The days are growing shorter and chillier here in NYC, and whether we're ready or not, winter is coming. (Please, no more polar vortexes this year!) But don't let yourself get down in the dumps about the frigid months ahead. Instead, think of all the fun things about winter: hot cocoa, snow days, family time...and winter intensives!

K + C's Kristina Hanna (top) Matthew Baker and Ashley Browne on the February 2012 cover of Dance Spirit! (Photo by Nathan Sayers)

Most of us are super familiar with the summer intensive format (the typical three- to eight-week grind). But the less-talked-about winter intensive can be a great way to catch a glimpse of a particular company or choreographer—especially one you may be interested in working with down the line. Winter intensives tend to be shorter—one to two weeks, or even a long weekend—so students can coordinate with their winter break schedules. But they're no less intense: Think 4–10 days of complete immersion.

This January, the popular NYC-based troupe (and our February 2012 cover!) KEIGWIN + COMPANY will hold a four-day winter intensive. Participants will take technique class and create and explore with artistic director Larry Keigwin and his company members. The intensive is intended for professional and pre-professional dancers, ages 18 and up, so it's perfect for the high school senior or college freshman!

The K+C intensive will take place from January 15–18 at Gibney Dance 280 in NYC. Click here to register by December 15—and register before October 15 to save $50!

It's a given that attending a summer study program is a great way to give your technique a major boost. But why not put your winter break to work, too?

A growing number of companies are now offering winter intensives. Generally they're shorter than summer programs (because, you know, winter break is shorter than summer vacation), but they manage to pack a lot of good stuff into just a few days. Many include repertory and choreography workshops in addition to good old technique classes.

Or, if you're feeling daring, you can use a short winter program as a chance to try out a totally different style. Are you a ballet dancer who wants to loosen up? Try the Paul Taylor Dance Company winter intensive. A tapper hoping to polish your ballet technique? Check out Complexions Contemporary Ballet's winter intensive. And that's just the beginning.

Deadlines for many winter intensives are coming up soon, so poke around online and find the one that's right for you. You could kick off the new year a newly improved dancer!

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