Southland Ballet Academy instructor Lana Brooks writes about the importance of taking ballet classes in the summer. She also reflects on her days as a ballet student.
With summer just around the corner, many families are looking forward to the freedom from school, lessons, practices and other school year commitments. Our beautiful Southern California weather makes it easy to replace indoor activities with outdoor ones. and ballet classes are easily put to the side.
As a ballet teacher with 15 years’ experience, I highly encourage dancers to continue their training throughout the summer months. All the hard work, learning, and muscle strength that was built and developed over the past year needs to be maintained and practiced so it is not lost.
Let’s think about it in academic terms. If a student does no math, no reading, and no writing etc., over the summer, come September it will take their brain time to remember and apply what was once so easy to do in the spring.
Dance is the same way, if not more so. Your body (and all its muscles) and your brain (though technically not a muscle though it “trains” and “behaves” like one) is used so much in dance classes. Time away from the studio results in loss of strength, speed, agility, and knowledge. And this can make dance classes in the fall extremely frustrating to a student who has taken the entire summer off. I think it is great for a student to go on vacation with their families and explore other summertime activities. But dance classes should not be tucked away with the backpacks and lunch bags until September.
Luckily, Southland Ballet Academy offers a variety of dance classes, summer camps, and dance intensives to fit into busy family schedules. We make it easy so students can enjoy their summer freedom AND maintain their dance training. On a personal note, I loved when summer came around so I could INCREASE my dance training. I remember in junior high and high school, doubling up on my ballet classes during the summer. Whenever possible, I would take a second class that was lower than my current level so I could review and focus on the fundamentals and basics of my training. When I would attend Southland Ballet’s Summer Intensives, I would take the intensive classes all day and then, after a short rest, return to the studio to take my normal ballet classes. I always felt like I was stronger, fitter, and more focused once summer was over because of this.
Don’t get me wrong, I still went to the beach, played with my friends, went on family vacations, and enjoyed my summer. But I took advantage of my summertime freedom and used it to benefit the thing I loved to do most, dance!