StarStruck Camp enjoys encore appearance

Charlie Murphy, left, his brother Thomas and Grace Krautkremer practice lines during theater class at StarStruck Performing Arts Camp. The camp covered various aspects of the performing arts from singing to dancing to painting. To see more photos click on the blue button, lower right. Patrick Fisher Photo)

"Phenomenal" is how StarStruck Performing Arts Camp at New Prague Middle School is being described. Generations Theatre Company is presenting the four week camp, which is in its second summer. "Last year we had a wonderful turn out. We have several kids returning this year," said Korrin Dvorak, dance instructor with the camp. Because of the camp’s success last year it was decided to add a fourth week.

StarStruck Performing Arts Camp teaches children and teens about the various aspects of performing, from theater to dancing to singing to art such as painting or building sets and props. Each week has its own theme and the camp is open to students from ages 6 to 17. The first week, June 17-21, was "Summer Splash," which featured music associated with the summer and had 43 youths participating.

"People registered their children on Friday for the next week, because their kids loved it so much," said Tammy Murphy, program director for the camp.

The second week was "TV Time Warp" with 40 children and teens involved. Campers learned songs and danced to music associated with various TV shows. The next two weeks are July 15-19 with its theme "Around the World." It will explore musical traditions from various countries. The final week, July 22-26, is "On the Red Carpet" and will have music, dances and acting associated with movies and award shows.

Craig Zimanske, production director for the camp, has written scripts that are based on each theme and connects the songs and dances. Also helping are Molly Wick, the pop choir choreographer and Leah Zvanovec, the art instructor.

Allie Meyer, the pop choir vocal instructor for the camp, said the youth who participated last year know what to expect with the camp.

"The teachers are really nice," said Leo Jirik of New Prague who will be going into the third grade come the fall. "They help you when you need help." He added in the classes the teachers help them learn the dances and the songs. "It’s fun."

Ava Vilensky of New Prague, a seventh grader, has been doing the theatre camps for a few years. "The teachers help you feel confident and get you out of your comfort zone to try new things," she said. "We’re like a family. Everyone’s close and we have a lot of fun."

"It’s pretty fun. I feel pretty cool in that I get to be here in the middle school," said Mandi Becher, a third grader who lives between New Prague and Prior Lake. "There are all these fun things, we get to act and dance and do art and the time flies really fast."

Another new aspect of the camp is that it offers an intern program for high school students where they can learn more and help teach the classes. The interns are in pop choir, art and dance.

StarStruck Performing Arts Camp is also offering a scholarship to graduating seniors from the high school. To qualify, students have to have worked with the program and are going into the field of performing arts.