Summer means ballet intensives and Nationals, right? Right. But it also means dancers are descending on college towns around the country for multi-week festivals—opportunities to hone their modern skills and rub shoulders with some of today's star choreographers. Interested in expanding your horizons, working with the pros and getting a taste of campus life? Here are three of the biggest and best summer dance festivals held on college campuses.
Bates Dance Festival
Bates Dance Festival is held at Bates College in Lewiston, ME, and has a strong relationship with the Bates dance department. “Many artists who teach at the BDF return during the year to teach and set work," says festival director Laura Faure. The festival's Young Dancers Workshop is offered for dancers ages 14–18, and its Professional Training Program is available for everyone older than 18. BDF is proud of its welcoming, yet rigorous, environment. “You're gaining access to an essential professional network in a noncompetitive community," Faure says. Expect classes from rising modern choreographers like Dante Brown and established masters like Doug Varone. Because of the campus setting and faculty crossover between the festival and the dance department, participants get a good sense of the college's dance program while still being exposed to a variety of teachers. High school students can meet with a Bates admissions counselor to ask questions about attending the college.
Salt Dance Fest
The University of Utah hosts Salt Dance Fest each summer, inviting local artists, University of Utah faculty and choreographers from around the country to use the school's top-notch facilities in their exploration of the creative process.
Salt is restricted to college-aged dancers, and is less focused on technique (though a few classes are available) than other summer festivals. Salt participants come to experiment in classes like “Hot Mess," taught by San Francisco–based choreographer Alex Ketly, which asks dancers to confront what it means to do something badly.
American Dance Festival
American Dance Festival takes place on the Duke University campus in Durham, NC. ADF offers two different summer training programs: the Six Week School, for dancers ages 16 and older, and the Three Week School, for dancers ages 12–16. Both are modern focused, offering everything from Cunningham to Gaga—with options to take ballet, composition and more. Participants may have the opportunity to learn existing repertory (past students have tackled choreo by William Forsythe) and have brand-new work set on them. “The ADF experience is very comparable to being a dance major," says ADF dean Leah Cox. “Festival participants can live on campus in the dorms. There's a feeling of community and stability."
You've seen it a million times: A glamorous, toned dancer posts a perfectly styled shot of her colorful smoothie bowl. The caption gushes about how great you'll feel if you eat "clean"—but what does that actually mean? DS asked registered dietitian/nutritionist Rachel Fine and holistic health coach (and founder of The Whole Dancer) Jess Spinner for all of the dirt.
In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email firstname.lastname@example.org a chance to be featured!
I'm being bullied by one of the girls at my studio, and it's awful. I've talked to my dance teacher and confronted the bully directly, but it hasn't made a difference. What should I do?
You're probably already following your favorite dancers on Instagram, but did you know that you can follow many of their dogs, too? We rounded up some of our favorite dog-centered accounts and hashtags to keep you pawsitively entertained (sorry, we can't help ourselves).
Let's face it—spare time is pretty tough to come by when you're a dancer. You're either rushing to get ready for rehearsal, rushing to rehearsal, a combo of the two, or in rehearsal (or performing, or in class, or at an audition...you get the picture). Well here at DS, we understand the struggle is REAL, which is why we've rounded up our favorite foolproof makeup hacks, approved by resident #LazyGirl when it comes to makeup (spoiler alert: it's me). On to the hacks!
Consistent turns are a must for aspiring professional dancers, but pretty much everyone struggles with pirouettes at some point. Luckily, since we're all beholden to the same rules of physics, there are concrete steps every dancer can take to reach his or her top turning potential. “Three is the new two when it comes to pirouettes, but the secret to turning is technique, not magic," says Bojan Spassoff, president and director of The Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia.
Falling out of your doubles? Aspiring to go revolution for revolution with your class's star turner? No matter where you lie on the turning spectrum, our 360-degree guide to pirouettes will help you improve.
Kalea (pronounced kah-LAY-uh) Hidalgo knows how to move. Her decisive, dynamic dancing commands the stage: She gobbles up space so confidently it's hard to believe you're watching a mere tween. Unsurprisingly, that presence and power have started turning heads in a serious way. Not only did Talia Favia choreograph one of her solos in 2017, but Kalea also recently signed with Bloc Talent Agency in L.A. and, last summer, placed first overall in the junior contemporary solo category at Radix Nationals.
"When you're out on the dance floor, don't ask for permission—ask for forgiveness."—Kalea Hidalgo
Taylor Swift is #blessed in many ways: She's got a great voice, insane song writing skills, and, to quote her new hit single, she's "Gorgeous." She is not, however, blessed in the dance department. But that doesn't stop her from busting out the occasional dance move. In fact, Swift likes to playfully show off her less-than-stellar dancing, be it in her music videos (hello, "Shake It Off") or at music award shows. So we weren't surprised when during the latest episode of her "Making of a Song" series for AT&T, she unveiled a new endearingly awkward maneuver, which she's dubbed the "dolphin body roll"—and it practically had friend and producer Jack Antonoff rolling on the floor!🤣
You rehearse your group routine to perfection, but when the big performance rolls around, everyone turns into speed demons. It's the runaway-train effect—and it only takes one loud tapper, or zippy turner, to throw the whole group off the music.
While nerves and excitement are partly to blame, the ability to keep to tempo begins in the studio. A well-developed sense of musicality is your best defense against the dreaded speed trap. "When you understand how the steps fit with the music, going too fast won't just feel like rushing," says Jeremy Arnold, lecturer of tap at the University of Texas at Austin. "It'll feel wrong." How can dancers develop that musicality? It all starts with learning to listen.
Look, guys, we know: It is too darn early for holly-jolliness. But the Rockettes appeared on the "Today" show this morning to promote the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, and we can't help it—as soon as we see that iconic kickline, we start daydreaming about sleigh bells and mistletoe and gingerbread lattes.