Choosing a dance camp


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Choosing a summer dance camp can be an overwhelming endeavor.  There are so many options and often times one does not even know where to start.

When a student or parent of a child decide that a summer camp for dance is something they would like to participate in there are a few basic questions to ask in looking for the "right fit".

  1. Have I been away from home before and how do I do away?
    This can help determine whether 1,2,3,4,5 weeks is the best fit for you.  Most dance camps have a no refund policy after a certain date.  If you are not sure how long to attend, go for less than more weeks.  If you decide it is working out you can ask to stay longer.  The only time this could be a problem is if choreography is involved.
  2. What do I want to learn?
    You would look for what it is you want to study.  If you are coming from a ballet school you might be looking for a dance camp where ballet is the main genre featured.   Many camps such as ours feature one main style, for us ballet, and then offers classes in other styles of dance.  In today's world of dance most professional dancers are required to have some experience in modern, contemporary or jazz styles of dance.  A camp that offers these as either electives or part of the program can be a plus to a student training.
  3. How much attention will my child or will I get?
    This is a really tough one for the most part.  Each teacher is different in how they approach teaching and instruction.  Sometimes students will get a lot of attention and other times they will not.  At Northwest Dance Intensive we have a commitment to personal detail in working with our dancers.    The teachers invited to instruct for us are those that are attentive to detail and are often creative and inventive in their approach to instruction.   This keeps the students engaged and present in their work.
  4. Shouldn't I be picking a big name summer camp versus a smaller name?
    No, not necessarily.  The largest income revenue for companies other than Nutcracker is summer dance workshops.  These support the work of the company throughout the year.  Just because you go to a big name does not mean you will get great training, nor does it mean you will be asked to get into their school or company.  Often times because of the name the classes are very full.  This is not necessarily a bad thing nor a good thing.  It all depends on the teacher and how they teach.
  5. Should I be concerned about class size?
    Again it depends on the teacher.  Some teachers can have 60 students and because they are so thorough the students learn.  In a class of younger students often smaller numbers, 12-20 work better.  Generally speaking smaller classes allow for more individual corrections.
  6. What if I want to get into the company of the summer program, shouldn't I go there? 
    This is a great question.  The best thing to ask a school with a company is how many students get picked from their summer program to be in their company.   It might be shocking information.  Generally speaking if you want to get into a certain company the audition process is the best approach or being noticed by a scout for the company.  At Northwest Dance Intensive we have 3 scouts who have helped dancers in the past to get into some major companies.  A call from a fellow dancer to a director can go miles in the dance world.
  7. Ask "what is different about your summer workshop?".
    We here at Northwest Dance Intensive focus on detail, and performance attitude.  We provide a "toolkit" for dancers to self correct when they leave us.   We focus on developing the artist.  You will see many of our guest teachers of the past are very well known for their artistic excellence in dance. We are also the only summer dance program that features the Beamish Bodymind Balancing System as a way to help prevent injuries and get dancers on the right foot of self care.
  8. Should I go to the same camp each year? 
    Not necessarily and when you find a good summer camp stay with it for a few years.  Camp hopping is most popular today.  Consistency in training is often overlooked in summer programs.  Imagine what kind of dancer you would be if you hopped from school to school each month of the year. If something is working out and you return a better dancer than you left, consider returning the following year.  On the same note, if the camp did not work for you, find a new place to try out.
  9. What if I learn things at camps that my teachers disagree with, then what?
    In the dance world there are many styles and ways of teaching.  If you go away you are bound to meet them.  That is part of the experience.  Have an open mind, try on new things, who knows you might be able to bring something back to your studio. It makes no point in arguing with any teacher on their perspective or style.  What is important is to see what works for you.  Are you finding an improvement using various techniques and styles?  Put them in their toolkit and use them when you can and it is appropriate.

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  • Testimonials

    "Last year was my first year going to any dance intensive and I didn’t know what to expect. Northwest Dance Intensive helped me improve my flaws more than ever. Unfortunately I had injured my foot foot a couple weeks before the intensive. The teachers definitly did not let this stop me from getting the full experience at NDI. I learned more in 3 weeks than I could ever imagine, such as the correct way to hold my body and how to use my muscles and lines correctly to improve my dancing. My technique has been better than ever after taking class with Phillip and Jehrin. I have also learned from all of the teachers to be myself while i’m dancing and that it isn’t about the steps, but its about how you interpret the steps in your dancing. This is a life lesson I will cherish forever. They were so understanding of any problems or flaws anyone had. I made so many amazing friends and had a blast in the dorms as well. I cannot express how much I appreciate everyone there for making me a better dancer and a better person and i can not wait for next year!"
    Gracie Hassing
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