Dance intensives: Do they give your male dancer big skills or big heads?
When I was a competitive gymnast, I used to go to gymnastics camps. Think ballet intensives but upside down and with more broken bones. They were the most fun for the natural talents with no fear but nerve racking for the gymnasts that had their neurons interacting correctly at age 13 (hand raised). “Wait a minute. You want me to swing around this bar…let go of the bar…flip… and then catch the bar again?” I asked as the Russian instructor who, in a strong accent, told me to do a release move called a Jaeger. I thought he was out of his mind.
I did the skill. I swung around that bar, spotted the bar before letting go, flipped once, lost site of the bar then fell flat on my stomach. Oh, and I fell into a foam pit so the gasp is not necessary. This is one of the half dozen skills I had no business experimenting with but did them anyway because intimidating coaches from outside the USA said I was a wimp if I didn’t. I’ll do anything for a Russian coach to stop saying “Weeemp” at me. As much as I was terrified to do these skills at the camp, I didn’t hesitate to brag to my family and then to my home gym coaches about all the new skills I could do. “Oh really? Show me.” Ugh. I wasn’t the only one bragging, so all of us would take turns either backing out of the challenge or falling on our heads. I’m not sure how much has changed since I was attending these camps in the 90’s but I venture to say, not much. The camps were a problem for the gymnastics schools. We all had heightened egos when we got back and a few bad habits to boot. The coaches hated it. They already lost a week of training us and then it took 2 more for them to pull us back to earth. I imagine there might be some similarities with dance intensives, especially with the boys. At gymnastics camps there are probably 60 boys attending each one and we are separated the entire time from the girls. What about dance intensives? The ones that have enough boys I know designate some classes for just the male dancers but they mix up the girls and the boys well. Are they favored? Are they asked to do things they are not ready for? Do they come back with a false sense of self and show-off at the studio? Are they all of a sudden bored with their usual training and choreography?