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by Emma Townley-Smith
2012 YoungArts Winner in Writing and U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts
Art and Activism
By: Michelle Ang, 2012 YoungArts Winner in Spoken Theater and U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts
Damian Woetzel walked into the room with a seemingly calm exterior, but as the minutes progressed, it was clear that he was bubbling with some sort of frantic energy. He introduced himself to us, and we began to talk about Martha Graham's famous letter: "There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action..." I cannot help but think how Mr. Woetzel, at that moment in the middle of answering a question and gesturing wildly with his hands, seems to perfectly embody those famous words. Next we touched on John Cage and his love affair with everyday noise, and I am reminded of how artists tend to perceive the entire spectrum of life, from the extraordinarily beautiful to the mundane. I was very pleased that the Chinese artist and activist, Ai Wei Wei, was included in our discussion, as I felt it gave the class an international dimension, as well as an example for using art as a vehicle for change and social justice.
The Meaning of Mentorship
By Ryan P. Casey, 2009 YoungArts Winner in Dance
One of jazz tap artist Katherine Kramer’s favorite tools – besides her tap shoes, of course – is a large pad of paper, the kind you might see on an easel in a classroom, and a bunch of markers. While she’s in her car (which, as someone who divides her time between Florida and Montana, she often is) listening to music and choreographing in her head, the paper rests on the passenger seat so she can pick up a marker and scribble thoughts and drawings even while driving.
by Erik Liberman, 1994 YoungArts Winner in Theater
While doing a reading not long ago, I noticed that four of the six actors in the cast were texting while their fellow actors were working.
During recent rehearsals for a play, I observed actors bringing their cell phones onstage, texting while it wasn’t their time to talk - or while the director was speaking with someone else.
“Would you like coke? Or water, or something?”
There was a momentarily shy silence in which the seven of us YoungArts alums looked at each other, until someone finally had the courage to say, “Sure!” We’d just finished rehearsing the two songs that we were performing that evening, standing around slightly awkwardly in Ben Folds’ dressing room at the Kennedy Center. And he was offering to pour us something to drink.
To aspiring musical artists who have time to read this stuff:
I'm often asked for advice to aspiring musicians and I'm just immature enough to take a stab at it on this flight to Boston. Really, I'm not dead sure of any of this, but here goes... if nothing else, maybe I'm thinking aloud - stuff that I need to remember for myself. Forgive any perceived tone of all-knowingness. It just comes out that way when I'm trying to make sense of it all.
The inspiration for this blog is a direct result of a YoungArts event. On March 10, I attended Tony Yazbeck’s master class for pop and musical theater winners. Tony is an Outer Critics Circle Award nominee and fellow alumnus of the organization. I felt so privileged to observe and also very grateful to the organization for providing settings that motivate and continue the education of its students and advisors.
As I near the end of my mid-twenties and enter into the later years of the “best years of my life”, I realize the recession isn’t to blame for the lack of artistic discipline I have exhibited for some 3, okay, maybe 5, years. I was decidedly dreadfully academic in undergrad. Having my artsy-crafty, “Jane-of-all” existence nurtured by my family, I entered into my freshman year of college, some ____ years ago, rebelling against my artistic inclinations in excha
Valuing the YoungArts Recognition
My son Daniel was a senior in high school in 2007 when he learned about the YoungArts awards. He managed to find time, in the midst of an incredibly busy fall semester, to apply.