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The Youth Arts Program (YAP),  brings our Maine community together by inviting youth ages 6-17 together to study with with world-class artists to experience music and dance firsthand.

Students are engaged in an intensive and enjoyable three weeks of performing and visual arts classes taught by a staff of gifted arts educators from around the country. YAP is a full-day (9am to 5pm) non-residential program.

Applications for 2023 will be available on February 20. 

Program Details

Youth Arts Program: July 10-28, 2023

This summer will marks the 25th year of our Youth Arts Program (YAP), a community outreach program that brings youth from our community, and their families, together with world-class artists to experience dance, music, visual and literary arts firsthand. YAP engages young people grades 2-10 in an intensive and enjoyable three weeks of arts classes taught by a staff of gifted arts educators. YAP is structured as a full-day (9am to 5pm) non-residential program. During the three-weeks students experience a range of dance/movement styles — from modern and ballet to hip hop, social dance and yoga– as well as musical genres from around the world, theater, storytelling, poetry, writing and visual arts. The arts offer meaningful ways to engage children in healthy, creative and expressive ways. Our mission is to enrich children’s lives through the arts.

Bates Dance Festival hosts the Youth Arts Program (YAP), a community outreach program that brings youth from the Lewiston/Auburn, Maine community, and their families, together with world-class artists to experience the arts firsthand. YAP engages young people ages 6-17 in an intensive and enjoyable three weeks of dance and music classes taught by a staff of gifted arts educators. YAP is structured as a full-day (9am to 4pm) non-residential program.

Program Features

  • Every child takes dance, music, theater and visual arts classes
  • Daily classes provide dance experience from hip hop and jazz to modern, ballet and yoga
  • Music classes include singing, rhythm, drumming and music from around the world
  • Visual arts, theater and storytelling classes offer additional avenues for expression
  • Younger students develop imagination and cooperation skills in creative movement classes
  • Teens study choreography and collaborate to develop a new dance piece
  • Healthy lunch and snacks each day
  • Master classes and demonstrations by internationally renowned artists from Bates Dance Festival
  • Every child contributes to the creation of a final production that is performed in the Festival Finale
  • Complimentary tickets to select Festival performances and events
  • The arts offer meaningful ways to engage children intellectually, emotionally and physically.

Research shows that study in the arts:

  • Increases children’s self-confidence
  • Improves learning
  • Increases self-discipline and expression
  • Promotes tolerance and increases understanding of different cultures
  • Instills a sense of joy

Program Location and Dates

Youth Arts Program will take place from Monday, July 10 through Friday, July 28, from 9am to 4:45pm at the Mays Center on the Bates College campus. Morning drop off begins at 8:40am and afternoon pick up is by 5pm. A mandatory orientation meeting for all participants will be held on Sunday afternoon, July 9. A final performance will take place Friday, July 28 in the late afternoon.

For more information email the Director of Training Programs, Alexandra James at the Bates Dance Festival office,

Program Costs

The program fee is $825 plus the non-refundable $10 application fee. The program cost covers the three-week program including lunch in the Bates Dining Common, daily snacks and complimentary tickets for select Festival events. Family discounts are available for full tuition paying students.

Early Bird Discount

Families who enroll their student by April 30 receive an early bird discount of $750.

Admission Requirements

  • Enthusiasm for the arts – dance, music, theater, visual arts and writing
  • Willingness to try new things and contribute ideas

Children with no experience or lots of experience can participate, gain new skills, and HAVE FUN!


The Bates Dance Festival offers a limited number of partial and full YAP scholarships to qualifying families. To apply, complete the YAP application and select the option to apply for a scholarship at the bottom. Please mail your most recent 1040 and/or a written narrative documenting your financial need.

Bates Dance Festival
Attn: YAP Scholarship Committee
Pettigrew Hall
305 College St.
Lewiston, ME 04240

Registration Process and Deadline

Applications will open on February 20th and are processed on a first-come, first-serve basis until all age groups are filled. A waiting list will be maintained in the event that space becomes available.


If notified by Thursday, July 1 a full refund will be made less a $100 processing fee. No refunds will be made after this date.

Program Sponsors

Youth Arts is made possible with generous support from:  The Sequoia Foundation and The Elmina B. Sewall Foundation

Faculty & Staff

Professional, experienced, nationally recognized artists and teachers of children.

