Summer Childcare: A Solution

Hi guys! Your friendly neighborhood dance teacher here. You’ve probably been seeing a lot of chatter on social media about the summer programs at Pure Energy. There’s a reason for that! Several, actually.

Jessica Lemmons Bryan Texas Dance Camps
Jessica Lemmons Dance Teacher Bryan Texas

Most summer childcare options in Bryan and College Station are Mom and Dad driven. Meaning: it meets the needs of working parents. It’s a place where they can trust that their child will be safe while they are at work. Safe, but… potentially bored, and not engaging their growing brain. Summertime is meant to be a break for young ones, yes. But, a brain without an activity will find one. And unless you’ve made sure that it’s a constructive activity that is found… you might not appreciate what your child’s brain concocts for them during their hours in childcare over the summer. That’s where Pure Energy comes in.

Our Production Workshop series is more than just a summer childcare solution, it’s a whole brain activity. There is no part of your child’s brain that ISN’T stimulated! They’re physically active, yes. But beyond just wearing themselves out, they’re being creative from the beginning of the day until you pick them up at the end of camp. How is that possible in six hours? I’ll elaborate.

Camp begins promptly at 9AM with a choreographed warm-up, led by one of the rockstar dance teachers of Pure Energy. It’s uncomplicated, but has enough moving pieces to ensure that your child’s brain is getting a warm-up along with their body. The steps are basic enough that even if they’ve never danced a day in their life, they can follow along with their (soon-to-be) friends. After a quick post-warm up stretch session, participants migrate to the kitchen area for their morning snack (fresh fruit for the win!), and then rotations begin.

Every day, each camper visits multiple stations within the studio. Each station is helping them prepare for the final show on Friday afternoon (more on that later). But as I am a dance teacher, I’m going to break it down into smaller pieces for you, and then we’ll look at the whole.

Choreography: Participants will learn a new dance every day that is appropriate for their age and ability level. Storytelling through the art of dance is  a learned skill, so you can bet your boots that we take it seriously. These dances will be performed in the order they were learned on Friday at their final performance. Technically they can be challenging, but at a level that is accessible for a beginner in their age grouping.

Technique: This station is an opportunity for further rehearsal (and helps them exercise that memory retention muscle!), but it is also a mini dance class! Participants will get a taste of what dance students experience weekly, with plenty of introductory dance technique. And as an added bonus, we include an agility circuit during the second half of the technique rotation. In addition to just being fun, this is EXTREMELY beneficial when it comes to improving hand-eye coordination. Dancers aren’t the only ones who need help in that department; sportsball players benefit too, as well as surgeons, nurses, drone operators, the list goes on.

Sets: When the week begins, the instructor has a rough idea of what they want the stage to look like during the end of week performance. But they start work on Monday ready to listen and adapt their sketches to incorporate the ideas that their students bring to the table. They then spend the rest of the week helping the campers bring their ideas to life. They use simple craft supplies, and some things that most people would consider trash, to create the perfect backdrop for their storytelling experience at the end of the week.

Costumes: Who doesn’t love to play dress up? Every day at the costume station, campers help design, and assemble a costume that compliments the character that they are portraying in the dance they learn that day. Aside from creative expression, they get to utilize their problem solving skills, as there are only so many supplies per camper, and they have to make sure that they can assemble what they need to in order for their costume to be complete in time for their performance. The results are always mystifying, and the ways that the campers find to utilize their materials is astounding.

Props: Similar to costumes, this station is in place so that campers can build anything that they might actually use in their dances. I’ve seen fans, swords, umbrellas, briefcases, you name it! Anything that you can dream can be built out of materials that most people would simply toss in the recycling bin. Students learn not only to build what they need, but that trash isn’t necessarily trash, and they should find a new way to utilize what they have.

All of these different stations (plus time for lunch and a brief movie break so everybody’s stomach can settle) make up a single day at camp. At the end of the daily rotation, there is another snack, and then participants practice for one another. Every day, every group will get up in front of the other campers, and perform the dances that they’ve learned that day. Everyone watches, and everyone performs. Those who are not currently dancing are supportive of their fellow campers, and the cheers are heard across the entire studio. Why is this important?

Well, for one thing, it helps performers remember what they’ll need to know for the show on Friday. But more importantly: it gives them a sense of confidence and accomplishment that will be with them for the rest of their lives. When a young person gets up in front of a group of their peers to perform, nerves are involved. Very involved. Learning to push past the antsy feelings and attend to the task at hand is hard. Having an environment where children feel like it’s ok to fail is crucial to learning how to navigate their own emotions as they continue to grow and learn.

“Take the stage” isn’t just a kitchy phrase that we use to tie photos together on social media. When we say “take the stage” of course we refer to performing, but it’s so much more. It means “become who you were meant to be, who you already are”. When we say “take the stage” we mean “face down the scary things of the world that are preventing you from being the most genuine version of YOU that you can be”. That is what is at the core of our summer workshop philosophy. Yes, it is summer childcare for busy parents. Yes, it’s fun and steeped in sparkle. Yes, there’s a show at the end of the week that gives you the opportunity to ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ over what your baby has learned in just 5 short days. But the takeaways are above and beyond what you see at the surface. The little girl wearing a blue tutu may have been afraid to raise her hand in class last fall, but she danced in front of an audience! That little boy wearing a set of wings that he made himself may have been feeling that he didn’t measure up after a year of constantly being told to be still, but he learned that his wiggles have a purpose! Children who are allowed the opportunity to experiment without ridicule grow into adults who aren’t afraid to try new things, and those adults are the ones who find new and inventive ways to clean the oceans, power our homes, treat cancer, and change our world for the better.

If you are the parent of a 3-12 year old in Bryan/College-Station, a summer at Pure Energy is the best possible gift you could give to your child. There are still spaces available in most of our workshop sessions, but they tend to go fast. To register, click here. Mention that I sent you, and there might even be a discount that you can apply! Register today, change the world tomorrow.

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Jessica Lemmons

Jessica Lemmons spent her early life in her hometown of Abilene Texas where she studied dance, and performed with the Chameleon Performing Arts Company (Teri Wilkerson, director and choreographer), and in the Corps du Ballet with Dance Ltd. Studios (Cindy Mundschenk, director and choreographer).  In 2010 she received her Bachelor’s of Music with an emphasis in vocal performance from Abilene Christian University, where she performed numerous lead and supporting opera roles under the tutelage of Dr. Michael Scarbrough.

Throughout 2012, she studied acting at the State Theatre School in Austin under M. J. Vandivier. Jessica has also enjoyed working, and performing with The Lyric Stage in Irving, where she was able to utilize her opera, dance, and dramatic backgrounds. Jessica is excited to be teaching in the Brazos Valley, and helping young performers set off on their own dramatic path.