How to Get the Most Out of Your Dance Camp Experience

Lucky you! You get to spend a week full of dancing with amazing choreographers, teachers and dancers! As exhilarating as this is, you need to know how to get the most out of your camp experience in order to create those memories that last a lifetime.

One way to get the most out of your dance camp is to be respectful and trustful. Showing respect to your teacher will help them to feel more accepted by the class. Things like nodding your head and holding your posture upright are great nonverbal cues that go a long way. "You should be plugged in, charged up and ready to go when class begins," said Just For Kix Executive Director, Cindy Clough. Trusting your teacher is important because it allows you to get the most out of class. By trusting your teachers knowledge, you will gain more insight to the world of dance.

Your mood is contagious, what are people catching from you? Your attitude is what will help you to enjoy your time at your summer dance camp. Being confident is key! Believe in yourself and your dancing ability. You will grow so much as a dancer during your camp experience if you allow yourself to have faith and try new things with an open mind. "If you believe you can't perfect a skill, you act in a way to make it happen. If you believe you can perfect a skill, you act in a way to make it happen," said professional dancer, choreographer, instructor and designer, Ali Geraets (Clough). Dance camp is all about trying to make yourself better, so ask your teacher for help. After all, that is what they're trained to do!

Another way to get the most out of your dance camp experience is to create friendships with fellow class takers. Reaching out to other dancers during and after class will help to create friendships that you can maintain over the school year and rekindle at camp the following year! Being able to watch dancers around you and take note of the way they dance can also help you grow. Dance friends are the best!

Lastly, remember the real reason you're at camp. For some it's to meet new people, learn new styles of dance, improve their technique or anything else in between! It's important to be supportive of everyone else's goals and your own goals. Discovering your reason for dancing might just be what you need to take yourself to the next level.

Where ever you choose to go to dance camp, these tips will help you to get the most out of your experience. If you are yet to sign up for a dance camp, but are interested in one, click here to find the perfect summer dance camp for you!

Gabriel Figueredo in a variation from Raymonda. VAM Productions, Courtesy YAGP.

This week, over 1,000 young hopefuls gathered in New York City for the Youth America Grand Prix finals, giving them the chance to compete for scholarships and contracts to some of the world's top ballet schools and companies. Roughly 85 dancers made it to the final round at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater on Wednesday. Today, the 20th anniversary of YAGP came to a close at the competition's awards ceremony. Read on to find out who won!

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Dance News
After a string of ballet-company rejections, Jennifer Sydor (here in Laura Peterson's "Failure") found success in other areas of the dance world. (Stephen Delas Heras, courtesy Jennifer Sydor)

In her senior year at Butler University, Jennifer Sydor auditioned for more than a dozen regional ballet companies—and got a string of "no, thank you" responses. "I have an athletic build, and my movement quality isn't the typical ballet aesthetic," Sydor says. "But I'd been laser-focused on ballet. When I didn't get a ballet contract, I was heartbroken."

Her one job offer came from Kim Robards Dance, a small modern company based in Aurora, CO. After attending KRD's summer intensive, Sydor ended up accepting a yearlong position with the troupe. "I was relieved and happy to begin my career," she says. She's been working as a contemporary dancer ever since.

In the dance world, rejection is part of the package. That doesn't make it any more pleasant. But whether you didn't get the Nutcracker role of your dreams or you weren't picked for a job despite feeling like you aced the audition, you can emerge from even the most gut-wrenching "no" smarter and stronger.

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Ballet West principal Beckanne Sisk as Kitri (Luke Isley, courtesy Ballet West)

Guess who's baaaaack?! Your resident Dance Spirit astrologers! And on the eve of the Youth America Grand Prix awards ceremony, we thought it was the perfect time to pair each zodiac sign with a variation commonly seen during the competition. After many painstaking hours spent researching, consulting the stars, and staring wistfully into the sky, we compiled our data and present you with the definitive list of each star sign as a YAGP variation! As we said last time, don't @ us if you're not happy with your pairing—the stars don't lie, baby!

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Dancer to Dancer



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