Instruction and Training
Maturity, Experience and Goals.
Whether you’re a parent of a dancer, or a young dancer yourself, choosing the best summer dance intensive for beginners can be a bit challenging. Fortunately, at the Joffrey we offer something for everyone, so it’s easy to find a program that is suitable for you as long as you understand some of the criteria you should consider.
There are several criteria that you should consider when looking for the best summer dance intensive for beginners. These include:
Let’s consider these criteria in more detail.
While not perhaps the most important consideration when selecting a summer dance intensive, the location of your intensive is something that must be considered. At the Joffrey, we offer intensives in locations across the country. Some of our most popular are our New York intensives, but for younger or less experienced dancers, the prospect of spending several weeks away from home might be a daunting one.
Fortunately, we understand the concerns that dancers and parents may have and have worked hard to provide programs that put the safety and welfare of our dancers first at all of our locations.
All of our programs are structured similarly in terms of housing, food and chaperones for the dancers. Housing is provided in dorms at local universities, with food provided in dining halls near the dorms and between classes. Dancers are chaperoned in groups of five kids at a time to ensure dancers are able to navigate from dorms to meals to class and back again, and even pick them up at the airport to ensure they arrive safely at our program.
In the dorms, dancers are supervised by resident advisors (RAs) who organize fun activities such as pizza parties, water balloon fights, swimming in the university pool and more to ensure that dancers are having fun in class and out.
It’s important to point out that these safeguards for our summer ballet intensives are even in place for our New York intensives. Ours are the only intensives in New York that are chaperoned to this degree, and where meals are provided for the dancers. Most intensives in New York require dancers to be mature and independent enough to obtain meals and get themselves from their housing accommodations to class on their own, making them suitable mainly for older dancers.
At the Joffrey, all of our New York programs are more closely supervised and housing is provided in secure dorms at local universities such as NYU and Pace University. Because of this, we are able to provide a safe and fun experience even for our younger and beginner dancers.
All of our summer dance intensives have beginner levels, all the way up through pre-professional and are suitable for serious dancers at every level. The Joffrey Ballet School’s summer dance intensives follow the same guidelines and offer the same level of world-class instruction regardless of the location. All students receive corrections three times per class. Teachers in all programs get to know the dancers, see them grow and are able to help them build on strengths and correct weaknesses.
That said there are some differences between the programs. One of the biggest considerations when it comes to instruction and training is the artistic director you’ll be working with. Each program is led by an artistic background recognized as the best in their craft at the style of dance they’re teaching.
For most dancers, the only other way to work with some of these instructors is in a large ballroom setting, with up to 500 other students vying for the instructors attention. At the Joffrey, you’ll be one of just 25 to 30 students receiving individual instruction from the world’s best dance professionals.
For instance, our Los Angeles and San Francisco intensives are led by Josie Walsh, one of the most influential teachers and choreographers in the country. Her choreography has been featured on “So You Think You Can Dance,” and her students have won the Youth American Grand Prix numerous times. If you want to work with her, or one of the other world-class instructors at the Joffrey Ballet School, you’ll want to choose your intensive on that basis.
It’s also worth noting that while all of our intensives offer performance opportunities, opportunities are more advanced in certain locations. Our Los Angeles performances are held in a $10 million facility that most dancers wouldn’t be able to perform in until they reach the professional level.
Another major consideration when determining the best summer dance intensives for beginners is the style of dance that you want to study. This will drive the decision about which location and instructor you should consider for your intensive.
Each of our locations focuses on a different style of dance, with several styles of dance intensives offered in New York. If you’re interested in commercial dance – the type of dance you might do in Broadway shows, at theme parks, in movies or on television – then you’ll want to attend our summer dance intensive for commercial dance, held in Los Angeles.
If you’re interested in hip-hop or musical theater, you’ll want to attend our hip-hop dance or musical theater intensives in New York. For contemporary ballet dancers who want exposure to the newest ideas in ballet, you’ll want to attend our summer dance intensive in San Francisco. If you can’t decide between classical ballet or jazz contemporary, you can attend one of our fusion programs in Dallas or Miami.
And if you’re interested in either jazz contemporary or a more acrobatic style of dance, you can attend one of our intensives in Las Vegas. Our Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil intensive program offers not just dance training but an opportunity to study at the Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil training center, where you will learn acrobatics, juggling and acting as well as dance. It’s an amazing experience for a young dancer.
The criteria above all relate to the program, but the biggest deciding factor when determining which summer dance intensive is best for a beginner dancer is each dancer’s own maturity, experience and personal dance goals.
As a beginner, you may not be sure of your long term goals or which program will be most beneficial for you over the long term, but you probably do have some areas of dance you are most interested in pursuing. Because we offer so many styles, you can pick the program that best aligns with your long term goals and interests.
Experience is an important consideration as well. If most of your dance experience is in ballet, for instance, you may wish to pursue a ballet intensive. On the other hand, if you’re looking to broaden your horizons, you may want to consider an intensive in another style. Either way, you’ll work with world-class instructors, receiving one on one corrections and instruction in a small group setting of just 25 – 30 dancers, and will have an experience that will allow you to grow as a dancer and as a person.
From the maturity perspective, all of Joffrey Ballet School’s summer dance intensives are well supervised. So for a young or beginning dancer who seeks to train with top instructors in New York City, any of our dance intensives in the city are an excellent opportunity to gain exposure to world-class professionals and performances.
And unlike other similar New York-based programs offered by other schools, our dancers are well-chaperoned, with meals and ground transportation provided. We’ve been offering these programs for more than 60 years and we know how to provide a safe and enriching experience for dancers at every level.
As you can see, there’s not a simple answer to the question of which summer dance intensive is best for beginners. It’s a highly individual question, the answer to which will be determined by your own goals and experience, your maturity, the instructors you’d like to study and styles you’d like to study, and which location you most want to visit. By considering each of these criteria carefully, you’ll make a decision that most benefits you as a dancer and as a person.