Summer Intensive Reality

          Summer intensives, one of the most exciting things to do as a young dancer. You get to experience new schools, teachers, styles, choreography, and cities. It is a great way to make new connections in the world of ballet and is a priceless experience you will cherish even after you have finished dancing. In honor of auditions for the tremendous programs beginning I thought it would be only right to talk about theses programs in a more honest tone. While I most definitely agree with what was said at the beginning of this post, there is so much more to summer intensives that are not discussed. Let’s start with the obvious, pressure. There is immense pressure to go to these programs, especially if you want to dance professionally. With ballet becoming increasingly more competitive it is seen that attending summer programs is a must. It is true that you should continue to train in the summer, so you don’t lose what you have worked so hard to achieve, but are big name programs essential. I know from my own personal experience that it feels as if you’re even less likely to make it as a dancer if you don’t attend one of these programs. That just isn’t right. As a young teenager, no one should feel as if they need to attend a program once a year because their future depends on it.
          The second reason why summer intensives are just plain stressful, cost. The cost of these programs is overwhelming. It gives me anxiety to think that for me to attend one of the smaller lesser known intensives it would still cost up to over a thousand dollars to have decent summer training. Yes, scholarships are offered, but that only covers tuition and not the most expensive aspect, room and board. Scholarships are also very scarce making it not even a factor for dancers like me. I work my butt off to be where I am as a dancer and I do well, but I know that I am not the best and I know it is unlikely I will receive a scholarship. Whether scholarships are based off of merit or financial aid, it is unlikely you will receive one that can help you out the way you may need. In addition there are an abundance of other expenses. You must pay for pointe shoes, audition fees, travel, and activity fees for whatever intensive you choose. Some may wonder why you don’t just get a job to pay for it, but that is just near impossible. As ballet dancers, we spend all of our time dancing and have no time to work. The stress of money is extreme unless you are very wealthy or one of the lucky few that get a scholarship.
         Don’t get me wrong I love summer intensives. Some of my most cherished ballet memories have happened at summer intensives. They have provided me with new views and appreciations for the art form. It has been at summer intensives, that I have had ah-ha moments about my ballet career. I just want people that can’t go and feel like they are the only ones, to know that they aren’t. This year I will probably do a very small program because I just can’t afford to go to a bigger program this year. That isn’t the ideal situation, but that is real life because not all of us are the next Dusty Button or can afford it. So if you feel defeated or frustrated about summer intensives this year, for any reason, know that you are in the majority and there are other people going through it too despite what you see on media. Keep working and giving your best effort because that is what will really help you succeed.
This is not a bash on summer intensives, just an honest perspective on them. If you can go to one this summer, congratulations and have fun!

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

It’s Christmas season my friends! With wish lists being made and gifts being purchased I thought I would share a few of my favorite things in case you are interested in getting them yourself.


Legwarmers– I love these. I wear them all the freaking time. My favorite part is the elastic band that keeps them on your thigh, that was always my least favorite thing about full length leg warmers, they would always slip down. They are very comfy, have stirrups, and are extremely affordable. Check them out in the link!


Trashbag Pants– Very generic, I know, but honestly it doesn’t matter where you get them. I have your basic Body Wrappers trash bag pants and I love them. They are very warm and simple. Not much more to be said other than they are comfortable and a classic.


Ballet Bag – When I went to Oklahoma City Ballet I saw someone carrying around a kind of strange bag, but I loved it. It is one of the cotton net grocery bags. They are big enough to carry everything you’ll need without being too bulky. The best thing them about them is the holes everywhere allows for pointe shoes to dry out wonderfully. Since I’m always asked about my bag I found it on Amazon and am linking it here.


Class In Leotard– This halter leotard is my favorite. I got it for my birthday and it is wonderful. The neckline is pretty low though, which isn’t show very well in the images. I really enjoy the cut of the legs and the fit is pretty good for me getting a small at 5’2″. I got the olive color and I like this leotard so much I’m considering getting another in black. Highly highly recommend!


Abigail Mentzer Skirt– These skirts are very nice. They are a very nice cut, giving the legs a rather long look and the variety in color is great. I wear my green skirt nearly everyday in class and at rehearsal. They are a tad pricey, but make a great gift.

Every item on here is something I use constantly and really enjoy. Each product is durable and of good quality. I hope you try one of the items out and enjoy as much as I do!

Come back next Monday to hear about tech week and the beginning of Nutcracker performances!

How To Survive the Holiday Hustle

Nutcracker we all love (or hate) it, but it is exhausting. Especially as a student it is a lot to juggle rehearsal and exam preparations as the semester comes to a close. Here are a few tips I have for you to get through.

