It’s been so exciting to hear the fun stories from our girls who are attending Jillana’s Summer Intensive. It’s also been rewarding to hear from their parent’s who are sharing their thoughts about sending their daughters away to a 4-week Summer Intensive.
Julia Dunlop, Ballet Idaho Academy Student
The flight down was typical, but the 3 hour drive from Albuquerque was very bare and boring. Once in the ski valley there are lots of trees and mountains all around. Im excited to drive home and see all the canyon lands and stuff. The first week was very exciting and hard. Partially because of the altitude (about 9,500 ft) and the classes are simple but very fast which really makes you use your muscles a new way. This week (3rd) is going very well, personally my favorite so far. I’m getting used to things and some things are getting easier but the teachers are still pushing us and we are still working. Plus I can already tell I’m getting stronger and hopefully better.
My favorite things about being here are the classes. Teachers make the classes fun and the variations we are doing are very exciting. Plus we get to perform Serenade which is very very pretty. I’ve learned just general ballet things, and very pretty Balanchine choreography. We have learned the variations Stars and Stripes, Esmerelda, Tchaikovsky Pas, Russian Pas, and Calliope the muse of poetry. I really like them all but Stars and Stripes is definitely the hardest. Some of the hardest things I’ve had to do are the combinations. They’re very fast and not always in the order you would expect and we do a lot of beats. Plus being away for so long is weird.
In our free time, we just relax with our roommates, sit in the hot tubs, and have watched soooo many movies.
There are girls from all over; mainly from California and Texas. I have a roommate from South Carolina.
For class Jillana has made sign language for if we need to go to the bathroom, rest, get water, no more bar, and many more plus she’s pretty straight forward. Sometimes she just tells us “that sucked”. It’s really cool meeting Jillana, such a great ballerina. She is very entertaining and understands the challenges we have. I would definitely consider doing this intensive again. It definitely builds the strength you need.
Today Jillana had us do a marathon bar where you do a 20-30 minute bar without stopping so when we are about to finish one combination Jillana yells out the next combination while we are still dancing so it is continuous.
Patricia Dunlop, Julia’s Mom
In some ways it is good that is it far away, so that when they get tired or homesick you can’t rush off and look after them. It is nice being in the same time zone, thank goodness for cell phones. We have also sent a few care packages, mostly food and movies!
I think it has been a good experience, but Julia would also like to audition for other camps. A range of experiences and exposures to different techniques is a good thing. I think Julia would highly recommend this camp to others.
Julia has talked about becoming stronger and faster. Balanchine technique is very fast and very precise, so that is a great thing to learn from Jillana. To have a connection with one of Balanchine’s stars is very special and something I think they will always treasure. Jillana is very approachable, but also a no nonsense person. Apparently, she rides her bike to the studio every day.
Julia is not just learning about ballet, but also about living with other girls, eating institutional food, dealing with homesickness, and just generally looking after herself.
We are excited to see the final performance. We will be driving down to arrive on Thursday, so we may even be able to watch a class or two. We are taking the opportunity to drive back through Utah and see the sights around the Moab area. I think Julia will benefit from a few days of enforced rest while driving back from Taos.
Stay tuned for more………..