There is nothing more important in a young person’s life than a productive summer. Yes, taking a break from school work is important, but summer breaks tend to be quite long and I believe it’s important to make part of it productive and enjoyable; it’s best to choose to do something you love.
For young aspiring dancers out there, there is nothing more productive than a solid and well rounded summer dance workshop. I am speaking from my own experiences from when I was a young student myself.
At the young age of 13, I chose to study at a high school for the arts in England called Elmhurst. I must say that they were some of the happiest years of my life because apart from regular school work, I got to pursue my passion which was dance.
For the entire year, apart from our regular school work, I was required to have daily ballet technique classes and on certain days other forms of dance such as modern, jazz, tap, and even flamenco. Our days were jammed packed with school work, daily workouts and rigorous rehearsals.
And guess what? After a full and grueling year of studies and dance, I would still come back to Manila and audition for summer dance workshops!
Some people would wonder, why not take a long break? Well not for me. Summer meant becoming stronger at my craft, staying fit during summer, experiencing new teachers and most of all, making new friends and wonderful memories.
When you do something you love for summer, you surround yourself with like-minded people — other young students who share the same passions. If you choose the right dance workshop, I guarantee you will have the fondest memories of it for the rest of your life. You’re only young once, your body is at its fittest during your teen years and early 20s, so enjoy it! Life goes by too quickly, believe me.
So how does one choose the right summer dance workshop?
1. Check the teacher profiles. Make sure they are seasoned and experienced teachers who are properly trained to teach dance. If financially you do not have the budget for a summer dance workshop, that is not a problem. Some dance schools in the country offer full and partial assistance, you just have to ask. Many dance teachers do realize that not all students can afford summer programs and can be very kind in assisting with scholarships, provided they see the talent and commitment of the individual.
2. Look for variety. In choosing the right school, ideally the summer program should offer a variety of classes to choose from where you can also experience working with different genres of dance, teachers and choreographers. You can learn so much from every instructor. Variety is effective. Versatility is good.
Get out of your comfort zone and try something new. If you are a ballerina, try a once a week street dance class, or work in bare feet and do some modern dance. Summer is your chance to move your body in different ways and try new styles. Nowadays, choreographers want to work with dancers that are versatile, who pick things up quickly and who can capture different styles immediately.
3. Check to see if the classes culminate with a summer concert. A performance at the end of the workshop is crucial because this is why we train so hard, to perform!
In the end, every summer dance workshop should be fun and a new adventure in your life. There will always be challenging moments — if it’s a strong school, expect that. But challenge is good! It is part of life, it’s what makes you better. As the old saying goes “No pain, no gain.”
Summer is what you make of it. Don’t spend your whole summer just chatting with friends on Facebook. Nothing against that but I tell you, doing something physical like dance can be exhilarating! Finishing a good class or having a successful rehearsal can make you feel like you’re on top of the world!
Here’s hoping you get the chance to experience this for yourself this summer.
All the best,