Any parent can attest to this: Creating the perfect summer is nothing less than a work of art. You need to start with your child’s age, talents and interests, add in a good bit of research, and then somehow hit upon the best combination of camps, down time with friends, family excursions and travel. When you’re juggling work and other commitments, planning the perfect summer for your kids can feel like an extreme form of performance art.
But it doesn’t have to. There’s an array of art camp options not very far from your front door.
Visual and Performing Arts With a Touch of Invention
Tucked into the heart of Kentlands, the Arts Barn each summer presents visual and performing arts camps geared toward every age, ability level and interest. This year is no different.
Visual arts camps like “Basics of Photography,” “Cartooning Craze,” and “Animated Characters” encourage campers to develop their fundamental art skills. Other camps like “On the Green!” combine art with invention as campers build their own putt-putt course on the Kentlands Green.
Performing arts camps put youth in the limelight. Campers can choose from the “A Cappella Camp,” “Alice in Wonderland, The Musical” and “Heidi, The Musical” and perform in front of an audience the final day of class.
And the popular “Fashionistas Camp” combines visual art and design with performance as students create wearable items and then share them on the Arts Barn runway for family and friends.
A full listing of Arts Barn camps will be available at the Gaithersburg RecExpress website beginning Wednesday, Jan. 13. Registration opens Feb. 1.
Much More Than En Pointe
Also open for registration mid-January are Metropolitan Ballet Theatre & Academy summer camps, designed for dancers ages pre-K and up. Summer 2017 brings a number of new and exciting camps.
Tiny dancers will love “Storybook Ballet Camp” for 3-4 year olds. This half-day camp offers dance instruction, games and crafts based on classic storybook ballets. “We wanted to create a camp for 3-4 year olds that allows them to become familiar with classic tales and to bring characters to life through dance and music,” MBT Artistic Director Elizabeth Odell Catlett explained.
Young boys ages 6 to 10 are invited to explore a variety of music and dance styles in the full-day “Introduction to Dance for Boys.” This new camp, Catlett said, “gives boys the opportunity to feel strong and confident. They will learn from male teachers and be comfortable approaching dance knowing that it will increase their balance, strength and coordination that will ultimately help them with any active passion whether it be dance, sports or otherwise.”
MBT’s hip hop faculty brings the afternoon “Hip Hop Workshop” to kids ages 8 to 11. “We understand that ballet is not for everybody!” Catlett said. “We do believe that dance is for every body and hip hop is a great way to teach your body to be able to move to the music, find balance and coordination, all while having fun!”
In addition to these new camps, MBT continues to offer its selection of popular annual camps that teach everything from ballet to rhythm and groove. For little ones ages 4-6, there’s the half-day “Once Upon a Time Camp.” Older elementary students can enjoy the “Junior Dance Intensive” and explore a variety of dance styles like jazz, modern and hip hop, the “Junior Ballet Intensive” that develops ballet technique, strength, poise and confidence, and the exciting “Week of Ballets” that introduces a different ballet each day.
Tweens and teens can choose from a number of camps designed for the more experienced ballet student. “Pre-Pointe Workshop,” “Ballet Boot Camp – Tone & Stretch,” “Ballet Boot Camp” and “Summer Ballet Intensive” bring in guest instructors from all over the country.
For a full summer camp listing, visit mbtdance.org. Metropolitan Ballet Theatre & Academy is located at 220 Perry Parkway, Gaithersburg,
At the Positive Energy Art Studio (P.E.A.S.) on Little Quarry Road, founder and director Nannette Horan is all about “‘growing’ artists that are curious about the world around them.” Her full-day camps are kid-driven and inspired. Groups are kept small, usually running at 10, “so we truly get to know our artists and what is interesting to them. We are process based, not cookie-cutter,” Horan explained.
Camps are open to students of many ages, from rising first graders through age 18, but most campers are nine to 11, Horan said. “We like the varied ages working together for the mentoring effects and the sharing of ideas.” In fact, new this year is a P.E.A.S. counselor-in-training (CIT) program. Two five-year P.E.A.S. students have already expressed interest in sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm with younger students.
This summer’s theme is “Creating Community,” Horan said. “This year we will focus on community arts and public art. We will investigate how artists create and serve as contributing members of our greater community.” Horan, who is an art teacher at Rachel Carson Elementary, brings in other professional art teachers to enrich her camps.
For more information on P.E.A.S., visit www.positiveenergyartstudio.com. The studio is located at 144 Little Quarry Road.