What’s New With U? – September

What’s Inside

Back to Work

The fall season is almost upon us and as our summer staff goes back to school, returns to year-round jobs, or continues to make art (staff, keep us posted on what you’re up to), the Usdan year-round staff size shrinks from over 300 to about a dozen of us. With another summer filled with creativity and nature, we look forward to reflecting on this summer’s successes, areas for improvement, and furthering our goals of instilling creativity and inspiring young artists in 2020. During the off-season, our staff will be working out of the New York (212.772.6060) and Long Island (631.643.7900) Offices. Here’s our year-round staff:

Lauren Brandt Schloss, Executive Director
Oscar Amaya, Facilities Manager
Anthony Amico, Director of Facilities
Kerry Barnhart, Senior Director of Student Affairs
Al Chiavaro, Facilities Maintenance Technician
Kathleen Drohan, Director of External Affairs
Motaz Elzalata, Senior Accountant
Julio Garcia, Senior Groundskeeper
Jillian Greenberg, Director of Education
Marcos Flores, Junior Groundskeeper
Stacey Jamieson, Admissions Counselor
Nicole Martinez, Marketing and PR Associate
Sari Sharaby, Senior Director of Finance and Operations
Olivia Wise, Enrollment and Admissions Coordinator

Lost and Found & Student Artwork 

If you would like to pick up your student’s artwork from our New York City location or if you are interested in speaking with the Usdan staff about other camp-related questions, please call us at 212.772.6060 between the hours of 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. If your student’s artwork is still in our Long Island office but would prefer to pick it up in the city, please let us know. 

If you need to pick up your student’s artwork or a lost item from our Long Island location, please let us know by calling us at 631.643.7900 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

2020 Enrollment

Deadlines

Dates, rates, and course offerings for our 2020 season will be announced soon. Courses will be announced by November 15th and enrollment will open to the general public starting November 30th Don’t miss out on these announcements by keeping up to date on our website and newsletter

Welcome2U

Interested in getting first dibs on class offerings for next summer? While Return2U is closed, you can still register for the 2020 season by joining the Welcome2U program. Join by October 31st to get your first pick of classes two days earlier than the general public. 

By signing up for Welcome2U, you will receive these benefits:

  • Get Early Access: Select your classes two days before enrollment opens to the public.
  • Priority Enrollment Discount: Get $100 off tuition.
  • Stay in the know: Learn about new classes and other Usdan news.
  • Cancel without consequence: Cancel your registration before November 30 and receive your full deposit back. 

For more information, visit our Welcome2U page. 

 

We Miss U: Photos from the Summer

Though it’s only been a few weeks since camp ended, we already miss seeing you around campus. We hope students will keep creating in the off-season and we would love to see some of that work. If your child makes art in the way of participating in a theater production, playing at a recital, or even just painting in their sketchbook, we want to know about it. Tag us in any photos of your child’s art-making at @usdanarts on Instagram. Feel free to also send photos to campdirector@usdan.org and we might feature you in next month’s newsletter. 

Here’s the photos from all the students who took and submitted pics of their summer at Usdan.

 Thank you to all the students who contributed to the newsletter.

Andrew G.
Ben S.
Bradley Z.
Christina P.
Esti R.
Jake B.
Julia F.
Maddie D.
Nydia T.
Sadie G.
Sara R.
Riya D.
Vassilia S.

Looking Back and Staying Connected 

If you and your family want to look back on these summer memories, you can find images and video in our old newsletters as well as our Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube channel.

Follow our Instagram and Facebook for updated content, and subscribe to our YouTube to rewatch Festival Performances and weekly recap videos.

 

We Need U

At Usdan, we believe all children should have the opportunity to experience a safe and encouraging space for creativity and artistic passion on our beautiful campus. Tuition, however, only pays a portion of the cost needed to keep our departments, facilities, and studios running smoothly. The success of Usdan and our ability to provide an enriching summer filled with learning, collaboration, and friendship to children all depends on the support of generous donors like you.

