As some 20 young people sort themselves into four groups at Goddard Riverside’s inaugural Performing Arts Camp, visiting dance instructor Carina Rubaja explains their assignment.
"I’m going to say All Go or All Stop," she says. "Or I might call your group number: One Go. Two Stop. Got it?" Everyone nods. "Thanks for listening!" Rubaja chirps.
The thanks are well-earned, because every student is paying rapt attention.
Rubaja gives the class tasks of increasing complexity: first, clapping in a rhythm; then, creating dance moves and copying them from each other. Finally, each of the four groups creates a dance to accompany the Latin-inflected tune "Chicken and Rice."
For these students, it’s a valuable chance to work with advanced international teaching artists from an arts powerhouse: Lincoln Center. And while the students are learning, the teachers are also sharpening their skills.
"These are lifelong teaching artists," explains Eric Booth, head facilitator at Lincoln Square Education. "They come together to get better."
The collaboration with Lincoln Center is just one aspect of the Performing Arts Camp curriculum. Our newest day camp taps into New York City’s wealth of professional talent to offer high-quality dance, vocals, music and theater arts instruction. It’s open to campers aged 8-13 with any level of experience; for young people with previous arts training, the curriculum focuses on preparing to audition for performing arts schools.
Program Director LaKisha N. Williams says combining two of Goddard Riverside’s existing strengths Ð youth programs and Community Arts Ð just makes sense.
"It’s making what Community Arts does come alive through active participants," she said as the dancers took a five-minute break before their next workshop.
"It’s where the magic happens."