LEWISTON – The Bates Dance Festival will offer its three-week Youth Arts Program from July 24 through Aug. 12 at the First Universalist Church on Pleasant Street, Auburn.

A music and dance camp for local youth, the program aims to enrich children’s lives through training and access to the arts. The program provides local youth with high quality arts experiences by bringing them together with master artists-in-residence at the Bates Dance Festival.

The program’s past success has shown 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 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays 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-Auburn students.

For more information, call the festival office at 786-6381 or visit http://www.bates dancefestival.org.

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

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

Culminating the program, the students will create and stage a special piece to be performed Saturday, Aug. 12, in Alumni Gym, Bates College, as part of the festival finale concert.

Returning as co-directors of the program are Jane Weiner and Terrence Karn, who will teach classes along with faculty members Rose Leach and Dana Reed. Weiner is the founding co-director of the program and the artistic director of her own Houston-based dance company, Hope Stone Inc.

She was also a founding member of the Doug Elkins Dance Co. with whom she performed for 10 years. Weiner has been teaching dance to children of all ages for more than 20 years. She has received numerous awards for her creative and humanitarian work. Her choreography as been performed by the Houston Metropolitan Dance Co., the High School for Performing and Visual Arts and the Houston Repertoire Ballet.

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.

A dance educator for more than 10 years, Rose 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. Leach has been on the faculty since the program’s inception in 1993.

Also returning to the staff is dance educator Dana Reed. 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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