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When is it time to start attending summer intensives away from home?

Parents, you may know already that it’s common for young ballet dancers to express interest in summer intensive programs, but how do you go about deciding when it’s the right time to send your child farther away from home?

There are several factors to consider of course, but the standard in the ballet industry is for dedicated students to begin traveling away from home around age 13. Age 13 may or may not be the best time for your child’s progress and personality; it will be helpful for you to consult with their teacher and discuss your child’s goals in order to determine the right time.

If ages 13-14 seem like a good guideline for your child, it can help set them up for approximately four consecutive summers in their high school years. It is an excellent time to begin answering the question, “Which company might be a good fit for my child to join one day?”

Your child’s teacher will have recommendations for which types of companies might be good options to consider, depending on your the company’s style and aesthetic, as well as their repertoire. It’s key to look realistically at which type of programming may suit your child’s strengths and needs. It’s never a good idea to just randomly choose an audition without consulting your child’s teacher or getting their endorsement. With so many options and only four possible summers, you need their input to make a great decision for your child.

Before your child travels away from home, be sure you are confident in their level of independence and ability to take care of their own day-to-day needs. They’ll need to know how to do laundry, how to make healthy meal choices, how to sew their own pointe shoes, and how to use a bank card—just to name a few things!

Sometimes it isn’t possible to travel away from home for a summer intensive, due to family demands or scheduling. In that case, enrolling your child in their current school’s summer intensive program is the most reliable option for consistent growth and skill development. This allows your child to stay in the correct lane and continue building strong habits and technique.

No matter which decision you make, keep the lines of communication open with your child and their teacher. There’s much insight to be gained from each perspective, and whichever direction you proceed, you’ll feel confident it’s the right one!

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