Summer Intensives 101
OK everyone… This is it. Spring break is nearly over, and then we head into the last quarter of school before the start of summer. Three whole months of completely unstructured time… Endless opportunity… But what to do with it all? Well friends ask no more because we all already know the answer. Summer intensives! They’re great, they’re expensive, you’ll make lots of friends, new connections, travel somewhere new, learn a thing or two, and add a line to your resume. But out of so many choices for where to go for summer, how do you discern between the good, the bad, and the ugly? Well worry no more friends, because free of charge I am going to disclose to you all I know about the circus that is the world of summer intensives.
The first thing I’d like to discuss is money. Most summer intensive programs offer scholarships for their students who are of a qualifying skill level, so make sure that you’re applying somewhere that you’ll fit in well and be comfortably challenged, as opposed to being a fish out of water. However, if you do not receive a scholarship, there is plenty of other support available to you through various scholarship organizations. Be sure to do some googling. Additionally, your school may or may not have grant money available to be dispersed for various summer projects like the one you may be thinking of undertaking. Also, don’t be afraid to start a community fundraising page through gofundme! I know many people who have done so and been very successful in their efforts.
Next up, I’d like to take some time to discuss the fine print. When looking for a summer program, make sure to have a full understanding of what it is that you’re applying for. Know what sort of courses they offer, what is the primary dance style of the intensive, dress code, whether there is a performance at the end, exact start and end dates, and average class size. All of these things are important to know when setting yourself up to apply somewhere, as you ideally want to spend your summer in a manner which is productive to who you are as an artist. Also, be sure to look into the housing situation. Many summer intensive programs offer housing and a meal plan, but some do not. Alternatively, there are summer intensive programs that offer housing in return for what is practically an arm and a leg. In this scenario, I would definitely recommend looking at renting an apartment or otherwise for the length of your stay. Last year I attended a summer program in Seattle which charged over 3,000 for five weeks in the dorms. So instead two of my friends and myself got together and split the rent for an apartment in downtown Seattle, 15 minutes walk from the ballet. This brought the individual living cost for the summer down to about 1,850. (This figure includes expenses for groceries and various activities throughout the city.) 1,850 is still a good amount of money, but it’s far better than the 3,000 we were originally set up to pay. Additionally, we had a great time getting some experience living completely on our own!
All in all the summer intensive audition and selection process can be a bit overwhelming at times, but in the end you’ll be rewarded with a challenging, fun, and exciting time in a new place, meeting new friends, and learning new things. Read the fine print and know what you’re getting into, and you’ll be set up to have one of the most memorable summers of your life.
Juilliard Dance 2020