Dear Katie: I'm Going to My First Summer Intensive!
In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email email@example.com for a chance to be featured!
I'm going to my first summer intensive this year, and I can't wait! But I'm also really, really nervous. I've never lived away from home, and I'm not sure how I'll measure up against the other dancers. What advice do you have about how to succeed at a summer program?
Summer courses are such great opportunities to improve your training. But it's normal to be nervous—you certainly aren't alone!
First, don't let the scale of your summer program overwhelm you. Take things one day at a time. Rather than worrying about your jam-packed class schedule or getting intimidated by all the other dancers at the intensive, focus on your own progress in each individual class. Make an effort to live in the moment.
Be proactive about making friends, too. Many dancers are naturally shy, but if you keep to yourself, it'll be a long, lonely summer. And you have so much in common with the other students! They have the same goals and dreams that you do, and you're all in this crazy summer experience together. Be each other's sounding boards. It's nice to have people to talk to about your classes and the things you find challenging each day.
Finally, be memorable in a good way. Make an effort to absorb everything. Every class, every teacher, every correction (even the ones given to others)—take it all in. There will be days when you're frustrated, but work to maintain a positive attitude, and always show respect for your instructors. Teachers correct you because they want to help you. Let them! Be the dancer they remember as ready, willing and eager. You never know what doors they might open for you down the road.
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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Isabella Boylston in "The Bright Stream" (Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy American Ballet Theatre)
Beloved by ballet fans for her lucid technique and onstage effervescence, by her Instagram followers for the deftly curated photos and videos she shares of her glamorous life, and by fangirl Jennifer Garner for all of the above, American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston is one of the rare ballet stars who's achieved mainstream fame. A native of Sun Valley, ID, Boylston trained at the Academy of Colorado Ballet and the Harid Conservatory before joining the ABT Studio Company in 2005. She entered the main company as an apprentice in 2006, and attained principal status in 2014. In addition to her successes with ABT, where she dances nearly every major ballerina role, Boylston has served as artistic director of the annual Ballet Sun Valley Festival, which brings high-level performances and classes to her hometown. And speaking of famous Jennifers: Boylston recently appeared as Jennifer Lawrence's dance double in the film Red Sparrow. Catch her onstage with ABT as Manon, Odette/Odile, and Princess Aurora during the company's Metropolitan Opera House season this summer in NYC. —Margaret Fuhrer