18 Summer Dance Camp Ideas for All Skill Levels 

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Hosting a summer dance camp is a win-win for you and your students. You get to keep revenue flowing outside the school year. Students get a new approach to dance classes that’s both fun and educational. 

Many pupils will show marked improvement in just a short time. And they’ll love trying new things they don’t get to do normally. 

In this article, you’ll find a creative selection of summer dance camp ideas. Build on these suggestions for unique camp experiences, and you’ll have plenty to offer students of all ages and abilities. 

What Are the Benefits of Attending a Summer Dance Camp? 

Summer dance camps are typically full-day programs at the dance studio when kids are off school. They might run for a week-long intensive. Or they can take a month or six weeks to work on a production that is performed at the end. 

You must decide what works best for your studio and your community’s school vacation schedule. You may find that one long camp is preferable. Offering several one-week sessions gives students a chance to sample different disciplines and teachers. 

Occasionally, summer dance camps can be overnight. If you’re looking for a way to make this feasible for your dance studio, contact music camps in your area for a collaboration. 

Camps typically use rehearsal rooms and performance spaces indoors or outdoors. Just be ready to bring your own flooring if you need the right traction or sprung wood to reduce impact. 

Summer dance camps offer many benefits for all involved: 

  • Opportunity for students to make technical or artistic advances 
  • Chance to increase enrollment with fun and different activities 
  • The time for serious students to focus without school pressures 
  • Team building and improvement of social skills in groups 
  • Growth of community visibility with performances or demos 
  • Support for parents who work full-time and need summer childcare 

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Three kids strike a pose in dance class

18 Summer Dance Camp Ideas for All Skill Levels 

Summer dance camps offer your studio virtually unlimited possibilities.  

You can create multiple programs for different age groups and abilities. The “something for everyone” has broad appeal to both students and their parents.  

Looking for ideas for your summer dance camp? Here are some ideas to spark your imagination: 

Themed Camps 

Themed camps give students an immersive experience that will captivate them for a week or longer. And they allow you to bring in overlapping inspirations, like visual arts or music, for even greater education. 

Plus, having a theme makes it easier to plan all the elements of your camp, from activities to show costumes. 

Themes for summer dance camp can come from anywhere, such as: 

  1. Broadway shows 
  1. Book or movie characters 
  1. Nature 
  1. Art history 
  1. Sports 
  1. Popular music artists 

For example, you could do a vintage Broadway theme with Tony Best Musical winners from the 1950s. South Pacific, My Fair Lady, and The Music Man are entirely new and exciting for most kids. 

Older students might like an Impressionism theme. You could study painters of the time, like Monet and Degas. Choreography could be paired with the music of Debussy and Satie. Students could even paint their own Impressionist sets for a performance at the end. 

Say you choose nature as a theme. That option could be the overarching motif for multiple camps for different ages. The level of sophistication can change with each age, from daisies and ladybugs to ocean life and the environment. 

Be sure to hold some classes or performances outside, if possible, for greater impact. Or take a day outside to collect branches and flowers to create sets indoors in the studio. 

With themed summer dance camps, your studio has merchandising opportunities as well. You can sell dancewear, T-shirts, and bags. Children will love having these special items, and it’s good advertising for your studio. 

Special Events and Performances 

Speaking of performances, having an event to work toward creates its own theme. It also gives students the goal of staying focused and on track during the dance camp.  

A performance-oriented dance camp is also helpful if you have students of many different ages or technique levels. You can always find a role to fit novices while showcasing advanced students in the leads. 

There are tons of performance ideas to choose from: 

  1. Vaudeville 
  1. Broadway revues 
  1. Silent movies 
  1. Story ballets 
  1. Talent shows 
  1. Contemporary dance 

You don’t have to limit your performances to just dancing. Some kids may enjoy singing, acting, or playing instruments to accompany their campmates. Others may be gifted in gymnastics or acrobatics. A talent show lets each student shine in their own way. 

A performance as the camp finale also lets you incorporate many dance disciplines. You could arrange the program on a timeline, starting with early dance forms. Then, move to classical ballet and work up to hip-hop, for instance. 

