Miami-Dade — Whether they possess a flair for the dramatic and need a stage on which to perform or they’re on the shy side and could use a boost to open up, Camp Broadway Miami at the Arsht Center offers a safe, non-competitive space for children to flourish. The one week program is open to all skill levels, so those with innate dramatic urges but no experience will feel as welcomed as those who are “veterans” on the theatrical stage.
Jairo Ontiveros is the director for education and community engagement at the Arsht Center and he speaks from experience when he says that a theater program like Camp Broadway Miami can help a shy, insecure child to find their inner voice and become confident enough to make new friends on their own.
As a child, Ontiveros, 30, was encouraged by a teacher to participate in a theater show at school and he said that it changed his personality. “I’m a product of these types of programs. I excelled in academics, however, I wasn’t the most popular kid, was a little chubby, had self-esteem issues.” He said that after becoming involved in theater, he became more outgoing and garnered the courage to make new friends and meet new people.
His childhood theater experience ultimately guided him to a career that helps children to have a similar experience; something that he sees happening with children who participate in Camp Broadway Miami, now in its second year. The program is affiliated with Camp Broadway National, housed in New York, which has been around for 20 years.
“The most important thing about this program is that children learn in very dynamic ways. What Camp Broadway Miami provides is that ability to explore, not only themselves, but a love of theater. Parents will be surprised to see, if their child has never been in a program like this, what a positive impact it can make on them in regards to their self-esteem and outlook on focusing on something like theater at such a young age.”
The program is intense, but the only complaint from campers is that they don’t want it to end, Ontiveros said.
“The campers train for the entire week under Broadway professionals from New York that have Broadway or national touring credits to their name. They work with an artistic director, two musical directors, two choreographers,” Ontiveros explained of the program that provides children with a real Broadway-type experience.
“They work with current working professionals on Broadway on stage blocking, line memorization, choreography, live accompaniments and they sing with a person playing the piano live. It really provides safe space for them when it’s all ensemble based and it’s non-competitive, which is at the core of Camp Broadway Miami,” he said.
In addition to helping children to come out of their shells, the camp helps them to forge deep connections with their cohorts.
“The noncompetitive nature really lends itself to campers helping each other out,” Ontiveros shared.
“They come in, they have to read music and it’s something that they learn here. It brings children from diverse backgrounds together. There is a lot of self-esteem building through the rehearsal process,” he said. Campers will get to strut their stuff for their family when they take the Arsht Center stage for the special finale musical performance that is open to the public.
The program costs $800 and includes an official Camp Broadway t-shirt, healthy lunches, snacks and water. Campers will also receive an official cast of characters headshot to begin, or add to, their dramatic portfolio. Campers get to ask questions of their instructors and get an understanding of the making of a performance by participating in a backstage seminar with the production crew. Scholarships are available for parents who are interested in having their child participate but cannot afford to pay the fee.
“We recognize that there is a need in our community and we want to make sure that we fill that need,” Ontiveros shared.
For information on the camp or to apply for a scholarship, parents should send an email to Education@arshtcenter.org by June 1. The deadline to apply for the camp is July 6th. Camp Broadway at the Arsht Center runs Aug. 3 – 8.
For more information about Camp Broadway please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 786-468-2264. If calling, please leave a voicemail and the staff will return your call within 24 hours.