Saturday Training Workshop
Free Training in Music, Dance, and Theatre
The training program of the Youth Ensemble of Atlanta (YEA) is the core program of the organization. Our mission is to empower youth, through the performing arts, to become catalysts for positive change in their communities. We use the training program to give our members the skills they need to succeed at whatever they do in life, thereby empowering them to make changes in the world around them.
With this program, YEA provides free training in music, dance, and theatre to members of the ensemble. We also provide them with the opportunity to create an original, issue-oriented musical drama that focuses on an issue they are facing in their daily lives. Ensemble members also experience the breadth of performance styles across the arts community.
Training is divided into five segments
Warmup. Physical and mental exercises to focus the ensemble, ending with dancing “across the floor”, which teaches the beginning of routines to learn later and energizes the ensemble.
Dance. The ensemble explores a variety of movement across various dance styles.
Music. The ensemble participates in vocal training from melodies, well-blended harmonies, to exploring their musicianship.
Theatre. Members learn the basics of stage directions, note-taking, pantomime, emotional recall, memorization, presentation skills, as well as audition and monologue skills, and developing new works.
Circle Up. The day concludes with 15-minutes of cool-down, including a gathering time for reflection, announcements, commendations, and sharing.
The Creation Process
YEA's Powerful Teaching Tool
As a reflection of our mission, YEA’s original work is issue-oriented and deals with the challenges our ensemble members are facing and experiencing in their communities. To that end, we do not know of the issue to be faced, but the process will be reflective of the YEA form.
Under the guidance of the artistic leadership, we begin each production with round-tables and discussions about the many issues everyone is seeing around them. One or two primary concerns typically bubble to the top and the issues are explored in-depth through research, presentations from community partners, and more round-tables. One issue always comes out as the one that would make the most impactful production around which we feel a need to raise awareness in our community.
The topic is then further researched by the artistic leadership, as well as the more experienced members of the ensemble. They work together to determine the areas to be most addressed and generally a loose structure is born.
At this point, the rest of the ensemble joins the process through round-tables. They also write and submit pieces (monologues, songs, scenes, ideas, etc.) to be a part of the piece. These submissions are auditioned for the artistic team and selected for further development, combined with other ideas or declined for the production. The scenes are further refined by their authors and the ensemble, and ultimately, a production is born out the process.
YEA works with professional directors, designers, and stage managers to create the final production. To date, YEA has created 8 original productions and performed for more than a million people around the globe with audiences as large as 25,000 and as small as 20.
Atlanta's Youth Theatre Home Team
Being based in Atlanta has been an incredible asset for YEA and our ensemble members. There is a diverse array of artists brought into our community each year and our members often have the opportunity to not only experience their work, but learn from them in special workshop classes. YEA attends, on average, three to five productions each year in our community. The artists are as varied as New York-based dance company, Ron Brown’s Evidence to Massachusetts’ Double Edge Theatre and even Belgrade’s Dah Teatar. Artists from these companies often come into workshop while they are in town to share their skills with our members. We also attend mainstream performances at the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta Ballet and mid-sized companies around the city where we are usually able to secure free and reduce-priced tickets.