We're busy at work on our Summer Study issue (look for it in January!) and it's making me think a lot about my summers as a competitive gymnast (as a pre-teen) and of my college/post-college years at dance festivals....These experiences can be truly amazing—spending all your time dancing, hanging with other dancers, soaking in as much info as you can from amazing teachers—but they can also be slightly overwhelming. It can sometimes feel like you're in a world devoid of anything but dance; where all that matters is getting noticed by your teacher or sticking that combination. And that can be...a little claustrophobic? For me it was. Not that I wasn't happy spending so much time dancing, but just having an afternoon to myself to look through a magazine, take a walk outside or hang with a friend made me remember that there was a world outside the dance studio. There are people out there who have nothing to do with the dance world—and it's great to have those people in your life. They can only enrich it.
So when you start to look for summer programs, remind yourself that no matter how much you want to succeed—no matter how badly you want to dance with ABT, or on "SYTYCD," or in JT's next video—don't cut EVERYTHING else out. Friends, family and other hobbies are key to your success—and to your happiness. So enjoy your dancing, but remember that dancing is just one thing in a world full of amazing experiences!