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What is Dance Camp and Should My Dancer Go?

By Samantha Bellerose, B.Ed, Dip.Dance (Performing Arts)

Summer is here, that long break when dance kids go from having super busy schedules, to slowing down to a grinding halt. Having a break from dance is good, but for some attending a dance camp over the holiday break is the highlight of their year!

A Dance Camp is either an overnight or day program where school-aged kids spend the day learning a variety of styles of dance from different teachers. It is similar to a regular summer camp or holiday program only the activities organized are dance-based and themed.

So should your dancer go to dance camp? Read on for our explanations of the different types of dance camps your child can attend and work out if going to camp is right for you and your child!

What is a Dance Camp?

A dance camp is a program where during the day kids learn different dance styles, do dance classes, learn from a variety of teachers, play dance games, and spend time and get to know other dancers.

Some dance camps work on building skills over a few days or a week and showcase these in a performance on the final day of camp. The activities may include not just dance, but creating costumes, sets, and props for example.

Do you stay overnight at Dance Camp?

Yes, at some dance camps you stay away from home at a venue made for kids and other groups to sleep in cabins, bungalows or dorms usually in bunk beds over several nights or weeks. The camp provides meals for dancers to eat and staff to look after them and organize activities that are dance orientated.

A dance camp is just like a summer camp program, except instead of hiking, canoeing, and doing a lot of outdoor activities (some dance camps may still provide these activities too!) you spend your day doing dance classes and other dance-related activities.

Your local or suburban or local dance studio may also offer a dance camp, but instead of staying overnight they have similar hours to a school day where your child is dropped off in the morning and picked up in the afternoon. Lunch may or may not be provided and Teachers and supervisors organize classes and activities for the day or week.

What is the difference between a Dance Camp and a regular Summer Camp?

At a summer camp, you will find that a whole variety of activities are provided for kids to try which may or may not include dance. Typically there are a lot of outdoor activities and camps usually happen near woods, forests, and lakes where kids get to spend a lot of time outdoors.

The difference between a regular summer camp and a dance camp is that the programmed activities revolve around dance, however depending on the venue the campers still get to do things like bunk together, and roast marshmallows at night by the campfire, go for hikes and walks, etc…

What should you wear to a dance camp?

At dance camp, you should take a few leotards and lots of leggings to wear for classes. If you know you are going to be doing ballet, you will also want to take tights.

Loose-fitting t-shirts are also good to wear over your leotard, and shorts or bike shorts are also great to wear when it is hot over your leotard instead of leggings.

Some camps prefer you to not take crop tops so read their requirements before going!

You should also be packing clothes to wear after a day of dance or for when you are doing other activities such as craft or ice-breaking or group bonding games. These clothes might include track pants, leggings, shorts, t-shirts, and sweaters – you don’t have to dress up at camp, wearing clothes that you can move around in easily is always best!

Make sure you also pack all of your dance shoes so you have them for the different classes your child may take and their hair accessories so they can put your hair up or into a bun for example.

What Should you bring to Dance Camp?

Here is a list of some of the things you might need to take with you on a dance or ballet camp:

  • Dance Shoes – Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Trainers for hip hop, dance booties/feet warmers
  • Dance Wear – leotards, leggings, tights, bike shorts
  • Active Wear – To wear before and after classes
  • Regular shoes – trainers, flipflops, slippers
  • Pajamas – A pair of cool and warm in case the weather changes
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Pillow
  • Toiletries – Shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant
  • Compression wear – if you use it at home to wear after a long day of dance

All camps however will have their own lists of what they would like you to bring as well as items that they prohibit.

What is a Choreography Camp?

Some people use the word choreography in the place of the word dance. The word choreography generally refers to the steps and moves that make up a dance and which are created by a choreographer.

Just because a camp is called a choreography camp though it does not mean it is teaching how to become a choreographer, it is generally a word used by some especially in European countries in place of the word dance.

How is a Dance Camp different from a Dance Intensive?

Generally, you do not need to audition for a dance camp. You enroll in to dance camp, pay the fees, and are accepted to go.

However, entry into dance or ballet intensive is generally through an audition. This is to ensure that you will be able to keep up with the lessons and curriculum being taught at the intensive. Another reason for auditions is that some intensives simply cannot cater to the number of people who want to enroll in them and therefore they audition applicants for places at the intensive.

For more information about summer dance and ballet intensives as well as other programs check out our article What is a Summer Ballet or Dance Intensive?

How Much does Dance Camp Cost?

The cost of a dance camp will depend on a few factors such as how long the camp is, the location and who the faculty are. Be prepared to pay from $1150 to $5000 to send your child to a dance camp.

This cost covers accommodation, food, and activities. Some camps also offere extra activities which can be paid for seperately.

For a list of overnight camps check out our article …. so you can find out about their current rates.

Should I enroll my Dancer in Dance Camp?

If you were thinking of sending your child to a camp over the summer holidays you might want to consider the following things before enrolling them in dance camp:

  • Does your dancer need a break from dance?
  • Do you want to expose them to other activities (meaning maybe send them to a regular summer camp)?
  • Would a dance camp help your dancer catch up or improve?
  • Does your child live, breathe and sleep dance and this would be their dream camp?
  • Is a dance camp within your budget?
  • Is there a dance camp close to you – or are you ok sending your child further away?
  • Do you want to enroll in an overnight or day dance camp?
  • Who are the teachers and faculty – will your child be benefitting from the dance tuition and will they be safe?
  • Are any other of your child’s friends going?

The above questions are both pros and cons for a dance camp and really should be considered before deciding if a dance camp is for you!

At the end of the day, this is one summer and if you enrol them and they don’t enjoy it, well then next time they can do something different. Or they might find they love it and go back year after year!

There is also the option of sending your child to a performing arts camp, where the focus is on a variety of theatre arts skills not just dance and generally ends in a performance.

Where Can I go to Dance Camp?

Whether you are looking for an overnight or day camp you should check out our article Best Overnight Dance Camps in the USA – List & Links where we have lists of dance camps you might like to send your child to.

What is Dance Camp and Should My Dancer Go?

What is Dance Camp and Should My Dancer Go?

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