Summer can be a fruitful time to advance our craft, with warm weather and time off from school or (sometimes) work to focus on developing dancing strength, flexibility, balance, endurance, skills, & repertory. Even famous ballet pedagogue Agrippina Vaganova remarked on the particular value of working on your ballet technique in the summer months.
Back in the day, I enjoyed summer ballet “intensives” with the Nashville Ballet and my home studio, the West Hawaii Dance Academy. Until I departed for ballet conservatory study at North Carolina School of the Arts, these were unique opportunities to dive deeper and gain exposure in the profession. Later I would teach at summer dance camps and accelerated summer university ballet courses, and I’m always blown away by how much growth and improvement can occur in a short, concentrated timespan!
Courses in Ballet Technique, Pointe, Pas de Deux, Character Dance, Jazz, Tap, Body Conditioning, Pilates, Yoga, Dance History & Appreciation, Repertory, & Choreography were often included, whereas during the schoolyear, we mostly just technique, pointe, and rehearsals fit in with school. Of course there are also “summer intensive” opportunities for the study of other dance techniques, athletic pursuits, and yoga workshops as well.
And now there are such “intensive” opportunities for adults as well as youth, which is also exciting! But not everyone has the time or money to invest in extensive training…
Flexible & Adaptive Summer Dance Training
If you would like to immerse yourself in dance or yoga this summer and don’t have the chance to attend an intensive in-person, I’d like to offer an at-home online option that can flexibly meet your needs. Because of its (primarily) virtual nature, you don’t have to participate synchronously in real-time, so you can also start the program anytime!
During July, I will present weekly suggested programs to develop body and mind, providing a complement or bridge to online or in-studio practice. You can tailor the program to your needs, with anywhere from 5 minutes to 5 hours per day! I’ll also be following the program myself and going live on social media each (week) day to share about the week’s exercises, recommended viewing, listening, reading, and tools and also field any questions you may have.
Depending on how much time you can spend, you may choose to participate in the recommended YouTube videos for specific exercises (completely free and great for cross-training and preventing injury alone or in combination with classes at your local studio), recorded classes and combinations (also free), Live Online group classes and/or Live Online Private Lessons and Coaching or even join live in-person classes with me in Cologne, Germany (reasonably priced).
Perhaps you have an injury or other physical limitation. While you should seek appropriate treatment first, because your program is fully personalized, it can accommodate many special situations and needs.
Assess Your Needs & Plan Your Program
Have fun customizing your program for your experience, skills, and lifestyle, and please let me know what questions you have and how I can best serve you! I would also be happy to work with you individually to design and execute your ideal training program- just book a consultation HERE!
In order to start strong, establish your goals and find the right program for you, I recommend that you start by completing a needs assessment, the Client/Student Profile & Intended Results Google Form. This can be a reflective tool for you, as well as help me tailor content to fit your needs. For more information on Goal Setting for Dancers, you may also consult my blog by that name.
Please remember that participation is at your own risk, and I strongly recommend consulting with your MD or other medical professional before beginning a new exercise program of any kind. It is better to ease into new programs and movements for sustainable training, so take it at your own pace.
Choose to focus on ballet, modern, creative dance, yoga, or general cross-training
Being fully customizable, the cross-training applies to all movement disciplines, and beyond that you can focus on what interests you the most. You will find video and blog content on a variety of dance and yoga topics, from technical instruction to theoretical understanding to creative inspiration.
Focus on Ballet
If you wish to pursue an intensive centered on Ballet, my Ballet Movement Vocabulary Hyperdoc is another handy resource, forming a syllabus with links to videos defining, teaching, and practicing basic ballet vocabulary. I teach weekly adult ballet classes both online and offline, so you can avail yourself of those offerings if they fit your location and schedule, or you may opt to attend classes locally.
For à la carte steps and exercises, my Ballet Barre and Ballet Centre Playlists on the YouTube Channel provide an introduction, or you can start with the Wonderful Dance Warmup, Sumptuous Stretching, or Micro-Workout (creative variations on classic calisthenic/aerobic/warmup exercises) Playlists.
For a more conceptual introduction, The 7 Movements of Ballet Playlist provides theoretical groundwork. If you have significant ballet experience, I have started a Ballet Classes Playlist with recommended free full-length advanced classes, and will keep adding to it (which are your favorites?).
Focus on Modern, Jazz, or Creative Dance
Such syllabus/movement vocabulary documents for Jazz and Modern dance are still in-the-making for me (let me know if you’d like more videos and content on these topics!), but students of these styles will also find knowledge of the ballet vocabulary helpful. You can also jump right into sampling the Wonderful Dance Warmup or Elements of Dance Playlists on YouTube that include universal exercises and concepts for all dance styles.
You can combine physical practice and more academic learning, or even focus entirely on appreciation, theory, improvisation, choreography, or performance criticism. In the future, with demand, I will delight in providing more resources on these topics.
Focus on Yoga or Cross-Training
You may also focus on Yoga, Dance Conditioning, or Cross-Training for dance, ballet, and athletics. In this case you can go ahead and peruse the Yogalicious (mostly shorter introductory yoga practices with different themes), Full Yoga Practice Replays (50-minutes to 1 hour), Beautiful Breathing (Pranayama), Micro-Workout, or Sumptuous Stretching Playlists, or for more general inspiration, check out the Luscious Life Playlist.
