Summer Dance Workshops for Children

I have found over the years that there is a lot of value in summer dance workshops that are geared for children dance students. Often students will move one whole level in their dance instruction just by attending summer workshops. I have found as director of a dance school, the reason a workshop for children is so successful at developing such improvements for students is the daily training and exposure to a variety of dance styles (ballet, jazz, acrobatics, folk dance, hip hop, etc.) while at the same time really honing in on basics.

To learn to read children have to really know their ABC’s. And likewise, to become a dance artist students have to know basics that are essential to all styles of dancing. They have to develop the ability to learn and remember choreography, the ability to improvise, to use dramatic skills and emotion correctly, and the use of rhythm and musicality.

Not all dance programs cover all these important areas of dance study for children. Usually the concentration is mostly on physical technique. But physical technical skills are only one aspect of artistry. The interesting thing is that when training is approached from this perspective, greater abilities of physical technical skills follow. These “Dance Essentials”, as I call this area of study, is very fun to learn, particularly when taught in a way that is creative. At my dance school, we teach these Dance Essential skills in our classes year round, but we are certainly able to work on them to a much greater degree during summer workshops. I believe that students who really understand these Dance Essentials obviously become better artists with greater understanding. Not to mention that children who engage in learning these skills become more out-going, creative, self-confident and develop sweeping increased abilities to communicate to an audience.

No matter the student’s age, a child can really gain a sense of artistry and performance skills. In a real sense, young child prodigies can be created in this manner, so it is essential parents look for workshops that cover all the basics including the Dance Essentials.

The Value of Learning to Choreograph

Not only should a workshop really boost a student’s skill level, but it should give children a chance to work alongside like-minded students who share a love and desire to express themselves through dance. Through learning choreography, students get the opportunity to live and breathe dancing, like the “older” dancers…like pro dancers in a company, and they get the experience of working on huge projects within a group. Projects such as producing their own show to be presented at the end of the workshop! That’s right, it’s “THEIR” show. The group of students in the workshop should elect a theme for the show, they create dances for the show and even decide the order of the dances to be presented and how to introduce each dance.

Working on group choreography is a huge endeavor as there are basic rules students learn about choreography, simple rules that they can understand and apply even at their young age. Students learn to work out choreography problems and how to solve them by working with each other. As a choreographer and director, I enjoying seeing students increase their creativity and this is what I find most valuable in any children’s workshop program. As a teacher applying this philosophy, I see kids grow up before my eyes as they learn to take care of each other, take responsibility as a group member, and develop better communication and problem solving skills.

No Limits With Inspiration

I have seen for myself the value of this over the years. I’m not bragging when I mention that many of the current dancers in my professional performing company grew up attending this type of workshop every single summer. Some of them never missed my children’s workshops as young dancers and still attend the summer workshops offered for advanced dancers. I point this out because these career dancers are examples of how inspired young dancers can become when given daily training, responsibility, and high expectations.

Instructed in a creative and encouraging method, there is no limit to the potential of a young dancer once inspired. Coupled with high expectations and rewards, such as dance games children love to play and an occasional video of a great prima ballerina from history, this really makes for a fun and valuable workshop! Honestly, wouldn’t YOU have loved to attend this type of workshop when you were a kid?