  1. SLEEP- This is probably the hardest thing for me to do, but it must be a priority. Find time to sneak in a power nap if you don’t get a good nights rest. With studying, germs, and a tired body sleep will be your best friend.
  2. Eat right- Fuel your body! When your already exhausted from dancing being hungry makes it a million times worse. Making meals the day before at least having a plan will make things a lot easier. Some good snacks to munch on are pistachios, banana, apples with natural peanut butter, or veggies with humus. Each of those things fill me up without making my stomach heavy. After a long day we always want a nice treat of course, my favorite is mock chocolate mousse. It’s made with avocado, banana, milk, cocoa, and maple syrup. Another goody is black bean pumpkin brownies. Check out the links below for recipes.

Mock Mousse

Black Bean Pumpkin Brownies

3. Roll out-We may not always have time to stretch everything out after a long day, but do yourself the favor of rolling out your muscles. It may not be as fulfilling, but if you are pressed for time it is good enough. It makes the world of a difference to your body the next day and it is a bit faster than a stretch.

4.Don’t push-Take it easy in class. Of course you should always give your best effort in class, but if there is any time you should be easy on your body it is now. The cold weather and germs are a recipe for disappointment if you aren’t kind to your body. Always give class your best, but maybe go a little bit easier on that cambré or that battement.

5.Write it Down-For students studying for their semester exams, write it down. The best study strategy for me is to write stuff down. Take notes and notes and more notes about what you need to know. The process of reading it and writing it down is extremely helpful to me. Another little trick is that while you study listen to music (that won’t distract you) and listen to the same music again right before your exam. It helps you remember what you had studied while listening to it before.

These are my tips to get you through the holiday madness, I hope they helped!

Long Overdue

Well it sure has been a long time. I am still going to write guys! I know I have been very, very absent lately, the new year has taking some adjusting. I have just started high school and now being in senior company at Dayton Ballet, I’m dancing typically five or six days a week depending on what we’re rehearsing. I’m here to give an update and say I will do my absolute best to deliver a normal schedule.

As previously mentioned I started high school, but it hasn’t had too much of an effect on my writing. School is relatively the same as is it was last year, challenging, but perfectly manageable. The main reason I haven’t written is because I’m adjusting to senior company. I dance 3.5 hours Tuesday through Thursday, at least 1.5 hours on Friday, and typically 1.5 hours on Saturday. That is a normal week, but lately Nutcracker rehearsal has made that a lot busier. Before Thanksgiving I had a fifteen hour weekend of rehearsal, but only had class this previous weekend. It has been a whole new adventure to take class with the company on a pretty regular basis. A transition of looking up to the company members to dancing alongside them is both very fulfilling and strange.

As a freshmen I went to a few rehearsals for snow and flowers, just to learn. It was really exhausting, but ultimately really fulfilling too. It was the first corps work I had done in a professional environment and it was really exciting. With Nutcracker coming up you can expect a post on how to survive the holidays, you will also be seeing a Yumiko review in the future, and I’ll start talking about summer intensives again as well. I’m really looking forward to getting back in the swing of things, so keep your eyes open and I’ll see you again soon!

Tips for Summer Success

Here are my five tips for making the most out of your summer, especially if you aren’t doing a summer intensive.

1. Stretch like nobody is watching- Even if you are already flexible, stretch. The summer is the best time to work on weak points and stretch multiple times a day, so take advantage of it.

2. Put on your yoga pants- Yoga is a great thing to do to keep yourself in shape over the summer. It will work your flexibility in new ways and will help you strengthen. It is also a good warm up for your stretch session.

3. Take your medicine- Do the things you hate, but are necessary. This summer I’m working on my adagio and how to reach my full extension. Summer is the perfect time to make yourself do things you don’t care for, but need to work on.

4. Do some abs and back ups- There is no need to be working out intensely everyday to stay in shape over the summer. The things I would make sure you aren’t skipping out on is abs and back. This is your core and center, what sustains you in ballet, so be sure to keep them in check with back-ups and crunches. It will make coming back in the fall easier.

5. Give a mini barre- Give yourself some barre everyonce in awhile. You should do this just to be sure you can still access your turnout, work through your feet, etc. It doesn’t have to be hard or complicated.

6. Take some classes- Try your hardest to find at least a couple classes to take. They don’t need to be high quality or a regular thing, but take something to keep yourself in check. Look at other smaller studios for these classes.

I know this was short, but I hope this post helped you out. Check back next Monday!

Rock Summer Intensive Part III

Here is my final post on the Rock, hope you enjoy!

