I’m so pleased to see how many dancers are making use of the BalletScoop list of 2013 Summer Intensives! Let’s talk about how to select auditions. I advise auditioning for as many programs as you can without exhausting yourself or negatively impacting your schoolwork, but it helps to have a basic idea of what you want early on.
So before you get overwhelmed by the 300+ program options, take a moment to consider what you envision for yourself for summer training. What are you trying to achieve in the next few years? Are you leaving home for the first time and simply focus on improving your technique? Do you need to look for work or get exposure to artistic directors? Will you be pursuing college? You maybe best served by a particular type of program, and each type offers various features.
- are not attached to companies, but may have indirect connections
- provide the smallest class sizes
- offer heavy supervision
- take a focused and nurturing approach
- are well suited for younger dancers and first-time SI students
- may serve as an audition for the year-round residential program
Company schools (usually):
- are directly connected (or in some way affiliated) with a professional performing company
- offer flexible supervision with expectations of somewhat mature level of personal responsibility
- may have large class sizes
- are particularly well-suited to older dancers and those preparing to try for professional work in the next two years
- may serve as an audition to the trainee program, second company or apprenticeship program
- are run by college dance departments
- may offer scholarships or tuition credit to the university for summer attendees
- have a wide range of class size, instruction quality, supervision and intensity depending on the quality of the dance department
- are ideal for younger and older dancers intending to attend college after high school
- Have self-governing authority over a particular style of ballet technique
- Offer certification to students and teachers after completion of a course and examination
- Are well-suited to dancers pursuing professional performance or teaching careers
- Are sometimes affiliated with a festival, competition or convention
- Often bring together a hodge-podge of famous dance faculty
- May offer opportunities to see professional performances as part of the program
Exceptions to these exist. For example Ballet West’s program is the official summer program of both the professional company and the University of Utah. And some company programs make a concerted effort to provide a highly nurturing, conservatory environment to better accommodate very young dancers.
Once you have this choice in mind, you can filter the list to show only the type of programs that suit your immediate goals. This will narrow the list considerably. After that, it’s time to the click links provided and research the websites to discover other details like:
- courses and dance styles offered
- tentative schedules/hours per week
- housing and board options
- tuition costs and scholarship availability
- in-house faculty and guest teachers
- session lengths and date flexibility options
- eligibility requirements beyond age
Note that consecutive sessions are only listed separately when there is a material difference in their purpose. So for example, ABT summer sessions are listed separately because of their different locations and age requirements, while Indiana University’s program is listed as one contiguous event even though they technically have two identical programs back to back. Be sure to look for programs that are extra early or extra late — you may be able to attend 2-3 full programs if you plan wisely!
Now that you have your short list, get movin! If you can’t attend all of the live auditions you need, a DVD audition is your next best option and the time to start making it is now. Once you have audition and received your acceptance, wait-list, or rejection letters, visit Choosing Your SI to help make your final decisions.