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Dance Intensives 101: What to Expect

Sweat drips down my face, and I’m regretting not bringing a hand towel. It’s day 3 of a 5 day dance camp, and I’m struggling to focus my eyes on the dance coaches in front of me. My body is so tired, yet vibrating with a delicious mixture of excitement and anxiety. Welcome to the dance intensive.

Intensives, broadly defined, are full or multi-day workshops, often featuring dance pros from all over the world. You might also hear them referred to as ‘festivals’, ‘congresses’, or ‘dance camps’. They are inspirational, exhausting experiences, and can be one of the best ways to break your dancing through to the next level.

The goal this month is to create a roadmap for dance intensives, to keep them positive and productive. First, what exactly should you be prepared for?

  • It’s going to be ‘intense’ – The information will be coming hard and fast, and you probably won’t get it all. Just remember what you can, and film (if they allow it) or take notes on the rest.
  • It’s going to be VERY good for your dancing –The immersive environment of the dance intensive is an excellent way to get your mind out of the way and learn to just move. You may find yourself dancing on a level you never expected to reach.
  • It’s going to be exhausting– Intensives work your mind and body harder than any mere group class, so come prepared to burn some calories (and replenish them frequently).
  • It’s going to make you friends– A lot of friendships are made during a dance intensive, so if you want to get more involved in the community, this is your ticket.
  • It’s going to broaden your horizons– As they say, you don’t know what you don’t know. Your coaches are going to bring perspectives, expertise, and/or a level of detail that will be completely new to you. Take it all in!
  • It’s going to connect you to more intensives– Odds are, your coaches and many of the students have been to quite a few intensives… And they’ll LOVE talking to you about them.
  • It’s going to be unforgettable– There’s nothing quite like the prolonged rush of good feeling that comes with a dance intensive. The pictures, text messages, hashtags and well-wishes will no doubt last well beyond the intensive itself… And the memories will last a lifetime.

Sound worth it to you? Excellent – next week we’ll explore the tricks to maximizing your memory, so you can store away all that juicy knowledge.


About the Author

Ian Crewe has been dancing ballroom for over 18 years, and has a Licentiate in American smooth and rhythm. His passion for dance eventually led him to blogging and the World Wide Web. Ian currently teaches at the Joy of Dance Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada.

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