Richmond Ballet News

Summer Camp: Behind the Scenes

June 1st, 2018

Summer camp season is here! Minds in Motion summer camp director Emily Dandridge gives us the inside scoop, from a typical day to why the summer camp program started.

In a nutshell, what is a Minds in Motion camp?
It’s a two-week long camp filled with dancing, making friends, playing outside, and making a show: [including] choreography, story, costumes, props, instruments, and more!


What makes the MiM Summer Camp special: Why is it a Minds in Motion dance camp, and not just another summer dance camp?
My main goal of camp is that you leave the two weeks with a new friend you didn’t know before your camp experience.
Through dance, arts and crafts, outside games, sharing, and laughing, we are able to create a cohesive group of dancers and friends who collaborate in making a performance to share with friends and family. Watching the growth of the group from the first day of camp to the last is indescribable – to see students start as strangers and leave as best friends who are anxious to return to camp the next year together is an incredible experience to be a part of.

AND on top of becoming a great group of friends, they put on a darn good show too!!


Correct me if I’m wrong, but this camp is sortof your brain-child–at the very least you’ve been instrumental in getting it going. What made you want to start this program? Why was it important to you?
I hated telling students that their journey with MIM was over: Every year Minds In Motion reaches thousands of 4th-graders throughout the school year. It broke my heart after our Culminating Performances in late spring that dancers would run up to me and say, “I love this so much! How can I keep doing it?!” and I’d have to say, “Well…this is it! You just had a great performance!”
We created summer camps so they could keep dancing for many more years after their 4th-grade experience ended!


Do you have to have participated in the Minds in Motion program to attend the summer camp?
NO! The beauty of MIM is that it’s designed for anyone and everyone to be able to strive and achieve. If you love grooving and moving to music, come dance with us!!


I notice that you’ve expanded the age range this year to include rising 7th-graders. Any special reason for that?
Well, our rising 5th-graders from our pilot year (2016) were so sad that their camp experience ended last year as rising 6th-graders, [that they] kept asking for camp to be extended to rising 7th-graders, so we finally said “OK!”
Our July 30-August 10th camp is now tailored to include rising 7th-graders!


Describe a typical day
We start every morning with a group game/warm-up, then we have a Minds In Motion dance class. After a short break we have a percussion class and work on choreography for our performance. We have lunch, and walk to Brown’s Island (a quick walk from the Richmond Ballet building) for outside time.

After lunch we do arts and crafts, meet the professionals who work in the building—costume department, lighting, and more—and continue to dance and work towards our end of camp performance.


What’s your favorite thing about, or your favorite experience with, this camp?
Too many things to list!

My favorite thing about camp is that students are exposed to the entire performance/theater world. In addition to dancing, we visit the costume shop, the lighting and production department, and learn percussion and drumming.It takes a village to make a show happen, and I love that our campers get to see that you can be involved in performances without being on stage in the spotlight. Everyone can find a home in the theater.

My favorite camp experience is our end of the day circle – we gather in a circle at the end of every day and talk about our favorite part of camp that day, and our goals for the next day. We go around the circle one by one and every students shares. Usually the circle crumbles into a group laughing fit as we remember all the fun we had that day, and share in the joy of creating a project together.


Any hints as to what’s happening in camp this summer?
Dancing, Dragons, Drumming, Great Ballgames, and more!!


Is there still time to sign up? How do I sign up?
Yes!! There is still time! We want YOU to share your summer with us! You can find our registration forms at There are payment plans and financial aid opportunities available as well.

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