Faculty Rejuvenates at Intensive Summer Dance Camp

For the past 10 summers, Northwest School dance teacher Ellie Sandstrom has taught at two separate week-long intensive dance camps produced by Seattle Theatre Group: Dance This Intensive, held at the Phelp’s Center, and Dance This Camp at Fort Warden, in Port Townsend.

The close-knit nature of the camp forms an instant community for the students. For Ellie, the camps allow her to interface with dance teachers from all over the nation.

“It is a great experience for me professionally to be around these fantastic teachers and dancers, discuss how we approach teaching, dance vocabulary, everything,” says Ellie. “Every year I generate some new material to bring to Northwest, and I always appreciate that.”

Ellie calls the DANCE This Camp an energizing experience, despite the long days. The classes start at 9:00 am and finish at 8:30 pm. As in many past years, Ellie welcomed familiar faces of Northwest School students who enrolled in the camps.

“Seeing the Northwest students is great because I feel like I get to work with them in a different way,” says Ellie. “I love watching the risks the students take, and how they challenge themselves to get through such an intense day like that.”

Ellie teaches ballet and modern dance at the camp, and this year she set the goal of creating a site-specific dance piece for her class to perform, utilizing the bunkers and tunnels of Fort Warden.

“I brought all of these lights and we turned the dance into a movie of sorts,” says Ellie. “I wanted to challenge myself artistically and do something different.”