School is winding down, recitals are ramping up, and soon you’ll be schedule-free and ready to enjoy the best days of the year!
Except…that’s probably not the case for you. For many dancers, the end of the school year ushers in the aggressive time of year when we’re shuttling between summer intensives, Nationals, and extra rehearsals learning choreography for the upcoming year.
Summer break? What break?!
As you start transitioning from school mode to Nationals mode, here are a few things to keep in mind.
1. Keep your technique in top shape. Just because regular studio classes have likely ended, it’s crucial to make sure your technique doesn’t slip. And while you may still be dancing every day rehearsing your Nationals routine, it’s not quite the same. Try to carve aside some time every day to give yourself a basic ballet barre or keep your feet and ankles tap-ready with a basic warm-up.
2. Maintain perspective. It’s so easy to get caught up in the competitive aspect of Nationals. Of course you’ve worked super hard and want to take home a title or a top award, but remember all the other reasons you’re making the trek to these big summer stages. Not only is Nationals a time to showcase your own talents for a panel of judges—and possibly scoop up some scholarships in the process—it’s also a time to be inspired by other dancers and see what studios around the country are doing.
3. Stay hydrated. You’re running around, you’re dancing a ton, and it’s hot outside. It’s a potential recipe for disaster. Keep a water bottle on you at all times.
4. Get ready to network. If you dream of being a professional dancer, Nationals is an ideal time to make important industry connections. Chat up fellow dancers, choreographers, judges, and directors. Make sure they remember your name. Being on their radar now will pay off when you’re looking to get hired down the road.
5. Have fun. We know, it sounds so lame. But at the end of the day, isn’t that what it’s really all about? Between the travel, the performances, the crazy costume changes, and the convention classes, Nationals can be exhausting and stressful. Keep that good head on your shoulders and remember why you’re there to avoid feeling burnt out and over-worked. (And remember to eat! Eating helps. Trust us—we have yet to find a problem a good slice of pizza or scoop of ice cream can’t cure.)