1. Why NYSSSA? (why audition, why did you decide to attend?)
I attended the School of Dance in 2018 and 2019. A few years before I attended NYSSSA, two of my friends that went to my studio attended. The whole four weeks they were there they told me how much of an amazing experience it was, so I decided to go watch their final performance. After seeing how well put together and professional the show was, how amazing all of the choreography and dances were, and how much everyone dreaded leaving because of the bonds they made while at NYSSSA, I had my heart set on attending. In 2018 I had the opportunity to audition with artistic director Carolyn Adams, and even just taking one class from her was an eye opening learning experience that I loved every second of. After receiving my acceptance, I was beyond excited and knew that NYSSSA was exactly where I wanted to spend my summer.
2. How did you find out about NYSSSA?
I found out about NYSSSA from my friends who attended the School of Dance and my dance teacher also recommended it.
3. Typical Day/Schedule at NYSSSA?
7:30AM- The day starts bright and early and you and a group of friends will head over to the dining hall for breakfast. There are always tons of options from eggs to waffles to muffins and more!
8:15AM- The first few weeks you will be at the Skidmore studios for classes, but the last couple weeks after breakfast you will get on the bus for a short ride to the National Museum of Dance.
8:30AM- After arriving at the museum or Skidmore studios, you will have about a half hour to warm up for technique class.
9:00AM- Your first class of the day will always be technique. This is where you focus on learning and mastering the modern principles and technique and get your body moving and ready for the rest of the classes that day. Technique is always fun because there is a live musician that plays all the music for the class. The technique teacher changes weekly, so you will learn a variety of different styles of modern.
10:30AM- Your next class of the day will vary depending on the week. The first week you will have a composition class where you learn about choreography and music and practice exploring your creative side by making your own choreography. The second week you will split off into smaller groups for your repertory pieces. The other group will have some sort of dance history lesson. Week three and four everyone typically has repertory rehearsal during this time.
12:00PM- You head to the Skidmore dining hall for lunch which always has so many good options!
1:30PM- The first week after lunch you will have a class called dance anatomy. This class is so interesting and helpful because you learn about dancer injury prevention, the right way to warm up, stretches to do, and the right way to treat injuries. The afternoons are also filled with an array of repertory rehearsals, full group rehearsals, workshops from visiting artists, and when it gets closer to the show staging and tech rehearsals.
5:00PM- After a full day of classes you head back to the Skidmore dining hall for dinner. By this point in the day, we are all exhausted from classes, but everyone is always there to support each other!
7:00PM- Most nights the residential life staff have a variety of super fun activities planned. These can include spa nights, weekly talent shows, learning a flash mob to perform in downtown Saratoga, movie nights, master classes, fashion shows, trips to SPAC, door decorating competitions, scavenger hunts, tie dying, and more! You always also have time to just hang out in the dorms, relax, and get to know all of the other dancers. This is often one of the best times because everyone is so nice and you will meet friends that you will have for a long time!
10:30PM- The counselors usually come around for bed check around 10:30 which means it’s lights out and time to get ready for the next day full of dance!
4. Best Moment at NYSSSA?
If I had to pick one “best” moment at NYSSSA (there are too many to count!), I would say it was having the opportunity to perform the solo in Robert Battle’s piece “Channels” set by Erika Pujic. Getting to learn this piece from a founding member of Robert Battle’s company and then getting to dance the piece and receive notes from Mr. Battle himself was simply amazing! Then being able to perform this beautifully emotional piece during the show and being completely in the moment and just dancing, but still knowing my new best friends were all in the wings cheering me on was an unforgettable experience.
5. Why would you encourage someone to audition for NYSSSA?
If you love modern dance and want to spend your summer learning from the best of the best, audition for NYSSSA Dance!!! Going to NYSSSA changed my life. Everyone at NYSSSA is so kind and dedicated to helping you learn that it creates one of the best environments! NYSSSA becomes like a second home and everyone there becomes your second family. At NYSSSA you form unbreakable bonds with the other students and even counselors, and you get to know and learn from some of the most amazing and influential people in the dance world. This is an experience unlike any other and you will remember it for the rest of your life!