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TACAW serves up the sizzle with summer workshops

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The warm weather brings another year to partake in a sizzling camp and workshop lineup at The Arts Campus at Willits (TACAW) promising participants engaging ways to explore the performing arts, foster self-discovery and learn about brain empowerment; and, that’s just for starters.

Art Williams, TACAW’s education and community partnerships coordinator, spoke with The Sopris Sun about what is in store for Roaring Fork Valley residents looking for a bit of learning and some old-fashioned summer fun.

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‘Your Brain, Onstage!’

If you’re into melding the worlds of brain science and theater arts, then the “Your Brain, Onstage!” workshop might be for you. Designed for fourth to sixth graders, the week-long camp, July 10-14, 9 am to 2 pm daily, includes theater classes and a final performance at TACAW. Participants will learn about brain function, self-regulation skills and explore neuroscience lessons developed by the Aspen Science Center.

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Williams explained that the camp’s subject matter is particularly attuned to pre-teens. “Learning about what’s going on in your amygdala when you’re in conflict, or stressing out, will give you tips on how to get back to a regulated state,” he said.

TACAW will also host local teaching artists in music and dance workshops for youth, adults and families.

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African drumming

“Family Drumming Fun with Lionheart Drums” will embark on an African drumming adventure on July 9 from 2 to 3pm, with Jessie Lehmann of Lionheart Drums scouting the way for participants ages 8 and up. The workshop will explore traditional rhythms, songs and instruments from West Africa and allow for personal growth through creative musical expression.

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Lehmann shared, “You can teach the drumming techniques and the storytelling tradition. Then, you can create a system to earn more responsibility within the music, because the metaphors lend themselves very well to looking at different aspects of our lives. You must be able to listen to each other if you’re in an ensemble.”

Polynesian dance

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On July 15, Sandra Prado of Aspen Polynesia will lead participants in a rich cultural experience at the “Let’s Go to the Island Tahiti!” dance classes. Two class offerings — one designed for ages 6 to 12 and the other for ages 13 and older — introduce the energetic dance style from the Polynesian islands.

Prado, who learned Polynesian dance in Mexico City, said, while participants learn basic dance movements, “It’s also a great physical activity, and the repetitive movements help with memory.”

She has also observed that “many students become more aware of their bodies.”

Consensual Improv

On July 24, from 4 to 6pm, Cassidy Willey will lead “Kids Comedy Workshop with Consensual Improv!” Willey, an actor, educator and founding member of the Consensual Improv troupe, will teach the basics of improv comedy through character creation and scene building. The workshop is for those ages 11 to 14.

Some workshop fees are pay-what-you-can. TACAW also offers payment plans for summer camps. For more information, visit

Tags: #Art Williams #improv #TACAW #The Arts Center at Willits #theater #Youth
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