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Sammatti adult dance camp

Jaana Heino

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I thought that maybe for fun I'd fill out the SI feedback form for the adult dance camp I went to, and post it on this forum. This camp was in Sammatti, Finland, for a week. Traditionally, there's been classes in ballet and one other dance form; this year that other form was Irish dance. Please also see my Dance camp diary, if you are interested. :angry:


Dancer Age/Sex: 29 / Female




Number of students in class: In my classes, 12 in the ballet class, about 20 (?) in the Irish class.


Was the student challenged? Yes!


Did the students have the same teacher(s) every day? Yes. It's a small camp; only one ballet teacher and one Irish dance teacher.


How many classes were held each day/week? One two-hour class of ballet, one 1,5 hour class of Irish, 1 hour of ballet repertory (rehearsal for the performance), and 1 hour of stretching. Studio space was available for students to practice on their own, too.


Was partnering available and if so, for what levels? No.


Was Pilates or other conditioning offered? Apart from the stretching class, no.


Were the studios/facilities adequate? The dance classes were held in two old wooden houses, transformed to studios with the help of sturdy portable barres and dance mats. The floor in the ballet studio was glorious to jump in, as it was an old style wooden sprung floor! The other studio also had a good floor, but it was a bit more stiff. There were no mirrors.




RA/student ratio: One person from each apartment of 8 people was assigned as the "leader". Everyone else was supposed to tell her if they went e.g. swimming, but this was not enforced for people over 18 (the teens were kept a keener eye on, but we had none in our apartment, so it was pretty relaxed).


Were you happy with the security/supervision? Sure.


Was it easy to communicate with home (phone, email, messages left with the program, etc.)? Most had their own mobile phones. There was no Internet connection available, but I don't feel it was a problem. Newspapers came to the main building of the accommodation site (not that many of us read much of them, but we would have had the opportunity...)


Were you happy with the accommodations? Yes. We slept eight people in one apartment, two people to a room. The apartments were spacious and comfortable, and there was a kitchen where we could keep our snacks in the fridge.


Were you happy with the food? YES! It was healthy, and extremely good. We had a good breakfast with lot of choices, a light lunch (soup and salads), and a heavier dinner with (not so healthy) dessert. Coffee and tea were available at each meal, and we got freshly baked bread every time, too! (Vegetarian choices were available at each meal.) We were responsible for our own snacks, but on Saturday when we performed in the evening we were encouraged to take fruit and bread with us from the dining hall, as dinner was only after the performance.


What was the best weekend activity? We didn't have actual such, but on Wednesday we had a slower day and there was a tour of Sammatti for those interested (I didn't go) and a very nice common social evening (which included dancing, of course...)


Was there enough/too much down time? Enough, though some days were pretty long when we decided to practice on our own during our scheduled downtime.




Was there a performance at the end and if so, what were your impressions? There was a performance, with some numbers from the course participants, and some visiting professional dancers. We performed two times, and I liked it very much. We got complimented about how it went, also by people who wouldn't say it just to be nice. :wink:


Was casting equitable? Yes.


Was class time used for rehearsals? If so, at what point in the SI did rehearsals begin? No for the ballet, yes for the Irish. Rehearsals began the first day. In ballet we had an hour of repertory (rehearsal) each day. In Irish dance, the rehearsals ate up more and more of the class time each day (my only complaint with the camp).


Did you feel that the number of injuries was average for an SI? No. I feel it was higher. The problem seemed to be the fact that Irish dance and ballet combined badly with each other, demanding too much from people's feet, and resulting in hurt ankles, feet and toes. (Next year, the word is, they'll take something else as the second dance form - character dance was suggested, but it's not certain that they'll find a teacher.)


Do you have any personal experience about how injuries, treatment and recuperation were handled? Each did their basic first aid themselves or helped by friends and teachers. Ice packs were available at the studios. Two of the camp organizers were doctors, and they could be consulted when necessary.




How many weeks is the program? Eight days.


Is this program more suitable for any specific age group? This is a camp for adult and teen "serious recreational" dancers, and some young women in pre-pro programs took part too. I think the teens taking part should be at least 15 or 16 years old; younger ones might be a bit lost amongst the rest.


What did you like best? The way Ms Jane Spackman ran the ballet rehearsals. She is a very good and organized teacher and rehearser, and never lost her control of the flow of the practice. She did miracles with us in just seven days!


What did you like least? The way how the Irish rehearsal ate up all the class time in the end.


Do you have any tips for preparing for this SI (i.e. packing, travel, etc.)? Don't take much "nice clothes", you won't be needing them. Prepare for the 800 meter walk to the studio: check that you have good street shoes that your feet are used to, and take a pair of trousers or something that you can throw on your sweaty ballet gear to walk back. It's not obligatory to perform, but I seriously suggest you do. It's an experience.


Would the student return again? Please explain. Yes! The ballet classes were so great, and the company of like-minded ballet-crazy adults was such a nice thing to have. Working on a more intensive level than at home was also a very good experience.


In a word or phrase, please describe the atmosphere of this SI. Please include anything that is exceptional or unique about this program, that will help others gain a sense of the culture at this SI. The athmosphere was one of hard-working companionship. Everyone was encouraging and caring towards others, and I felt that the teachers really cared about developing our dance. The surroundings were nice, as we were at the country-side and it was a kind of retreat from the hassle of normal urban life, too.

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