blossomed when a very good friend, Meredith Neel (whose modeling skills can be seen throughout Kristen’s Flickr) inspired her to pursue more dance-related photography. “We were quite a creative duo back then and without her I don’t think I would be half as good at what I do. She’s such a lovely dancer, and I was positively ecstatic to capture her beauty on film.”

Kristen points out she also has had the pleasure to dance with and to photograph another of our Sunday Snapshot featured photographers/dancers, Melissa K. Dooley.

Taken during the summer of 2010, Staring at the Sea is a result of Kristen’s passion for nature and for trying out new dance photography techniques. For the last two years she has attended Burklyn Ballet Theatre in the summer, and has been able to experiment with photography at dress rehearsals and backstage at performances, as well as during days off when she has the opportunity to photograph friends dancing in and enjoying the scenic Vermont landscape.

This particular photo was taken after a Burklyn Ballet road trip through Connecticut. The location was discovered by accident. “We were driving along the coast while I was looking for places to take candid shots of tourists and some landscapes, and I saw the beautiful rocks and outlook point and I couldn’t resist trying some dance photography there. The shoot turned out very successful and some of these photos are my favorites to-date.”

Kristen feels fortunate to have strong support from family and friends and feels her passion comes from being pushed and inspired by loved ones, not only in photography but also in her dance training. “Dancing has brought me out of my safe-zone and out of my shell. And because of dance and trying to capture dance’s illusive beauty, I’ve evolved into the person I am today. I’m driven by the love of dance and by my desire to see and experience the world from a personal level. I always try and give 100% to everything, including my photography. I wont settle for just average or ordinary. I want my viewers to feel my photo and to be moved and taken away by it.”

Kristen recently closed a chapter in her life, taking a final bow with her childhood dance studio where she’s spent the last 16 years. She’ll once again spend this summer at Burklyn Ballet Theatre as a Jr. Counselor and is currently auditioning for companies while also prepping for her next semester at Sam Houston State University (a BFA in Dance with a minor in photography, of course).

Photographers, get featured in the Dance Advantage Sunday Snapshot. Click here.

Helping Fund Your Summer Intensive Sat, 04 Jun 2011 13:38:14 +0000 Teen writer and ballet hopeful, Alison, shares ten ways students can help pay for their training expenses. Having learned through early dance experiences and a very special teacher that where there's a will there's a way, she now creatively thinks of ways to contribute in her own family. You'll be inspired by her story and get new ideas to fund your dreams and goals!]]>

Our “Balletgirl” Alison Shames is back and plans to appear regularly here at Dance Advantage. Last time she wrote about her first-time YAGP experience. This time she has some great ideas for fellow students about how you can help yourself and help your parents and earn money to defray the cost of pricey (but oh, so valuable) summer intensive tuition or travel expenses.

Where there is a will there is a way!

I began dancing at 8 years of age. My parents split up that year, and my mom could no longer afford dance lessons for my sisters or me.

My older sisters had previously taken classes at a local school. My teenaged sister loved to dance and missed it terribly. So, having heard about a man who taught dance in the inner city for free, she began taking classes again. My mom would take me to watch but I would stand up and dance along with these older kids.

IMAGE A young Alison with her dance & performance group. IMAGEOnce day the teacher asked if I wanted to join in and I was thrilled! Even though I was about ten years younger, I began studying contemporary, African, liturgical, and hip hop.

My teacher was the reason I fell in love with dance. He gave me the chance and freedom to dance from my heart. But except the love and joy of moving to music, nothing else came easy.

We met in an old abandoned church. The floors were tile and wood. Often you would get splinters from dancing. Our costumes came from Goodwill. Our performance opportunities came only where my teacher convinced others to let us dance…sometimes it would be at a church, sometimes at an outdoor festival, sometimes for political rallies or charitable events. We were not just a group of dancers, though, we were a family.

My teacher taught us that where there was a will to dance, there would be a way. We worked to earn money for needed equipment or supplies. Because all we had was an old “boombox” at first, we raised funds to get a sound system. Once, we sold bottled water at a long, hot, outdoor event to buy wood and built a stage that we could dance on. We learned, with the guidance of my teacher, to be creative and innovative so that we could continue to dance and perform.

