This story originally appeared in the December 2015/January 2016 issue of Pointe.
Is it better to audition for a summer intensive at a small school where I'll get individualized attention, or at a large school where I might have a chance to stay year-round? —Amy
When it comes to auditioning for summer programs, you should go for a range of schools. Not only does that allow you to practice auditioning, but you can better assess what each program offers and which might be the best fit for you. Once you know which intensives you've gotten into, you can make an informed final decision. And in addition to size, you should be keeping other important factors in mind: the faculty, the types of classes offered, performance opportunities and costs.
That said, if you're trying to decide between a small or large summer program, think about what you ultimately need right now. Which school is going to give you the most opportunity to grow and reach your goals? If you suspect that you're behind for your age and need a lot of strengthening, or if you want to work closely with a specific teacher, a smaller school might be a better fit. You may also want to consider a more intimate program if you've never been away from home before. But if you're itching to gain more exposure, want to see where you fit in the bigger picture and hope to be considered for a year-round program, a larger intensive may be better for you. (Although many smaller schools offer excellent year-round programs, too.)
For my first summer away, I picked a program close to home. When I returned to the same program later, it was because I wanted to be considered for a traineeship. As you make your decision, think about your goals and where you're at in your training. And don't forget to listen to your gut, too.
Have a question? Send it to Pointe editor in chief and former dancer Amy Brandt at firstname.lastname@example.org.