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French Woods Camp


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Has anyone on here had a dancer go to Camp French Woods? It is an arts camp in upstate NY that has programs in Dance, Art, Circus, Acting etc. It is definetely not an SI but my dd is interested in going there for part of the summer and I was looking for more information. Thanks

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If your dd wants a serious ballet program to improve her technique, then you might consider checking out the SIs listed and read some of the reviews to help determine which programs may be a good fit for her. Perhaps check to see which SIs are available close to you. That way she wouldn't have to be too far from home.


If she wants to have a camp experience, then she could go to this French Woods.

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I would like her to have both. French Woods has 3 week sessions. She could then do an SI later in the summer if it works out. She is 11 but has only been dancing for two years and I dont know if she will get into the ones she is interested in.

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The following information was sent to me by a student who attended French Woods this past summer:


1) The people

The people at camp are generally very nice. I was extremely lucky, and my bunk (I only went one session) had some of the sweetest people I've ever met as well as amazing couselors (two of the three of them I still write weekly). Even if your daughter isn't that lucky, every bunk I saw had at least three or four amazing people.

2) The activities.

Every day (as I'm sure you read on the website) is divided up into 6 periods.

We wake up and go to breakfast (you sit with your bunk) at 7:30 I believe.

At 8:30 we start bunk clean up. Every bunk does it differently-some don't bother, some make the campers do it, and some have everybody pitch in. Although at first most people complain about the clean up, its really not that bad!

Then you go to your first activity, first Major. Mine was a beginner jazz class (it was too easy, but I wanted two jazzes every day). Then first minor (it can either change day to day or you can choose to have dance, a show, or something else everyday), second minor (I did beginning modern), and then lunch. After lunch, there is second major (mine was ballet), third minor (I had intermediate Jazz) then finally third major (I did a strength and stretch class with me, my counselor, two girls in my bunk, and another girl who was probably about your daughter's age) and it was my favorite class ever, including home classes.

Then dinner, then a rest hour, when you can shower, take a nap, write home, read, etc. Then evening activity, which is normally pretty boring. :ermm: The shows are interesting, but sometimes you just go and play games or whatever and it can get old. Then canteen, which is like a dance party (its really fun!) and then bed. Days are very very busy at camp ;)


During visiting weekend, there are many many many shows. There are four times to see shows as each musical/drama will perform twice and there are two sets that go at the same time. There is also circus, Jr. circus, the dance show, and music shows, and many more. Starting two or three days before the weekend, dress rehearsals begin, and most people don't end up getting to go all their activities because of rehearsals. On show days, when you're not with your bunk, you can mainly do whatever you want.


I'm assuming your daughter will mainly be wanting to dance.

The dance teachers are mainly good teachers, but often two teachers per class and sometimes teachers are out of their chosen genres. My favorite counselor was a dancer and she taught my strength class and co-taught my modern and jazz. The modern there was actually really good and interesting! I never did hiphop or tap so I can't tell you about those, but the jazz was good-a lot of emphasis on choreography, which can be fun. My ballet teacher there was Sharon something (can't remember her last name) and she used to dance with SAB and NYCB and teaches all over new jersey. She was probably the best teacher I ever had of ballet, and I've had many good teachers.

I hope this helps, and tell me if you decide to go! (I will probably go sessions 2 and 3).

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I'm not sure how far you are willing to travel, but you might also want to check out the threads on this forum regarding Interlochen's summer program. I do not have first-hand knowledge of this program, but I believe it is a summer camp environment. It is located in Michigan.

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We are in Atlanta so Michigan not much different from NY! I had looked at Interlochen but for some reason remember thinking she needed to be en pointe for their camp. I will check out the thread and see if that info is there. Thanks

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My non-dancing daughter (10 yo) went to French Woods this past summer. It is a great place, and she had a great time (although she was very homesick and will probably wait until she is 12 to return)! One of my DD's dance teacher's daughters also goes there, primarily for the musical theater experience, which is amazing! When I asked the teacher about the dancing she echoed what was said above - it varies tremendously, and there is no guarantee of quality technical instruction. You should definitely not think of it as an SI! However, your daughter will have a great time, and get lots of good performance experience no matter what she focuses on. If you can pair it with a good SI I definitely recommend it highly.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 months later...

Clementine, I am thinking of sending my soon-to-be 11 year-old DD to French Woods for one session and a two-week SI afterwards as well. She dances so much during the school year that she rarely gets a chance to try anything else, and I thought maybe going to a regular sleep away camp before doing a truly intense sleep away SI would be a good experience. I thought, if nothing else, DD can stay in shape at French Woods while also trying music and acting, and work on technique at the later SI. We might see you at FW this summer!

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Hi cbearsmom. My dd is going to first session at French Woods. Which session would your dd go to? What part of the country do you live in? We are in Georgia!

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Hi Clementine, we are in NY and get out of school at the end of June, so she would go to the 2nd session at French Woods and the ABT Young Dancers SI later in the summer. Hope your DD has a great summer!

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