More Lessons Moving Forward

I loved dancing with this group but, when I turned twelve, my teacher approached my mom about putting me in ballet classes. He explained that while he taught choreography, he did not teach basic technique and thought that I might have more chances to take my dancing forward, if I had additional ballet training.

That year I began my foray into the ballet world. My mom and I were both shocked how expensive it was!  And over the past two-and-a-half years, the expenses have only gotten greater. Now my mom has to buy a pair of pointe shoes every week. There are fees for joining certain competitions and coaching fees for amazing teachers, travel expenses, and summer intensives. I can see how invaluable this training is to me now that I am striving toward my dream of dancing professionally. It is not recreation to me, but a necessity.

IMAGE Alison at the Boston Ballet School Summer Intensive last year IMAGEIt has been a truly loving sacrifice that my mom and my sisters make daily so that I can continue to dance. Even with a scholarship, my family had to work together to get me to my summer intensive last summer! On top of tuition and housing is clothing, pointe shoes, bed and bath supplies, extra money for incidentals, cleaning supplies, traveling expenses, and the list goes on.

Remembering my dear first teacher, who I am still in contact with, I know if there is a will to dance, there is a way. So I continue to be creative in thinking of ways to fund projects and do the best that I can to help contribute to my dancing expenses whenever possible.

Funding Your SI

I know my family is not the only one who has to carefully plan and budget to make these things happen. So here are some ways to get yourself to a summer intensive by taking an active role in earning the necessary funds. While I have not yet tried making or selling art or old shoes, I have done the others and found a lot of success.

Remember, if it means enough to you, you will gladly work hard toward a goal!
  1. Fix boxed dinners on a busy holiday so that families do not have to cook. Take orders before hand so you do not have a lot of leftovers.
  2. Decorate and sell old pointe shoes. I got this idea from a dear Twitter friend!
  3. Become a “slave for a day”. Let people sign you up for babysitting, raking leaves, housecleaning, or other pesty chores. My family and friends were more than willing to donate if they got their closet cleaned or yard mowed.
  4. Have an outdoor movie night, or dance, or both. Show a great movie on the side of a building, have music for dancing and yummy snacks. You can sell concessions or take a donation at the door. A fun night for everyone!
  5. Speak at a local rotary or Kiwanis club. You can find other local sponsors that are interested in the arts and aspiring artists, too. Be willing to speak about your dreams, dedication and offer to keep a journal, send them updates, or videography of your experiences there.
  6. Have a mini talent showcase. Perform a piece. Find other local performers who would like to donate to your cause with an entry/registration fee. Take donations at the door. It is an evening of enjoyment for all and a chance for other local artists to be seen and showcased, as well.
  7. Sell bottled water or sports drinks at a really hot outdoor event that will allow independent vendors. It is a win/win situation.
  8. Hold a silent auction. Present a bio on yourself and your goals to local businesses and vendors that will donate to your cause. Give back a percentage of what you earn to organizations or charities.
  9. Sell donated artwork to fund your SI. I read via Twitter about a teen in England who had a sculptor sculpt a bronze of her dancing. He donated it and the proceeds from the sale went to fund her ballet training. Click here for the full story.
  10. Come up with a list of promises from friends and relatives and auction them off. For instance, if your uncle is a chef, maybe he will donate a dinner for four. If your grandparent works for an airline maybe he/she can provide two free tickets. If you have an artist in your family, maybe they would do a small painting.

You’ve got the idea!

IMAGE A Colorful Lemonade Stand IMAGEGet creative and I am sure you can come up with many good ideas of your own!

I know time is limited when you are a dancer, but if there is a will to dance, you will find a way!

Beyond Dollars and Cents

A way to fuel, if not fund, your training is remembering to say thank you.

The greatest way to do this is to work very hard in your classes both at home and away. Learn to give 100% in your training. And have a heart of gratitude to those who are helping you take the next step toward your dream. It does “take a village” to raise a dancer. I know for me the list of those to thank is endless!

Have a great summer at your intensives! I cannot wait for all that is in store for me this summer!

Let me know how any of these ideas work for you.

Or share your own ideas and let us know how you’ve worked to make your dreams come true!



