Join Our Mailing List!
The Blackstone River Theatre

BRT Summer Solstice Festival
About BRT
What's New
Directions
Ticket Info
Schedule
Programs
Volunteer
Art Gallery
Contact Us
Pendragon
Find Us on Facebook
Heritage Arts Studio Classes
STUDY HILL for Young Writers        
 
WINTER 2014

As part of our Heritage Arts Studio initiative, Blackstone River Theatre pursues arts education outreach by offering classes and workshops at the theatre with respected performers and teachers. This initiative allows the community to discover or reconnect with traditional art forms (music, song, dance, visual and literary arts) and become PARTICIPANTS in our regional arts heritage.

Heritage Arts Studio offerings for Winter 2014 will include a 4-week session of five levels of fiddle classes starting on November 4 and November 5 with Cathy Clasper-Torch. We will offer 4-week sessions of non-competitive Irish step dance classes for children and adult beginners and advanced/intermediate beginners with instructor Erika Damiani starting November 8 and November 9 as well as four classes geared for performance as part of Tir Na Nog Irish Dance. We also have added three new Irish dance levels on Fridays which continue through November! We continue our popular Zumba classes on Monday evenings with April Hilliker. There will be 3 two-hour workshops for beginner dulcimer with Elwood Donnelly and continuing dulcimer with Aubrey Atwater in Oct.-Nov.

HOW TO REGISTER FOR ANY BRT CLASSES
So we can be assured of meeting the minimum needed to hold any of our class offerings, BRT NEEDS PRE-PAYMENT AT LEAST 3 DAYS BEFORE THE START OF ANY CLASS (and hopefully sooner!) or we'll need to cancel at that time.
If you are interested in any class, please:
1. E-mail russell@riverfolk.org to pre-register and then,
2. Put a check payable to Blackstone River Theatre in the mail ASAP to: Blackstone River Theatre, 549 Broad Street, Cumberland, Rhode Island 02864


FIDDLE CLASSES
NEXT SESSION: Tuesdays & Wednesdays starting November 4 and November 5, 2014 with instructor Cathy Clasper-Torch


4-Week Beginner Fiddle Class (total beginner or one session completed)
4-Week Continuing Beginner Fiddle Class (two to four sessions experience)
4-Week Continuing Intermediate Fiddle Class
4-Week Advanced Intermediate Fiddle Class
4-Week Advanced Fiddle Class


A class for beginner fiddlers (total beginner or one 6-week session completed) will be offered on Tuesdays, 5:30-6:20 PM, starting November 4 through November 25. Class limited to 8; minimum 5 needed to hold class. Students must bring own instrument and recording device. Fee: $52.00 for each student per 4-week session. Both playing by ear and some sight reading will be included. Prepayment necessary!

A class for continuing beginner fiddlers (two to four sessions experience) will be offered on Tuesdays, 6:30-7:20 PM, starting November 4 through November 25. Class limited to 12; minimum 6 needed to hold class. Students must bring own instrument and recording device. Fee: $52.00 for each student per 4-week session. Both playing by ear and some sight reading will be included. Prepayment necessary!

A class for continuing intermediate fiddlers will be offered on Tuesdays, 7:30-8:30 PM, starting November 4 through November 25. Class limited to 12; minimum 6 needed to hold class. Students must bring own instrument and recording device. Fee: $52.00 for each student per 4-week session. Both playing by ear and some sight reading will be included. Prepayment necessary!

Advanced Intermediate Fiddle and Advanced Fiddle classes will be offered on Wednesdays, starting November 5 through December 3 (no class 11/26!). Class for advanced intermediate runs from 6:30-7:30 PM. (Please arrive by 6:20 to tune!) Class for the advanced level runs from 7:45-9:00 PM. Classes limited to 14; minimum 7 needed to hold each class. Students must bring own instrument, stand and recording device. Fee: $52.00 for each student per 4-week session. Both playing by ear and sight reading will be included. Players will be placed in these classes by the instructor's evaluation of skill level. Prepayment necessary!

CLASS DESCRIPTIONS
Complete Beginner Fiddle Class (or one session completed)

This course is for those just starting to fiddle around or for those who always wanted to! It's also great for people who want to start over again after some time away from playing. The beginner class includes: fundamentals of playing the fiddle (fingering and bowing technique), instrument care, tuning the strings with confidence, and learning simple tunes and exercises by both ear and notation. A tape recorder is recommended for each class along with a music stand. Students need to bring their fiddle and bow to first class!

