As part of our summer partnerships, we always cherish the return of MAIH members to participate to three weeks of dance and creative arts summer camps at Les Grands Ballets. This summer, we tried to be innovative in the development of the programs, while keeping the activities preferred by the participants. Each week was based on a different theme, to further motivate participants to get out of their comfort zone and to discover new interests.
We started the summer with a journey through time, which guided the first week of the camp. During our second week, with the theme “Under the Circus Tent” as the common thread, we received a circus artist, Mélodie Lamoureux, who came to give a hula hoop workshop. It was a first for the Grands Ballets camps! Marking the end of our summer activities, the third week of camp took the group on a trip around the world. Through explorations of different dance styles and rhythms, which ranged from African dances to Latin choreography to Greek dance, our studio resonated with a unique tempo.
We have spoken to the camp professionals and participants to hear about their experience.
For the past four years, summer camps at Les Grands Ballets have always been a priority in the summer program of the MAIH activities. What was the response of participants to our addition of themes this summer?
“Indeed, the camps at Les Grands Ballets are among the MAIH’s favourites. Having themes this year added colour! It orients the participants and sets the tone for the week's activities and for the Friday show. Also, as it changes from week to week, they will explore something different while keeping a certain routine in the activities. It is very much appreciated by the participants who come to the MAIH activities and to Les Grands Ballets camps, but also by their families’’ – Liliana Tano, MAIH’s Habilities Coordinator.
“When there is a theme, it provides the participants more structure and it gives them more context. Thanks to this and the more educational side of the themes, they are more motivated during the activities because they understand and know where it leads them.” – Cynthia and Yasmine, facilitators at the MAIH.
Was there an activity or an outing during the week that stood out the most?
“Several activities were really appreciated, like the costume workshop! It was really stimulating for them to see the different colours and textures and also to see the costumes from the shows like the big dresses from The Nutcracker. Then they were able to apply what they saw to the craft activity following the visit! During the opera workshop with Pierre Rancourt, the participants were able to gain self-confidence by visiting different emotions while singing. Then we did a fruit skewer cooking activity with Audrée from the NCDT and they had responsibilities like cutting and assembling their fruit skewers with chocolate and candies. For them to be able to eat it afterwards was a double pleasure.’’ – Yasmine, facilitator at the MAIH.
How have the various guest artists inspired the participants of the camp?
“The guest artists really influenced our participants during each of the weeks. For example, when Myriam Simon (Les Grands Ballets' Principal Dancer) came, she immediately hypnotized the participants with her beautiful presence. They wanted to become like the professionals when they did their tendues at the barre with the NCDT dance teachers afterwards. Otherwise, Valérie Walker (opera singer) greatly influenced Delphine, a second week participant who loves opera. The hula hoop with Mélodie Lamoureux raised the energy level from 0 to 100. Since it is new, they loved it. It increased their creativity to do new things that they wouldn't necessarily do at the MAIH.” - Cynthia, facilitator at the MAIH.
Some participants have shared their favorite moments of the week:
“My creativity like what I did at the show I feel good, I am at the right pace and also I remained in the order of Angélique and Émilie. I did my best to keep the rhythm and the right tempo. My favourite part was the salsa! Why? Because salsa is a Latin dance from Cuba! I also liked going to Greece with Greek music and dancing.’’ – Louis, participant.
“I enjoyed my week at Les Grands Ballets, I had never done that in my life. The people are all really friendly, it was really nice. My favorite activities were dancing, moving and everything! '' – Stéphane, participant.
“I like to do salsa dancing and I like to say OPAAAAA! Yeah, I really liked that! ‘’ - Marie-Ève, participant.