RECOMMENDED: Full guide to summer camps in NYC
Future DJs, Broadway stars and ballerinas can really hone their talent when they spend their summer at one of the area's best performing arts camps. Industry professionals will lead your kids through exciting games and amazing acting classes, plus your little ones can collaborate with other mini music fans and even perfect their dance technique at cool dance classes.
Performing arts camps
Professional actors encourage kids to bring whimsical settings and storybook characters to life in these stimulating theater workshops. In the Adventure Series, the tiniest thespians (ages 3 to 5) build props and puppets and learn to move, sing and act through dramatic play. During weeklong sessions, they explore classic fables, outer space, life under the sea and beyond as they prepare for their final showcase. Songs and games take the forefront in Mini Musical camps (ages 4 to 6), in which kiddos work with real Broadway performers to create their own twist on well-known tales like Peter Pan, The Jungle Book and The Wizard of Oz. The oldest set (ages 7 to 11) spend the week honing their acting, singing, choreography and memorization skills, presenting themes like “Roald Dahl on Stage” and Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Much Ado About Nothing in their impressive final shows. Ages 3–11.
The emerging theater artists of Piper Theatre Productions open up their stage at Old Stone House to youngsters who want to dip their toes into drama and performing arts. The company’s Starlings Drama and Puppetry workshops get kids moving, singing and playing theater games during one- or two-week sessions. Campers spend the day working on their performance skills, rehearsing and designing sets so they’re ready to put on an exciting show for their family and friends. Students tackle productions of classic texts, including King Lear: Of King and Country and The Iliad, during the first session (July 5 to 15) and take on King Lear: Weathering the Storm and The Odyssey in the second session (July 18 to 29). Kids with special interests can enroll in puppetry workshops or one-week improv classes. Extended hours are available for an additional fee. Ages 7–11.
Campers in Marymount School’s summer performing arts program get a multidimensional theater experience, plus the joys of a traditional day camp. During Drama (ages 5 to 12) and Cabaret camps (ages 5 to 6), professional teaching artists lead the little ones in storytelling, creative movement, dance and singing, and help campers put their creative touch on costumes and sets for the full-fledged musical that they star in at the end of the session. During the summer, they have the chance to receive training from Broadway set designers, actors and directors, plus sit in the audience at a real-deal production on the Great White Way. To supplement the theater-heavy agenda, the camp offers arts and crafts, weekly swim instruction, sports and field trips in the area. Extended hours are available for an additional fee. Ages 5–12.
Dancewave offers exciting half and full-day youth camps for kids ages five to 18. Choose from three summer camp sessions (I, II and III) featuring exciting instruction in subjects like ballet, jazz, modern and hip hop. Summer intensives are also offered for kids ten to 18 and require an audition. Summer Dance Intensive and summer camp held at 182 Fourth Ave, Brooklyn; Advanced Summer Dance Intensive held at 729 Carroll St.
Ballet is only the beginning at this immersive dance program for young girls. In addition to top-quality ballet training with live musical accompaniment, budding prima ballerinas try out different dance disciplines, like jazz, tap, modern and musical theater. Alternative activities, like yoga, drama, gymnastics, cooking and swimming, are scheduled throughout the week at a nearby New York Sports Club to mix things up. A perennial favorite of Summerdance is the tradition of in-studio performances—one at the program’s midway point and another at the end—when proud parents can document their kids’ perfect pirouettes. Ages 4–9.
Young dancers who are ready to learn the basics of ballet and other genres are sure to start things off on the right foot in these seasonal workshops. Tiny tots begin with one-day sessions of movement, improvisation and introductory steps at Creative Dance (ages 4 to 6), while more experienced youngsters take their craft to the next level in two-week Children’s Dance Camps (ages 6 to 9, 10 to 13) that focus on strength, technique and musicality. They try their toes at ballet, modern dance, jazz, tap and others, moving along to live music. Teen workshops (ages 13 to 18) also are offered for both newbies and experienced dancers looking for intermediate and advanced training. Extended hours are available for an additional fee. Ages 4–18.
Future rockers get all the skills they need to make it in the music biz at this camp at Complete Music Studios. Kids of all skill levels are grouped into bands and jam together to foster teamwork. They get inspired by established artists and analyze song structure, then craft their own hits. After an intense week of songwriting, young stars head to the Bunker Studio in Williamsburg to try the facility’s analog gear and record their original tunes. They’ll leave with a link to share and download their songs. Ages 8–18.
Do you have a particularly hammy kid at home? Set them loose at this stand-up comedy camp, where they’ll drop the potty humor once they’ve crafted a clever stand-up routine, with help from professional comics! The interactive workshops give them time to write and practice their performing skills, all while drawing from silly experiences in their own lives. You’re sure to be impressed by their theatrics and techniques during the live show at the end of camp—and they’ll definitely get some giggles out of you. Ages 10 to 18.
Throughout the year, talented kids take the TADA! stage to star in musical adaptations of favorite children’s storybooks. During the summer, tykes (ages 6 to 8, 9 to 14) have the opportunity to join the troupe for a weeklong musical-theater intensive, no auditions required! The group won’t learn a written script, but will put their heads together and start from scratch, writing their very own mini musical, based on an assigned theme, in just five days. After crafting a plotline, campers transition into actors, rehearsing at lightning speed to prepare their Friday performance. Do your little ones want in? Those ages 4 to 5 can join two-week, half-day camps where they learn musical numbers from the theater’s own repertoire as well as Broadway and Off Broadway. All groups proudly present their hard work on the last day of camp, before heading home with show tunes in their heads. Extended hours available for an added fee. Ages 4–14.
With tutus, fairy godmothers and glass slippers in the mix, no self-respecting little ballerina or danseur could say no to this youth dance camp. Tiny dancers (ages 3 to 6) can sign up for weeklong programs with a final performance like Sleeping Beauty, in which wee ones follow feathered Odette across an enchanted lake, or Cinderella, in which the princess’s fairies come to life through creative dances to Prokofiev’s score. Older kids ages 7 to 9 can dance through two-week sessions, trying on ballet, folk, hip-hop and jazz-contemporary techniques that culminate in a final performance for families, complete with group and solo numbers. Ages 3–9.