old school, new school, gently-used school

ghgh

When I was a little girl, I’d always thought about being a ballerina or joining a contemporary dance company; but I never imagined that I would actually be able to pursue it. I even took a year off when I was a freshman to find out if there was anything else that I would like to do with my life, but there wasn’t. And there isn’t, still. But now I have to make up for the lost time by pushing my training into overdrive, and what better way to do that than a summer dance intensive?

Hi. It’s Bethany.

I know that summer 2014 is a long time away, but typically auditions for intensives take place the winter beforehand, so if I want to study anywhere, I’d better start looking now. And I have, except I’m not sure where I’d like to go. My top picks are the summer programs at Juilliard, Jacob’s Pillow, London Studio Centre, and the Trinity Laban Conservatoire. They’re all very far away from where I live (Virginia), but I’m really interested in their programs.

Contemporary dance has always been my passion, but I wouldn’t mind studying ballet, which is technically what I’m trained in, or ballet technique. I’d call it nearly impossible to start a career in dance without proper ballet training, no matter how old you are.

ghgJuilliard is a three-week intensive taking place next August in New York City, focusing on ballet and modern dance. It’s very expensive, estimating at one thousand dollars in tuition and an extra thousand dollars for accommodation.  London Studio Centre is an English university I can see myself training at after I graduate, and it’s pretty cheap. However, the camp only lasts a week and it almost seems like a waste of time/money to fly out to London for only seven days of contemporary training. Trinity Laban is also in England; this intensive lasts two weeks and I’ve heard amazing things about it (free accommodation, too). At Trinity I would be able to tailor my timetable to the things I wanted to take (ballet, Graham-based contemporary, yoga, etc.) and that’s pretty cool.

Now, my dream dance school, the crème de la crème, is Jacob’s Pillow up in Massachusetts. They have a summer program for professionals and pre-professionals from ages sixteen on up, specializing in either ballet, commercial, or contemporary. Free accomodation for approved applicants, but it’s extremely selective; only twelve men and twelve woman get chosen each year. The contemporary program, which I would be auditioning for, costs about $1,800

I would love to attend any combination of these schools, although my heart is pretty set on Jacob’s Pillow. For an aspiring dancer this is an incredibly important decision; for me especially because next summer is my last season as a high school student. I’ll also have to decide how much out of my paycheck/savings I want to pay for tuition and/or audition fees (because I really want to help my parents out); but I don’t want to spend too much, because what’s the point of going overseas and doing all these intensives if I end up with no money for college? So many, many things to do.

— Bethany.

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