Brian J. Evans (He/Him/His) is a Citizen Artist, defined by the Aspen Institute Arts Program as: Individuals who reimagine the traditional notions of art-making, and who contribute to society either through the transformative power of their artistic abilities, or through proactive social engagement with the arts in realms including education, community building, diplomacy and healthcare.
Mixing disciplines, mixing professions, and of mixed race, Brian J. Evans unpacks the “moments of suspension” that reside in the spaces between spaces. Courageous vulnerability and intentional equity keeps him aloft as he finds ways to give back and add to the communities, mentors, and ancestors who blazed trails and continue to do so! Evans believes it is the responsibility of the Arts to rediscover existing connections within humanity.  Evans is a recipient of a 2015 McKnight Dance Fellowship, administered by The Cowles Center and funded by The McKnight Foundation. A recent graduate from the Dance MFA program from the University of Washington (UW) Seattle Campus, he was awarded the Howard P. Dallas Endowed Fellowship for his service on the UW dance department’s newly founded diversity community and his service as a liaison on the Divisional Arts Diversity Committee. His current adventure includes a Mellon Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship with Faculty Renewal as a tenure-track professor in the Theater and Dance department at Bates College in Lewiston, ME. Come be apart of the journey and thank you for all you do and who you are!!

Rob Flax (music instructor) is an award-winning multi-instrumentalist, composer, and educator from Evanston, IL with a playful heart and an open mind. He has performed nationally and internationally with groups of many different styles, including opening for B.B. King and Tower of Power, playing viola and violin with the Trans Siberian Orchestra and YouTube star Jacob Collier, upright bass in an Argentine tango ensemble, mandolin and fiddle in various bluegrass bands, electric violin in several rock bands, collaborations with modern dancers, and more. As a composer Rob has written music for choreographers, film (including work on the soundtrack of James Franco’s film As I Lay Dying), and several original projects. Rob is a recent graduate of the New England Conservatory (M.M. 2012 – Contemporary Improvisation, Music In Education), and he currently lives in Boston, MA.

Terrence Karn  (Music Director/instructor)  is a dance and musical artist/composer/educator. He began his career as a dance musician in 1971 at the Minnesota Dance Theatre. During the 1980s, Terrence taught character dance at Houston Ballet Academy and was a dance accompanist for over nine years. He was a resident Dance Musician/ Composer in the School of Theatre and Dance at the University of Houston (1999-2007), Denison University’s Department of Dance (2007-2011) and at The University of Wisconsin Eau Claire (2012-2015) Terrence has performed with the Houston Grand Opera, Karen Stokes Dance, and Core Performance Company and has had a long-time affiliation with Jane Weiner and Hope Stone Dance company as an educator and musician. Terrence is the cofounder of Gypsy Dance Theatre, a Texas-based world music and dance ensemble. He was a member of Black Isles Belly Dance Theatre and The Fandazzi Fire Circus based in Minneapolis, MN 2015/2016. Currently, Terrence works in Houston, TX in the Fall, at Houston Ballet, The High School For Performing and Visual Arts, The University of Houston, Hope Stone and The Texas Renaissance Festival. In the winter and spring Terrence lives  Lewiston, Maine and accompanies dance at Bates College and Bowdoin College. Karn will return to the Bates Dance Festival for his 21st. year as Musical Director for the Youth Arts Program. Terrence has recorded six all original music CDs. He has composed numerous works for dance companies on planet earth and has played for over 20,727 dance classes and counting.

Annalyn Lehnig is an actress and writer based in San Diego, CA. Prior to the pandemic, her one woman show, LAMB/WOLF was presented by Triskelion Arts in Brooklyn. The Circus Lovesick, her first one woman show, has been presented in New York, Minneapolis, New Orleans, and San Diego. The Annalyn Lehnig Channel on Youtube is home to Annalyn’s improvisational videos and developmental performance material. Annalyn Lehnig is a voice over artist and on occasion reads poetry to plants. More at

Priscilla Rivas (YAP Director) is a dancer and educator in Houston, Texas.  She is the artistic director of the Colombian Folkloric Ballet and a performer/choreographer with the Global Dance Theatre. Priscilla holds a BS degree in Early Childhood Education, a master’s degree in Educational Leadership, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction in Urban Education (specialization in Learning, Design & Technology.) She has been an elementary classroom teacher for 8 years, a vice principal for 4 years and is now the principal of the nationally renowned High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, also known as Kinder HSPVA.  She joined the YAP family in 2009 and serves as both the director and visual arts teacher.

Madeline Warriner (choreography instructor) is a movement artist, educator, and advocate residing in Brooklyn. She graduated from Rutgers University with a BFA in Dance and an MEd in Dance Education, where she received university, state, and professional awards.  She has performed works by Doug Elkins, Manuel Vignouelle, and Robert Battle, Stephan Koplowitz, and more. She was a company member with The Equus Projects for 5+ years and is currently working with Shantelle Courvoisier Jackson in the movement collective loveconductors. She has taught dance outreach throughout NYC and the tri-state area, Vermont, Maine, and D.C. She also teaches yoga and pilates  and created Harlem Yoga Studio’s Kids Yoga Teacher Training. She has shared her research and practice on movement, mindfulness, and cognitive development in various education professional development workshops and conferences.