Get to know us in our Backstage at CCPA blog. Contributors are students, faculty, and members of our community.
Year II student Emma blogs about creating compelling programs that young dancers are reluctant to leave at the end of the day.
Day camps need to be appealing to both kids and parents; kids need to be excited to go and parents need to be able to get their kids there. This year I had the task of creating a summer full of camps for Rothesay Ballet School. Last year was our beta-program, which was an instant success, so I was able to model this summer’s programs off of the previous year’s suggestions. Early drop-off and late pick-up were a unanimous suggestion from parents and was something we implemented this year. Now, the task was creating compelling programs that kids were reluctant to leave at the end of the day. This is where a summer full of themes comes in.
For one week, dancers aged 3 to 6 learned to dance like their favourite Disney Princesses. Each day was filled with music, sing-a-longs, crafts, and dance. The girls had the opportunity to decorate their own crown, make a snow wand like Elsa, a jar of thingamabobs like Ariel, and a flower basket like Aurora. For family and friends to see what the girls had been learning in dance class, a mini princess show was performed on the last day at pick-up. The girls worked hard every day to learn both their Frozen and Tangled dances, as well as their Cinderella reverence. Dancers and teachers alike dressed up in their favourite princess costume for this performance and received special “Honorary Disney Princess” certificates signed by their favourite princess.
The next week, the Disney Junior camp began, a camp that appealed to both girls and boys. Vampirina and Puppy Dog Pals were very popular, so dancers got to create their own gloves just like Vampirina and design their own puppy ears like Rolly and Bingo. They also got to create their own “Mickey Medals” like the Roadster Racers. At the end of the week, the dancers performed their family and friends; dancers pretended to be part of the Lion Guard in a contemporary dance and joined Sofia and Mulan in a jazz dance.
Finally, a week-long camp was designed for students aged 7 to 10. This camp was themed around Disney Channel shows and movies. For this week, dancers learned three dances for the mini show: a secret agent dance to KC Undercover, a “Liv and Maddie” dance, and a Tangled-themed dance. As the dancers were older, they had the opportunity to contribute to the dances. For the “Liv and Maddie” dance, the girls got to choreograph their own solo and perform it for their families. The girls also got to design their own Tangled lantern, secret agent gloves, and flower headbands like Princess Elena.
Having the chance to design your own program, complete with crafts and exercises, is a wonderful experience. I have just as much fun preparing the week as I do teaching it. Talking to the kids about their favourite Disney character, hearing them sing along to their favourite song, and seeing their enthusiasm when they dance is so rewarding.