Name of Summer Intensive you attended: Grand Rapids Ballet
Length of Intensive: 5 weeks
Why did you choose this summer Intensive? Between the guest instructors and company members, it had a fantastic faculty lineup. I also feel so blessed that they gave me a full tuition scholarship, because if they hadn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to attend the intensive.
What was your favorite class? I had two favorite classes: Variations and Partnering.
Who was your favorite teacher during the intensive? My favorite teacher was Nicole Ciapponi.
What one thing did you use EVERY day you were there? I took a water bottle every day. The classes tended to be long, and the teachers didn’t give you many breaks to go to the water fountain. A water bottle was a necessity!
How many pairs of pointe shoes did you go through? I only went through one pair, surprisingly. Thank God for Gaynor Minden!
What was the hardest part of attending this intensive? I think that the first two weeks were definitely the hardest part, just because I was so sore and had painful bruised toenails from wearing my pointe shoes constantly. But the next three weeks were so much easier because I wasn’t sore anymore, and one of my teachers showed me how to make my toenails feel better.
What moment would you consider the highlight of your experience? My favorite moment was when I finally understood this piece of choreography that I was learning. It was an excerpt from The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, choreographed by Billy Forsythe. There were so many really hard steps, and the music was superfast. But after a couple of classes, something inside of my head clicked and I finally got it. It felt so good to understand it and the variation became my favorite one to dance!
Do you have any advice for someone thinking of attending this intensive? Come ready to work harder than you ever have before, mentally and physically. The instructors there expect you to be giving 100% in every class, every day. Be prepared to wear your pointe shoes 4 hours a day. Also, bring a notebook to write down corrections in. This book isn’t just for your own corrections, but other people’s as well. When some of the teachers give you a correction, they say it once and expect you to remember it. It really helps if you have something to write them down in. But most importantly, come ready to have a blast! Because if you really love ballet, this intensive will make you love it a thousand times more!