The only Music Dance Theatre (MDT) summer camp at BYU for over 30 years, Young Ambassadors' Singing Entertainers Workshop (YASE) is a week of intense, high-energy musical dance training with the BYU Young Ambassadors—an experience MDT-oriented teens won't want to miss!
Youth love participating in YASE workshops, saying that YASE is a great opportunity to meet new friends, network with Young Ambassadors, prepare for future MDT programs, and gain greater confidence in their artistic talents.
YASE 2021 will be welcoming a new director to the program, Nathan Balser, who is an associate professor of dance at BYU and the new artistic director of the Young Ambassadors. He is excited to engage with youth who are interested in learning and growing and experiencing what BYU has to offer. He’s also excited for campers to meet his Young Ambassador students, who can’t be praised enough!
Insights from the New YASE Director
Who are the BYU Young Ambassadors and what role will they play in this year's YASE Workshop?
“The Young Ambassadors are a student performing ensemble that focuses on musical theatre and pop music. The group travels to various parts of the state, country and world engaging with members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and musical theatre fans alike. Members of the group will participate in [YASE] as counselors and teaching artists.”
What does a day at YASE look like?
“Each day has classes on musical theatre techniques (such as dancing, singing, and performing), rehearsals to prepare for an end of week production, workshops about performing mixed with spiritual, mental and emotional strengthening topics, plus evening social activities.”
Will pandemic guidelines affect YASE this year?
“We are keeping the camp’s registration capped at 80 participants. Additionally, campers will learn material in smaller groups.”
Can YASE prepare participants for auditions and applications to BYU's MDT program?
“Absolutely. This is one of the best ways to meet MDT faculty, current students, and see the curriculum in action. By participating in this camp, campers will have a better understanding of expectations and how to reach them.”
Does participating in YASE give students an edge when auditioning for Young Ambassadors?
“Honestly, the world is mostly run through networking. If I have two equally talented people audition for me, but I happen to know one more than the other, I will likely choose the one I know before the one I don’t.”
More Insights about YASE
Cagen Tregeagle, Nathan Balser’s assistant and a past YASE Workshop participant, also provided some great information about what YASE participants have to look forward to.
What kind of social experience can YASE participants expect to have?
“The social side of YASE is huge. For most of the campers, it is the first time meeting people who are as passionate and energetic as they are. The camp is set up so that they have the most opportunity to meet and work with others.
“Each camper is put into a group of 10 that becomes their ‘home base group.’ Then they will go through a rotation workshop system so that, as they are learning the material for the end of the week performance, they are also meeting and collaborating with different groups of campers at every station. And that's just during the day.
“Then each night of the week there is an activity. One is a talent show, then a night at the theater, a dance party, and a devotional. All of these events are geared towards providing opportunities for the campers to reach out and create friendships.”
What YASE success stories can you share?
“There are countless success stories from YASE. Just as a reference, 14 out of the 20 students on Young Ambassadors this year are former YASE campers. The President, both Vice Presidents, and Dance Captains of the group are all YASE alumni. We have 17 campers that I know of from the past 10 years who were on Broadway before the pandemic. And many of the YASE Alum go on to work in regional and community theatre.”
YASE is available for registration online today. Participants must be between ages 14 and 18. There will be two camps available for registration this year:
YASE-I: July 5–9, 2021
YASE-II: July 12–16, 2021
Spots are filling fast; we strongly recommend registering as early as possible.
To learn more about YASE, including registration, events, housing, and participation, check out yase.byu.edu and sign up for the best MDT training camp around!