Continuing Beginner Fiddle Class
This class is for fiddlers who have played a year or less or who want to brush up on fundamentals. The Continuing Beginner class includes: continued honing of bow and fingering skills, ear-training and intonation, and continued work on building repertoire of fiddle tunes/music. Notation is used as well as learning by ear. A tape recorder and music stand are recommended for each class.

Continuing Intermediate Fiddle Class
This class is for fiddlers who have taken BRT fiddle classes a year or more, or by discretion of the instructor. Note-reading skills as well as ear training are worked on during each class as well as fine-tuning intonation and general fiddle technique/skills. The growing music repertoire includes American fiddle standards as well as waltzes, airs, reels and jigs in Celtic, American and a variety of other traditions. A tape recorder and music stand are recommended for each class.

Advanced Intermediate Fiddle Classes
This class is for fiddlers who have played for three years or more, or by discretion of the instructor. General fiddle proficiency (intonation, bowing, fingering) as well as comfort with sight-reading or reading notation is needed. This class will include: learning a broad repertoire of fiddle music (American, Celtic and more), playing by ear, performance skills and comfort, beginning ornamentation of tunes, session and jam etiquette. A tape recorder and music stand are recommended for each class.

Advanced Level Fiddle Class
This class is for independent fiddle players who are comfortable with notation/sight reading, and have a general mastery of their instrument. The advanced class includes: ear training and memorization of tunes, as well as exploration of improvisation and harmony. Placement in this class level will be at the discretion of the instructor. Tape recorder and music stand are recommended for each class. Players at this level will, on occasion, also learn tunes/repertoire for performance at BRT events.

Cathy Clasper Torch is a multi-instrumentalist whose primary focus is fiddle/violin and piano. She combines her early classical training with love of improvisation and music of all genres and cultures. Cathy records and performs in the area with numerous bands and musicians including the Atwater-Donnelly Trio and The Gnomes and released her first solo CD in 2011. Visit www.cathyclasper-torch.com




IRISH STEP DANCE CLASSES for children AND adults with instructor Erika Damiani

NEW FRIDAY Irish step dance classes at Blackstone River Theatre
6-week session NOG TROUPE starts October 17 through November 28
4-week session of Hard Shoe classes runs October 24, Nov. 7, Nov. 21 and Nov. 28


4:30-5:30 P.M. - TIR NA NOG 'Nog' TROUPE. This will be for Tir Na Nog's youngest performance troupe dancers. They will meet once a week on Fridays for an hour and participate in different shows throughout the year at different nursing homes, schools, parades, the christmas spectacular, and more. They will learn basic choreography of group dances, basic handholds, and will be challenged to remember different routines throughout the year. Fee: $60 for 6-week session.

5:30-6:30 P.M. - Beginner Hard Shoe: This class is open to any student who has a solid foundation of soft shoe technique. They will be taught the beginning steps of hard shoe, basic rhythms, proper foot placement, keeping their heels off the floor, and much more! All dancers must have hard shoes to participate in the class. Tap shoes are not allowed. If you are waiting for shoes to come in please wear sneakers to class. This class can (and should!) be repeated as many times as necessary to master the foundations of basic Hard Shoe before moving on. Fee: $52 for 4-week session.

6:30-7:30 P.M. - Advanced Beginner Hard Shoe: This class is for those who have a solid foundation of the basics of hard shoe. The class will focus on more intricate rhythms, basic clicks and click jumps, learning some of the traditional hard shoe set dances, and concentrate on steps fitting to the music and solidifying basic foot placement and technique. Fee: $52 for 4-week session.

* When purchasing hard shoes please make sure they have a black bottom and square tip toe. Rutherford Shoes makes wonderful Irish Dance Soft and Hard shoes. You can purchase shoes via their website www.rutherfordshoes.com


SATURDAY Irish step dance classes (NON-COMPETITIVE) at Blackstone River Theatre
4-week session runs on Saturdays, November 8 through November 29


9:00-9:45 A.M. - Beginner Irish Dance: This a pure beginner class for children ages 5 to 10. They will learn the basics of irish dance, how to count the music, beginning foot placement, and beginner steps. Class limited to 15; minimum 7 students needed to hold class. No experience is expected for beginner level and no special shoes are required. We do ask children to wear soft-soled shoes (or just socks) and wear loose, comfortable clothing. Fee: $40.00 for 4-week session per student. Note: Very often, students at this age level will take this beginner class two, three or more times before being placed in a continuing beginner class as it is VERY important to really learn and be able to execute the basic steps of Irish dance before moving on and adding to them.

