A Tale of Three Dancers
How one dancer catapulted ahead of her classmates by attending dance classes through the summer.
Everyone knows that there are incredible benefits to studying Dance: it develops grace, poise, coordination, sequencings and problem-solving skills just to name a few benefits. Many parents will put their child in dance training to gain these skills without necessarily wanting their child to pursue dance as a career. Dance training serves those students well and taking time off during the process to play school year sports or summertime activities will not necessarily negate that process.
However, if one‘s dance training is building towards the goal “I want to be a dancer!” – then students need to be consistent in their training year round. Dance technique builds on itself and if the foundation gets weak, you have to backtrack to build it back up or risk injury asking the body to do something it is not strong enough to do. The dancer who takes three months off in the summer from their dance training loses so much of what they have gained during the school and it takes them 6 months to catch up with where they were before they took a break. So students really lose nine months, not three.
In 2015, I had an excellent group of teens who were all progressing beautifully in their ballet class. The students were at about the same level at the end of the school year and very close to mastering some new steps that had been introduced during the school year. Most of these students signed up for 2 classes a week for the summer, but there were 3 students who chose different paths – I will call them Sarah, Mary, and Beth. Sarah signed up for unlimited summer classes and attended on average 6 classes per week. Mary studied during the summer but cut back to just one a day a week. Beth took the summer off from training altogether. In the Fall when our school year classes resumed, the students who attended twice per week had definitely progressed consistently over the summer and were looking very strong. Mary, who attended just once a week maintained what she had gained over the prior school year but struggled with the new material that was introduced without the second class to build that muscle memory. Beth fell way behind and after a few weeks of Fall classes, it was mutually decided she should go back to the same level she had been in the year before. And you guessed it - Sarah was the strongest. Not only strongest, but exponentially so.
Every dancer can catapult their training if they intensify it. Unfortunately, this is tough to do during the school year with homework and school functions competing for their time. But Summertime, oh Summertime is a wonderful time to do this. Try it - You will not recognize your dancer in September!
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