LAU performing arts camp a spectacular success
LAU’s Imagine Summer Arts Camp ends on a high note for the young campers, their parents, and faculty from the performing arts.
The first performing arts summer camp in the region concluded on 21 July with a grand production brimming with the talent, camaraderie and energy that had made LAU’s Imagine Summer Arts Camp such a success with youngsters and their parents.
“It was amazing, and so creative. What our kids achieved in only ten days is superb,” said Myriam Sfeir, mother of 11-year-old camper Yara Murad, following the end-of-camp production, which was staged in the Gulbenkian Theatre at LAU’s Beirut campus.
Students at the two-week camp took classes in music, dance and acting, choosing one in which to specialize. “All famous actors also dance and sing, so it was great to learn skills in all three,” said 11-year-old Najib Haddad, who concentrated on acting. “I also developed my skills in cooperating, warming up, projection and performing on stage,” enthused the student from International College.
Indeed, the camp activities and format promoted not only the development of skills in the arts but also in self-confidence and teamwork. This, says initiator and director of the camp Amr Selim, was both intentional and to be expected. “The campers want to be here, they chose to be here, and they find themselves among likeminded people, learning to do what they love,” explains Selim, who had run summer arts camps in the U.S. for many years before moving to Lebanon last year to join LAU as assistant professor of music.
Each course was taught by a member of LAU’s highly experienced faculty. While Selim taught classes in rock music, Seba Ali mentored the campers in instrumental music, Yasmina Sabbah ran the choir, Omar Moujaes taught acting and Nadra Assaf instructed the dance classes.
“This camp has highlighted to future students of our performing arts program, and their parents, that the performing arts are alive and well at LAU,” says Assaf, assistant professor of dance and associate chair of the Communication Arts department. “It also reflects the message of our recent campaign that highlights the reinvention of communication,” adds Assaf, who prioritized self-expression over technical skill during the camp, inviting the campers to choreograph their own emotive piece for inclusion in the final performance.
Among them was 13-year-old Maya Maghribi. “Everyone was so welcoming and no one judged the other. It really made us come out of our shells and express ourselves,” said the dancer.
Lynn Majed, an 11-year-old student from Collège Protestant Français, also reveled in the experience. “It was amazing. We worked hard, but it was fun,” said the young singer, who began training her voice four years ago. “The training at the camp was different to what I’m used to, but I’ll definitely be back next year.”
Selim would like to see the camp last longer than two weeks next summer, and would very much welcome the opportunity to host a sleepover camp in the mountains―a suggestion that went down well with campers and faculty members.
“It was challenging to introduce different theatre theorists and skills, and produce a performance piece in two weeks,” recalls Moujaes, who teaches drama at both Brummana High School and LAU. “But the response of the campers was wonderful and I, myself, learned at least as much as taught.”
LAU Performing Arts student Joelle Kahale, who worked as a monitor at the camp, also enjoyed the opportunity to learn while guiding the youngsters. “I like projecting what I learn onto other students, and I learned a lot observing and engaging in the courses at the camp,” enthused the sophomore student. “I’ll definitely be back next year.”
Selim and his cadre will now take some time to review the feedback of the campers, their parents, faculty and student assistants to further develop the concept and program. “Seeing the passion and commitment in the eyes of the campers was priceless,” recalls Selim, delighted with the outcome of the first LAU Summer Arts Camp and already looking forward to the next one.
Communication Arts students at LAU express their pride in the department’s mission to #ReinventCommunication
Watch full video: http://comm.lau.edu.lb