Intensive week is the kick off to the dance season. It’s when the studio brings in amazing guest choreographers from far off places and the dancers dance, and dance, and then dance some more. S. loves intensive week – she couldn’t wait to get back into the studio and do choreography again. She looked forward to it for weeks.
The dancers usually have four classes to attend that run 4-5 hours in total. The guest teachers focus on a particular style of dance, typically jazz, lyrical, contemporary or hip hop. They also work on conditioning, which is meant to strengthen dancers’ muscles so they can perform even better.
I would say S. is in pretty good shape – she continued dance classes through the summer. And lord knows she is always moving. We can’t go anywhere without her doing dance and acro moves. (Dance moms, I’m sure you know how this is!) Even still, dancers need to watch that they don’t overdo anything because an injury will mean they might have to sit on the sidelines the rest of the week.
Intensive weeks (and conventions) are a great way for dancers to work with – and learn from – different choreographers and to try things that may be out of their comfort zone. But they can be grueling physically and emotionally draining. Don’t be surprised if you find your dancer collapsing in a puddle of tears mid-week due to overtiredness.
Here are a few tips to help your dancer through it:
- Prepare physically for it. All the dance time will take a toll on the body so if your dancer has been a couch potato in the weeks leading up to intensive it may be a tough week for them!
- Get lots of sleep.
- Pack light, nutritious snacks. Be careful not to overeat right before or you will get cramps.
- Bring lots of water and drink it regularly.
- After each day have a bath with Epsom salts.
- Use a roller on sore muscles.
- Stretch out well before and after each session.
- Enjoy the hard work, but don’t overdo it.
- Consider taking your dancer for a massage in the week following intensive.
Most of all, dancers should have fun learning new combos and techniques from different choreographers. Intensive week should be about working hard and trying new things. Don’t forget to thank the choreographers when the session is done!