Bates Dance Festival to hold youth arts program

The Bates Dance Festival, in sponsorship with the City of Lewiston Recreation Department, will offer a three-week Youth Arts Program July 27-Aug. 15 at the Lewiston Memorial Armory on Central Ave.

Music and dance classes will be held Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon for children ages 6 to 17. During the three-week program, students will learn a range of dance and music styles, from modern and ballet to hip hop and social dances, as well as explore musical genres from around the world. Students will also develop basic skills to enhance self-confidence and self-expression, and gain an understanding for the performing arts.

A program highlight will be 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.

The program is divided into three age groups: 6-9 years, 10-12 years and 13-17 years. Each age group takes two daily classes in dance and music, with a snack provided mid-morning. Under faculty direction, students will create and stage a piece to be performed Aug. 14 at Kennedy Park and Aug. 15 as part of the final concert of the Bates Dance Festival.

Jane Weiner returns for her fifth year as program director to teach a dynamic combination of modern, ballet and hip hop. Weiner resides in Houston, Texas, where she dances, choreographs and teaches at the High School of Performing Arts, Houston Ballet and the Chinuapin School. She is the artistic director of Hope Stone Inc. and a founding member of the acclaimed Doug Elkins Dance Company. Weiner has taught children and teens for 12 years and graduated from Bowling Green University with a degree in deaf/elementary education and a dance minor. During the week of May 11-15, Weiner will conduct a series of dance workshops in Lewiston Schools and area organizations, with funding provided by the National Endowment of the Arts.

Shamou, a San Francisco-based drummer, began his career at an early age in his native Iran. He attended the Berklee School of Music in Boston, where he also taught at many public schools and colleges. Shamou recently released a solo CD, Spirit Dance.

Returning to the teaching staff are Montana resident Rosie Leach, a specialist in creative movement for young children, and Sara Sweet Rabidoux, a graduate student in choreography at Smith College. Two experienced college dance students will serve as apprentices to the program.

The cost of the program is $195. For more information, call the Bates Dance Festival office at 207-786-6381.

The program is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, Maine Community Foundation, Sequoia Foundation, Lewiston-Auburn Children’s Foundation, Androscoggin Savings Bank, Mechanics Savings Bank and Northern Utilities.

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