by Michelle Tremblay
This summer, Southern California Ballet, the premier dance training institute serving Poway and North County San Diego, will be offering five weeks of summer camps for children ages four and older. According to Toby Batley, Co-Artistic Director for Southern California Ballet, the dance camps promote health and well-being and provide a great way to build kids’ confidence and express their creativity. “Weeklong dance summer camps always give young dancers the chance to springboard their training and make great advances,” Batley said.
A Discover Dance camp will be offered to children ages four to nine. For dancers 10 years and older, a more concentrated training program called Summer Intensives will be available. “We teach young children the joy of movement through classical ballet and other forms of dance,” noted Batley. “Our older intensives give students the chance and time to focus and perfect what they have been working on throughout the year.”
Southern California Ballet is unique in that it provides a high level of training provided by expert teachers who have experience from all around the world. Both Batley and his counterpart, Co-Artistic Director Martha Leebolt, are award-winning principal dancers from the United Kingdom. Both have been nominated for and won national dance awards in the United Kingdom many times throughout their dancing careers. “Our Director of Cecchetti and Founding Director, Sylvia Palmer, is an expert in the Cecchetti curriculum and an examiner and Fellow of Cecchetti USA,” added Batley. “Sylvia was also nominated last year as dance teacher of the year in Dance Magazine.” Also part of the team is Suzan Stone, an Associate with Cecchetti USA. “Susan attended the Cecchetti International teaching conference in Florence this past summer,” shared Batley.
It’s important to the entire team at Southern California Ballet to stay involved with the local community, and they do so in many ways. “We regularly attend and perform at most of the community fairs,” noted Batley. “We hold workshops for Girl Scouts. We hold four performances of our annual Nutcracker especially for schoolchildren. We also hold free creative dance classes at the Rancho Bernardo Library for young children, and perform in senior living communities.”
This year, Batley is excited to announce that the intensives camps will be centered around the classical ballet Cinderella. He assured that the camps will include other genres of dance, as well. “It is a balance of athleticism and artistry,” described Batley. “The camps are fun!”
For more information about Southern California Ballet’s summer camp programs, visit SouthernCaliforniaBallet.org.