Scholarship Fund 

As we get begin to turn our efforts towards Usdan’s 2020 season, it remains a priority for us that cost not be an obstacle for students who wish to attend Usdan for a summer. Nearly 500 of our students receive aid in the form of need-based or merit scholarships. Every year, we provide approximately $1.5 million in scholarships to these families. However, the demand far exceeds our ability to provide aid to hundreds of students. We want to increase this goal and continue to make Usdan accessible to more students who want to attend. You can help us in that effort with a gift of any size by clicking here and selecting ‘Scholarship’ when making your donation. 

Reimagine Fund

On August 14, 2018, a fire claimed two of our beloved studios and allowed us to uncover some additional repair needs. Looking forward, we are Reimagining  buildings across Usdan as we improve infrastructure and create a campus for our next fifty years.

As we continue Reimagining, our financial needs continue.  You can help us in that effort with a gift of any size by clicking here and selecting ‘The Reimagine Fund’ when making your donation. You can also read more about our Reimagine efforts here.

 

Merch Item of the Month: Baseball Caps

Even though temperatures are dropping, you still need protection from damaging sun rays. Whether you’re excited for the upcoming World Series or just a huge Usdan fan, these baseball caps are a great accessory for the end of summer. Coming in two different designs, these hats are priced at $12.

If you wish to purchase this or one of our other merch items, visit our online store. We will mail your orders to you within two weeks.

#AMoreSustainableU: Sustainability Tips and Tricks

Going into the 2019 summer, one of our top priorities was focusing on sustainability and environmental consciousness. We are continuing these sustainability efforts into the off-season. We would love to hear how you incorporate sustainability into your household. 

Our New York office has adopted almost all of these practices in the last year and hopes to expand our sustainability efforts in the off-season:

  • Once the weather starts dropping, consider putting on extra layers before turning up the heat.
  • Print documents only when necessary.
  • Always unplug electronics when not in use.
  • Bring in a desk plant to improve indoor air quality and add some nature to the office environment.
  • Use cloth towels and napkins in the kitchen and bathroom.
  • Eat less meat to reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Start a compost bin with food scraps. 
The New York staff has been keeping our compost bin in the freezer to prevent odors and attracting pests. We drop ours off at a compost center every Tuesday.

 

What’s New With U? – Week 7

What’s Inside

What’s New With U? – Week Seven

The seventh and final week of camp had vocalists belting beautifully, dancers posing powerfully, and chess players cheering “checkmate.”

On Monday, Senior Instrumental Ensembles took to the stage, playing a variety of pieces from upbeat tangos to reimagined Beethoven classics. On Tuesday, Usdan dancers showed us their best jazz hands, hip-hop moves, and pirouettes. The dance party continued Wednesday as Dorrance Dance tapped their way onto campus. Discovery students hit the stage again on Thursday, and Junior and Senior Vocal Ensemble rounded out this season’s Festival program. 

Outside the Amphitheater, Leadership Institute got everyone in the spirit with U Day — a full day of fun activities to educate about sustainability, diversity/inclusion, and community. Wednesday afternoon Seniors celebrated the end-of-camp season with a Carnival/Pool Party, and Juniors strutted their stuff in a Parade leading from the Art department, around campus, and across the Amphitheater stage. 

Our Music and Dance classes held their final in-studio performances, and our Creative Writing storytellers closed the books on their readings. Usdan Troupe twirled their umbrellas for a Singin’ in the Rain encore, Drama Lab’s Dracula took a bite out of our hearts with their chilling talent, and Matinee Idols and DIY Theater had their curtain calls.  

