Summer is almost here.
With the weather we have had the past several days its hard not to be antsy for the summer days to roll around. Sitting by a pool, going on family vacations, and eating some good hamburgers and hot dogs fresh off the grill are all getting closer by the day!
Typically, families tend to becomes a little bit more active over the summer. You may go swimming, go on walks, play around in the park, and do some sightseeing. With that in mind, you may be wondering why it is helpful to take some dance classes over the summer if we are already getting all that sunshine and exercise? This is a great question!
To get the idea, think of how things work with school and academics. If you spend your whole summer not doing anything - no math, no english/reading, etc. - come September when school resumes, it will take your brain a while to review and remember what you last learned. Basic multiplication that was easy to do in your head at the end of last school year, for example, will now feel much more difficult since you haven't practiced at all in three months! In the academic world, many schools have required summer reading to help students maintain their English and reading skills from the past year.
With this in mind, let's head back to the world of dance. At Ballet 5:8 School of the arts, we offer dance classes, workshops, children's camps and more over the summer months for that same purpose! If you don't take any dance classes over summer break, your body (muscles) and brain (also a muscle) will forget...a lot! Especially in the case of older dancers, for every day or week that you take "off" from dancing over the summer, it will take your muscles and your coordination that long when you return to the studio to make up lost progress. In other words, 3 months off over the summer = 3 months of catchup in the fall. So, you wouldn't really feel like you did last May until November of the following year! This can make the beginning of fall classes frustrating for many dancers as they return to the studio to find that what was easy last spring is now quite difficult.
But, you say, what if I am active and using my muscles in other ways over the summer - taking walks, swimming, maybe even playing some casual outdoor sports? Though this kind of activity may help keep your stamina and overall fitness up during the summer, these activities do not use the same muscles (strength) or muscle coordinations that you use in ballet. General summer activities also fall short of exercising your brain in the ways needed for dance. In ballet or other dance classes, your brain is helping you to memorize and review steps, to remember sequences of steps, and to apply those sequences musically as well as with the proper arm/leg/head coordinations.
The moral of the story?
Even just a week or so of summer dance classes for younger dancers can make all the difference! Some dance review with the help of an instructor in a classroom environment will go a long way in helping students of all ages to maintain the progress they made over the previous year. That way, students can jump into classes in the fall with their best foot forward and avoid the frustration of having to spend weeks or even months regaining their strength and coordination from the previous year.
Best of all, summer classes and camps are a ton of fun and a great way to burn off some summer energy!