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Sheldon puts kids on stage

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Young people interested in exploring their creative sides this summer can sign up for one- and two-week theater and dance workshops being offered in June by the Sheldon School of Performing Arts.

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Logan Ritchie and Bill Cagley will lead theater workshops for two age groups at a new location, the Anderson Center Barn.

Dance students can spend a week learning from James Sewell Ballet professionals at Shoreline Dance Studio.

Theater workshop

"Act! Produce! Create!" will run from June 17 to 28. Students in grades 4 to 7 will attend from 9 a.m. to noon; students in grade 8 and up will be in session from 1 to 4 p.m. The maximum number of students for each age group is 20.

"We decided to split the ages this year," said Ritchie, who was an assistant to instructor Pam Larson last summer. With a large group of young people in grades 4 through 12, it became a very long day.

"This way we can cater more to the different age groups," she added.

Ritchie currently is teaching an after-school class for grades 2 to 4 in the Anderson Center's historic barn, so she has come to appreciate what it has to offer.

"It's exciting for me and the kids to have such a beautiful space to work and perform," she said. She also likes the one-level, open space, the atmosphere, and the proximity to professional writers who will spend time with the students while they are in residency at the center during June.

Early in the workshop, two writers will collaborate with the students, helping them create their own scenes to perform based on the theme "Trust."

"They can write a play with a beginning, a middle and an end, or they can write a series of scenes," Ritchie said. With a theme instead of a preordained script like last year, she added, "There's lots of flexibility for them to create." Working in small groups, they will decide how to portray the theme.

Also working with the boys and girls will be musician Bill Cagley, who was part of the YMCA summer theater camp last year. He will help the students write their own songs for the production.

The students also will have an opportunity to explore the Sheldon Theatre, Ritchie said. The whole group will move downtown for final rehearsals and a free performance the evening of the last day of class, June 28, for family and friends.

Before going to the Sheldon, she noted, they will learn theater etiquette, including "how to treat the historic space ... . It builds up the excitement and anticipation."

The theater has a variety of spaces, including a green room, the stage and the house.

"There are lots of areas to learn about -- how they function and how to act in them," Ritchie said. Realistically, she added, most plays are rehearsed off-site then moved into a theater for the performance.

The summer workshop also includes instruction in creating sets, lighting and sound, costumes and marketing. Some of that instruction will begin at the Tower View Barn, then intensify at the Sheldon.

"There will be opportunities for students who are more interested in tech," Ritchie said. "They can get involved" in many ways, not only as actors.

Ritchie, a Red Wing High School graduate, received a bachelor of arts degree in theater in 2012 from Harding University, Searcy, Ark. She is living in West St. Paul, working on a master's degree in teaching with certification in theater and dance, as well as a degree in communication arts and literature at Hamline University, St. Paul.

She has taught private acting lessons and completed a theater arts training internship at The Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis. In Red Wing, she also has taught after-school theater classes at Burnside and Sunnyside schools. Ultimately, she'd like to teach at the high school level or work in an education program at a theater.

"I think it's fun," she said. "You get to see different personalities and backgrounds and how they work together. There's something about theater that brings them all together, and it's fun to see what they can create as a group."

Cost for the 10 sessions is $125; scholarship assistance is available. Families can register online at www.sheldontheatre.org/page/classes or call Red Wing Community Education at 651-385-4565.

Dance Intensive Workshop

Intermediate and advanced dancers have an opportunity spend 17-21 working with Julia Tehven and Eve Schulte from the James Sewell Ballet. Sessions will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; students must bring their lunch each day.

The workshop will include study of ballet, Pilates, improvisation, composition, dance history and dance in film. Sessions will be held at Shoreline Dance Studio, 133 Hedin Ave.

The workshop will conclude with a dance performance at the Sheldon.

Tehven has danced professionally in the Twin Cities for more than 20 years. She has performed with Minnesota Dance Theatre and Ballet of the Dolls in addition to the Sewell Ballet.

She received her dance training with the Minnesota Dance Theatre, studying the Russian Vaganova technique and Loyce Houlton's contemporary technique that blends classical ballet and modern dance. Tehven brought those disciplines to her classes at Wirth Performing Arts Center, Zenon School, Larkin Dance and Dance Spectrum.

A recipient of the McKnight Dancer Fellowship Award, she currently is training in the Stott method of pilates.

Schulte, a member of the James Sewell Ballet, also performed with Minnesota Dance Theatre, where she received the core of her training under the direction of Lisa Houlton.

She regularly instructs dance at the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp (Mich.) in the summers, and leads master classes and workshops for all ages throughout the year. She also has a bachelor of arts degree in English from the University of Minnesota.

Cost of the workshop is $90; scholarship aid is available. Previous dance experience is required. People can register through Community Education or online at the Sheldon Website. For more information, contact Ellen Hutchinson at 651-388-8703 or ehutchinson@sheldontheatre.org.

Sheldon School of Performing Arts

What: Theater Workshop

Who: Grades 4-7, 8-up

When: June 17-28

Where: Anderson Center Barn/Sheldon Theatre

Cost: $125

More info: Community Education/Sheldon Theatre

What: Dance Workshop

Who: Intermediate to advanced dancers

When: June 17-21

Where: Shoreline Dance/Sheldon Theatre

Cost: $90

More info: Community Education/Sheldon Theatre

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