Friday, May 27, 2011

The Funnest Week of the Year

All urges to correct my grammatical error aside, June 13-17 really is the funnest week of the year according to Christina Rogers, managing director of The Dance Academy and director of BalletMet’s SummerDance Camp.

This year, to encourage students to dance the day away, BalletMet is presenting Step In Time! Whether it’s stepping in time with the music or stepping into a different time period, BalletMet’s SummerDance Camp offers a variety of dance genres that are sure to be a hit with dancers of any skill level. From 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, students are given the opportunity to make new friends and increase their fitness, all while having fun. Fun, friends and fitness – what could be better than that?

Despite its name, the SummerDance Camp isn’t ALL about dance. Attendees get to experience a mixture of the arts: dancing, improv acting, arts & crafts and much more. They’ll even get to view demonstrations by company dancers and learn more about visual imagery and what goes into costume design!

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Today, I got to sit down with Sarah Wilson, a pre-professional student here at BalletMet.

(Just a little background on the pre-pro program: it’s designed for students of classical ballet who have reached an advanced level of study and are preparing to begin a career as a professional dancer.)

Anyway, I must say that she was the perfect person to speak with to get a better feel for the camp. You could say that Sarah has seen it all. She’s gone from camper to counselor and experienced everything in between.

Sarah, as a camper, in 2005.

Sarah, as a counselor, in 2010.

In case you didn’t know, in order to be a counselor for the SummerDance Camp, hopefuls must submit a resume, cover letter and references. Once Mrs. Rogers has reviewed their application, they’re interviewed. Being a counselor is no joke, people. Applicants must have a strong desire to be a part of the camp and exhibit qualities that are conducive to the overall environment.

Read on to see what Sarah has to say about her experience!

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As a camper, what was your favorite part?

My favorite part probably was the fact that it wasn’t strict ballet. I had never done jazz or modern and I got to learn those. I also liked working with the older students who I knew. I got to meet a lot of kids that don’t actually take ballet regularly, too.

As a counselor, what was your favorite part?

I enjoy seeing the new kids each year. Seeing the transformation from Monday to Friday is incredible. The fact that they’re able to learn three different styles of dance in that time is pretty cool, too!

Will you be a counselor this year?


What would you tell parents who are on the fence about registering their kids for this year’s SummerDance Camp?

I would say that it’s a good way to get your kid out there. At SummerDance Camp, they get a little taste of everything. They’re also in good hands all day (from the counselors to the professional teachers) and they’ll be tired when they get home! At the end of the camp, they’re also able to show what they’ve learned to their parents. They can show that they got something out of it!

In five years, do you see dance still playing a major role in your life?

Hopefully, yes!

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Love the idea of SummerDance Camp but have a kid that’s younger than 7 or older than 12? Don’t sweat it, BalletMet has something for everyone!

Check out some of the other mini-workshops that BalletMet offers:

Singular Sensation
6:30 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.
@ BalletMet
Ages 13-16

Love to sing? Love to dance? This is for you! Every little step you take becomes part of your repertoire during this musical theater experience. Learn from working professionals with classes in jazz, tap, scene study and song. Each day will also include a talkback session on auditioning, performing, resumes and more.

French Flare, with the Young Chef’s Academy
9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
@ Vista-Plaza Gahanna
Ages 8-12

Spend the morning exploring French cuisine followed by an afternoon of French inspired dance. Experience ballet, tap and jazz as well as arts and crafts.

Dancing Damsels & Dramatic Dragons, with Columbus Children’s Theatre
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
@ Vista-Plaza Gahanna
Ages 5-7

Join BalletMet and Columbus Children's Theatre for a fairytale adventure. Each day you will rotate between BalletMet dance instructors and CCT teaching artists who will have fun activities in store. You will learn to sing, act and dance while creating a performance like no other.

Like what you see? Register your child for our camp today by visiting our website and printing off the registration form.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

BalletMet’s Tiny Dancers

Did you know that BalletMet, through its Dance Academy, offers Early Childhood Classes? That’s right – we offer dance instruction for students from 4 to 7 years of age. Through the dance classes, young children can experience the joy of movement through musicality, creativity, coordination and social interaction.

Last Tuesday, I was able to sit down with some parents who currently have their daughters enrolled in the Creative Movement classes. These classes are for children ages 4-5. The classes open up the opportunity for the students to learn to love dance through individual expression and discovery. Simple movement sequences emphasize musicality and coordination while developing the children’s ideas and fantasies into movement and dance.

“Why ballet?”

Why did these moms decide to enroll their daughters in ballet classes? For some, their daughters had expressed an interest in dance. For others, they wanted to expose their daughters to the arts. One mom commented that these are the princess years for the girls. It was hard to argue that with little girls prancing around in pink tutus!

There was an overall consensus that the classes provided their daughters with a good social and structural experience. One mother said that the classes would be a good precursor to kindergarten classes.

Before the class began, you could find the girls standing in front of the studios watching the older dancers. One of the tiny dancers noted the beauty of one of the dancers in the studio by saying “Look, she’s so pretty!”

Then Miss Julia (the instructor) came over and asked the girls if they were ready to dance. As they formed a little line behind her, one girl couldn’t contain her excitement and shouted “Come on guys, let’s dance!”

I followed the girls to the dance studio and was able to sit in on the class. Let me tell you what – it was one of the cutest, most entertaining things I had seen all month. On the particular day I sat in, the girls were practicing for their final performance (or, in other words, their last class where there parents were going to watch them perform). Their final performance will be ‘Four Seasons’-centric with the girls portraying different concepts for each season. This class was dedicated to Spring and flowers!

Julia made sure to not only teach the girls, but to gauge their opinion as well. At one point, as the girls were practicing their dance, Julia asked each girl what animals they might find in a flower garden. Some girls said ladybugs, some girls said rabbits. One girl said a giraffe! The girls were then asked to pretend to be each animal they had guessed. While giraffes may not frequent any flower garden you’ve ever seen, she made sure to include it as an animal they pretended to be.

After the class, I had the privilege of speaking with some of the tiny dancers. While most of the girls were shy around me, a few spoke up when I asked what their favorite thing about the class was. The smallest girl of the bunch told me that she really liked dancing with her friends, echoing the mothers’ sentiment that the class provides a good social experience.

Overall, it seemed like the girls really enjoyed being part of the class. Laughter and giggles accompanied the enjoyment you could see in their faces as they danced around the studio. After watching the class, I’ve already made the decision that my future daughter will most certainly be enrolled (as long as she wants to be).

If you’re interested in more information on the types of classes that are offered, visit our website!