My entire life I have been fortunate enough to have art, and performing artists, all around me. I grew up in a family of musicians, and often fell asleep listening to my grandfather play Mozart or Beethoven on the piano. I remember how peaceful and soothing it felt, as a little girl, to be drifting off to sleep with such beautiful music playing. My cousins and I all sang around the piano as my grandfather played. My grandmother was a dancer, she enrolled my sister and me in dance classes as soon as we could walk. I was the kid that stood on the stage playing with my costume, and looking for my mother in the audience, until one day it clicked and I knew I wanted to be a dancer.
Dancing was and is a way of life for me. No matter what was going on in my life, from my childhood through my adulthood, as soon as I walked into a dance studio I was able to express myself. I was able to communicate and create my thoughts and feelings through movement and music. Eventually, dancing, music and acting became my profession as a performer, and later as a teacher. I think back to what I was fortunate to have so early on. Little did I know all the lessons and tools I was learning every step of the way.
We have all heard the stories, or have had experiences ourselves or with children: how learning to play an instrument, or appearing in a play or creating something beautiful from scratch, keeps students on a good path and improves their attitude and well-being.
Research shows that students who experience and participate in the arts are highly engaged in school, and more emotionally mature. Another finding, not surprisingly, is that students became more interested in the arts once they were exposed to them. I have also found that learning something in the arts often helps with building our moral compass. The concept of dancing together, singing together, acting together have one very important common factor: teamwork.
In order to create art, learn art or perform art, we need to be able to communicate clearly and receive communication openly. If you think about this, it is the only way to accomplish this type of teamwork. Of course, each individual brings his or her own perspective and experience to the process, but that only makes the creation and the receiving of the creation that much more dynamic. I recognize that most of my students may not choose art as a career, however to experience it, and achieve their own successes in the art, is monumental in their lives! My approach to teaching is simple. Everyone is unique, everyone has a way to express themselves artistically. It is my honor and privilege to help facilitate that in the children and adults I work with.
As I began to prepare for the summer camp season, I thought to myself how lucky I am to be able to do what I do. Camp gives children an opportunity to explore their unique talents and abilities. During the summer months, children are able to learn without the pressure, or concern of school and grades. Camp 613 was founded on the principle of offering the Jewish community professional instruction from artists and athletes in an appropriate setting. My goal as the artistic director is to make sure each and every camper feels they have achieved something over the summer. There is great value in having campers prepare for a mainstage production so that they are working towards a positive and exciting goal. At Camp 613, one of our incredible trademarks is our end-of-summer performance where each and every girl is given a chance to shine. We hear from so many parents and campers what an impact these performances have, and how much they each look forward to it. The administration and staff of Camp 613 is very much looking forward to another incredible summer, filled with art in many forms and our end of summer production of Dancing Through the Ages.
By Lisa Gold