Do you want to know one of the toughest parts of working at Performing Arts Abroad? It’s when someone inquires about a program and you can just tell they’d be an amazing participant. They’re bright, they’re engaging, they’re talented, and they’re passionate. But then you find out they won’t be 18 by the time the program starts and you have to tell them they can’t apply.
It’s not that we’re ageist. There’s a long history of amazing young performing artists. (Heck Mozart started composing when he was three!) So if Yo-Yo Ma can perform for the president at 7 and Anna Paquin can win an Academy Award at 11, why can’t a 17-year-old study dance in Spain or teach music in Ecuador? Well the boring and frustrating answer is that it has to do with things like insurance and liability and other words that lawyers throw around when they tell you you’re not allowed to do something.
This has bugged us fro years and for months our director has been toiling away, so we are so excited to announce two new programs available to high school students!
The first is the High School Musical Theatre Training Program in London. Our Musical Theatre training program in the West End is one of our most popular programs for a reason. You get to train under some of the best dancers, actors, choreographers, and directors in the world, all in famous studios where West End shows are rehearsed. We made some phone calls, worked out some details, and now we’re running a special summer session for high schoolers. It’s going to include all of the same amazing perks, just with a few additional arrangements to help your parents feel more comfortable.
The second is High School Costa Rica Summer Experience, and this one we designed just for you! (Assuming “you” are a teenager who’s into the performing arts and wants to explore another country with other performing artists in a cultural exchange unlike anything you’ve experienced that will change both you and the people you work with in amazing ways.) It’s a two-week program that winds through Costa Rica and includes everything leading workshops at a volunteer placement to collaborating with other young artists to create a performance piece combining your various talents.
You can click the links to find out more, but for right now, suffice it to say we are so thrilled about these programs and the fact that we don’t have to turn away amazing artists just because they haven’t turned 18 yet!
If you’re just such an interested dancer/actor/musician or if you know just the kid who’d LOVE one of these programs, let us know and let’s get the ball rolling! You can communicate directly with a program advisor at firstname.lastname@example.org or just go ahead and apply now. (If you apply before the end of April you can get $500 off the program fee! More info on that here.)
Ben Abbott is PAA’s Outreach Coordinator. Before that he was a program advisor where he had exactly the conversations with disappointed applicants that he describes in this post which clearly traumatized him more than we realized at the time.