DLMimi_summer_MAINIt’s that time of year again, summer! And for aspiring ballerinas, that means summer intensives. I spent the majority of my summer at SFB, but I have also done the programs at School of American Ballet, Harid, and my very first time at Houston Ballet.

I was only twelve years old when I went to Houston Ballet for their six week long summer intensive. It was my first experience at a professional school, which really opened my eyes to the other young talented dancers out there. It was also a good way for me to see older students, who were on the brink of becoming professionals, and to aspire to be like that one day.

I remember having a hard time adjusting to the intense schedule (hence the name summer “intensive”). I went from taking only two or sometimes three classes a day after school, to taking numerous classes all day, rehearsing for the end of summer show, and coping with being away from home. We even took classes such as pilates, swing dancing, and jazz, in addition to ballet classes, pointe, and pas de deux. This was also my first time taking pas de deux classes.

It was definitely a tough summer, but I grew so much from the whole experience. I came home much stronger, but more importantly, with a broader spectrum of the dance world. Summer intensives are incredible opportunities for young dancers to get a taste of the professional world and experience different types of training. They are also a great way to get your talents seen by teachers and directors. I was accepted from SFB’s summer program to join the school and eventually become a trainee. Without summer programs, I would not be the dancer I am today.