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My parents don’t want to pay for a summer intensive. Should I try to convince them that the training is worth the extra money, or should I just work really hard at my home studio all summer? —Emily

 

Summer intensives certainly aren’t cheap, but they can be incredibly valuable. It’s worth making a case to your parents before you give up entirely. In fact, you may want to have your teacher help you, to give them an expert opinion of how you’ll benefit. First, ask your parents if you can at least audition—regardless of whether they let you go away for the summer, auditioning is a learning process in itself. You’ll be better able to assess where you stand among your peers and be seen by new teachers and school directors. If you get accepted, then it’s time to have a more in-depth discussion about what your options are. While most schools offer merit scholarships, some offer financial assistance and work study—they’re worth looking into. You can also look into independent scholarships, or start a fundraising campaign.

You have other negotiating tools, as well. See if there are any intensives close to home or near relatives you could stay with to save on room and board (see our summer study guide for a full list of programs near you). If not, be prepared to hustle: Offer to help pay for part of the tuition yourself through a part-time job. (For even more great ideas, check out “Fund Your Summer Intensive,” featured in our December 2013/January 2014 issue.)

If your efforts to convince your parents don’t succeed, try not to worry. Take full advantage of what your studio has to offer by taking extra classes, or branching out into additional styles like jazz and modern, which can help bring new depth to your ballet technique. See if you can take a few day trips to a nearby city to take open classes with different teachers. With a little creativity and a lot of hard work, you can create your own fulfilling, dance-packed summer.

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