But I have to be real about this – I would only, only, only recommend that for children who are mentally fatigued and because of that, ill-prepared to advance.
It is not applicable advice for dancers over the age of 8 or so years, who are intent on improving, or even maintaining, their technique.
The reality is that until I started teaching at a competition school on Long Island almost two decades ago, I never even heard of a dancer who didn't study over summer. It really boggled my mind - like, what a waste of the little time we have to really improve.
Point(e) blank: If you are not taking summer classes, you are missing a major opportunity. Summer is a time when we don’t have the mental exhaustion we face during the school year. We have readiness of mind and malleability of body (the body is more flexible in heat) to really up our game. It is a well-known reality that dancers improve three-fold during summer intensives compared to a regular 4-5 month semester, even though it’s only a third of the time. But even taking regular weekly classes will help you maintain your strength, technique, flexibility and stamina.
Not only that, but it will take a dancer at least two months to get back into the shape they left off in June after two months off.
If you blow off summer classes, you are losing half a year of valuable improvement!
I realize that ballet is not everyone’s first priority and I truly believe that is should remain accessible to all regardless of how dedicated you can/are able to be.
But do not be mistaken – DANCERS do not take months off from their technique. Regular people do.