Dance Advice

Summer dance ready

woman turning around on green fields

With concert time behind us, now is the time to start thinking about summer dance! Will you attend a summer school these holidays?

Having the opportunity to attend a dance summer intensive can be exciting, eye-opening, and an inspiring way to start the new year of dance. You could even make some new friends and you’ll definitely get to meet and connect with industry leaders and instructors. 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 develop as an artist and maybe move into a career in performing arts.

Summer programs are the perfect way for students to learn about various opportunities and explore all different types of dance and new movement practices. Over the intense duration of the program, students progress quickly and experience a new approach to learning with talented teachers and choreographers.

“We have collated the absolute best faculty, both locally and interstate, who regularly work with young dancers to help them achieve their best, learn new skills and, most importantly, have fun,” says Lia Cox of the RAD who curates and manages the renowned Dance Fest summer school held annually in Adelaide.

Selecting a summer school can be a difficult 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, jazz, contemporary, musical theatre, tap 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 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 dance teachers, as they would be the best reference for potential skill set improvement and diversity.

You will also need to decide if you’d like to attend a summer school in your own state, or interstate. Are you willing to travel? If so, then there are even more options for you. But make sure to consider the extra costs in flights or fuel, and accommodation.

As you gain self-confidence at summer school, 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, take on a challenge and go outside their comfort zone. Additionally, more reserved students can learn to overcome shyness and stage fright through exciting performances for family and friends that are often held at the conclusion of a summer session.

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 most interest you. Be sure to book as soon as you can to secure a spot! Some summer programs do sell out quickly.

Once your summer school place is booked, here is a handy list of what you should always remember to pack in your summer dance bag:

  • A variety of dancewear (no holes in tights and make sure you have backups)
  • All your different dance shoes (making sure there are no holes or broken straps)
  • Notebook and pen
  • Mini first aid kit (band aids, deep heat, etc.)
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Healthy snacks that will give you long lasting energy, including some fruit and veggie sticks
  • Sunscreen and hat if there are lunch times outside or excursions
  • Swimwear and towel (some facilities have swimming pools that can be accessed)
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Nice attire for the “formal evenings” (if there are any at the program you’re attending)
  • Warm-up gear and coverups
  • Map of the area/city/campus you’re staying and any emergency contact numbers (these may be provided by the program)
  • Laptop/tablet/phone, if needed
  • A positive and grateful attitude for each and every class

Have a sunny, fun and creative summer!

Adapted from an article by Teagan Lowe of Dance Informa.

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