At Friday’s Closing Ceremony, two Hip-Hop groups got the dance party started onstage and in the pit. Junior and Senior Vocal Ensembles sang “Siyahamba” followed by the Seniors leading a sing-a-long performance of “All You Need Is Love”. And throughout the ceremony, there was indeed a lot of love (and tears) for our incredible community, from our “Lifers” (campers who’ve attended for eight years) and staff (who’ve been at Usdan for a decade) to the graduating twelfth-graders closing out their time here. Additionally, there were a few special shoutouts to Usdan’s dedicated staff and faculty, maintenance crew, beloved Assistant House Manager, Andrew Schaeffler, and Usdan’s erstwhile mascot, Bean the pug, before the long-anticipated balloon drop.

With the last gong ring of the summer (special lighting brought to you by the Sustainable Design class), Usdan’s 2019 Season took its final bow.

Stay in touch – and see U next summer!

Here’s Looking at U

#AMoreSustainableU: Sustainability Tips and Tricks

Sustainability has been a big focus for us all summer, but these efforts don’t have to end just because the season is over. We encourage all Usdanites to continue to lead sustainable and environmentally conscious, as well as artistic, lives throughout the year.  

First-year Usdanite, Aissatou Bah, is already walking the walk and taking action. A dancer and sustainability advocate, Aissatou launched a petition for bus companies to be more sustainable.

Check out the video below to see what inspired her to start this campaign and where she hopes it will go after the summer ends. 

 

Finally, here’s bit of inspiration take us into the weekend:

“You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!” – Dr. Seuss

Summer Learning #Goals

Take a look inside the Usdan classroom to see how our teachers and staff are collaborating with students and what their summer goals are. For this week’s segment, we asked Alicia Thompson, Intermediate Ballet, Modern/Contemporary, and West African Fusion Dance teacher to weigh in.

Alicia’s guiding question for the summer was:

“How can I best create a rewarding class experience and also have a rewarding performance experience for my students?”

With the aim to create a rewarding and fruitful dance experience, Alicia structured her class around the idea that dance is a continuous learning process.

In order to shift the focus from the performance being the end goal and being able to appreciate the act of dance-making more thoroughly, she worked to build a movement vocabulary in class to later be used for a larger piece of work. With this method, she was able to emphasize the importance of the learning process by teaching the dancers small phrases that she would later piece together for their performance.

Alicia also opened the floor for students to have more input in the class and performance process. She gave them the opportunity to choose what step from the vocabulary to practice first across the floor. For the performance, she gave them the liberty to work in peer-led smaller groups when fine-tuning and critiquing the dance.

Alicia reflected on the experience of learning and performing with her students after their performance this week.

Gearing Up: Merch Item of the Week

This week’s merch item is the Usdan towel.

Yes, camp is ending, but summer is still here for a little bit longer. Whether you’re lounging by the pool or catching waves at the beach or singing in the shower, you can bring along a little piece of Usdan with you.

Snag one of these towels for $10 and find more merch at the Usdan shop online or at our Welcome Center.

Up Next: Upcoming Events and Programming

We’re sad to see this summer come to a close, but we’re already looking forward to the 2020 season! Return2U closes at midnight August 16th, so pre-register now. 

By joining Return2U, you can receive 2019 rates and other perks. You must enroll in the same session length or longer than in 2019. 

Administration Corner

Don’t leave it behind

We’ll keep the memories of this summer forever, but we want to make sure that you get all of your children’s stuff back, from wayward water bottles, towels, lunch boxes, to art they created. 

The Long Island office will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on August 19th and 20th, if you want to come by to pick up anything left behind. Please call first. FYI: We are happy to bring your child’s artwork back to the New York office for pick-up in September, just let us know.

Also, as a reminder, the Usdan Long Island office will be closed from August 21st through September 8th. Our New York office will be available via phone starting September 5th. 

Looking Back and Staying Connected 

If you and your family want to look back on these summer memories, you can find images and video on our Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube channel.

Follow our Instagram and Facebook for updated content, and subscribe to our YouTube to rewatch Festival Performances and weekly recap videos.

