Two iconic island cultural centers are joining forces to bring stage-seeking students a pack of performing opportunities during mid-winter break camps.
Bainbridge Performing Arts’ Theatre School and Bainbridge Dance Center’s grade-based camp offerings begin Tuesday, Feb. 20, and include such courses as Group Voice, Story Ballet, Dance Composition and Costume Design.
Students can sign up for as many or as few classes as interests them, and will be supervised in between courses. Sessions are from 9:30 to 11 a.m., 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and from 1:15 to 2:45 p.m.
“It’s structured [so] that BPA is offering two classes and BDC is offering a class, but we’ve lined them up so students can easily take all three. And then we’re hoping to invert that number for Spring Break and have BDC offer two and BPA offer one,” said BPA education director Elizabeth Ellis.
Students in grades kindergarten through third grade may choose from two camp options: Group Voice with Ellis, a fun-filled introduction to basic harmonies and syncopation designed to groom students for a lifetime of positive performance opportunities; and Story Ballet, with BDC’s Kim Holloway, a Seattle-based contemporary choreographer and BDC faculty member, designed to help students grow their body awareness and sense of rhythm through the characters, music and famous movements from ballets such as “Swan Lake,” “The Nutcracker” and “Sleeping Beauty.”
Students in grades 4 through 6 may choose from three camp options: Dance Composition, lead by Holloway, introduces students to fundamental concepts of dance composition and ways of telling stories with their bodies; Costume Design, in which students will gain access to BPA’s entire costume stock as well as the mind of instructor Barbara Klingberg (the award-winning costume designer of BPA’s hit shows “Amadeus” and “Priscilla Queen of the Desert”); and Group Voice, in which students will develop techniques designed to enhance their value to any musical theatre ensemble.
Students in grades 7 through 10 may choose from three camps also: Group Voice students may either bring in 16 bars of their favorite song or use one of the course selections and will receive instruction in a workshop format, allowing students to walk away with a confident audition piece; Dance Composition, lead by Holloway, will introduce students to the fundamental concepts of dance composition and will offer personalized guidance as students create their own work to be shared in the final showing on Friday, Feb. 23; and Costume Design, with Klingberg, where students will explore a series of projects geared to develop understanding of the scope of the designer’s role, sharpen their design eye, and acquire some of the craft skills.
All classes will be held at Bainbridge Performing Arts (200 Madison Ave. North).
For young students who are serious about dance, the camps are a rare opportunity, said Bainbridge Dance Center director Christiana Axelsen.
“We don’t usually teach Dance Composition to students under high school age,” Axelsen said. “It’s really exciting. There a lot of students [signed up] who are not from our dance center, so it’s going to be this exciting experiment of different, either people from a more theatrical background or people from different dance backgrounds, coming together to learn how to choreograph.”
Ellis agreed, saying that the courses with Klingberg especially were something not of the usual camp fare.
“When I say Costume Design with Barbara Klingberg … [the students] light up,” she explained. “And when I say Dance Composition, they’re like, ‘Wait? What?’ and I’m like, ‘Yeah you can learn to be your own choreographer.’ And they just never even thought that could be a thing. You just see their faces going through all these emotions.”
The benefits of such a collaborative education program, Ellis said, are many — for both the students and host organizations.
“One of the benefits for BPA, because BPA is a nonprofit, as long as we can at least break even our mission is whatever is the benefit for the students,” she said. “We want to make sure we’re broadening their horizons … and being a more trained dancer will always make you a better actor and vice versa.”
Axelsen agreed, adding that more performance opportunities are a good thing for any would-be artist, regardless of experience level or discipline.
“Bainbridge Dance Center is very micro-focused on pre-professional training and I would love to broaden that perspective out,” she said. “Those delineations of dance and theater are not exact and not particularly useful.
“I also just think that with our general proximity … there’s so much more potential,” she added. “I feel like this is just the beginning of hopefully some more combined programming.”
Visit www.bainbridgeperforming arts.org/collections/mid-winter-break-2018 for a full class schedule and registration info and prices.