Updated: Feb 10, 2021
The leaves have turned and fallen, “Nutcracker” season is in full swing, and before we know it, summer will be here. How do you plan to spend your summer? Summer is the time to devote your time to the areas of dance that YOU find most interesting or to explore something entirely new to you. From attending summer intensives and studying abroad to interning in the arts and attending performances, the possibilities are vast. Whatever you choose, it should inform, change, and challenge you.
Begin brainstorming in November. Think about the acronym DANCE: Dancing, Activity, Networking, Creative, and Educational to guide you in curating your personal summer curriculum.
Dancing: Consider how dancing will play into your summer. Do you want to be dancing? Would you prefer exploring other aspects of the dance field such as administration, research, marketing, or education? Define the role will dance play in your summer.
Activity: This is a follow-up to the previous questions to narrow down the role of dancing in your plans. If your main activity will be dancing, what style and how much? Training, performing, or both? If you’re not dancing, are you writing, teaching, working in arts administration, researching, seeing performances, etc.? Reflect on your short- and long-term goals to discover what areas of study you need to delve into most.
Networking: Will your summer plans potentially create new opportunities in the future? Will you meet people working in the dance/arts fields? How do you want the organization, resources, or people you meet to potentially influence your career? Networking is perhaps one of the most important aspects of any career field, but especially the arts. It’s a small world.
Creative: This one has two meanings.
1) Think creatively in your summer plans. You are developing your own personal curriculum. You don't have to do exactly what everyone else is doing. Forge your own summer path. Take the time to investigate opportunities that are not "typical." By doing this, not only will you have an experience that is uniquely yours, but also an experience that could potentially open more doors. Thoroughly research into opportunities. Learn about the schedule, see what alums are doing, and most importantly, read about the faculty, staff, and people with whom you will be working. After all, you will be working with the people there.
2) Ensure that your summer plans give you the opportunity to be creative, whether that means creating your own work or creating new solutions to problems. When you have the time and space to be creative, your ideas will also have the time and space to flourish.
Educational: Granted, most summer intensives, internships, or teaching opportunities will be educational in some form. However, consider how the opportunity plays into your year-round training, studies, or work. If the opportunity will positively influence and develop your year-round goals, then it likely is a sound choice. If it clearly will not benefit, then consider why it doesn't fit with your goals and head back to the drawing board. Sometimes it takes a little time to find the right option. If you're really not sure if the opportunity will help you reach your goals, then speak with people working at the organization and with trusted mentors to see if it's an adventure worth trying. You never know until you try, right?
An additional point to consider, aside from the DANCE acronym, is the location. Do you want to spend the summer in the city or countryside? Abroad or in the states? Location is often an important starting point when looking into opportunities.
DANCE is a springboard for your future in the dance field. You can apply it to not only your summer plans, but also to your professional career growth. In the coming weeks, we’ll explore different areas of the dance field in which to develop your summer curriculum.
Have a question? Want to know something in particular? Leave a comment and I’ll answer.