#LaurensPolaroids

Executive Director Lauren Brandt Schloss has been giving us a blast from the past all season with these Polaroid photos.  Here’s the last batch for Summer 2019.

What Do U Think? Weekly Poll Question

This week, we asked campers: How will you take the spirit of Usdan with you after summer ends? Tell us at tellus@usdan.org.

Thank you to Lauren Brandt Schloss, Executive Director,
and our Newsletter Team for 2019.
Text: Meryl Cooper and Nicole Martinez
Video: Dave Schaeffler, Lucas Cavanaugh, Lindsay Rothenberg
Photo: Zoe Finn, Wayne Vollweiler, Lafiya Watson, Matt Zugale

What’s New With U? – Week 6

What’s Inside

What’s New With U? – Week Six

It’s Week 6 and we said “Good Morning, Good Morning” to a full week of theater performances, music moments, fashion shows, film festivals, and more.

On Monday, Jazz musician Grace Kelly wowed us with her colorful look and energetic music. Mother Nature took Usdan Troupe’s Singin’ in the Rain medley quite literally with the unexpected drizzle outside the Amphitheater. Our Wednesday Festival transported us to the arcade, as International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) and the Contemporary Classical Chamber Ensemble debuted their innovative collaboration, featuring sounds from our Video Game and Design students. On Thursday, the Amphitheater stage transformed into a fierce runway when Sewing and Fashion students got to strut their sartorial stuff. Trés chic! Then, on Friday, the Senior Instrumental Ensembles played us into the weekend.  

Around campus, things were bustling, too! We ‘wuved’ the adorable cast of Doo-Wop Wed Widinghood and danced the morning away in the Discovery Open Dance classes. We snagged front-row seats to the Animation classes’ Junior and Senior Film Festivals and strolled through the Art Open Studios.

Two special guests also joined us on campus this week:

John Sabraw, an artist who paints with pollution (see more below), showed Usdan’s young artists and scientists how to mix his special pigments into paint.

And, Meredith O’Connor, viral music sensation and anti-bullying spokesperson, met with our Leadership Institute. A native of Long Island, Meredith shared her personal stories in the hopes of empowering young leaders here at Usdan. Broadway World talked about her visit here.

See U next week — the final one of the 2019 season.

Here’s Looking at U

This week, we asked Usdan campers “What does Usdan look like to U?” If pictures could speak a thousand words, they had plenty to say! Thank you to all the student photographers who contributed to this week’s newsletter:

Andrew G.
Ben S.
Bradley Z.
Christina P.
Esti R.
Jake B.
Julia F.
Maddie D.
Nydia T.
Sadie G.
Sara R.
Riya D.
Vassilia S.

Summer Learning #Goals

Take a look inside the Usdan classroom to see how our teachers and staff are collaborating with students and what their summer goals are. For this week’s segment, we asked Andre Feliciano, Usdan Artist and Sustainable Design instructor to weigh in.

Andre’s guiding question for the summer is:

“How can I impart themes of sustainability and creativity on my students that they will carry with them even after the summer?”

Andre aimed to explore themes of sustainability with his students through projects that involved using resources already at their disposal rather than creating more waste, such as the colorful art they created of old cardboard and packaging. They even built an enormous solar BBQ structure that they used to pop popcorn and bake pizza. Yum!

Additionally, projects like the rainwater collector they built in Organic Gardening helped his students understand that creating sustainable art is not just about using sustainable items, but helping the environment and nature itself. Andre says, “In a garden, we harvest tomatoes, lettuce, and other produce. In our class, we can harvest electricity from a hammock swing or the unique vibrations of musical instruments.”

Andre hopes his students understand we can use energy from our environment without actually harming nature itself, “We have the capacity to use energy organically to create sustainable art.”

#AMoreSustainableU: Sustainability Tips and Tricks

Artist and activist John Sabraw collaborates with scientists and environmentalists to find solutions to issues of sustainability. On Monday, John met with Usdan art students to talk about his work cleaning up acid mine drainage in Ohio. Partnering with engineers, he extracts iron from the polluted water to create pigments that are then turned into paint. Learn more about his work here.