My last post said how I had high hopes for the rest of week two and they were fulfilled. I loved it. Tuesday was a shorter day, seeing as it was the Fourth of July. Class was good and I had a great time at a firework outing with my friends. Everything about the outing in the evening was fun, from an intense game of Money in the Middle to pretty fireworks, even the bus driver was a blast. It was so nice to have a good day not only in ballet, but also outside of it.

Wednesday was a good fulfilling day with class from my favorite teacher to start me off, and then class from the ballet master, Justin Allen. Justin’s classes grew on me a lot, the first one I had, I didn’t care for, but I really enjoy them now. He doesn’t waste time and always keeps class moving, so you get all you can out of it, which I really appreciate.

On Thursday, I woke up not feeling too hot, I didn’t have a fever or anything drastic, but it was rough. Despite the headache and sleepiness, this day was great. I had a very basic morning class, by my luck, so I didn’t have to throw my achy body into anything. The afternoon brought class from Chase O’Connell, a Ballet West principal. He was very kind and I liked his teaching, after technique he also taught partnering. Partnering was really good, my partner was very kind and pushed me a little. I really appreciated this, it helped me to do better in class and grow my confidence. So shout out to my really awesome partner.

By Friday, I was feeling better, much to my relief. I started the day with Jody, the teacher that had run my audition and I was really happy to have her. Her class was definitely the most comfortable one, in terms of teacher-student relationship. Everyone was a little more relaxed. It was nice to have the final day be one with jokes and laughter. After Jody’s class, was Beckanne Sisk’s class, another principal from Ballet West. She was so kind. She took pictures with nearly everyone after class and answered people’s questions of advice patiently and carefully. Not only was she a good person, but she was also a good teacher. Beckanne not only really helped me with my turns on pointe, but also gave me great tips for my technique as a whole.

I can safely say will and already do miss the Rock. The atmosphere there was great, I was inspired by others to work my hardest and do my best. I loved the training and it was such an amazing opportunity to be exposed to Balanchine. This school had definitely made me crave more and has truly inspired me to go out and work to be better. I hope my little bit of documentation of my experience was enjoyable to read and check back next Monday for a new post!

Rock School Summer Intensive Part II

So week one is complete and week two has begun. Here is what I have to share.

Week one had a rough end, I’m not going to lie. Wednesday was filled with good teachers and I had partnering, which I always enjoy. It’s just a nice variation from everyday dancing. Thursday was when I started to feel not great because I didn’t feel I had worked very hard in class. Friday and Saturday were good classes, but the days themselves were pretty bad. I won’t go into detail, but those days showed me things can go wrong despite your best effort and you just have to brush off and get back up.

I will say I have high hopes for week two after seeing how today went. The morning started with a refreshing class after a lazy weekend. The afternoon followed with class from Bo, the school’s artistic director. Not only was his class a nice pace, but the combinations were different and challenging. Another huge pick me up was definitely Bo complimenting my weak point, my turns. After those technique classes I had a pointe class that went back to the basics. I didn’t love the class itself, but glad I had it because it forced me to work out kinks. Like medicine, it doesn’t taste good, but it’s good for ya.

I’m looking forward to the last four days that come with this intensive. I know this post is brief, but I’ll be back Friday with one last post on the Rock.

Rock School Summer Intensive

So, of course I messed up and didn’t write yesterday. Anyways time to tell you about the Rock!

Well, it has been a good start. I’ve actually been at the dorms since Friday, since I came with a chaperone. On Sunday everyone else arrived. I helped people move in and greeted. If I’m perfectly honest, I actually really liked being here early because I acquainted myself with all the chaperones and could settle in a little sooner.

I actually waited all day for my roommate to come in, then registration came to a stop and I went asked administration what was up. Turned out my roommate was coming anymore. Lucky for me the suite next door had only one girl, so she became my roommate.  Overall the dorms are quite nice, they’re pretty clean and comfy. The non teaching staff has been incredibly nice, so the non dance aspects have been very enjoyable.

Monday started and I got to wake up at a fairly decent time of 7:30. Walked to breakfast with roommates and friends, then had a wealth of time to get ready. At 9:45, the bus left for the school. After a 45 minute ride, we had arrived and had a brief, uneventful meeting with artistic directors Bo and Stephanie. Then at last at 12:00 I headed to my first class. It was with Sun-Mi and was the perfect class to jump back into ballet. By the end my butt had been slightly kicked, I was sweaty, and it felt great. Following that was lunch. The afternoon brought class from a former PNB dancer.

I came home exhausted because even though it is only three classes, you are worked hard. I won’t get into a whole lot more detail because you probably won’t want to read it all, but I will explain what the Rock program is like.

