Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 8:28 EDT

Glenvar Student Spends Summer in Theater

July 19, 2008

By Ryan N. Jones ryan.jones@roanoke.com

For the past eight years, Emma Sayles has dedicated part of her summer to dancing, singing and acting at the Kevin Jones Summer Performing Arts Camp. She started when she was just nine years old.

Now, she’s going to be a senior at Glenvar High School with big dreams of a future in performance. After graduating, Emma wants to attend Marymount Manhattan College in New York and major in musical theater. She hopes to one day work on Broadway.

“I’m realistic about it, but it’d be really nice to get there,” she said.

And the Performing Arts Camp will help her on her way. Professional actors, choreographers and singers lead all the rehearsals, workshops and elective classes.

To maximize the experience, high-school campers choose a “stream” of focus — either Musical Theatre or Acting — and use the week of camp to prepare scenes and songs for a final public performance.

This year, Emma chose the Musical Theatre stream and especially enjoys the “Improvisation” elective. She explained why she keeps coming back.

“You meet so many new people that all have a love for theater like you do. It’s a really great experience,” she said. “[Camp] has taught me about myself and what I’m capable of doing, not just in theater but in life. I’m more than I thought I could be.”

But one week of summer camp each year is only the beginning of what it takes to really make it in show business. Emma has also been a member of the Kevin Jones Performing Arts Studio Ensemble for the past four years. It’s a Musical Theatre training program that features private lessons and professional-level performances at Jefferson Center and around Roanoke.

“I’m really glad I found Kevin [Jones]. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have found musical theater and realized I could do this as a profession,” she said.

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