Great Summer Dance Programs for High School Students

If You're Passionate about Dance, These Programs Are Worth a Look

If you love dance and are looking for a way to develop your skills and keep busy during the summer, a summer dance program could be a great choice. Not only are you doing something you love, but an educational summer camp or enrichment program looks great on your college application. Some programs even carry college credit. Here are some top summer dance programs for high school students.

Juilliard Summer Dance Intensive

The Juilliard School
The Juilliard School. faungg / Flickr

The Juilliard School's Summer Dance Intensive is a rigorous three-week ballet and modern dance program for rising high school sophomores, juniors and seniors ages 15-17. Students are expected to have significant training in ballet, and an audition is required in addition to the application. The program is designed to refine technique and performance of various styles of dance through classes in ballet and modern technique, classical partnering, ballroom dancing, music, improvisation, Alexander technique and anatomy, ending in a student performance at the end of the session. Students may stay in one of Juilliard's residence halls and have the opportunity to see various cultural sites around New York City on free evenings and weekends.

School of Creative and Performing Arts Summer Dance Camps

Champlain College
Champlain College. Nightspark / Wikimedia Commons

The School of Creative and Performing Arts (SOCAPA) offers this Contemporary Jazz and Hip-Hop Intensive residential program for high school students at its two campuses in New York City as well as Occidental College in Los Angeles and Champlain College and St. Johnsbury Academy in Vermont. Participants take jazz and hip-hop as well as some specialty dance courses, preparing routines to be featured in both live dance performances and videos shot by the instructors. The program is divided into three levels for dancers with varying degrees of formal training. Two and three-week courses are offered.

Interlochen High School Dance Summer Programs

Interlochen Kresge Auditorium
Interlochen Kresge Auditorium. grggrssmr / Flickr

These dance programs offered by the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Interlochen, Michigan, are targeted at rising high school sophomores, juniors and seniors dedicated to furthering their dance education. Participants choose an emphasis in either ballet or modern dance and train for six hours a day in areas including ballet and modern technique, pointe, improvisation and composition, jazz, body conditioning and repertory. Students must have had at least three years of formal dance training to attend, and auditions are required in addition to the camp application. Both programs run for two three-week sessions.

UNC School of the Arts Comprehensive Dance Summer Intensive

UNCSA - University of North Carolina School of the Arts
UNCSA - University of North Carolina School of the Arts. William Davis / Wikipedia

The University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) offers this comprehensive dance summer session for intermediate, advanced and pre-professional dancers ages 12-21. The program emphasizes proficiency in a variety of dance forms in order to prepare students for the competitive world of professional dance. Students take daily classes in ballet and contemporary dance techniques, including pointe, character, composition, partnering, music, somatics, yoga, contemporary repertory, ballet repertory and hip-hop repertory. Summer students will also have the opportunity to perform in a final show at the end of the five-week session.

UCLA Summer Sessions: Dance Theater Intensive

UCLA Campus
UCLA Campus. saturnism / flickr

The University of California Los Angeles offers this nine-day residential Dance Theater Intensive for rising high school sophomores, juniors and seniors over the age of fifteen. The nontraditional program combines dance with elements of theater, music, identity exploration, human relations and social activism. The curriculum includes training in various dance forms, from postmodern to hip-hop, as well as physical theater classes and improvisation and composition, all directed toward encouraging students to explore dance as a tool for personal development and social change. Students collaborate in a final ensemble performance at the end of the session. This program also carries two units of University of California credit.

York State Summer School of the Arts

Case Center at Skidmore College
Case Center at Skidmore College. Photo Credit: Katie Doyle

The New York State Summer School of the Arts is a collaborative summer program offering advanced training in the arts through several New York state colleges and universities. Among these are residential summer programs for New York high school students in ballet and dance, both hosted at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. Partnered with the New York City Ballet, the School of Ballet offers lectures and intensive instruction in ballet, pointe, character, jazz, variations and pas de deux led by staff, guest artists and members of the NYCB. Students in the School of Dance receive instruction in modern dance technique, composition, music for dance, careers in dance, repertory, and performance in addition to workshop performances and field trips to the nearby National Museum of Dance and Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

Colorado Ballet Academy Summer Intensive

Colorado Ballet Building in Denver
Colorado Ballet Building in Denver. Robert Cutts / Flickr

The Colorado Ballet Academy Summer Intensive in Denver, CO is a highly-regarded pre-professional program for dedicated young dancers. The camp offers residential and day programs ranging from two to six weeks long, during which dancers participate in classes and workshops on a variety of subjects, including ballet technique, pointe, pas de deux, contemporary dance, body conditioning, and dance history. The program boasts a faculty of internationally renowned masters, and many Colorado Ballet Academy students have successfully transitioned from the pre-professional program into the Colorado Ballet Company and other major companies across the globe. Live auditions are held in several cities each year, and video auditions are also accepted.

Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp

Twin Lake, Michigan
Twin Lake, Michigan. Wendy Piersall / Flickr

The Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Twin Lake, MI offers two-week residential programs for middle and high school students in several concentrations of the visual and performing arts, including dance. Dance majors spend five hours a day learning ballet technique, pointe, men’s classes, repertory, and contemporary dance as well as attending special workshops on subjects such as injury prevention, composition, and improvisation. Blue Lake campers can also choose a minor in another area of interest, with subjects ranging from team sports to opera to radio broadcasting. Intermediate and advanced dancers may also audition for the dance ensemble, a four-week intensive offering more in-depth instruction and performance opportunities.