Bates Dance Festival announces community, youth programs

The Bates Dance Festival, one of the nation’s foremost dance training and presenting programs, invites local residents to participate in two programs this summer.

The programs are a three-week workshop with members of the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, leading to the annual Community Performance project; and the Youth Arts Program, three weeks of daily classes offering youngsters ages 6 to 16 a chance to learn dance and music with nationally acclaimed artists.

The annual Community Performance Project will be preceded by a three-week intensive workshop directed by choreographer-educators Peter DiMuro and Kimberli Boyd of the Lerman company. Twelve area residents, ages 17 and up, will be selected along with 12 Bates Dance Festival students to create and perform a new piece.

The workshop meets at Bates College weekdays from 4 to 6 p.m., July 29-Aug. 17.  Participants must be available to attend all classes for the three weeks.

No prior dance or performance experience is required, and all interested individuals are encouraged to apply.

The piece will be performed as part of the festival’s culminating concerts on Aug. 15 and 16 in Schaeffer Theatre.

The workshop is offered free of charge as part of the festival’s ongoing community outreach effort. Interested individuals must complete a project questionnaire, available through the festival office, by May 30.

DiMuro has been a performer and teacher with Liz Lerman Dance Exchange since 1993. He received the 1995 Public Service in the Arts Award presented by the mayor of Boston in recognition of his AIDS education and outreach work.

Boyd joined the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange in 1988. As the troupe’s associate artistic director, she conducts theater performances and community-based residencies throughout the U.S., working with dancers, teachers, healthcare professionals and community workers.

Liz Lerman Dance Exchange is a multigenerational, Washington, D.C.-based organization composed of dancers who range in age from 20 to 75. The group leads community residencies across the country, involving people from all walks of life in an exploration of the expressive range of dance and theater performance and artmaking.

The Bates Dance Festival Youth Arts Program will take place July 29-Aug. 17 from 9 a.m. to noon each day at the Lewiston Recreation Center. The cost is $180.

The Youth Arts Program is three weeks of daily classes divided into three age groups: 6-9, 10-12 and 13-16. Students have a chance to learn a variety of dance and music styles and put together a show to perform in the final concert of the Bates Dance Festival.

Teacher Jane Weiner, from the Doug Elkins Dance Company, will instruct a combination of modern, ballet and hip hop. Musician Andrew Kushin, of the dance and music group Contraband, will teach music through rhythm and song. Master classes in creative movement and African dance also will be offered.

The Youth Arts Program is sponsored in partnership with the Lewiston Recreation Department.

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