About the Camp

The Luther College Summer Dance Camp started as a spark of inspiration by Luther alumna Christie Owens. It is designed to give kids grades 6-12 across the Midwest a chance to experience all of the empowering and magical moments that come with combining Dance and Camp. Campers with all backgrounds, dance techniques, dance levels, and performing arts disciplines have fun learning at Dance Camp!

All are welcome at camp to share in creating and campers leave feeling challenged, empowered, and uplifted. All campers are moved to find truth and expression through movement and dance, guided by talented counselors and international teachers who have trained with Jane Hawley’s nationally acclaimed Movement Fundamentals. With daily dance classes built around a variety of teachers and techniques (contemporary, hip-hop, jazz, and improvisation), workshops focus on cultivating individual and collective inspiration. Campers come home INSPIRED by a rounded approach to dance, expression, body, performance, creation, and learning!

MOVE and PLAY for Youth: Social-Emotional Learning in Action

The science behind camp: It’s Brain-Based!

At Dance Camp, we know that Movement is impactful in more ways than one. “Scientific research supports one major claim about movement and learning: the same part of the brain that processes movement also happens to process learning, attention, and memory—the cerebellum. So in the same way that regular physical activity strengthens the muscles, movement similarly helps construct and strengthen neural pathways.” This literally means movement helps our brains work better!

At Camp we also value the potential of Play, defined as a self-chosen, self-directed, non-stressed frame of mind, having to do with motivation and mental attitude.

When we combine Movement with Play, an essential ingredient with all camps, we provide space for our youth to have control, agency, and freedom within their dancing and inquiring without fear of judgment or making mistakes.

Movement and Play at Dance Camp give our campers the tools to activate and inspire at camp, and when they leave camp. An experience at Dance Camp builds strong and multi-faceted voices, leaders and dancers. Movement and Play is a way into building youth across the Midwest into creative, expressive leaders.

Learn more by visiting The Science Behind Movement: How to Use it at Home

The Value of Play I: The Definition of Play Gives Insights


Campers stay in air-conditioned dorms and are provided with breakfast, lunch, and dinner from the Luther College Dining Services. Counselors provide round the clock guidance and supervision around Luther’s campus. In addition to dance, campers experience team building activities and can expect to take in picturesque Decorah, Iowa with a walk to the Whippy Dip and hike through the Decorah Community Prairie & Butterfly Garden. Campers also will participate in a campfire and enjoy Decorah’s swimming pool.

Parents, guests, families and community members are invited to a closing “Informance” celebrating the work and learning of the week.

About Christie, Camp Creator and Coordinator

A native of Orange County, California, Christie’s own experience at camp started at The Painted Turtle Camp located in Lake Hughes, California, a nonprofit for children with life-threatening and chronic illnesses. Christie’s own experience with the accessibility and positivity of The Painted Turtle inspired Christie to curate Luther’s first Dance Camp in 2016. With movement and play being the guiding principles of camp, Dance Camp offers the opportunity of creative, movement-based empowerment in a nurturing and uplifting environment.

Christie’s experience as a facilitator of dance, movement, and expression continued at The Painted Turtle as she went on to teach Creative Arts for hundreds of children at The Painted Turtle for several summers. Christie elected to build a Dance Camp at Luther College as her senior project. Christie graduated from Luther in 2016 with a Dance major and Music minor and continues to passionately teach and heal as a Performing Arts Teacher at Bancroft Elementary School for the Minneapolis Public School District. As a trauma-informed yoga instructor in Minneapolis, Christie’s educational paradigm lives in an accessible and culturally activated lens, inspired by the performativity of life’s big and small moments through ideokinetic imagery, perceptual anatomy, and storytelling. Christie is a Movement Fundamentals practitioner, Certified Yoga Instructor and Social Justice Artist.