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Creating A Successful Summer Dance Program

Type:

Blog

Category:

Self-help and Life Enhancement Tips for the Business Owner

We are almost at the end of what is hopefully turning out to be your best year yet and it’s time to turn attention to the summer season! If you haven’t already done so, lining up your summer intensive schedule can be as daunting as your yearly schedule as there is a lot to include in a condensed amount of time. With so many things to think about, it’s important that you sit down and really consider what the most important elements are that you wish to include in your program! Here’s a little help when considering the design of your summer program!

1.      Safety: What are your safety guidelines and protocol going forward in our, “new normal?” Are you able to offer in-studio classes yet or are you going to offer them virtually? A combination of both? How does this affect your students? Faculty, etc.? How have you been communicating these measures and adjustments with them?

2.      Goals: What are you hoping summer intensive provides for your students? Is your main goal to maintain their technical training without interruption? Eager to expose them to new choreographic styles? Start setting works for the following year? Provide them with a challenging and “intensive” program to progress their training? Keep it more recreational for students to just have fun over the summer?

3.      Dates: When are you planning on holding your summer intensive? What month during the summer? How many weeks will it be? Will you have one session or two?

4.      Ages & Levels: How will you break down your ages and levels to group the classes? Baby classes, a junior and senior level, company classes, etc.?

5.      Content & Scheduling: What classes will you include? Ballet, lyrical, contemporary, jazz? Will you incorporate additional classes like musical theater, tap and hip-hop as well as a few new, fun classes for them to try like African, Bollywood, Improvisation or Ballroom? How varied do you want to take the summer curriculum? How many times a week will they have each of the classes? Will ballet be held every morning to start the day? Hip hop-hop to end, etc. etc?

6.      Teachers: Who will be teaching the classes? Permanent faculty? Guest Teachers? Both? Will you be bringing in special master-classes and workshops throughout the summer?  How many master-classes will you have over the summer session(s)?

7.      Eligibility: Is the summer intensive open solely to enrolled yearly students or is it open to the public? Same goes for your master-class series, are they reserved for your students or open to the public?

8.      Requirements: Are you making summer intensive mandatory for your company members? How will you implement this to ensure attendance is 100%? Will the scheduling of company summer intensive vary from general student schedule? Will you hold it later in the summer when families are back from vacation? When and how will you address the prerequisite to your dancers and their families? If beginning choreography for the following season, how will this affect their involvement in the pieces if they are not present?                                            

                                                                   

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Author

Jessica Rizzo Stafford

Jessica Rizzo Stafford

Jessica Rizzo Stafford is a native New Yorker and graduate of NYU Steinhardt's Dance Education Master’s Program; with a PK-12 New York State Teaching Certification. Her double-concentration Master’s Degree includes PK-12 pedagogy and dance education within the higher-education discipline. She also holds a BFA in dance performance from the UMASS Amherst 5 College Dance Program where she was a Chancellor's Talent Award recipient. Jess now works extensively with children, adolescents and professionals as choreographer and teacher and conducts national and international master-classes specializing in the genres of modern, contemporary, musical theatre and choreography-composition. Jess’ national and international performance career includes works such as: The National Tour of Guys & Dolls, The European Tour of Grease, West Side Story, Cabaret, Sweet Charity, Salute to Dudley Moore at Carnegie Hall, guest-dancer with the World Famous Pontani Sisters and IMPULSE Modern Dance Company. Jess has been a faculty member for the Perichild Program & Peridance Youth Ensemble & taught contemporary and jazz at the historic New Dance Group and 92nd Street Y in NYC. She was Company Director at the historic Steffi Nossen School of Dance/Dance in Education Fund and in 2008 traveled to Uganda where she taught creative-movement to misplaced children. The experience culminated with Jess being selected as a featured instructor at the Queen's Kampala Ballet & Modern Dance School. She has conducted workshops for the cast of LA REVE at the Wynn, Las Vegas and recently taught at the 2011 IDS International Dance Teacher Conference at The Royal Ballet in London, UK. She is also on faculty for the annual Dance Teacher Web Conferences in Las Vegas, NV. Currently, Jess is a faculty member at the D'Valda & Sirico Dance & Music Centre and master teacher & adjudicator for various national and international dance competitions. Recently, she has finished her NYU Master’s thesis research on the choreographic process of technically advanced adolescent dancers and is the creator of “PROJECT C;” a choreography-composition curriculum for the private studio sector. Jess is also faculty member, contributing writer and presenter in the choreography and “how to” teaching segments on the celebrated danceteacherweb.com. For more info, visit her website at www.jrizzo.net.

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