Dance Camp Delights Students, Parents Alike

PBA dance instructor Ivy Canapa works with student Mia Andrews

The dance studio inside Palm Beach Atlantic University’s Vera Lea Rinker Hall was alive with the sound of music Tuesday as a troupe of Summer Dance Camp students moved rhythmically around the room under their teacher’s direction. 

As the young dancers raised their arms and readied their feet for musical flight, PBA dance instructor Ivy Canapa watched keenly, correcting their form and style where necessary before they leaped into action.

“What’s on the schedule today?” asked West Palm Beach parent Erin Andrews of her daughter Mia, 7 as she dropped her off for camp.

“I think it’s Jazz, Modern, Ballet,” chimed in another enthusiastic camper before Mia could reply.

Andrews, a former dance teacher, said PBA’s summer offering is her daughter’s first experience with a dance camp. It was “highly recommended by friends,” and she had heard “great things about Ms. Ivy,” from other mothers with children who had previously attended.

“Mia comes home happy every day,” said Andrews, noting that she’s enjoying it so much that she’s considering enrolling her in the University’s Dance Preparatory classes this fall.

The three-week Summer Dance Camp program kicked off June 4 and runs through June 22 and offers classes from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in ballet, modern dance, jazz and tap primarily to students ranging in age from seven to 11.

Summer dance camp student Penn Skillern takes flight

The dance camp is part of the PBA’s eight-year-old Preparatory Department in the School of Music and Fine Arts, which acts as a feeder school for the University, said Kathleen Klein, professor of dance and Department chair.

“It’s for students that maybe have experienced a certain type of dance class but they want to experiment with other classes,” said Klein of the dance camp. “For example if they’ve taken ballet, but haven’t had jazz, or tap or modern, they get a little smattering of that before we go into the fall programs and they register for classes.” 

The feedback received from camp participants over the years has been positive, Klein noted. 

“The students absolutely love it. They love ‘Ms. Ivy.’ She is a jewel in our crown,” Klein said of Canapa, an adjunct instructor who also teaches undergraduate students at PBA.

For Sara Skillern of West Palm Beach, the variety of family-oriented entertainment and educational options available at the University is a major draw.

“It offers a lot,” said Skillern of PBA, noting that her family often attends concerts and other events hosted by the University.

Skillern’s daughter Penn, 6, who is participating in the summer dance camp, has been attending dance classes at PBA since she was 3, and her son Ross, 12, is enrolled in basketball camp

“They’re happy to be here,” Skillern said. “They love it here.”