Alison Shames is just an ordinary 14-year-old girl who loves ballet and hopes to be a professional one day. She began her ballet training at 12 years old and trains 6 days per week for 4-6 hours each day with some amazing teachers from Norway, Dominican Republic and Cuba. Alison studies Vaganova technique, modern, contemporary, character, classical variations, African movement, and loves flamenco, Bollywood, Chinese fan, and other cultural dances. She attended her first ballet intensive last summer at Boston Ballet School and is looking forward this year to the Bolshoi Ballet Academy and Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet summer intensives. She has difficulty naming only a few of her ballet inspirations but includes Tamara Rojo, Adiarys Almeida, Carlos Acosta, Maria Kotchekova, Natalia Osipova, Vladimir Malakhov, Alina Cojocaru, Li Cunxin, Sokvannara Sar, Joseph Gatti and Svetlana Zacharova among them. A resident of the southern United States, Alison loves that dance is a universal language and brings the world together. You can find her Tweeting @Balletgirl96.

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Auditioning, Planning, and Preparing for Summer Dance Intensives Wed, 26 Jan 2011 14:25:15 +0000 A gateway to learning and preparing for your summer dance experience. Over 20 links to audition, planning, and preparation lists, tips, and advice. Teacher workshops too! Plus, share your favorite intensives and ask questions about summer study.]]>


We love links and think they’re especially helpful when planning and preparing for summer dance intensives. If you find the following helpful, please share, or leave us a comment telling us about your own summer dance program experiences.


16 Auditioning Tips – best practices, plus staying positive to battle nerves

Choosing The Right Audition (Dance Advantage)

Choosing A Dance Audition Piece (Dance Advantage)

Ace Your Video Audition (Dance Advantage)

Before, After, and During The Audition (Dance Advantage)


What Do Audition Judges Look For? (BalletScoop)

Ballet Intensive Audition Tips – (Ballet Shoes & Pointe Shoes)

Audition Survival Tips for Teachers – helping students through the process (Ballet Pages)

Enhancing the Body/Brain Connection – This ebook will teach you the steps to create the life you desire by changing your mindset — which directly influences your emotions and actions. There is science behind optimizing the body/brain connection. You will learn how to focus your thoughts and the power of mental rehearsals.

Train Your Brain – This book is designed for teens and pre-teens as a way to begin the dialogue about self-sabotaging beliefs and thoughts that so influence our student’s patterns of behavior and success.



Summer Intensives For The Non-Ballerina (Dance Advantage)

Helping Fund Your Summer Intensive (Dance Advantage)

Conservatory vs. Company School (Dance Magazine)

How to Afford a Summer Intensive or Year-Round Ballet Program (My Son Can Dance)

The Summer Dance Intensive Handbook: How to Choose the Best Program for Your Child and Help Your Dancer Get the Most Out of the Experience



10 Tips For Parents on Preparing for a Summer Intensive Program (Dance Advantage)

IMAGE A line of dancers reaching forward in allongé IMAGE

Rasta Thomas on How to Prepare for a Summer Intensive – geared to guys but good stuff for anyone (My Son Can Dance)

Tips on Ballet Intensives from Finis Jhung (My Son Can Dance)

Feet Strengthening for your Summer Intensive (My Son Can Dance)

What to Bring to a Summer Dance Intensive (My Son Can Dance)



Taking The Stress Out Of Your Summer  (Dance Advantage)

Class Placement and Coping With Problems  (Dance Advantage)

Make It Your Best Summer Ever (Dance Advantage)

Get The Most Out of A Summer Dance Intensive – part 2 of the interview with Rasta Thomas (My Son Can Dance)

Q&A with Houston Ballet Academy Summer Program Student

Dance (212) – Summer Intensives – DanceMedia’s web reality series focuses on summer intensives.


Quick Tips:


Where can teachers continue their education? – a 2009 listing, most should still be good but feel free to correct in the comments

Insight into ABT’s National Training Curriculum

Teacher Summer Intensives & Workshops (BalletScoop)

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16 Auditioning Basics and Pointers Thu, 02 Sep 2010 18:13:17 +0000 Expecting a certain outcome puts your mind in a place and time other than the audition and you'll need to have your head in the present tense to do well. Clear your mind and dance because you love dancing, not because of the pot of gold that may or may not be at the end of this rainbow.]]>

The Basics

One. Be rested so that you can be your best.

