Ahhhh, performance camps! Something near and dear to my heart. I've attended them, I've taught at them, I've wriggled my way out of teaching at them once I decided I'd spent way too much time in summer performance camp. Anyway. I feel pretty well qualified to talk about performance camp.
As a working parent I know that choosing the summer camp(s) your kids will attend is a decision that ranks right up there with choosing the right school district to live in. It's not small. You want them to be safe. You probably want them to get some fresh air. Most of all you want them to be happy. As a theatre kid I did not give the teeniest hoot about fresh air. I spent my pre-teen and teen years roughly the color of Casper The Friendly Ghost because I wanted to DO theatre. That meant attending camp in a moldy old theatre in Maine with no windows. Not one. I loved it. I was happy.
If you're sending your kids to a performance camp in the Catskills you're in luck. It's pretty unlikely that they'll finish out the summer with a vitamin D deficiency. It's the Catskills - they'll get some air and sun. There are some amazing camps that have incredible programs your kids will love. They will be happy. Time to face the music (pun intended, sorry about that) your kid is an artist, they're going to want to "practice their craft" all summer, so it's time for you to start shopping. Here are some great options that run the gamut from dance to hard rock.
Paul Green Rock Academy - Woodstock
The Paul Green Rock Academy — created by the mad genius who founded the nationally acclaimed School of Rock (made famous in the eponymous movie of the same name, starring Jack Black playing Paul!) — has an AWESOME season of summer camps, all featuring up-close-and-personal instruction in small, hands’ on settings with real rock stars and professional musicians.
I find everything about Paul Green's program impressive. I've watched him work with the kids, he doesn't just teach them music, he teaches them creativity and responsibility. Their shows are INSANE. But they are not the type of shows designed to impress parents and make them feel like they spent their money well by quelling kids creativity through drilling and drilling a fairly unambitious program until they get it perfect. These kids are challenged, they're creating, they're working hard and they're loving it. The program and shows are meant to elevate the kids expectations of themselves and what they can do. This is teaching arts at its best. If your kids are would-be rockers, SIGN. THEM. UP.
Visit http://bit.ly/pgracamp for more information on their week-long intensive day camps for kids, aged 3 to 18. And mention “Coldwell Banker Village Green Realty” for a 10% off any camp.
Frenchwoods Festival of the Performing Arts - Hancock
Kids love Frenchwoods. I've known several kids who have gone off to their theatre program and come back happy as clams, with improved skills and self confidence. They offer programs in theatre, music, art, dance, film plus all the regular outdoors stuff you'd expect from a traditional sleep-away summer camp like horseback riding, sports, swimming, etc. Win, win. Your kids are doing what they love and they are getting some country air and sunshine. Frenchwoods is a sleep away camp and they run four three week sessions and one final one week session at the end of the summer. So, your driving there, dropping your precious one off, and then picking them up three weeks later! They'll love you, they'll be in good hands, but three weeks is a long time! Here's the Frenchwoods website. There are loads of videos that give you an idea of what each program entails.They look great. In fact, I'm not going to show them to my daughter, she will want me to drop her off for three weeks.
Acadamy of Dance and Creative Arts - International Ballet Summer Camp - Tannersville
In a state-of-the-art ballet studio in Tannersville NY, Russian Ballet masters Constantin Dournev and Julia Vorobyeva hold two week intensive ballet camps. They have three sessions throughout the summer and students can pay a day tuition rate or board at Xenia Resort (http://www.xeniaresort.net/). I've never seen them at work but a friend who was a professional dancer tells me they're pretty fab, and a quick look at their video of last year's recital was pretty illuminating. Students there get a lot of individual attention from ballet masters who teach some stunning technique. It's not a big, flashy, well-known camp. But, if you've got a serious young dancer this just might be the perfect place for them. Their website is a bit confusing. So, you may just want to put in a quick phone call, 929-333-9570, or email info@ADACAdance.com for information.
New York Conservatory For The Arts - Hurley
NYCA (as it's affectionally known by its' attendees and the community) offers three different performance workshops throughout the summer. A Musical Theatre Camp which is held at their campus on a quiet country road in Hurley and has a pool (so your kids will get outside a bit), a drama camp held at the same location which culminates in a fully realized performance of a play scripted by the campers (as a mom of a super-creative kiddo and a theatre artist, I like this one), and an apprenticeship program at Woodstock Playhouse which is owned and operated by NYCA. 16-19 year olds take classes and attend rehearsals for the Woodstock Playhouse's summer stock season. NYCA has an excellent reputation and has been shepherding young theatre artists for over 30 years.
Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Training Center - Loch Sheldrake
I have no personal experience with this one, but they have quite the impressive list of alumni on their website. Admissions to this camp are tight, in fact, it appears that all the spots they reserve for girls have been taken for the 2015 season! This camp is for hard-core theatre kids. Seriously. Accomodations are dormitory style and while there is a pool it looks like nearly all of "campers" time is devoted to to classes and rehearsals every day. As a parent I feel "meh" about this. However, had I been offered a chance to go there when I was 17 in exchange for an organ, I'm pretty sure I would be short one kidney right now. If your kid can't get enough of the footlights get out your cheque book.
If you don't already have a home in the Hudson Valley/Catskills area, you could by the time your child has finished their tenure at one of these great performance camps, search currently available properties here . If you're no ready for that kind of commitment but want to spend time in the area over the summer you can search seasonal rentals here.
Amy Wallace - Marketing Director
Coldwell Banker Village Green Realty