You can also focus on training specific areas of the body to support your individual goals:
- Concentrated Core Conditioning Playlist
- Foot & Ankle Conditioning Playlist
- Arm Artistry Playlist
- Legs, Legs, Legs Playlist
Flexible Schedule & Timing
Your typical dance summer intensive is full-day training, every day for 2-6 weeks. This program will continue for a month, but of course is completely flexible, so you can join every day, every other day, for only one week, for the full month, spread it out over a longer period of time… anything is possible!
Start by following my recommended daily program, optionally adding full-length ballet, dance, and/or yoga classes live, online, or recorded. Then as desired, include learning choreographic repertory & rehearsals, aerobic cross-training (such as swimming, hiking, bicycling, or your favorite variations on my Micro-Workout), and/or personal physical therapy exercises.
Example Training Schedules
5-15 Minutes Per Day: follow the video plan below for dance conditioning to keep you in shape as a complement to light training in other areas, such as walking while traveling or on your lunch break. This is good for those who are strapped for time, but want to return to dance classes in the Fall or at some later time. Or maybe you want to start a dance class for the first time and show up with some foundational skills under your belt. This version does not include the elements of full classes online or live, or the dance repertory, appreciation, and criticism, but can be a beneficial first step in building your practice.
1.5+ Hours Per Day: follow the videos daily and also take a yoga or dance class (online or in-person) 2-6 times a week. You may choose to add the dance appreciation/criticism if you like.
3+ Hours Per Day: One dance and/or yoga class and the training videos daily, also watching recommended performance repertory, opportunity to learn to perform ballet variations or other dances, create choreography, and write dance criticism (reviews).
Live Classes with A Blythe Coach
Sunday morning hybrid class online and in-studio at Tanzschule Tanzraum Zentrum in Cologne Germany @11:00 CEST
Tuesday morning online-only class @6:15 CEST: sign up through Convertkit Commerce linked here for monthly-recurring class savings or message me for drop-in rates.
This week, adult online-only class @8:00 CEST will be Thursday morning (8 July) and then subsequent weeks it will fall on Tuesday (13 July+): sign up through Convertkit Commerce linked here for monthly-recurring class savings or message me for drop-in rates. Message me with any questions and I’ll be happy to help 🙂
Further group classes or private lessons available by request, schedule a consultation to discuss.
Week One Overview
Week One is about laying the Foundation, easing into dancing, establishing a Grounded State of Being, and connecting with the Element of Earth.
To start strong, outline your current state, goals, and challenges, and help me cater a program to meet your needs by completing the Needs Assessment.
Recommended Viewing: “Strange Fruit” by Pearl Primus. A classic, beautiful performance and also relevant given recent events in racial justice. If you would like to take notes, you can also use my free resource, Dance Appreciation Observation Log to help ensure that you remember what you saw for later reference.
Recommended Reading: Elements of Dance: review theory about the diverse uses of The Body, Action, Space, Time, & Energy in all dance forms.
Recommended Listening: Finding a Grounded State of Being Podcast; Yummy Gentle Yoga for Dancers, Balletlicious Summertime Dance, & Micro Workout playlists on Spotify to accompany training, improvisation, and choreography sessions.
Week One Basic Daily Schedule
Day 6: Ankle Alphabets (@00:47-2:30), Planking Pleasures (@2:38-5:34), Jelly Jumping Jacks (5:58-8:22), Buoyant Bridges (@5:44-8:09), & Scrumptious Squats (4:23) [15 minutes total, or simply rest over the weekend!]
Day 7: Planking Pleasures (@2:38-5:34), Jelly Jumping Jacks (5:58-8:22), Push It Up! (@1:33-3:45), Tasty Tricep Dips (@1:06-3:14), Luscious Lunges (3:20-4:25), & Scrumptious Squats (@2:56-3:41) [12 minutes total, or rest over the weekend!]
Please note that once you have watched the instructional portions of each video and learned the exercises, you can skip ahead on subsequent days to the practice part of the video or just practice the movements with music. In this way, the basic program doesn’t require more than 15-20 minutes per day although new skills continue to be added.
Make it your own!
I hope you enjoy sharing in my very first “Adaptive Adult Summer Dance Intensive!”
Stay tuned for Week 2, where we will be building a solid scaffolding for dance, developing a centered state of being and igniting the Fire Element, utilizing the Elements of Dance (The Body, Space, Shape, Action), discussing Dance Criticism, practicing yoga for energy & building our dancing vocabulary.
Meanwhile, let me know what your dream “Summer Dance Intensive” looks like! Tell me about your dancing and movement needs, and how I can support you in adapting a training program to achieve your goals. Send me an email or contact me here on the website or social media.
A Blythe Coach: Dance Education & Coaching
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Tanzschule Tanzraum Cologne, Germany
DISCLAIMER: A Blythe Coach recommends that you consult your physician regarding the applicability of any recommendations and follow all safety instructions before beginning any exercise program. When participating in any exercise or exercise program, there is the possibility of physical injury. If you engage in this exercise or exercise program, you agree that you do so at your own risk, are voluntarily participating in these activities, assume all risk of injury to yourself.