ballet, The Pennsylvania Ballet

How To: Surviving the First Week of a Ballet Summer Intensive


It’s the second day, and I don’t know about my fellow dancers, but I am so exhausted!

And fatigued…

And drowsy…

And all I want to do is curl up in my warm bed and sleep forever.

Knowing that I have 6 weeks left of this program and that I am already feeling quite dead, I wonder, “How will I ever survive?”

  1. First and foremost, understand that you are not alone when asking that question. Almost all of your peers, most likely, are coming into this program after a few weeks off from ballet. So if your concern is that you’ve been feeling weak or out of shape during class, don’t worry because you’re not the only one. Plus, don’t be so hard on yourself! It’s only the first week!
  2. Listen to your body. I write that sentence in almost all of my ballet articles and that is because it is such a crucial aspect if you want to gain the most out of your ballet summer intensive. If you begin to feel abnormal pains, tell the instructor or a person in charge immediately. While you may feel nervous or worried about their judgement or response, just remember that they want you to be strong and to be able to work hard and improve! You can’t do that if you refuse to listen to your body and take care of yourself.
  3. Muscle soreness comes with the territory. Being sore or fatigued is no fun. Usually, for me, the second day back in the studio is worse that the first. The only way to overcome muscle soreness is to simply push through the pain. Doing your own stretches before and after class and trying to keep your body as loose as you can will help too. As the days and weeks go by, you’ll notice your muscle pain subside, while improvement and strength set in. Tip: When my muscle soreness is unbearable, I take A LOT of hot baths as well as use a heating pad. Heat becomes your bestfriend when muscles get stiff.
  4. Eat the right foods. Food choice can make all the difference. As dancers, we need to be fueled with a lot of energy in order to take on these grueling 8 hour days. Because each dancer is different, I’m not going to sit here and write to you exactly what you should- or should not- be eating. If certain foods work for you, then by all means, EAT THEM. I’ll leave you with this: A balanced diet is the best diet. Sidenote: I can’t go a day without eating peanut butter in some form, whether it be in a sandwich, on crackers, with fruit, or from the jar itself. I have witnesses that can verify it too.
  5. Summer is the time for fun, so enjoy yourself! The great part about ballet summer intensives is that there is so much energy from the faculty, staff, and other dancers from different places. Everyone is collectively tired and sore, but at the same time, we are all excited to be working together in a new environment.

Best of luck with your summer intensive adventures! More ballet tips and stories coming soon!



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