10:00-10:50 A.M. - Continuing Beginner Irish Dance: This class is a continuing children's class ages 6-12, but can also be used as a beginner class for those students who have already had experience in dancing in other genres and want to try out Irish Dance. The class will focus on Irish Dance technique, solidifying foot placement, learning more intricate steps and understanding the 4 main types of Soft Shoe Irish Dance - Reel, Jig, Slip Jig, and Hop jig. Students in the class often repeat this class 2-3 times before moving up. Many dancers usually transition from this class into the performance troupe classes. Fee: $40.00 for 4-week session per student.

11:00 A.M.-Noon - Adult and Teen Beginner Irish Dance: This class is for Adults and Teens who are looking to learn Irish Dance! This class will teach the basics of Irish Dance, foot placement, timing, rhythm, and steps that fit into the 4 main types of soft shoe Irish Dance - Reel, Jig, Slip Jig, and Hop Jig. The adult class is constantly changing and new choreography, steps, and music is always being added. If you can't make a commitment to the whole session please feel free to come to the classes that you can make! Fee: $52.00 for 4-week session per student (or $13.00 per class if dropping in).


SUNDAY Irish step dance classes (NON-COMPETITIVE) at Blackstone River Theatre
4-week session runs on Sundays, November 9 through November 30


9:00 A.M. - TIR NA NOG GREEN TROUPE: Troupe classes perform at local schools, nursing homes, festivals, parades, weddings, private parties and more! Members will perform in the Irish Dance Christmas Show as well as the Summer Solstice Festival in June. A member of the Green Troupe shows strong understanding of Soft Shoe technique, understands the terminology of Irish Dance, and some of the basic figures of Irish Dance choreography. Any dancer who is a troupe member must also be taking one additional soft shoe class. Fee: $50.00 for 4-week session per student.

10:00 A.M. - SOFT SHOE TECHNIQUE: This class teaches students Irish dance steps in soft shoe. The focus is on technique and proper positions of dancing, body and posture. This class also teaches many of the modern day Irish Dance jumps such as Birds, Axels, Hover springs and more, as well as traditional Ceili dances. The purpose of this class is to learn steps that fit to Reel, Jig, Slip Jig, and Hop Jig music and continue to learn more steps and intricate flourishes to soft shoe Irish Dance. No special shoes (ghillies) are required for this class. Fee: $50.00 for 4-week session per student.

11:00 A.M. - TIR NA NOG GOLD TROUPE: Troupe classes perform at local schools, nursing homes, festivals, parades, weddings, private parties and more! Members will perform in the Irish Dance Christmas Show as well as the Summer Solstice Festival in June. A member of the Gold Troupe shows strong understanding of Soft Shoe technique, understands the terminology of Irish Dance, and some of the basic figures of Irish Dance choreography. At this level dancers should be strong in upper body posture, working on always having their feet turned out, and they should be able to stay on high on their toes and hands should be closed all the time. Gold troupe members should also have good performance skills such as smiling throughout each dance routine and confidence in performing at many types of venues. Any dancer who is a troupe member must also be taking one additional soft shoe class. Fee: $50.00 for 4-week session per student.

NOON - ADVANCED HARD AND SOFT SHOE: Intermediate to Advanced Hard shoe. This class is for dancers who have taken both the beginner and advanced beginner hard shoe classes and who have a very strong handle on the beginner hard shoe dances. Dancers coming into this class should be able to do all the basic moves like trebles, tips, rolls, and should be able to keep their heels off the ground. The focus of this class will be on faster-paced reels, learning the traditional Hard Shoe set dances, as well as new steps for Hornpipe, Treble Jig, and a few modern spins on Hard shoe dances. Fee: $50.00 for 4-week session per student.

1:00-2:30 P.M. - TIR NA NOG TRISKELE TROUPE: Troupe classes perform at local schools, nursing homes, festivals, parades, weddings, private parties and more! Members will perform in the Irish Dance Christmas Show as well as the Summer Solstice Festival in June. A member of the Triskele Troupe shows a very strong understanding of Soft Shoe technique, understands the terminology of Irish Dance, and many of the basic figures of Irish Dance choreography. Triskele troupe members should be executing each step with confidence, pointed toes, turned out feet, and hands ALWAYS closed. A stiff upper body with arms held closely to their torso as well as a smile at all times. Performing for a Triskele troupe dancer should flow easily from within. Any dancer who is a troupe member must also be taking one additional soft shoe class. Fee: $60.00 for 4-week session per student.




