A Tale of Two Shows – Upper Main Line YMCA Brings the Magic of Theater to Budding Performers

Image via UMLY School of Dance.
UMLY School of Dance ballerinas warm up during rehearsal for The Holiday Nutcracker and Dance Spectacular.
ymca of greater brandywine

Performing in front of a crowd is both intimidating and thrilling. Yet many will never know that thrill because breaking into the theater scene is challenging if you don’t start training at a young age. 

The team at UMLY Performing Arts Company, part of the YMCA of Greater Brandywine, is changing the narrative. Directors, choreographers and performers have been working for months to create two holiday shows that are open to budding young performers without prior training.

The UMLY will feature Holiday Nutcracker and Dance Spectacular and A Christmas Story, The Musical.  

Making Dance More Accessible  

 “Our Nutcracker production at the Upper Main Line YMCA first began five years ago,” explains Dance Director Claire Jones.

“Our goal was to introduce the holiday dance classic to all children – even those who aren’t trained in dance. We want them to experience the magic of dance during the holiday season.”  

The UMLY Performing Arts Company’s production of The Holiday Nutcracker is open to dancers and non-dancers between ages three and 18.

This year, their final performance will take place at Roswitt Theater on the campus of Rosemont College.

Making Musical Theater More Accessible  

Like the Holiday Nutcracker, the cast of A Christmas Story, The Musical includes an array of experience levels.  

“We are proud that our production includes performers from ages 5 to 65,” explains Jess Severns, Theater Coordinator at the Upper Main Line Y.

Not only do UMLY performers connect with a love of theater, they also connect with each other.

“There are several pairs of siblings and a parent/child duo in our cast. And by the end of the show, we all feel like family,” explains Severns.

Severns joined the team at UMLY Performing Arts Company this past summer to work alongside Janelle Brandberg, Senior Director of Youth Programming at the Upper Main Line YMCA.

Brandberg has directed all shows at UMLY for the past eight years and is serving as producer and choreographer for A Christmas Story, The Musical.

She is excited to see the team growing at UMLY Performing Arts Company so that theater and dance can continue to reach more performers and audiences.

Get Involved with UMLY Performing Arts  

Registration is open now for Newsies Jr. (ages 9-18) and Peter Pan Jr. (ages 6-10). 

To purchase tickets to A Christmas Story, The Musical, visit Eventbrite

To learn more about UMLY Performing Arts Company, visit ymcagbw.org.

To register for UMLY’s School of Dance, visit ymcabw.org.

About the YMCA of Greater Brandywine 

The YMCA of Greater Brandywine (YGBW), an association of eight YMCAs serving Chester County, is a leading non-profit organization committed to building community. We strive to nurture the potential of every child, promote healthy living and foster social responsibility through life-changing programs for all. YGBW raises funds to provide financial assistance to those unable to pay the standard rates. Last year, $3.4 million was provided to more than 11,000 individuals to ensure they had access to childcare, summer camp, programs and memberships at YGBW. More than 80,000 people are members of YGBW. To learn more, visit ymcagbw.org.

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