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Musings | Mar 5, 2021


Colin, Mimi, and Maile posing in front of a wooden fence.

Dear Usdan Community,

Of late, our Musings feature youth voices. Last week, we read the passionate argument of Usdan student Ariana Glaser, and in the weeks prior, we absorbed the poetry of a number of Usdan creative writers. Today, I am pleased to introduce you to Mimi, a 2021 first time camper in our Discovery program.

While Mimi enjoys camp this summer, her parents — violinist Colin Jacobsen* and dancer Maile Okamura — will be collaborating with student dancers and musicians to create a new work of art as part of a three-year Artists in Residence project with The Knights, an ensemble that Colin co-founded.

Although The Knights could not work with Usdan students during the first summer of their residency in 2020, they created video works for our community, rehearsed in the amphitheater, and, in partnership with their friend the choreographer John Heginbotham, Colin, Maile, and Mimi made some art and had some fun on an empty campus.

While exploring the grounds and experimenting with music and dance in unusual environments, Mimi searched for monsters, felt the soft moss, found downed trees, learned choreography, and collected sticks. Mimi's mom Maile explains, “she is at a beautiful age in which there is no divide between art making and being.”

After you enjoy the video of Mimi at Usdan below, I invite you to share times when you too have witnessed children experiencing “no divide between art making and being.”

“When I was riding my bike in the pool, I felt like I was flying. I was so focused on my bike that I wasn’t thinking about anything at all."
— Mimi, 2021 Usdan student, age 5


The filming at Usdan was part of the development for Variations on America - Our Land 2020, a video project choreographed by John Heginbotham. Mimi helped to workshop the material that was later taught to professional dancers and other children for the piece.

With warmth,

Lauren Brandt Schloss, Executive Director

*Colin is one of the two musicians who I have learned played in a “professional” slot on the Usdan Festival while they were children. Colin performed at age 10 in 1988; the other artist was Yo-Yo Ma who played at age 11 during Usdan's inaugural 1968 season.