Erin Baiano

Dear Katie: Do I Need to Go to a Summer Intensive at a Big-Name School?

In our "Dear Katie" series, Miami City Ballet soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email for a chance to be featured!

Dear Katie,

My dance teachers want me to audition for high-level summer programs, but my parents say they're too expensive. Do I really need to go to an intensive at a big-name school? Is there a less expensive way to improve over the summer?


Dear Mackenzie,

The advice I always give dancers about summer programs is that you can improve anywhere with the right mind-set. So no, you don't have to attend a big, expensive intensive. Sure, they're great places to be seen and good "names" to have on your resumé, but they're not prerequisites for a professional career.

Wherever you end up this summer, take class as often as you can, and push yourself—hard. I'd suggest focusing on one thing per class. "I'm going to think about my turnout today." "I really want to improve my port de bras in this class." That's a good way to improve slowly but surely, without feeling overwhelmed.

If you eventually want to attend a big academy year-round, the situation is a little different, because summer courses are the best places to start that journey. Schools like seeing students during the summer before offering them a place for the year. But again, don't panic—there are exceptions to every rule. And most of the top schools have excellent scholarship programs.

For more of Katie's helpful tips and advice, click here.

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