Summertime is the time during the year that some dancers relax, recharge and join their friends at the pool. For other dancers, this is the time to travel to conventions, get a head start on solos, and condition for the upcoming year. While they both have their merits, is one really better than the other? Is summer downtown helpful or hurtful for dancers (and teachers and studio owners and parents)?
The Case for Summer Break
The pros for taking a summer break, no matter how small, are fairly obvious. A month of rest can accelerate healing on any injuries you have and give your muscles a moment to rest.
Taking time off will give time for dancers to “miss” the studio which leads to an energetic return in the fall.
It also allows kids to be kids and teenagers to be teenagers. Sleeping in, heading to the pool and taking family vacations may actually benefit dancers and leave them feeling more appreciative of their dance family.
Dancers don’t experience an off season like many other sports and activities which can make burnout more likely. If taking a break during the summer months is going to benefit your dancers, encourage your dancers to do this.
If the thought of taking a day off frightens your dancers, don’t worry. There are a number of advantages to continue throughout the summer.
The Case against a Summer Break
While we just encouraged dancers to take a break if needed, know that this philosophy isn’t for everyone.
If there was any time during the year to travel to New York or Los Angeles to take from world-renowned teachers, it’s during your summer break.
There are so many indie-conventions, choreography opportunities and dance festivals that take place in July and August and if you’re busy hanging at the pool, you could miss a life-changing class.
Another major argument against a summer break is loss of conditioning. If you take an entire month off and lounge around, it’ll take quite longer to get back in shape once fall comes. In the long run, this could really set you back amongst your peers.
So, which is right for you?
Final Thoughts & Advice
Your plans this summer should completely depend on where you’re at with your dance training.
Who Shouldn’t Continue to Train?
If you have any type of injury that requires rest, this is your time to heal. Although you may want to get back into the studio immediately, discipline yourself and take care of your body. A minor injury can turn into a major one quickly and you don’t want to lengthen healing time.
Another person who may want to take a break is someone who experiences extreme burnout. This happens to most dancers at some point in their training. Take a few weeks away from the studio and come back refreshed and ready to work.
Who Should Continue to Train?
While every dancer is different in their training and commitment level, we think most dancers should continue to train over summer break. If your studio isn’t offering much, consider trying something completely new.
Travel to a Convention
There are a number of conventions around the country that offer classes from up and coming choreographers. Whether you’re looking for contemporary, hip hop, or ballet, you can find something in any major US city.
Take an Acro Class
If you’re wanting to take a break from dance, but stay active, try an acro or gymnastics class. Then incorporate what you’ve learned into your upcoming year in dance.
Take a Strength & Flexibility Class
Sweat and stretch in a class dedicated to flexibility. These classes can help you improve quickly- especially if you continue to train at home.
Look to your future and evaluate where you want to be a year from now. How are you going to get there? If getting there means traveling and non-stop dance until September, then jump feet first into your break. If getting there requires SPF50 and pools, that’s okay too.