The season of summer programs is upon us. Personally, I am staying home for the summer, which I talked about in my summer plans/updates post.
This sparks my interest even more to share with you guys how to make the most of your summer program, regardless of the size of the school, your natural ability, the style of the program, etc.
The following tips are the ways I am planning to make the most out of a stay-at-home summer of ballet.
1. Supplementing with cross training. If you feel like your summer course isn’t long enough or you don’t have enough classes, try supplementing your training with cross-training such as pilates, yoga, swimming, weightlifting, and cardio training. I plan on going to the gym at least 3 out of 5 weekdays and on Saturdays during my school’s summer program. My side note to you for this is to incorporate a rest day into this schedule, so your body can recover – most people choose Sundays for that.
2. Keeping a journal. Summer programs are a great time to gather what I like to call “data” that can help you develop better routines in the following school year. The best way I have learned to do this is through keeping a progress journal. In addition to a classic journal entry, I finish up with a table that includes my food intake, exercise, mental health, and physical ballet performance. This guides me to get an understanding of what types of food and exercise result in the best performance for me.
This is also a great way to retain corrections from your intensive for the whole summer. I have learned after many years of recording corrections in a dance journal that writing down every single correction you get during class can become repetitive and pointless. I prefer writing down artistic insights, super-helpful technique corrections, and exercise/cross-training ideas my teacher gives me. Don’t become a ballet-journal “robot” – really think about what you are writing down, write down a variety of content, and then try to apply it.
3. Gaining some artistic insight. Often times I feel that summer intensives are not the most convenient time to work on stamina, because you typically have some time off afterwards. So, I prefer to use it as a time to think about my technique and artistry, and how I can adjust each step to make the most of it.
It can also often be that you are surrounded by dancers who are either at or above your technique level at a summer intensive, especially if you are going to one of the bigger schools. If this is the case, take this as an opportunity to watch the dancers in your class that you admire and learn from what they do. This is, of course, in addition to listening to the insight your teachers give.
I hope these three practical tips help you make the most of your summer program. Follow me on Instagram to keep updated with my summer intensive!