Since not everyone can transform pollution into paint or make treasures from trash, here are five sustainable tips and tricks from sustainability advocate, Andre Feliciano:

  1. Eat less red meat and more vegetables. Did you know that approximately 1,800 gallons of water to produce just 1 pound of meat? Along with that, livestock production creates more greenhouse gases than all the cars, trucks, planes, and trains in the world. Even eating vegetarian one day a week can make a huge difference.
  2. Ride your bike more! Cycling uses minimal fossil fuels and is a pollution-free mode of transport.
  3. Be nice to others and think collectively. Work with your community to create more eco-friendly spaces and educate those who might not know about living sustainably.
  4. Create projects with a long-term mentality instead of short-term. Think about how the art you create and the objects you use to create will make a positive, lasting impact.
  5. Smile at your teachers. That generates a lot of positive energy.

Finally, here’s bit of inspiration take us into the weekend:

“The earth has music for those who listen.”- William Shakespeare

Gearing Up: Merch Item of the Week

This week’s merch item is the Usdan baseball cap.

Whether you prefer a simple style or a more colorful one, these hats will shade you on the sunniest campus days.

You can snag one of these caps for $12, and find more merch at the Usdan shop online or at our Welcome Center.

Up Next: Upcoming Events and Programming

Can you believe there’s only one week of camp left?

It’s been an incredible summer, full of creativity, fun, and learning, and friendship. Next week will be the culmination of all their hard work.

As always: You’re invited to join us for a performance and backstage lunch. Just contact us at RSVP@usdan.org at least 24 hours in advance to reserve your place. (If you plan to be on campus past 1:30 p.m. to experience all these exciting performances, we ask that you please do not park in the bus field.)

The full event calendar, including in-studio showings, demonstrations, and tournaments can be found here. Festival Performances are recorded and can be found on our YouTube page. Next week’s schedule is:

Monday, August 12
Festival Student Performance – Music
12:10 p.m.
M17 Traditional Classical Chamber
M14 Traditional Classical Chamber Select Students
12:35 p.m. 
M8 Traditional Classical Chamber
M4 Traditional Classical Chamber

In-Theater Performances
Singin’ in the Rain – Troupe at 10:30 a.m. &  1:30 p.m.

Tuesday, August 13
Festival Student Performance – Dance
12:10 p.m.
Sr. Dance Ensemble Major
Jr. Contemporary Major
Jr. Dance Adventure Major
Jr. Hip-Hop Minor Periods 1 & 2
Jr. Broadway Jazz Dance Minor

12:35 p.m.

Sr. Dance Ensemble Major
Sr. Advanced Contemporary Major
Sr. Hip-Hop Minor Periods 3 & 4
Sr. Broadway Jazz Intermediate Minor Period 4

In-Studio Readings and Performances
Jr. Creative Writing Minor Period 1 at 10:00 a.m.
Jr. Performance Poetry & Podcasting Period 2 at 11:05 a.m.
Sr. Creative Writing Minor Period 3 at 1:15 p.m.
Sr. Creative Writing Minor Period 4 at 2:15 p.m.

Jr. Chamber Ensembles at 1:30 p.m.
Jr. Brass Sectionals M10 – Periods 3 & 4
Jr. Chamber Ensemble M3 – Period 4
Jr. Upper Strings Sectional M17 – Period 4
Jr. Chamber Ensemble M29 – Period 3
Jr. Chamber Ensemble M2 – Period 3
Jr. Lower Strings Sectionals M8 – Periods 3 & 4
Jr. Woodwinds Sectionals M18 – Periods 3 & 4
Jr. Chamber Ensembles M4 – Periods 3 & 4

Wednesday, August 14
Festival Guest Performance – Dorrance Dance
12:10 p.m. and 12:35 p.m.
In-Theater Performances
Dracula – Drama Lab at 10:30 a.m. & 1:30 p.m.

