If your dance teacher asks you to write an essay on this topic when you return to dance this fall, will you be able to fill your page with descriptions of dance related activities or… not so much. For those that continue dancing all through the year, good for you. However, if you attend a dance school that, like many, takes an extended break for the summer, this post may help you discover additional ways to spend your holiday (other than watching TV or summer blockbusters and sun-bathing). Don’t get me wrong, enjoying a little deserved R&R after a long year of school, dance, and other activities is good for you (just be sure to wear sunblock, ok?), but setting aside some time to focus on dance will help you grow as a dancer and keep you from needing to brush-up or re-focus when you come back. Here are some ways you can include dance in your summer fun…
- The “P” word – PRACTICE. Yes, there are things you can work on at home. Terrence at TapDanceMan.com has a pair of good posts about this on his site. See Part 1 and Part 2. If you are unsure about what you need to work on, how to set goals, or ways to achieve these goals, talk to your dance teacher and I’m sure he/she will be able to assist. Please be careful and attentive in your practice, however, and don’t attempt anything that you have not already covered in class. Practicing something that you are not ready for, at the least, can form bad habits that will need to be broken and re-learned and, at worst, can lead to serious injury. Check out this article about the dangers of do-it-yourself pointe work.
- Attend a summer intensive or dance workshop. If your studio has its own workshops, great. There is value in seeking something elsewhere, however. You will not only keep up over the summer, but expand your dance experiences with instruction, choreography, and concepts from different teachers and meet other dancers that perhaps come from other schools or backgrounds. Some deadlines for admission to workshops have already passed, however it may still be worth looking for something this summer. Here are some links to help you find what you’re looking for.
- Dance USA
- Dance Magazine
- Dance Spirit
- Google Search (search your city, your state, a particular dance style, etc.)
- Yellow Pages (Contact local schools, universities, or dance companies to see what they’ve got going on. They also make this thing called the phone book that’s actually sometimes faster than an internet search – crazy I know – that contains numbers for all of your local dance establishments!
- Go to a dance performance, or two, or more! (Your own recital doesn’t count. Going to a friend’s, well that’s nice and all, but try a professional concert or a performance in a style with which you are unfamiliar for a change.) I can’t stress enough how important it is for dance students to see live performances, and summer is a great time to do that. If your family goes on vacation, check out the local dance companies, festivals, and performances at your destination. One way to do that is with citysearch.com.
- Read and Rent. Visit the dance/performing arts section of your local public or university library and do some summer reading about your craft. Rent dance DVDs at your local video store (they sometimes have performance footage of famous or historic works available, so resist the temptation to rent Centre Stage or Dirty Dancing for the zillionth time) or try NetFlix. See these Amazon recommendations if you’d like to make a purchase or two.
These are just some general suggestions. Have a wonderful and safe summer, everyone.
What will you be doing this summer? Are there other ways that you could include dance in your summer activities?
Nichelle Suzanne is a writer specializing in dance and online content. She is also a dance instructor with over 20 years experience teaching in dance studios, community programs, and colleges. She began Dance Advantage in 2008, equipped with a passion for movement education and an intuitive sense that a blog could bring dancers together. As a Houston-based dance writer, Nichelle covers dance performance for Dance Source Houston, Arts+Culture Texas, and other publications. She is a leader in social media within the dance community and has presented on blogging for dance organizations, including Dance/USA. Nichelle provides web consulting and writing services for dancers, dance schools and studios, and those beyond the dance world. Read Nichelle’s posts.