What role should virtual intensives play in your training this year?


Predictions for the dance in the summer of 2022 look promising: Most intensives plan to be in person, with mitigation efforts in place to prioritize the health and safety of participants. But does that mean that online-only crash courses are a relic of the past? Not necessarily. Here are some things to consider when planning your summer plans this year.

Think “And”, not “Or”

“There’s nothing quite like the experience of everyone being in the same room, working on the same things,” says Kate Lydon, artistic director of the American Ballet Theater Intensive Summer Programs. It’s certainly true that online courses struggle to replicate the energy and camaraderie of the studio. That said, intensive summer courses are designed to be limited: after two, four or even eight weeks, the program is over. What if you wanted more dancing during your summer?

“For me, the best scenario is for students to go to a crash course in person and consider additional online summer programs,” says Jon Arpino, founder and CEO of virtual training juggernaut CLI Studios. If you’re attending an in-person intensive in June and July, for example, you can choose an online program in August. The CLI Studios summer experience is split into a week’s course, so it’s easy for dancers to sign up for a week between other engagements. Similarly, Lydon recalls that the students signed up for ABT’s intensive online courses in 2021 for a two-week session in early summer, then attended another program in person later in the summer. summer. Depending on your time zone (and stamina), you can even take in-person lessons during the day and continue with virtual training in the evening, or vice versa.

“What I like about online training is the accessibility,” says Arpino. “In-person summer programs are not always affordable and may require travel. Once you’ve figured out what’s feasible for your family in terms of budget and logistics, you can explore the myriad of online options that have presented themselves over the past two years to prepare for your summer.

To mix together

Intensive online courses can offer you a chance to step out of your comfort zone. “It can be less intimidating for students to try something new online,” says Arpino. “Being somewhere comfortable for you – at home on your own, or maybe with your friends in your home studio – can help you feel more secure to explore and make mistakes.” Maybe you’re a serious bunhead who wants to try tap dancing, or a hip-hop dancer hoping to hone your contemporary basics. You can take a crash course in person in your preferred genre while also signing up for an online beginner’s course that will broaden your skills.

Find courses, not courses

While you can certainly supplement your in-person dance training with online walk-in classes, you may be better served by a more structured virtual class, which mimics traditional summer crash courses. Signing up for an organized course rather than a single course gives you the opportunity to deepen your knowledge. It also allows your instructors to track and comment on your progress. “We saw such a big improvement in the dancers who did our virtual crash courses last summer,” says Lydon. “Even on Zoom, their hard work was evident.” Although ABT’s virtual summer program has been scaled down from the in-person version – a condensed training day, with less emphasis on repertoire and no final performance – it has always been designed with the goal of maximize growth in a short time.

“Think about what will help you become the dancer you plan to become,” Lydon urges. “Do your research and follow your passion. ”

3 tips for streaming success

Arrange your space: If you have access to a dance studio with bars and other equipment, it will definitely help, but space isn’t everything. “Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have all the resources,” says Kate Lydon of ABT. “Commitment is the number one thing that will make you a better dancer. ”

Be prepared to repeat: Since many virtual programs include pre-recorded sessions, being prepared to take a class multiple times can be part of the deal. “You can learn a lot the second or third time around,” says Jon Arpino of CLI. “Rehearsal is great for dancing, and it’s something you don’t always get in person. Signing up for the full CLI Studios Summer Xperience experience gives you access to the site’s library of content for a year, even allowing you to resume a course months later.

Train alone: In a crash course online, you may also be asked to practice material in your spare time. “Our teacher mentors may ask you to work on a choreography for the week,” says Arpino, “and then perform it on Friday for feedback. Without external factors such as mandatory rehearsal slots and in-person supervision, your motivation must come from within.

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