I'm a college freshman, and my dance program isn't challenging enough. We only have ballet three times a week and a few hours of modern, and my classmates aren't as dedicated as I am. There's a small dance company nearby, where I was hoping to take extra classes, but I don't have a car. I want to transfer, but I feel like I won't be in good enough shape for auditions. —Tara


I think you should trust your gut that you're not in the right college program. I'm sure that must be frustrating, but you seem to have a lot of motivation. Try not to lose that as the year progresses, because you need to push yourself in a way that your school isn't.

On the days you don't have ballet, or on weekends, find an empty studio and give yourself class. Even if you're short on time, a ballet barre and pointework exercises can help you maintain your technique. Take advantage of any cross-training equipment your college provides, too, such as Pilates reformers or ellipticals, to keep your core strong and your endurance up. And make the most of the few ballet classes you are getting—challenge yourself by repeating combinations with another group, adding relevé to barre exercises, like adagio, and incorporating batterie to petit allégro.

I also wouldn't give up on the nearby company just yet. Is it possible to bike there, take public transportation or use a ride-sharing service? All of this extra work may feel like a hassle, but keep your eye on the prize—it will be worth it once you transfer to the right school.

Health & Body
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From left: Sarah Lapointe, Derek Dunn and Jeanette Kakareka. Courtesy The Rock School

For more than five decades, The Rock School for Dance Education has been launching young dancers into professional ballet careers around the globe. Boasting distinguished alumni such as Beckanne Sisk, Michaela DePrince and Taylor Stanley, the Philadelphia-based institution has garnered a well-deserved reputation for pairing rigorous training with a tight-knit, welcoming community. Their summer intensives are no different, with a wealth of prestigious faculty members, many of whom are Rock School alums currently dancing at companies around the world.

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Ballet dancers today are asked to do more with their bodies than ever before. The physical demands of a ballet career can take an immense toll on a dancer's joints and muscles—subjecting them to pain, inflammation and an increased risk of injury. Considering all that is required of today's dancers, having a top-notch recovery regime is paramount.

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