With concert time well and truly upon us, now is the best time to start thinking about your array of choices and the benefits that come from attending a summer dance intensive, camp or workshop.
Having the opportunity to attend a summer dance program myself each year was exciting and eye-opening. It was an exceptional way to spend my summer, as I would learn and develop in so many ways. Each summer school not only advanced my dance skills but also broadened my social, mental and physical attributes.
Summer programs are the perfect way for students to learn about various opportunities and explore all types of dance. Over the duration of the program, students progress quickly and experience a new approach to learning with talented teachers and choreographers.
Selecting a summer program can be a tricky task with so many now to choose from; therefore, the decision should come down to a few simple things. Choose a summer dance school that offers the disciplines that will enhance your current training. This of course will depend on age and what areas of dance you’d like to focus on.
Most summer programs offer a wide range of dance genres, including ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, character/folk and hip hop. Emphasis is generally placed on overall dance technique, as well as working to advance the dancer’s artistic skills.
I would suggest that a younger child would benefit from a program that offers a variety of classes and styles of dance, whereas an older student would most likely prefer to choose an intensive program that will provide a certain degree of difficulty in one genre to help strengthen his/her abilities and focus on individual needs. This can also be discussed thoroughly with a student’s teachers, as they would be the best reference for potential skill set improvement.
You will also need to decide if you’d like to attend a summer school in your own state, or a different state. Are you willing to travel? If so, then there are even more options for you.
To view Dance Informa’s Summer Dance Guide, which outlines some of the best summer programs in Australia, click here.
Another huge benefit to attending a dance intensive or summer camp is all the new friends and connections you make. The dance world is such a fantastic family to be a part of, so making these amazing connections at a young age will only benefit you as you grow.
As you gain self-confidence at summer camp, you will also become more comfortable meeting new people and building these relationships. As students learn new dancing skills and choreography together, they learn to work as a team. Additionally, more reserved students can learn to overcome shyness and stage fright through fun performances often held at the conclusion of a summer session.
Dance provides students with an outlet for self-expression. Learning to express their feelings in a new way provides opportunity for improved self-esteem. As students master new dance skills in a new setting, they will gain a sense of accomplishment. The pride that comes with achievement prompts students to feel more confident overall!
The benefits of attending a summer program for you or your child are enormous, whether dance experience is great or minimal. I would advise to start your summer intensive research now, as you will want to gather as much information as you can on the programs which look best suited to your needs, and be sure to book as soon as you can to secure a spot!
We have asked three of the marvelous summer dance intensives around Australia to give us a little insight into their programs so that our readers can get to know them a little more.
Dance 16 – Nichola Miles, Regional Manager South Australia
Royal Academy of Dance
“DANCE 16 is the latest in an annual program of summer dance that has been running since 1998. The RAD in South Australia hosts five internationally renowned faculty who have all had successful professional and teaching careers to teach five genres across five days. We pride ourselves as being wholly inclusive of all methods of training, having students from every major syllabi attending — from all across South Australia and Interstate, and we start their dance year off with an intensive and energetic week that is always fully subscribed. This year, we are trying to accommodate more students than ever before by introducing a Taster Day on Saturday, January 9, which welcomes those too young for the week-long program (which starts at 9+), who want to try out a new genre, or adults-only classes, and allows those who just can’t get enough of dance to take a couple of warm-up classes for the main event: the week-long DANCE 16!”
Ballet Academy Northside – Xanthe Geeves & Gregor Thieler
“In our Summer Program 2016, we will guide and support your growth as a young artist by evaluating your talent and helping you reach your potential as unique dancer. This is an event not to be missed, with Principals Xanthe Geeves and Gregor Thieler and a handpicked selection of national and international principal artists.”
Jason Coleman’s Ministry of Dance – Matt Godbold
Manager, Education and Special Programs
“Jason Coleman’s Ministry of Dance holds a summer dance program to start the fabulous year off. Summer School at Jason Coleman’s Ministry of Dance is the perfect school holiday activity to keep the children entertained and active. Throughout the week-long summer school, you can be part of the biggest and best summer school dance and performance experience and learn from some of Australia’s leading choreographers, including Jason Coleman himself. Our classes are comprehensive and varied, including jazz, Broadway, hip hop, commercial, contemporary, vocal and acting.”
Once your place is booked in the program, here is a handy list of what you should always remember to bring with you.
#1. Dance attire (no holes in tights and make sure you have a couple of everything)
#2. Dance shoes (making sure there are no holes or broken straps)
#8. Mini first aid kit (mainly band aids, deep heat, electrolyte packets, etc.)
#9. Refillable water bottle
#11. Bathers (some facilities have swimming pools that can be accessed)
#12. Dance bag
#13. Small bag for toting extra stuff (re-usable)
#14. Comfortable walking shoes
#15. Nice attire for the “formal evenings” (if there are any at the program you’re attending)
#16. Slippers/Ugg boots/moon boots (to wear over your dance shoes, to quickly get from one class to another)
#17. Dance tracksuit/dance pants/warm-up gear
#19. Money for laundry facilities (if needed)
#20. All toiletries for general and dance use, including all hair products
#21. Laundry bag
#22. Map of the area/city/campus you’re staying (these may be provided by the camp)
#23. Computer/tablet/phone, if needed
#24. A positive attitude to each and every class and experience
By Teagan Lowe of Dance Informa.
Photo (top): Dance 16 Summer Dance Intensive. Photo courtesy of RAD SA.