My daughter loved participating in Colorado Ballet Society’s Summer Ballet Intensives year after year. Ballet Society brings in phenomenal teachers with a variety of backgrounds and specialties that give their students an opportunity to grow as artists. She enjoyed having new teaching styles, combinations, and choreography, as well as receiving their feedback, corrections, and helpful hints.
Every summer, my daughter would get nervous as week one approached. She’d worry about failing to make a good impression, to grasp combinations, or to connect with the instructor—you name it, it crossed her mind. She would read each guest teachers’ bio, conducting some further research if necessary. But it never failed, when she got into the car at the end of each day, her face lit up as told me everything that happened in her classes. Her face grew even brighter as she shared how instructors helped her improve her weak areas.
Her rejuvenated energy, excitement, and passion were my favorite parts of the ballet intensives. She worked hard during the school year and this was her chance to reward herself, dedicating her focus to something she whole-heatedly adored. As parents, we can help our children by funding their dreams, but I wanted my daughter to maintain that energy, excitement, and passion she found in the summer and take it with her into the fall schedule.
How can we encourage our kids to maintain the summer momentum?
Suggest your child keep a journal. It’s helpful to do this every day so the passion and details come through the page; but at least at the end of each week, they should write down everything they can remember. Each guest instructor can have his or her own page or section which includes corrections, combinations, or exercises that they found particularly helpful or challenging (going the extra mile with illustrations can really help down the road), as well as any of the instructors’ special phrases or metaphors that brought on an “aha” moment. Then, your child can review the journal before fall classes begin (or even before the next week of the intensive), reminding them what they spent the summer working on, how much they improved, and reignite any lost momentum.
Encourage your child to continue to talk about their experience with you or their peers. As they continue talking about combinations, choreography, corrections, or special phrase, they solidify those moments in their memory, making them easier to recall in the fall and feeding that summer enthusiasm. If your child goes to an out of state intensive, then keeping in touch with their summer intensive friends will allow them to continue to motivate each other.
They should also feel free to speak with their director and regular instructors. Their teachers would love to hear what their students are learning—what corrections they received, the new challenges they faced, their “aha” moments, and what they found exciting about the program.
All in all, carrying summer inspiration into fall and maintaining momentum begins with remembering the helpful details from class.