To Dance, Perchance to Dream

Young dancers have spent much of this early spring attending dance competitions across the country and abroad with a single goal: to dance this summer. Many prestigious dance companies and schools offer students from around the world the opportunity to spend the summer studying with them. However, there are auditions and competitions to attend first.

Locally, Festival Ballet Providence offers a 4-week summer dance intensive focusing mainly on ballet technique. If you have an aspiring ballet dancer, male or female, they could audition to attend Boston Ballet Summer Program (SDP), School of American Ballet (SAB), American Ballet Theatre (ABT) or Ellison Ballet in NYC. Students also can travel even farther to Houston, San Francisco or  Miami, where there are many opportunities. These programs are a wonderful experience for the aspiring professional, as they offer opportunities to learn and work with leading choreographers and teachers in the world of dance. Is it necessary to attend summer intensives in order to dance professionally? The answer is yes. Pre-professional dancers need the training from additional sources other than their weekly school. These summer intensives offer young dancers the opportunity to network, as well. It is very helpful to join a community of dance teachers, choreographers and dance friends as one progresses in the field of dance.

The programs mentioned are focused on the world of ballet, but perhaps you have an aspiring musical theater performer or modern dancer. That is a different path altogether that goes through the competition world. These dancers compete nearly every weekend from mid-January through May. It is a very expensive endeavor, with the competition fees, costumes and travel. Many of these dance families spend thousands of dollars each year on weekly lessons, costumes, fees and private lessons. You can also hire a private choreographer for your dancer. The hope, beside being offered the opportunity to spend your summer with another school, is to win a scholarship. A dancer can be awarded full college scholarships to dance programs. Hundreds of dancers each weekend compete for the opportunity to find their dream job or their dream school and to dance professionally. Is it possible? Yes it is.

There are jobs. You can make a living. However, the sooner you recognize your strengths as a  dancer, the better the opportunity. If you do not have the faculty to be a professional ballet dancer, then accept it and change course, because there are so many other opportunities. Disney offers the college-aged dancer several options to dance at “the happiest place on earth.” Cruise lines and vacation resorts are always looking for dancers and entertainers. Busch Gardens and other theme parks also are in need of full time and summer performers.

The opportunities are there, but it starts with attending  summer dance intensives, competitions and auditions early on. Connections need to be made, friendships need to be built and technique needs to be developed.

If your child is still too young for these more advanced programs, locally there are many dance schools that have summer camps that offer students a variety of classes in several dance styles. North Kingstown has The Talent Factory, Tiverton has Dance Fusion and Rosemary School of Dance Education. Atwood Performing Arts Center and Defying Gravity are both good options in Cranston and Smithfield. JUMP! in Providence offers classes and camp that teaches a variety of styles, and Rumford Dance Theatre in East Providence offers camps and classes in both acting and dance.

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