The responsibilities and opportunities for our Youth Company increase with each year of the program, and eventually culminates in a third-year touring performance circuit.
Year One — Mouse Lemurs (“Tsidy”)
Children entering Zara Aina’s Youth Company for the first time will be given an introduction to the stage through dance-centric work. Mouse Lemurs will learn the stage directions and how to enter and exit the stage, and will strengthen their stage presence, all while exploring different dance styles. Work with the Mouse Lemurs will culminate in a short rehearsed dance performance piece. Students are introduced to the Zara Aina pedagogy by learning the basics of creative play: how to be silly in front of your peers, how to be confident in front of an audience, how to work as an ensemble.
Year Two — Ring-Tailed Lemurs (“Maki”)
After successfully completing their theatre training as a Mouse Lemur, members of Zara Aina’s Youth Company take what they’ve learned and apply it to building a character and a story. Students learn to invest in and develop a character, begin scene work, and are introduced to the principles of want, conflict, and change. The work with the Ring-Tailed Lemurs will culminate in a showcase of character scenes.
Year Three — Dancing Lemurs (“Sifakas”)
In the final tier, Dancing Lemurs begin preparing for a full-length production. Much of their theatre training will be focused toward the creation and rehearsal of this production. Students use their lessons from the first two years to devise their own original production based on a Malagasy folktale or current local/national issue. Character work continues, and a large emphasis is placed on the further development of the principles of want, conflict, and change. The beginning, middle, and end of the story will be introduced and explored.
In addition, Dancing Lemurs earn the privilege of taking their show on tour to other parts of the country. Students are able to tour their production to different communities that Zara Aina partners with across Madagascar, sharing their work and facilitating local workshops based on the same principles they learned as part of the Youth Company.