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 1

What’s Inside

What’s New With U? – Week One

As the final buses pulled into the lot and kids ran onto campus for the first time this summer, old friendships were rekindled and new ones blossomed. On the way to their first period, students hugged those they missed, introduced themselves to new campers, and chatted excitedly about what they’re looking forward to this summer.

The Opening Ceremony got underway with a riveting faculty performance by Sam Dillon, our talented Jazz Conductor, and the much-anticipated unveiling of the “Friendship U”  — designed by our very own Samantha Mason. When the bang of the gong rang out over McKinley Amphitheater, everyone cheered, knowing that Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts officially began its 2019 season.

This week, students and staff were delighted to welcome the incredible musical and dance performances to the stage. On Tuesday, The Brown Rice Family’s palpable energy filled the Amphitheater with their upbeat music which incorporates reggae, hip-hop, dancehall, afro-beat, and jazz stylings. They roused our campers to dance alongside their incredible rhythms and show off their cool dance moves. On Wednesday, we witnessed the wonders of CONTINUUM Contemporary Ballet as they showed us what it means to celebrate a spirit of dancemaking that is inspiring, collaborative, and progressive.  The week was closed out by Faculty from the Music department giving us a taste of tango, flamenco, classical, and even original music on a variety of instruments. We can’t wait to see what the next Festival Performance has in store.

See U next week.

Here’s Looking at U

Every newsletter, we will have a compilation video and collection of photos from the previous week. Scroll through and click on photos to enlarge.

 

#AMoreSustainableU: Sustainability Tips and Tricks

Our goal to make Usdan the place that we wish the world could be. With that in mind, we approach this summer with optimism and hope as we implement a few small changes which we think will have a big impact on our community, and, just maybe, through you—our camper families—on the world.

We are minimizing the physical documents we mail you; replacing trash bins with recycling bins on campus; going completely off the electrical grid across many of our studios. Along with this, we want to encourage Usdanites to be as mindful about the natural world on and off-campus. All summer, we are sharing Sustainability Tips & Tricks on our Green Sign that students can read as they enter the main campus every morning. 

Friday Inspiration: “The first thing I have learned is that you are never too small to make a difference.” – Greta Thunberg

 

Gearing Up: Merch Item of the Week 

 

Each week, we’ll be sharing with you a featured merch item from our store. This week, it’s Usdan PopSockets. You can order this and more at the Usdan shop online or at our Welcome Center.

 

 

Up Next: Upcoming Events and Programming

We’re kicking off our second week with a diverse array of musical and comedic pieces from distinguished artists and performers.

You’re always welcome to join us for a performance and backstage lunch. To arrange to attend the backstage lunch, contact us at RSVP@usdan.org at least 24 hours in advance.

The full event calendar can be found here. Next week’s performance schedule is below: 

Monday, July 8
Festival Guest Performance – The Knights
12:10 PM and 12:35 PM

Tuesday, July 9
Festival Guest Performance – Betty
12:10 PM and 12:35 PM

Wednesday, July 10
Festival Student Performance 
12:10 PM and 12:35 PM

Thursday, July 11
Festival Guest Performance – Lakou Mizik 
12:10 PM and 12:35 PM

Friday, July 12
Festival Performance – The Red Trouser Show
12:10 PM and 12:35 PM

 

Administration Corner

Join us for our The Sassafras Bash, our summer Gala, on July 25th. Dinner tickets are going fast, so get yours here. Children are welcome at the Gala dinner with a Gala ticket or are invited to The Seedling Shindig, a free party for kids of dinner attendees. 

We have an app now! 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. We love the vintage look of Lauren’s pics from this week. 

 

What Do U Think? Weekly Poll Question

What is your child’s goal for this summer? Tell us at tellus@usdan.org.

What’s New With U? – Week 2

What’s Inside

What’s New With U? – Week Two

It’s Week Two, and the Usdan magic is in full swing, Studios are filling with art and music is wafting through the woods. Shows are getting staged and dances are being created. The chickens have returned and the garden is growing. And, the pool is brimming with students looking to beat the heat. We took a break mid-week to celebrate July 4th, but the bookending camp days were chock-full of amazing performances from faculty and visiting acts including the all-female mariachi band Flor de Toloache and comedy troupe Parallel Exit.

Here are some sights and sounds from campus this week.

Here’s Looking at U

Click on photos to enlarge.

 

#50YearsOf U: A Peek Into the Archives

The Usdan campus combines welcome and wonder. Over Usdan’s five-decade history, three celebrated architectural firms have shaped the campus. One of the teams—Conklin & Rossant— was tapped to create the 50 music, dance, theater and art studios that were part of the initial $3-million dollar construction effort. According to a May 1968 New York Times story about the opening of Usdan, the buildings were “contemporary in style but fit well into the gentle hills” of the campus. The piece goes on to describe the structures we’ve come to know well – redwood panels arranged at oblique angles; large skylights and open sides “for an airy exchange of breeze and music.” And today, students have access to 70 studios and theaters, including the Andrew and Lily McKinley Amphitheater, the Samuel and Lucille Lemberg Drama Center, the Jerrold Ross Discovery Center, and the Maurice B. Hexter Center – all distinctive spaces that are an integral part of Usdan’s unique aesthetic and experience.

Gearing Up: Merch Item of the Week

Check out our sport water bottles – new to the Usdan Store! You can order this and more at the Usdan shop online or at the camp.

Up Next: Upcoming Events and Programming

We’re looking at an exciting third week at camp as the summer continues to heat up and classes get in full gear. The two-week campers join in on the fun as we welcome some Voices of Broadway to the Amphitheater’s Dale Lewis Stage. You’re always welcome to join us for a performance and backstage lunch. To arrange to attend, contact us at RSVP@usdan.org. Full performance calendar below:

Monday, July 9

Festival Performance – Student
Faculty Curated Performance
12:10 PM and 12:35 PM

Tuesday, July 10

Festival Performance – Artist
12:10 PM and 12:35 PM
Voices of Broadway: Danyel Fulton & Douglas Lyons  with Ted Arthur

Wednesday, July 11

Festival Performance – Student
12:10 PM and 12:35 PM
Senior Orchestra IV Majors

Thursday, July 12

Senior Choreographic Institute Majors
10:30 AM

Festival Performance – Student
Faculty Curated Performance
12:10 PM and 12:35 PM

Friday, July 13

Festival Performance – Artist
12:10 PM and 12:35 PM
Sol y Sombra

 

Administration Corner

We ask you to please be outside your home or at your central pick up location at the scheduled morning pick up time.  Please be aware that our buses will not wait more than 2 minutes past the scheduled pick up time, and they are not permitted to honk or ring the doorbell.  We rely on all of our students to help ensure the buses operate on time.

One of Usdan’s greatest assets is our woodland campus. We love being in nature every day, but we don’t want nature to come home with your kids. Don’t forget to do tick checks regularly. For more information about how to check for ticks, you can reach out to our health office at healthoffice@usdan.org.

Join us for our 50th Anniversary Gala on July 19. Dinner tickets are going fast, so get yours now.

What Do U Think? Weekly Poll Question

Last week we asked about your children’s favorite moments at camp so far and, overwhelmingly, you told us they loved reuniting with old friends and making new ones.  This week we want to know about how they’re feeling out our Festival Performance.  The daily Amphitheater events have been getting standing ovations this year. What have your heard about your kid’s favorites so far? Let us know at tellus@usdan.org.