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 4pm) non-residential program.

Applications will be available in February 2022!

Program Details

Youth Arts Program: July 18August 5, 2022

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 18 through Friday, August 5, from 9am to 4pm at the Mays Center on the Bates College campus. A mandatory orientation meeting for all participants will be held on Sunday afternoon, July 17. A class showing will take place Friday, August 5, with a final performance TBD.

For more information email or call the Admission Director, Alexandra James at the Bates Dance Festival office, or 786-6381.

Program Costs

Early Bird program fee is $675 (by Wednesday, April 6) plus the non-refundable $10 application fee. After that date the fee is $750 plus the $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.

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!

Early Bird Discount

Early Bird program fee is $675 if received by Wednesday, April 6, after that date the fee is $750 plus the non-refundable $10 application fee. (see program costs below)

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 4pm) 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.


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

Registrations 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 3 a full refund will be made less a $50 processing fee. No refunds will be made after this date.

Program Sponsors

Youth Arts is made possible with generous support from: Leonard C. and Mildred F. Ferguson Foundation, Morton-Kelly Charitable Trust and the Sequoia Foundation.

Please apply to the program online using the link below, after reviewing the information above.

Faculty & Staff

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

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.

Yvonne Hernandez (dance instructor) has served on the faculty of the Youth Arts Program since 2007. She is a Dance Teacher and Performer, a BA graduate of the Conservatory of Performing Arts at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA. Yvonne is also a 200 hr Certified Yoga Instructor for Yoga to the People in NYC, Certified Personal Trainer/Coach working with Athletes on LI, NY and a Certified Nutrition Health Coach. In 2010 she became company member, and currently serves as rehearsal director, with Jennifer Archibald’s Arch Dance Company. Under Ms. Archibald’s direction, Yvonne has taught at ArchCore 40, Fordham/Ailey Program, Columbia/Barnard University, Balletakademien Stockholm, Howard University, Cap21 NYC and has performed at various venues and festivals. She has also danced with Raja Feather Kelly’s The Feath3r Theory. Yvonne began her performing career in San Diego, CA. serving as Eveoke Dance Theatre’s Concert Company Dancer, Choreographer, Teacher, and Youth Performing Group Director.

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.

Gayla Miller (theatre  teacher) has been working in professional theatre producing, performing and educating since 1988. Notable companies she has worked with include: Hope Stone, Inc. Houston Ballet, Comedy Sportz Houston, Houston Grand Opera, MATCH, Diverse Works, Mainstreet theatre, and Theatre Lab Houston. Currently Gayla is the theatre director and guidance instructor at a performing and visual arts elementary school in Houston. She serves as the theatre education specialist for Hope Stone, Inc. and is the owner of Mindful Creative Studio where she integrates creativity and counseling to support social emotional growth in children. Gayla holds a BA in Theatre and a M.Ed. in Counseling.

Tawanda Chabikwa (Hip Hop Dance Instructor)is a Zimbabwean-born dancer, artist-scholar who’s work combines theory and practice-based research through interdisciplinary, transcultural creative collaboration. Current research and creative practice investigate comparative African diaspora studies, contemporary African theatrical dance, Africana religions/spiritualities and philosophy, performance of postcolonial modernities and embodied research methodologies. Tawanda holds a B.A. in Human Ecology from the College of the Atlantic, an M.F.A. in Dance from Southern Methodist University. He was interim artistic director of Tumbuka Dance Company in Zimbabwe (2011), before leaving to pursue doctoral studies that culminated in a Ph.D. in Africana Studies from the Department of African American and African Studies at The Ohio State University. He also works with storytelling, performance art, and visual art (most recent exhibition was at the William H. Thomas Gallery in Columbus, Ohio 2017), and creative writing (first novel Baobabs in Heaven published in 2010). In addition to performances and lecture demonstrations, Tawanda has presented research at the conferences of the Dance Studies Association (formerly CORD and SDHS), and the National Association of Ethnics Studies (NAES). He has extensive experience teaching studio and lecture courses, along with facilitating sensorimotor workshops, dance master classes, and interdisciplinary creative practice in K-12, colleges, university and community settings.

Priscilla Rivas (YAP Director, on leave in 2020) is the artistic director of the Colombian Folkloric Ballet and a performer/choreographer with the Gypsy Dance Theatre. She is actively involved in teaching dance to children in urban areas. Priscilla holds a BS degree in Early Childhood Education, a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership, and is currently a PhD student at the University of Houston’s College of Education. She has been an elementary classroom teacher for 8 years, a vice principal for 4 years and is now the principal of a performing and visual arts elementary school in Houston, Texas.

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, and was a core company member of Stephan Koplowitz site-specific work Milltown, part of Bates Dance Festival’s 35th Anniversary Celebration. She is currently working with Joanna Mendl Shaw of The Equus Project, and an improvisation collective with Shantelle Courvoisier Jackson, as well as producing projects of her own. She currently teaches at Dancewave in Brooklyn and in the outreach program at Dance Theatre of Harlem, and has taught dance and choreography workshops and classes throughout the tri-state area, Vermont, Maine, and D.C. She teaches Yoga and Pilates to adults and children throughout New York, and created Harlem Yoga Studio’s Kids Yoga Teacher Training and subsequent curriculum. She has also shared her research and practice on movement, mindfulness, and cognitive development in various education professional development workshops and conferences. After working with the Youth Arts Program and the Young Dancers Workshop in other capacities, she is incredibly excited to be joining the YAP faculty this year!