If you want something that works on all types of dance, don’t come here. That isn’t what they focus on, it is almost exclusively ballet. Since we do only ballet (for the most part), you have just three to four classes. It is definitely a good idea to come here if you really want to focus on ballet. Another thing is that, depending on where you’re placed for board, chances are you’ll have a 45 minute bus ride to ballet and then another one back. This really isn’t bad to me, I take naps on it, but I feel people should know about this because it may bother them.

To close it up, it has been a good first two days, with fun teachers, nice dorms, tasty food, and lots of hard work. I will do my absolute best to write again on Monday with another Rock update, so see you then!

An Update

Sorry for the hiatus, but I’m back! I needed a little bit of a break with school coming to an end and the start of summer, but I can assure you my weekly schedule is resuming.

This post is just a little update on what is going on. Since the official season has ended, I have taken several standalone classes. These have been really great for me. It was so nice to go back to class even though I had only been away for two weeks because it honestly felt like something was missing. I had finished my exams and was flustered, so to go back to a class was so therapeutic.

These classes have been great also because they are teachers I don’t usually have. They both focus on the basics and really work on that strong foundation, which was great. Another thing I could really appreciate about one of the teachers, was his focus on mentality. This teacher always reminds me to have the right mentality, so I’ll pass his message because it’s really great.

He always encouraged me to forget about the people around me and just be me. He stressed that I can’t change who I am and I need to accept and embrace that. You have probability heard this before, but with the start of summer intensives and being surrounded by abundant talent, it doesn’t hurt to be reminded.

Outside of these helpful classes, I’m now getting ready to go to the Rock School for Dance. I will leave Thursday, (and continue to blog) but I’m not very prepared. It hasn’t quite hit me that I’m leaving so soon, but I’m very excited. That’s about it, not much, but come back Friday for another post about packing for summer intensives!

End of Season

Yesterday I had my final show of the season. I also have pictures for the first time in forever.

After a long and stressful season, it finally came to a close and I’m not going to lie, I was happy. This had been a tough year, I was never quite in a spot I felt fit whether that was a class or a role. Throughout the year it always felt off. It was hard because I was in a weird in between place of levels. I had close friends on either end of me, but was always slightly secluded from each side since I had connection to another. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I was put in the in between place of levels to be pushed, but it was hard mentally. I couldn’t claim to be fully apart of one side or the other, so for that to end is a huge relief. It is time to move into the higher level officially along with friends from the lower level and I couldn’t be more excited.

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final real class of the year

Anyways, my final week of classes were a great end to the season. Tuesday was made up of rehearsals, but they actually ran smoothly for the first time. Wednesday was a fun and easy class that ended with a fulfilling fitness to my favorite song. Thursday brought a jazz combination to “Beautiful Liar” that definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone, but in the best way. Along with jazz was regular ballet and variations. We do variations every year, but this year was special. I really, truly enjoyed it and felt good about my dancing, the smile on my face wasn’t because there was an “audience”, it was there from joy. It was definitely the cherry on top.

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After some good classes, the long awaited end of season show came. A lot of work went into it and it definitely felt like we needed more time, but in the end it came together. Sure, there were several mistakes, but it felt right. All of us performers came together, even though we were exhausted and presented a great show.

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almost showtime

This may not have been my best season, but at least I can say I finished it with a bang. There was stress and frustrations all year, yet it had its moments and the end was definitely one of them. I really hope you enjoyed this post and check back next Monday for more!

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Dear Diary Times Two

Today is a little advice post that can apply to dancers, but almost anyone else. I am suggesting that you start two journals, for two separate things.

The first journal I recommend starting is for a more personal use. I suggest jotting down every day (or as close to) what you did, how you felt, and other things from the day you just had. This is a great way to relieve yourself of any emotions that may have built up in the studio, allows for you to go back and read about good days, and is a great way to wrap up your day. There are so many other good reasons to start this personal journal. It helps get rid of stress, understand thoughts, pushes you to remember things, and so much more. The last reason to start a journal is years from now you may go back and read it and get to relive a great role or summer intensive.

The second journal is for ballet (or other things for my non dancer readers). After a class or two go back and write down corrections from teachers or things you want to work on. You can use this to help keep track of things to improve and make goals. This is also a great tool for when you are preparing a piece or role for performance. While we remember a lot of corrections, a lot can also go out the window by the next day. Try and push yourself to write down corrections or tips after every other class. It may be annoying at first, but it will soon become a habit. This journal will be so helpful for targeting your specific flaws and it can help you to remember corrections from one time experiences such as intensives or master classes.

I hope you try keeping the two journals to help you relax and to help your dancing. I know it has been helpful to write down my thoughts, since there is always a lot going on.

Come back next Monday to hear about my end of season show that is happening this Sunday!