Student-Only Events 
1:15 p.m.

Junior Parade
Senior Carnival

Thursday, August 15
Festival Student Performance 
Discovery at 11:00 a.m.
Jr. Vocal Ensemble at 12:10 p.m.
Sr. Vocal Ensemble at 12:35 p.m.

In-Studio Showings and Performances
Dance
Jr. Beginner Ballet Minor/Recreation Period 1 at 10:00 a.m.
Jr. Dance Adventure Minor/Recreation Period 1 at 10:00 a.m.
Jr. Hip-Hop Minor/Recreation Period 1 at 10:00 a.m.
Jr. West African Fusion Minor/Recreation Period 2 at 11:05 a.m.
Jr. Tap II Minor/Recreation Period 2 at 11:05 a.m.
Jr. Tap I Minor/Recreation Period 2 at 11:05 a.m.
Jr. Hip-Hop Minor/Recreation Period 2 at 11:05 a.m.
Sr. Intermediate Tap Minor/Recreation Period 3 at 1:15 p.m.
Sr. Beginner Broadway Jazz Period 3 at 1:15 p.m.
Sr. West African Fusion Minor/Recreation Period 3 at 1:15 p.m.
Sr. Hip-Hop Minor/Recreation Period 3 at 1:15 p.m.
Sr. Modern/Contemporary Minor/Recreation Period 3 at 1:15 p.m.
Sr. Modern/Contemporary Minor/Recreation Period 4 at 2:15 p.m.
Sr. Beginner Tap Period 4 at 2:15 p.m.
Sr. Hip-Hop Minor/Recreation Period 4 at 2:15 p.m.

Music
Jr. Advanced Beginner Piano Minor at 10:00 a.m.
Silent Film Orchestra at 10:30 a.m.
Jr. Absolute Beginner Piano at 11:05 a.m.
Sr. Advanced Beginner Piano Minor at 1:15 p.m.
Guitar & Songwriting at 1:15 p.m.
Absolute Beginner Ukulele at 2:15 p.m.
Sr. Absolute Beginner Piano Minor at 2:15 p.m.

Theater
Matinee Idols Showcase
Seniors 10:30 a.m.
Juniors 1:30 p.m.

Friday, August 16
Festival Student Performance –  Closing Ceremony
12:10 p.m
In-Theater Performance
DIY Theater at 10:30 a.m. 

Administration Corner

Socialize with Usdan

Usdan is all about fun-making, friend-making, and freedom-making. We want you to keep in touch with us as this happens every single day. A day at Usdan involves everything from gorgeous greenery, spectacular learning, creative thinking, delicious ice cream, and so much more.

You can find all this content on our Instagram page and YouTube channel. Follow our Instagram for daily content, and subscribe to our YouTube to get notifications when we upload Festival Performances and weekly recap videos.

Sign up for next summer

We can’t believe that the summer is coming to an end!

If you’re already excited about the prospect of joining us next year and want to ensure your child gets their top class picks, join our Return2U program and pre-register now for the 2020 season.

Between today and the last day of our 2019 season (August 16), you can sign up for Return2U and receive 2019 rates and other perks. Additionally, if you pre-register before August 15 for 7- and 3-week campers, your child can ring our end of the session gong (a high honor around here). You must enroll in the same session length or longer than in 2019. Return2U closes at 11:59 p.m. on August 16, so don’t miss out.

There’s an app for that!

Search and download “Usdan Summer Camp” from the Google or Apple App Store and have all important camp information right at your fingertips. 

#LaurensPolaroids

Executive Director Lauren Brandt Schloss is giving us a blast from the past with these polaroid photos.

What Do U Think? Weekly Poll Question

This week, we asked campers: How would U describe Usdan? Tell us at tellus@usdan.org.