Eagan's Young Actors Theater Company (YATC) is teaching Dakota County’s aspiring thespians the art of “winging it” through its summer improvisation class.
“When you think about it, we improv every single day,” said YATC owner and improv instructor Amy Kamarainen.
The class teaches middle school students how to improvise through acting exercises, delivery instruction and lessons on the history of improvisation.
“Improv is fun, because anything goes,” said 12-year-old YATC student Aaron Lutz.
Students said that they enjoy the freedom of improv. They also noted that performing improv helps them build the skills necessary to handle unscripted moments in plays.
“The challenging thing is staying in character,” said 11-year-old Brynn Kamarainen, a YATC student and Amy’s daughter.
YATC’s improv class is one of several summer camps and classes the company is offering. Seasonal programming includes a playwriting camp, a comedic character camp and a class on agents, auditions and acting, all of which will be held later this summer.
Kamarainen, a former corporate human resources director, started YATC two years ago as an afterschool program at Pinewood Community School.
Within three days of establishing YATC, 80 students had signed up for the program. 40 more students were added to a program waiting list.
Today, students from 10 local elementary schools participate in YATC's various programs. This is the company’s first year offering a full season of summer programming.
“It helps them come out of their shell,” said Kamarainen, who holds bachelor’s degrees in business and speech.
YATC camps and classes range in cost from $130 to $325.
For more information about YATC’s summer programs, visit the company’s website.