Students Dance, Act, Sing and Play Their Way Through RIC Summer Programs

Dancers in RIC's Performing Summer Arts Camp practice their routine to

Dancers in RIC's Performing Summer Arts Camp practice their routine to


It’s only a few minutes into the day’s activities and coach Alicia White has to remind her camp dancers what they are here for. “Just because I told you to pay attention, doesn’t mean I said not to have fun,” White said to the group of dancers in Rhode Island College’s Summer Performing Arts Camp.

The girls, all in grades six through 12, were at first tense but dozens of smiles emerged when the music started and they got to show off the routine they’ve been practicing to “On Broadway.” “The camp is going great,” said Noelle Salisbury, 11, who was at the camp for the first time this year. “I am a little young, but I think the challenges are good for me to reach higher than my comfort zone. You can only get better by reaching outside your comfort zone.”

RIC’s Summer Performing Arts Camp, which runs through the end of July, is run by the college’s Department of Music, Theatre & Dance. The program offers classes and workshops in acting, dance and musical theater. “I look forward to the camp every summer,” White, who has been the camp’s choreographer and dance instructor for four years, said. “It always amazes me how well all the kids work together. It is a great opportunity for kids to get in touch with their creative side and I am grateful to be able to help them with the exploration.”

Cassandra Esposito, 17, and a fourth-year camper, said she came to the camp because she’s very interested in acting. “I also really like the people here,” Esposito said.

Also running on campus recently was the Music Institute at Rhode Island College, a weeklong intensive program for high school band and choral students. The institute was established in 2004 by Robert Franzblau, associate professor of music and director of bands at RIC.

Students participate in practice, performance and study in order to prepare high school students for collegiate expectations, beginning with auditions and culminating in a public performance on campus. “I was delighted with the students we had this year,” Franzblau said. “They were all so eager to learn. Most of them spent lots of their ‘free’ time practicing individual parts so that when they came to the next rehearsal, they brought that as a gift to everyone in the ensemble. They were discovering what it means to follow the path of the artist.”