There are now FOUR performance troupe levels of TIR NA NOG IRISH DANCE. Neither group is based solely on age but on dance skill and technique levels, performance levels, maturity, and commitment to dance.

What are Performance Troupes?
Tir Na Nog Performance Troupes are for students who want to perform and share their love of Irish Dance with audiences! Troupe members take the dances and steps they learn in class and perform them at local schools, nursing homes, festivals, church events, private parties, parades, holiday shows, weddings, and more. Troupe members learn both traditional and modern choreography in hard and soft shoe and perform throughout the year. Performance troupe members also perform in the annual Irish Dance Christmas Spectacular every December and are featured dancers each June at the BRT Summer Solstice Festival.

How do I become a Troupe Member?
To become a troupe member a dancer must have a solid understanding of the basics of Irish Dance and be willing to push themselves to learn choreography with a group of other dancers. All troupe members must be dedicated to each other and understand that practice and attendance are very important because troupes perform as an ensemble.

Erika Damiani runs Tir Na Nog Irish Dance at Blackstone River Theatre and also teaches at two other regional dance studios. Erika placed nationally in 2010 with the American Association of Irish Dance Teachers and in 2011 and 2012 with the North American Irish Dance Federation, and has danced her way to Prizewinner level. She has experience in teaching classes with children from age 6 and up to adults. Erika choreographs her own dances and is proficient in teaching both modern Irish dance and traditional ceili dances.



MOUNTAIN DULCIMER WORKSHOP WITH AUBREY ATWATER & ELWOOD DONNELLY
3-week session of TWO-HOUR Classes for Beginners and for Continuing Players


These three-week sessions of two-hour classes for beginner and continuing mountain dulcimer will be offered on Saturdays, October 25, November 8 and November 22, from 1-3:00 P.M. These will be separate classes (beginner with Elwood and continuing with Aubrey). Minimum of 5 students needed to hold class; maximum of 14 students. Fee for the three-week session is $75.00. Prepayment necessary!

The many possibilities of the mountain dulcimer are part of the beauty of this extraordinary Appalachian instrument. Moving at a comfortable pace, the dulcimer will be approached from a variety of angles: singing and playing chords, tunings, using the traditional noter, strumming, fingerpicking, flatpicking, and any other topics that may "happen" as a result of group chemistry and as time allows. Participants will leave the class amazed with themselves and full of new ideas. Aubrey and Elwood will be teaching these classes which will be divided into two levels, beginner and continuing. For the beginner class, participants need no prior knowledge of reading or playing music! If you can, please bring a dulcimer in good playing condition; otherwise, contact Aubrey about renting at: aubreyfolk@aol.com or by calling (401) 392-1909.



ZUMBA CLASSES
Ongoing/drop in
Zumba classes Offered Monday evenings at 6:30 p.m. with instructor April Hilliker


Mondays, 6:30-7:30 PM - ZUMBA WITH APRIL HILLIKER
$5.00 per class; pay at the door - no signup needed! Free class after ten classes taken!

Are you ready to party yourself into shape? That's EXACTLY what the Zumba program is all about. It's an exhilarating, effective, easy-to-follow, Latin-inspired, calorie-burning dance fitness party that's moving millions of people toward joy and health. Zumba Fitness® is the only Latin-inspired dance-fitness program that blends red-hot international music, created by Grammy Award-winning producers, and contagious steps to form a "fitness-party" that is downright addictive. Zumba is for all fitness levels and ages. It is all about moving, laughing, and most of all having FUN! You don't have to have the perfect body or be a professional dancer to do Zumba, all you have to do is move and SHAKE IT! Step out of your comfort zone and join the hottest dance party around... Our instructor April Hilliker has become known as one of the area's best and most popular Zumba instructors in just three years of teaching. One of the extra attractions of BRT Zumba classes is that April will be teaching from a raised stage allowing everyone in class to more easily see and follow her moves... come down and give it a try! Capacity at BRT for Zumba is 50 people!