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Dance Workshops and Technique Intensives 

A tried-and-true way to structure a summer dance camp is to concentrate on pedagogy and technique. Whether teaching tap, jazz, or ballet, you give students an extra dose of whatever they need to progress to the next level. 

This lets students progress at a faster rate. It can help them get ready for fall/winter productions like The Nutcracker, for example. For dance majors leaving in the fall, it’s a chance to fix holes in their technique and add new skills. 

Some younger students may not be quite at the tier they would like. Summer technique classes may push them upward into their desired level. They can start classes in the fall, knowing they’re ready for a more difficult technique. 

And summer technical workshops are ideal for introducing various dance disciplines. Because the classes are more intensive, you can fit a semester of curriculum into a much shorter time. 

Also, a student may not be able to try dance in autumn due to after-school sports or club scheduling conflicts. Summer camp lets them see which activity they truly prefer if they have to choose. 

Some ideas for technique workshops include: 

  1. Intro to ballet, jazz, tap, modern, hip-hop, etc. 
  1. Intermediate or advanced technique for the above 
  1. Dance basics for preschoolers and young elementary students 
  1. Intro or advanced pointe technique 
  1. Partnering and pas de deux 
  1. Interpretive dance and improvisation 

For more experienced students, each day could focus on a challenging area that’s worked into exercises and choreography. Examples include: 

  • Improving extension 
  • Pirouettes 
  • Grand and petit allegro or adagio 
  • Floor work 
  • Port de bras and upper body movement 
  • Core strength and balance 
  • Increasing overall flexibility 
  • Rhythm and music interpretation 
  • Performance and presentation skills 
  • Memorizing choreography quickly 
  • Dramatic roles and working with props 
  • Audition pointers 

Bringing in guest teachers is a fantastic way to increase attendance and give students a new perspective. 

Suppose a stage performance at the end feels like too much. A family day is a nice way to finish up. Invite guests for cake and punch with a student demonstration so kids can show what they’ve learned. 

Do you have adults who attend classes at your dance studio? Don’t leave them out of the mix. 

Adults are particularly sensitive to losing progress and fitness when they have to take forced time off over the summer. Special summer classes keep them from losing flexibility and strength. And they can maintain the technique they’ve fought hard to learn if they didn’t start dancing as children. 

There may be some stay-at-home parents who would like a mini summer dance camp. They may be unable to commit to an entire day, but morning workshops could be appealing. 

Why not try special summer evening workshops for adult students who work during the day? Just like kids, they can try out different disciplines. Maybe a few would like to add jazz to their ballet training. Or they want to loosen up with some good old-fashioned 1940s-style tap dancing. 

You might even consider offering a parent-child workshop for young children and a parent or guardian. Having a parent participating with them might help ease a child’s anxiety about dance. It may provide them with an entry point for future classes as well. 

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Three kids strike a pose in dance class

Top Takeaway Tips for Summer Dance Camp Ideas 

Now that you have some starting points, are you ready to begin planning your studio’s summer dance camp?  

Here are some final tips to help you along the way: 

  • If you’re not sure what kids and their parents would like for summer programming, survey them. What would be most fun? Where do they need extra help? What days and hours work best for parents? 
  • Be flexible about classes if enrollment differs from what you envisioned. You might have to merge two classes or open an additional section based on the number of students who sign up. You want to ensure that you more than break even once you consider overhead and instructor fees. 
  • Remember that summer is break time for most kids, who are under a lot of pressure these days. Only the most advanced students really need highly competitive classes. The rest will be looking to learn but in a fun and more lighthearted way than during the school year. 
  • Market your summer dance camp well around town, both online and with print promotions. This way, you’ll attract some new students to beef up your studio roster. Consider offering a camp discount to any current pupil who brings a friend as a new student. 
  • Dance studio software can help you pull together your camp. You can manage curriculum planning, attendance, and payments. The best software will also let you create emails for parents and marketing materials to make the most of your summer. 

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