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Helping Your Students Find The Best Summer Programs


Teacher article



Sending your students off to summer dance programs is certainly a good way to broaden their outlook and keep them dancing throughout the summer break, so that when they return to you in the fall both you and they are not starting from square one. Occasionally, if you have an older student going to one of the major dance companies summer programs, you may find that they are offered a contract to go into the second company. This is something great for the student and also great for you as their teacher. There are very few places available in the more renowned companies, so it is a tribute to your teaching ability if they are accepted. I know it is sad to see them go, but just remind yourself that this is why we train them, so that we give them a strong enough technique and love of dance for them to be able to take flight! Very often, your students will come back with a much better appreciation of the good training that you are giving them not only in dance but in the general way of living too!

At our studio we offer our summer intensive for serious students in August, which gives them plenty of time to attend another summer program and also to rest their bodies and minds. We feel it is important for young dancers to relax their bodies and have fun in the summer as well as attending programs. Incidentally, it is also vitally important to us, as teachers, to do the same thing! There are a variety of summer programs available to dance students. They range from strictly Ballet to learning how to become a Rockette. It is a good thing to encourage your students to attend these programs but it is also important for them to have the emotional maturity to be able to benefit from studying in a new environment. Preparing them for the audition process is also important as it will determine whether or not they are accepted.

There are some excellent programs offered around the country that do not involve living away from home. These programs are ideal for the younger dancer who is not ready to go to sleep away. These dance programs offer everything from ballet and yoga to hip hop. It is great for young dancers to experience different styles of dance and exercise.

For the older students there are some terrific programs all around the country, there really is something for everyone. As their teacher, it is important to guide each student towards the program that you feel will most benefit them. Sometimes the dancers have strong ideas of their own, which I do not discourage, however, they do not always understand why one program will help them over another. It is helpful to them if you can take the time to talk to them about the programs and why you are recommending certain ones to them. As we know, some dancers will benefit from being in a highly competitive situation and others will blossom when put into a smaller and more intimate setting.

Very often parents are happy to see that their child is going away for a few weeks to study something they have a passion for , but it is important for them to decide if their child should go away for two or six weeks. Again, that will depend on the maturity and desire of the child. Each case is unique. The technical level of the dancer must definitely be taken into consideration as you do not want to put any of your dancers in the position where they will be demoralized because they are not ready for this experience. As with their studio training, it is important that the summer experience is a positive one. Again, this is something that you can guide them with. The great thing about summer dance study for the dancers is that they do not have the distractions of school and social life at home and so are able to fully concentrate and absorb what they are being taught. They are able to study every day and this will definitely to help them progress in whatever style of dance they are working on.

Once the dancers have auditioned and been accepted I like to sit them down and explain to them what is going to be expected of them both in dance and in their daily behavior. It is important for them to understand that when they go away from your studio that they are representing you in class and out. As you wish them luck you will be happy to know that when they return to the studio they will be in good shape and have had a wonderful experience, meeting new friends and learning new thing


Angela D'Valda Sirico

Angela D'Valda Sirico

Originally from England, Angela spent her early years in Hong Kong where she studied with Carol Bateman. She continued her training at Arts Educational Trust in England. After moving to New York City she continued her studies with Martha Graham and Matt Mattox. She appeared with the Matt Mattox Company and toured with the first Disney On Parade working with Disney and N.B.C. Contracted to the Teatro National of Buenos Aires she performed for one year and spent an additional year as a featured soloist at the Teatro Maipo, Argentina. Travelling to Madrid, Spain she worked for Spanish television in a weekly variety show Tarde Para Todos and from there decided to form her own Dance Company. With the Company she choreographed and performed throughout Spain in theatres, and on television. Angela met her husband Steve while working together on a television special The Valerie Peters Show filmed in Tampa, Florida. In 1979 they formed the Adagio act DValda & Sirico appearing in theatres, clubs and on television shows such as David Letterman, Star Search and the Jerry Lewis Telethon. In 1982 they were contracted to Europe and appeared in a variety of shows in Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland and Italy before going to London, England where they appeared as Guest Artists for Wayne Sleep (formerly of the Royal Ballet) in his show Dash at the Dominium Theatre. Angela and Steve have owned and directed their dance studio in Fairfield, CT. for the past twenty two years and in 2005 added music and vocal classes to their curriculum. Angela served as chairperson for the tri state panel of the Royal Academy of Dancing and is Co-author of a Partner syllabus currently used for teacher training by Dance Educators of America. She continues to adjudicate and teach for major dance organizations and choreographs for theatre, television and conventions and was commissioned by Boston Ballet 11 to choreograph the highly acclaimed Brother Can You Spare A Dime? DValda & Sirico are currently in production choreographing the opening to the National Speakers Association convention on Broadway at the Marriott Marquis for August of 2008. Angela is co-owner of Dance Teacher Web designed as an online resource for teachers worldwide.

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