CELTIC STONE CARVING IN LIMESTONE FOR BEGINNERS
A two-day class in Celtic Relief Stone Carving (TO BE OFFERED May 16-17, 2015)

Blackstone River Theatre will offer a two-day class in Celtic Relief Stone carving in Limestone for beginners with instructor Laura Travis, outside, behind the Blackstone River Theatre. The class will be held on Saturday, May 16 AND Sunday, May 17, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day (with a half-hour lunch break.) Teenagers (age 16 and up), college students and adults are all welcome and no experience is required. (Note: Laura WILL also be able to accommodate students who have taken this class in the past and want to build on their skills!) A maximum of 10 students will be allowed; a minimum of six is needed to run the class. The course fee is $125 plus a separate $12 materials fee which is payable directly to instructor Laura Travis (includes several pieces of stone, sandpapers, and access to finishing tools.) Prepayment is necessary. IF you want to purchase your own chisel so you can keep carving at home, we will need to know to pre-order them by Sept. 12. The additional cost would be $18 so let us know and add that to the $12 materials fee already being paid. For more information, visit the instructor's site, campus.digication.com/lauratravis.

Relief carving is a satisfying and useful skill which has numerous applications for gardens, landscaping, and creative expression. The saga of The Celt and The Stone is as old as time. If you have seen a photo of the High Crosses in Ireland and Scotland, or British well-shrine covers, you've seen Celtic relief carving in stone. In this 12-hour introductory-level course, students will use manageable scraps of limestone and carve them with an initial, a knot, or an animal motif - bring your own idea or utilize teacher references - and in the process learn something of one of the signature arts of the Celts. Included will be plenty of stone lore, tips for scrounging up materials and tools for practically nothing, and information about techniques including polishing and finishing.

Laura Travis has been carving for 22 years, bringing her knowledge and love of Irish and Celtic traditions firmly into her work in stone. As an artist, Laura walks between the worlds of fine and folk art, utilizing traditional iconography in some very contemporary contexts. Travis has shown her work in Providence, Maryland, Toronto, Worcester and New Bedford. She holds an MFA in sculpture from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and maintains her studio just a stone's throw from the ocean in Rhode Island. She's also known for originating and hosting the Irish traditional music radio program, In The Celtic Realm, for the past 30 years on WRIU-FM.



ONGOING AND PAST CLASSES TO BE OFFERED IN FUTURE


TIN WHISTLE CLASSES
6-Week Session of Classes for BEGINNERS/CONTINUING PLAYERS


A six-week class in Irish tin whistle for beginners and continuing beginners will be offered with instructor Aubrey Atwater on Thursdays, October 9 through November 13, from 6:30-7:30 P.M. This class is designed for beginner and continuing beginner adults, teens and children age 11-and-up. Minimum of 5 students needed to hold class; maximum of 12 students. Fee for the six-week class is $80.00. Prepayment necessary! Aubrey Atwater will teach technique and tunes for this 6-hole, traditional Irish instrument, blending lessons on traditional ornamentation and breathing with her unique style of hauntingly long notes and vibrato that she has developed over the years through trips to Ireland and influence from her Irish tin whistle mentor, Phil Edmonds. Please bring a key of D tin whistle. Aubrey WILL have a few whistles for sale if you do not have one already! Playing by ear will be stressed (as opposed to reading music) so please bring a basic hand-held recording device to class.



5-STRING BANJO CLASSES
6-Week Session of Classes for BEGINNERS/CONTINUING PLAYERS


A six-week class in 5-string banjo for beginners and continuing beginners will be offered with instructor Aubrey Atwater on Thursdays, October 9 through November 13, from 7:30-8:30 P.M. This class is designed for beginner and continuing beginner adults, teens and children age 12-and-up. Minimum of 5 students needed to hold class; maximum of 10 students. Fee for the six-week class is $80.00. Prepayment necessary! Aubrey Atwater will teach the basics of playing the Appalachian old-time banjo style including ornamentation and Clawhammer technique using banjo-accompanied songs learned from her friends and mentors in Eastern Kentucky. Playing by ear will be stressed (as opposed to reading music) so please bring a basic hand-held recording device to class.

From Warren, R.I., award-winning musician, vocalist, writer and dancer Aubrey Atwater is a delightful and energetic performer and class leader. She presents a captivating concert of traditional and original folk music, percussive dance, and spoken word, including explanations of the music. In great demand for performance and classes, Aubrey has performed in more than 35 states as well as England and Ireland. She sings, dances, and plays the mountain dulcimer, old-time banjo, guitar, and Irish tin whistle as part of the acclaimed duo Atwater-Donnelly.