LEWISTON – The Bates Dance Festival will offer its three-week Youth Arts Program from July 25 through Aug. 13 at the United Baptist Church, 250 Main St.

Founded on the belief that the arts offer meaningful ways to engage children intellectually, emotionally and physically, the program aims to enrich children’s lives through the arts.

The program’s past success supports the current research that training in the arts enhances self-confidence and self-expression, improves academic learning and test scores, increases self-discipline and promotes understanding of diverse cultures.

The only requirement for admission is an enthusiasm for the arts and a willingness to try new things. Students at all levels of experience are invited to participate and develop new skills.

Music and dance classes will be held Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for students ages 6 to 17. The program is divided into three age groups: 6 to 9 years, 10 to 12 years and 13 to 17 years. Each age group takes three daily classes in dance and music, with a snack provided mid-morning.

The cost of the program is $250. A limited number of scholarships are available for qualifying Lewiston students. For more information, call the Bates Dance Festival office at 207-786-6381.

During the three-week program, participants learn a dynamic range of modern, ballet, hip-hop and social dance styles, as well as musical genres from around the world. Students develop basic skills to enhance self-confidence and self-expression and gain an understanding of the performing arts.

Program highlights will include special master classes taught by internationally renowned artists-in-residence at the Bates Dance Festival. In addition, all students will receive complimentary tickets to select festival performances.

Culminating the program, the Youth Arts students will create and stage a special piece to be performed Saturday, Aug. 13, in Alumni Gym, Bates College, as part of the finale concert of the Bates Dance Festival.

Returning as co-directors are Sara Sweet Rabidoux, Rose Leach and Terrence Karn. Rabidoux is the artistic director of her own Boston-based dance company, hoi polloi, whose members have recently performed in Tokyo and New York.

Founding hoi polloi in 1998, upon graduating from Smith College, Rabidoux has created works for CrashArts, Montana Transport Co., Boston Dance Umbrella, Mary Williford-Shade, Mount Holyoke College, Phillips Andover Academy, D-9 Dance Collective, Mesa State and Bates College.

A dance educator for more than 10 years, Leach has taught children and adults from Montana to Maine under the auspices of the University of Montana, the Montana Arts Council, Flynn Center for the Arts, Contemporary Dance Studio and the Bates Dance Festival. Rabidoux and Leach have been on the faculty of Youth Arts since the program’s inception in 1993.

Karn is a Houston-based musician and performer who draws on a wide range of cultural traditions and instruments in his career as a performer, teacher and accompanist. He has taught music and dance to students of all ages for more than 25 years in locations across the globe.

Also returning to the staff this summer is dance educator Dana Reed, who received her BFA in dance from the University of Southern Mississippi. Reed has taught dance for Mississippi Community Arts School, New Jersey’s Movement Space and Stage Coach Arts, Brooklyn, N.Y.

She is the founder of Alternative Collaborations, a multi-media performance company. Three experienced college dance students will serve as apprentices to the program.

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