Best performing arts camps
Downtown’s IRT Theater works to create highly original productions from deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing-abled tweens and teens. In addition to acting, improvisation and script writing, participants use mime, spoken word, dance, music and inventive storytelling to stage their productions. Ages 13–18.
If your kid is interested in the arts, Calhoun Summer Camps offer programs for movie buffs (Calhoun Movie-Making Camp for 2nd–6th graders, where kids can create original films) and musicians (Calhoun Summer Music for 6th–11th graders, where they'll get coached by professionals). Kids can also learn all about jazz improv and theory (Calhoun Summer Jazz for 14–18-year-olds) or attend a two-week Story Pirates camp for 2nd–6th graders focused on story writing, puppet/prop-building and acting. All ages.
With a strong emphasis on letting kids' inner voices ring out proudly, the intensive two-week summer program brings young musicians together to write, play and record their own songs. The campers form bands and collaborate with the help of musicians and recording technicians. Kids will go home with a CD of the songs they created... after performing at a major NYC venue! Ages 10–16.
Kids who love being on stage will thrive at this exciting theater. During the two-week programs, kids will learn and perform an original music review featuring amazing songs from kid-friendly Broadway musicals and movies. Look out for the Hamilton-inspired summer program, a surefire hit. Camps are held at various locations. Ages 5–12.
Brooklyn Acting Lab’s young actors’ program teaches kids the skills needed to put on their own show. In addition to acting exercises that include improvisation, singing and dancing, campers also try their hands at playwriting and crafting props and sets. 1012 8th Ave, Brooklyn (718.238.8383, brooklynactinglab.org) 330 Smith St, Brooklyn (718-238-8383, brooklynactinglab.org). Ages 5–9.
Throughout the program, talented kids take the TADA! stage to star in musical adaptations of favorite stories. Each week follows a theme, such as EMOJI: The Musical, World Turned Upside Down and I Speak Fluent Show Tunes. Lights, camera, action! Various locations. Ages 4–12.
Step right up and get ready to star in your own amazing three-ring circus. Young acrobats will swing on the trapeze, flip the day away on the trampoline and balance on a tightrope. They'll learn the techniques of real-life action hero (and Macarthur Grant winner) Elizabeth Streb, whose motion lexicon Pop Action combines stage and street performance art. Campers 6–13 years old: July 9-13, July 16–20, July 23–27, July 30–Aug 3, Aug 6–10, Aug 13–17; Campers 3–5: Aug 20–24, Aug 27–31. Ages 3–13.
Little ones will let their imaginations run wild during this summer arts camp that encourages city kids to create their own original fairytale. After being inspired by the week's featured story—showcased through music, movement and storytelling— campers will have time to craft props, costumes and sets. Mom and dad will love taking in the whimsical production at week's end. Ages 3–5.
Little stars, step right up! In this acting camp, young creatives attend classes such as Acting for Film, How to Deliver Commercial Copy, Cold Readings, Scene Study, Audition Strategy, Monologue Preparation and Industry Coaching for Representation. Each week finishes with a showcase with an actual kids agent and manager. How cool is that? Ages 6–14.
Whether your kids' creativity is focused in one area of the arts or if their passion for performing, creating and imagining cannot be contained, Usdan allows campers to curate a program that is right for them. From a variety of classes in music, dance, theater, creative writing and visual arts, children choose a major and minor to fill their days at the beautiful Wheatley Heights campus. Classes appeal to both traditionalists and contemporary performers, with options that include ballet or hip-hop for dancers or musical theater and game-heavy actor’s craft for thespians. For kids who want to work with their hands, classes in metalworking, archery, organic gardening and LEGO design keep their bodies and minds occupied. Ages 7–18.