Students hone artistic skills over the summer


PROVIDED BY LYRA JOHNSON/REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM INTERLOCHEN CENTER FOR THE ARTS Students worldwide, including junior Lyra Johnson, attend Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan to refine their artistic skills.

Jason Altshuler, Arts/Breaking News Writing Editor

Jobs, camps, internships: Available options for the summertime can often seem too scarce and too numerous at the same time.  For students looking to spend weeks improving at a certain skill, summer intensives can be a gratifying choice.

With countless programs for all sorts of talents, summer intensives serve as a platform for students to hone their artistic abilities while making friends and having fun.

There are multiple types of these immersive summer experiences.  According to juniors Andrea Wetzler and Tim Hartshorn, who attended Texas Ballet Theater and San Francisco Ballet this summer, summer programs are the norm for serious ballet dancers and can really help them improve their dancing.

“It definitely helps your confidence,” Hartshorn said.  “And makes you feel more secure in your technique [by] build[ing] off what you already know.”

Junior Lyra Johnson, who studied vocals over the summer for six weeks at Interlochen, said her program helped her grow as well.

“As a person I feel like I’ve learned to be more open and flexible, through working with different people,” Johnson said.

For both Hartshorn and Johnson, the summer intensives involved a variety of rehearsals and classes six days a week for the entire program.

“It was for four weeks, usually we’re dancing like six days a week for seven to eight hours a day, and we’d have a variety of different classes,” Hartshorn said.

Hartshorn found the experience enjoyable socially also.

“You get to meet a lot of people from different places,” Hartshorn said.  “There were a lot people from really different origins.”

Application processes differ from program to program. For Wetzler’s ballet experience, dancers audition for multiple hours in person and then receive notice of their rejection or acceptance through email. For Johnson, Interlochen did not care about previous experience and only asked for two videos of her singing.

Johnson said that the work and effort of rigorous rehearsal and study paid off.

“It was definitely intense and tiring at points but it was very rewarding and productive,” Johnson said.  “I personally learned a lot in those six weeks and the hard work was totally worth it.”

Jason Altshuler can be contacted at [email protected]