It’s that time of year – where we all start looking at the calendar and wondering where spring is! That means summer dance intensives are right around the corner, and if you’re thinking of auditioning, Junior Emily Limoncelli has some wise words for you! Starship is wonderful because we have all these resources and mixed level classes- if you have more questions or want more advice, don’t be afraid to talk to older dancers!

“Auditioning for a summer camp for the first time may seem scary, but is definitely a big step in your dance career.  I was 11 the first time I went to an audition and I had no idea what to expect.  I remember Joyce telling me to go in with an open attitude and that no matter what happened it would be a well worth it experience.  So that’s just what I did- I had no intention of attending a summer intensive that year (even though I ended up getting in and going), I just wanted to see what it was like.  My best advice for any audition is to pretend that it is just regular class.  The cliché phrase “dance like nobody is watching” is actually applicable in this situation.  Chances are you’re not the only nervous one in the room, so don’t feel uncomfortable.  The judges just want to see what you’re capable of, don’t get stressed out by unfamiliar steps or if all the girls seem older or better, they know everyone is at a different level.

Rejection isn’t uncommon in the dance world, it happens to all of us.  As dancers we must channel that rejection into motivation to improve ourselves. And remember, especially if auditioning is new to you, its all about the experience.  Five years and 4 summer intensives later, I could say I have some experience.  I’ve been to countless auditions, and felt the same nerves at many of them.  There are SO many summer intensives out there, from large and prestigious names to smaller, but maybe just as beneficial programs. I have done both and gotten many varied experiences out of them.  I have gone to strictly ballet intensives (ex. Kaatsbaan, dubbed “Extreme Ballet”) and the complete opposite such as Joffrey West, a program labeled as Jazz/Contemporary.

There are a few things to look for in an intensive.  Length is a big one, you could have the opportunity to spend 8 weeks dancing or if you have a busy summer schedule some programs allow one or two week camps.  Location is also key.  This summer I went all the way to California, but for someone who is going away for the first time, closer to home might be a better option, and there are so many great programs not too far away.  Something that I never used to pay attention to is faculty- faculty makes your experience.  Going away provides you with the chance for new teachers, connections, and certain programs allow you to train with the best in the business, so it is certainly something to be aware of.  The main thing I look for is something that I can’t get at home.  We are blessed with amazing teachers and opportunity but you would be surprised at how much more there is out there.  Going away allows you to grow so much as a dancer; you can try new styles of dance or refine your technique, and usually both depending on the program you chose. Going away the past 5 summers to ballet camps has shaped me so much as a person and I can honestly say they have been the best experiences of my life.  You will meet so many people and have so many new opportunities.  Just remember as you go into it that it is what you make of it and if you work hard and have fun you will improve as a dancer and be changed as a person.”

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