Bring voice, feet to these Janesville camps

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Ann Fiore
Wednesday, May 21, 2014

JANESVILLE—Why let your children lollygag through summer when they could be leaping with a dance troupe? Or leading the action in their own musical?

The Janesville Performing Arts Center and SpotLight on Kids will offer children's summer camps that teach acting, singing and dancing—performing arts that build self-confidence and communication skills.

Mindy Curtis, JPAC's education and outreach director, helped teach theater classes last summer.

“We learned a lot about what the kids were interested in,” she said.

The camp schedule has been scaled back but now incorporates music and dance along with theater. Curtis calls the schedule “more of a performing arts camp—'Creative Kids' is what we're calling it.”

JPAC will offer three weeks of classes from July 7-25. Each week will feature a class for ages 5-8 and a class for ages 9 and older. Parents can select the classes they want or pay for all three weeks.

The schedule is:

—Week 1 (July 7-11): “Acting Adventures—Creative Creatures” for ages 5-8 and “Rock 'n' Roll Forever,” a junior show choir, for ages 9 and older.

—Week 2 (July 14-18): “Three Piggy Opera” for ages 5-8 and “Dance Fusion” for ages 9 and older.

—Week 3 (July 21-25): “Creative Dance Movement” for ages 5-8 and “Make Some Drama—Acting Exploration” for ages 9 and older.

Teachers are Zac Curtis, an assistant professor of communication and theater arts at UW-Rock County; Vickie Neitzel, a retired Janesville teacher, and Kelly Burtenshaw, a dance instructor who runs her own dance company. 

Mindy Curtis will offer a biweekly program called “By My Side” for kids ages 2-4 and their parents.

She'll also teach “Created by Kids,” a workshop in which children ages 9 and older create an original musical—from storyline to songs. Students in the morning classes can join the production, which JPAC will stage July 25 and 26.

Curtis said she helped groups of kids write operas when she was in college.

“It's such a passion for me,” she said.

Composer Corinne Lyke will help write original music for the JPAC musical, “so it sounds like what they want it to sound like,” Curtis said.

Another theater group, SpotLight on Kids, also will give kids a chance to act in a show.

SOK's theater camp runs from 1-5 p.m. weekdays, July 7 to 18, at the Janesville Country Club. It culminates in a July 20 performance of the gender-defying musical “Free to Be … You And Me.”

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