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Allegro Summer Intensive Survival Guide


Never been to a summer dance intensive before? Terrible at packing? Worry not! We’ve created a comprehensive summer intensive packing list for you, based on our collective experience at intensives as well as some serious research into what you’re likely required to bring to most programs around the country. In addition to using our list, check in with your summer intensive program for specifics.  Click the image to view all pages, print it out, check it off, share it with friends! Merde!

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Across the country, dancers are gearing up and getting ready to leave home to begin their summer intensives. Here at Allegro, our collective experiences have brought us to many different intensives from Chicago to Vienna, and New York to London. We asked the team at Allegro what they wish they had known before heading off to their summer intensives and we’ve come up with 10 tips for how to survive your summer programs. Even if you’re simply planning on training at your home studio, you can still use some of these tips to help you get the most out of your summer programs.

  1. Get enough sleep! As exciting as it is to be in a new environment with new people, you’ll want to make sure you are staying healthy and getting enough rest. Summer programs are packed with longer days of dancing than you may be used to, so getting enough sleep should be a priority.
  2. You’ll be introduced to some great teachers during intensives, so keeping a notebook is a great idea, especially if you take a couple of minutes after each class to write down the most memorable and helpful things the teacher said. You can always look back at it later when you’re home to get re-inspired.


    These small notebooks are the perfect size to fit into your dance bag, and are great for taking notes! Available at Allegro $10

  3. Learn to prevent and deal with injuries. You’ll likely be dancing about 6 or 7 hours a day, 5 or 6 days a week, so make sure you’re listening to your body. Ice will be your best friend! Other things like stretching at night and rolling out your muscles before and after class help tremendously, as well as warming up properly before class to prevent dancing ‘cold’ and risking injury.
  4. Bring money. It seems obvious, but you’ll want a little spending money while you’re there. Also, you never know what kinds of emergencies may pop up and it never hurts to have a little extra cash to hold you over.
  5. Be confident in your abilities. You may be placed into a lower level than you had expected. It can be hard to get outside of your hometown studio and see the talent that exists in the larger dance community. Focus on your own growth and give it your all. (You may also get placed higher level than you thought – if so, stay humble and work just as hard!).
  6. Bring anything to take care of your body: The Stick, foam and foot rollers, Tiger balm, ice packs, a bucket to ice your feet, arnica cream, ibuprofen, ankle or knee braces, and band-aids! You’ll likely be sore most of the time, and using tools to work through the soreness will help immensely.


    From left: Bunheads Gel Knee Pads, Bunheads Footsie Roller, Bunheads Exercise Band, Covet Barre Balm, World’s Softest Socks, Pinky Ball

  7. Bring extra pairs of shoes. Whether it’s ballet shoes, pointe shoes, or tap shoes, there’s nothing worse than trying to dance with a hole through your big toe or losing just one shoe. Sewing two pairs of pointe shoes and switching off using them is a good trick to help them last longer, especially when you’re dancing en pointe more often. As a matter of fact, bring extras of everything from tights to pants, depending on what type of intensive you go to. Finding replacements once you’re there may be challenging!
  8. Keep an open mind; the training you receive at a summer intensive might be very different from that which you receive at your hometown studio. That’s all part of the experience, the opportunity, and the fun. So whether it’s a suggestion for a new way to do a bun or a different approach to an adagio combination, soak in every piece of new info, every tip, every bit of constructive criticism.
  9. Be aware of how you’re presenting yourself while you’re there. The dance community is a small one, and you never know who might be teaching, taking, or observing your class. That being said, pay attention to how you’re presenting yourself outside of the studio as well, because that’s just as important.
  10. Keep in mind there will most likely be a performance at the end of your intensive. Preparing well for this while you’re packing is a good idea, and prevents you from forgetting stage essentials like makeup, clean tights, and basic dance apparel. There will probably be a list of information where you can find exactly what you need for the performance. Read this list carefully!

You certainly learn new things about yourself as both a person and dancer during your summer intensives, so we encourage you to absorb and learn as much as you can this summer.

Altogether, we’ve been to more than 30 intensives, from local to international, including:

Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet Summer Program American Dance Festival, Ballet Lab ChicagoBates Dance FestivalCentral Pennsylvania Youth Ballet’s Summer Intensive, Dayton Ballet School’s Summer IntensiveDance Team Universal Dance Association, Dancewerks National WerkshopEarthdance, Faubourg School of Ballet’s “Ballet Camp Illinois.”Indiana University Ballet Department’s summer intensive, Joffrey Chicago and San Antonio Intensives, Laban Center London Movement Intensive in Compositional Improvisation, Lou Conte Dance Studio’s Scholarship Program, Milwaukee Ballet’s Summer ProgramMovement Research’s MELTPoint Park’s ‘International Summer Dance Program‘, River North Dance Chicago’s summer workshop and intensiveRockettes Summer Intensive, Ruth Page’s summer intensive, SAB summer intensiveVienna International Dance FestivalWalnut Hill’s School for the Arts Summer Program, West Coast Contact Improvisation Festival.


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