I'm a young dancer, and I've been accepted to a prestigious summer program. I know intensives are a good way to get my name known in the dance world. How do I give a good impression without seeming nervous? —Lydia
Relax! It sounds like you still have several years before you need to worry about networking for a job. Instead of placing all of your focus on what the school director thinks of you, shift your priority to soaking up as much as you can from your classes. That said, you can make a good impression by working hard, being open to corrections (and quickly applying them) and asking smart questions.
Focus more on what you can learn from an intensive and less about impressing others.
Summer intensives are perfect opportunities to be pushed and to learn new approaches to technique, or even be exposed to new dance genres, like modern. Be aware of how you take in this new information, and how you handle challenges. Your teachers want to know that you're engaged and absorbing what they're giving you. Looking stressed-out or defeated may make them question whether you enjoy dancing. A positive attitude (and a smile) does wonders for making a good impression, as does letting your artistry shine through.
And don't forget to ask yourself how the school is making an impression on you! Is it a place you'd like to someday train at full-time, or is the affiliated company one you are interested in joining? Either way, you'll have a better idea of what they're looking for and can approach your training accordingly. If you have doubts, use next year to explore other possibilities.
Have a question? Send it to Pointe editor and former dancer Amy Brandt at firstname.lastname@example.org.