Two. Make nutritious meal choices, starting now. Eat a light meal at least an hour before the audition.

Three. Arrive with plenty of time to warm up your body in advance. (Some auditions, particularly for children, may be structured to provide a warm-up. Find out ahead of time. You’ll still want to arrive with time to spare to get familiar with the environment.)

Four. Dress appropriately and neatly in something that flatters you and be ready to shed layers so that the panel can see your body. Unless it is required that you dress a certain way, it is alright to choose a look that shows your personality or helps you stand out. However, use good judgment. Your look should not overshadow your dancing, after all it is your dancing you want to be remembered for.

Five. Be gracious from start to finish (even if the outcome is not what you had hoped). Treat your fellow dancers and audition panel with the utmost respect. Courteously ask questions and take corrections from the choreographer.


Six. Learn what you can about the school, company, team, ballet, or performance for which you are auditioning.

Seven. Know exactly what you will be expected to bring, complete, or have with you at the audition. Be prepared even with items you MIGHT need, like extra hair bands, knee pads, dance shoes, etc.

Eight. Perform it, “sell it.” Even in an audition class, really DANCE IT with expression, enthusiasm, and energy.

Nine. Stand where you can see and be seen without muscling your way to the front. If you are struggling or don’t know the choreography, stand further back until you do so that you can wow them once you’ve got it.

Ten. Don’t embellish the choreography unless you are asked to. If you ARE given this freedom, click here for some tips for making choreography your own.

Next Steps

One. It is okay to be human. To “never” show a mistake seems unnatural, but don’t make a spectacle of your mistakes with a tantrum or grotesque faces or by stopping. If you have covered or recovered your mistake well, forget it and keep going. If not, it is natural, while you are learning or after you have performed choreography, to acknowledge mistakes with a smile, a chuckle, or apology (if your mistake impacted others) and then move on. A light, positive, even joking manner can show that you will be fun to work with.

Two. Have no expectations. Expecting a certain outcome puts your mind in a place and time other than the audition and you’ll need to have your head in the present tense to do well. Clear your mind and dance because you love dancing, not because of the pot of gold that may or may not be at the end of this rainbow.

Three. You have nothing to lose. This is related to #2. If you are worried about what is at stake, then you have expectations that this role, this job, or this opportunity is already yours. You cannot lose what you don’t have. Knowing this, you can relax and enjoy the moment to shine, to dance, and grow with experience.

Four. Say “thank you” after the audition (with a written note or in person if possible) and say “thank you” whether you are selected or dismissed.

Five. Remember that no matter how intimidated you may be by the panel, they want you to do well. They want to have the best dancers to select from and are hoping that everyone walking into that audition is the best they’ve ever seen.

Six. Auditioning is a skill. Audition often and know that you can improve your skills. In fact, you may learn the most from your worst audition. You will likely go through many poor auditions before you are cast, and you will quickly learn that sometimes even great auditions don’t get you the job. Don’t lose faith in yourself.

Remember! You can only be you, so much of the best audition preparation is the everyday work you go through to be the best dancer you can be. Be yourself and enjoy the process!

More Audition Resources

A great article from Charlotte Examiner, Cynthia Beers on How To Audition For A Dance Program

Check out The Ballet Audition Preparation Guide. I don’t have first-hand experience, nor am I affiliated with this guide but here’s what Ginny, a dance mom, had to say about it: “It has a lot about goal setting, keeping a journal of your progress (not just in preparation for auditions, but all year long), along with practical advice about preparing for an audition, what to wear, eat, etc. If a student really took the time to read it and put into practice the advice given, I think it would be helpful.”

Look into this Kindle Edition resource: The Ultimate Guide to Dance/Drill Team Tryout Secrets, 3rd Edition. I’ve actually read a hard copy of this and it is solid information for youth or teens hoping to make the team from a successful and experienced dance and drill team performer.

Get a copy of A Dancer’s Manual: A Motivational Guide to Professional Dancing. I own this one and this 1999 guide is not a large book but it provides a mixture of motivational and practical advice if you are starting out in this tough career. The audition section offers perspective on nerves and attitude, as well as useful information on head shots and your resumé. Other areas covered include contracts, pay, injuries, and dancer fitness.

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