Children's Summer Dance Programs in NYC

By Erica Loop
Your young dancer can take summer classes in New York City.
Your young dancer can take summer classes in New York City.

Whether your child is a beginning ballerina or has years of experience under her belt, New York City has plenty of dancing opportunities for children. From classic ballet to more modern types of dance, New York City is a mecca for performing arts of all kinds. Your tiny dancer can take advantage of the wealth of professional instruction available through companies, theaters and schools in summer.

Professional Ballet Companies

If your child is serious about ballet, consider a summer program at one of NYC's professional companies. The American Ballet Theatre has been a major force in dance since the 1940s. Summer programs for kids include the Summer Intensive -- your child will take at least four classes per day that are taught by ABT staff and guest instructors -- and the Young Dancer Summer Workshop for children ages 9 through 12. The Young Dancer program features a Monday through Friday schedule that the ABT staff packs with classes in technique, pre-pointe, pointe, character dance and choreography. If contemporary ballet is more to your child's tastes, the Complexions Contemporary Ballet offers a three-week Summer Intensive program for people ages 13 through 17.

Audition-only Programs

Some of NYC's finest companies and schools require pre-professional summer students to audition for entry into their programs. These programs are only for children who are serious dancers and already have extensive training. The Ailey School's Summer Intensive Program includes ballet and modern classes for teens older than 16 years of age who have a minimum of three years of training. Potential students must either audition in person or send the school an audition DVD for review. The Joffrey Ballet School has a pre-professional level program for kids 14 years of age and older on an audition-only basis. This summer intensive is, like the Ailey School's program, only for students who already have several years of training in technique.

Tween and Teen Programs

While some summer dance programs feature classes for kids of all ages, others are more specialized and only accept tweens and teens. These programs may offer more intense or pre-professional level workshops for the adolescent who is seriously considering a career in dance. For example, the School of Creative and Performing Arts offers summer dance camps for kids ages 13 through 18. SOCAPA's summer program includes contemporary jazz, hip hop, break dancing, African and musical theater classes. Likewise, the American Youth Dance Theater's Summer Dance Intensive program is an intermediate and advanced three-week course for kids ages 11 through 16. The Intensive provides kids with the opportunity to take classes in ballet, Broadway, hip hop and contemporary dance.

Programs for Young Children

Just because your child isn't ready for a pre-professional class doesn't mean that she can't take advantage of NYC's summer dance programs. The Brooklyn Arts Exchange features a full-day summer camp for kids entering kindergarten and first grade that includes a variety of performing arts -- including dance and movement -- classes. Kids 3 to 4 years of age can try out a half-day dance camp that includes jazz, hip hop, tap and modern classes at the Downtown Dance Factory.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.