Andrew and Merry Kuharsky - Directors
22nd Apr 2016 | by: Andrew Kuharsky

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Many dance students take lessons during the school year and then have three months or more during the summer with no dance classes. Other students may take classes or “intensives” during the summer, perhaps even traveling far from home to study at a prestigious ballet school. Summer dance classes have two possible advantages for your dance training: continuity and intensity.

When I was 15 years old and went off to study for my first summer, I traveled from Cleveland to New York and had a full scholarship for an 8-week session at the Joffrey Ballet School. I stayed with friends of my parents and commuted an hour each way on bus and subway. I had three classes per day, five days a week, for eight weeks. That’s 120 classes. I have often pointed this out when a parent calls and says, “My child has been taking dance for three years.” At the rate of one class per week for 36 weeks per year, I took more classes in that 8-week summer than her daughter has taken in 3 years! It’s a good defense for my reply that, “Your child needs to take more than one class per week in order to make sufficient progress.”

summer dance classes

Andrew Kuharsky with Joffrey II in Gerald Arpino’s “Partita for Four”

Another saying in the ballet world is that for every day you take off, it takes you two days to catch up. In other words, if you take class 6 days a week and then take Sunday off, you use Monday and Tuesday to catch up to where you were, and progress only on the next 4 days. If you take three months off during the summer, then it takes you six months to catch up, and you only progress for three months! Hopefully this is not exactly true, but to stay in tip-top physical shape, a dancer, like any athlete, needs to train 5-6 days a week without too many long breaks.

Summer Dance Classes at the Greenville Ballet School

This summer at the Greenville Ballet School we will be offering summer dance classes in three separate sessions during June, July, and August. From June 20-30 we will have two weeks of ballet classes for all ages. From July 11-21 we will have a 2-week intensive with several classes per day in ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop and modern. Starting August 8 we have a workshop where we will be preparing students to perform in the full-length ballet Coppélia at Furman University’s McAlister Auditorium on August 27. You can see the full schedule and sign up for classes at http://www.greenvilleballet.com/classes/summer-classes. You can see photos and videos of our 2014 performance of Coppélia at http://www.greenvilleballet.com/classes/performance-classes/#Coppelia. Hope you can join us for our exciting summer dance classes.

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About the Author: Andrew Kuharsky

Mr. Kuharsky is a graduate of Canada’s National Ballet School. He was an apprentice with the Joffrey Ballet in New York, a principal dancer with The Atlanta Ballet, and a soloist with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens in Montreal. He has directed the dance programs at the SC Governor's School for the Arts and the Greenville County Schools' Fine Arts Center.