Our Stories – How Do We Ensure Kids Can Still Experience the Performing Arts?

There’s nothing better than a Merrill Auditorium full of young people chatting and wiggling in their seats as they wait for one of our Family Performances to begin. We so miss these moments.

We know it’s important for Ovations to continue to offer young people and their families chances to enjoy the performing arts during these times. These are essential experiences every young person needs and deserves.

This week marks the first of three virtual experiences geared toward our young audiences. We hope to see you at one or more of these events.

  • Paige and Friends! is a series hosted by hip hop theater artist Paige Hernandez (available now through January 31st). It’s part theater, part after school special and part dance party. Paige is a gifted performer and it’s impossible to not feel like she’s in the room with you.
  • Five Days with Step Afrika! is a series of five short videos with these dynamic, internationally-acclaimed artists. The videos include the companies demonstrations of a history of step-dancing, a dynamic polyrhythmic performance, with a tutorial on the basic components of a step routine so you can get up and step! – something you wouldn’t get to do at a live performance.
  • A new work by Portland musician Samuel James – our final family experience of the season. More details on this project coming soon.


We selected these performances for a number of reasons – they’re artists that Ovations has relationships with and folx we want to support so that they can tour, perform, and create once we can all gather again. These artists all have long histories of working with young people as performers and educators. They understand the complex balance of creating work that is relevant to young people but not condescending.

Beyond being created for young audiences, these virtual arts experiences are unique. They aren’t just recorded performances – they seek to engage their audiences and ask them to get up and move, call back and interact. And these performances center Black and POC artists and stories, providing more opportunities for some students to see themselves represented in the performing arts and for others to be exposed to more moments of Black joy. It’s this synergy of quality, content and creativity that make a season, or series, come to together.

We hope you will get to enjoy some or all of these acclaimed experiences from the comfort of your home–knowing they were crafted and picked for you with care and love.