The Usdan Festival has hosted professional artists from around the world, including dancers from the Alvin Ailey and Michelle Dorrance companies, musicians from the New York Philharmonic and International Contemporary Ensemble, mimes, puppeteers, spoken word and Broadway performers, and, in the very first season, an 11-year-old cello prodigy named Yo-Yo Ma. Repertoire for the daily Festival Performance includes traditional and contemporary art from a culturally diverse group of performers. These performances bring art to life for campers in thrilling new ways to delight, surprise, and inspire our students. All of our professional performers hold a workshop or master class on the day of their performance with students from a related class or department.
In a typical summer, the series includes performances by professional artists, professional faculty and staff performers, and student performers, showcasing the talent and commitment of Usdan’s incredible campers and offering a glimpse of the artistry created in the studios throughout the summer. Complementing in-studio performances that some students participate in, the Festival showcase exemplifies the value of performing for different-sized audiences and with different levels of formality. By participating in the series, performing-arts students learn what it means to come together as a group to produce an artwork, to take risks, and to be supported by faculty and their peers on the big stage.