K-12 Programs

At UMS, we believe the performing arts should be a part of nurturing every young mind. We believe that the arts build creativity and expose students to new ways of looking at their world. We work with educators to arrange exceptional opportunities for young students. Through field trips, teaching guides, and workshops, we complement curriculum and inspire young minds and educators.


Since 1997, UMS has proudly partnered with Ann Arbor Public Schools and Washtenaw Intermediate School District through the John F. Kennedy Center’s Partners in Education Program. Our three organizations collaborate regularly on the development of accessible and high-quality arts education programs for our area’s students and teachers.

Photo credit: Jesse Meria

K-12 School Day Performances

From theater to modern dance, from Brazil to China, UMS School Day Performances feature some of the world’s best performing artists and use the arts to ignite student imagination and support student growth and development.

Performances serve kindergarten through high school students, and teachers receive UMS learning guides to facilitate meaningful connections between the performance and classroom curriculum.

School Day Performances

Events coming soon.


Policies and Procedures

UMS policies and procedures are designed to ensure fair and equitable ticketing and registration processes. Tickets may be requested at any time. Requests should be submitted online.

Making Changes to Your Order

School-Day Performance tickets are $7 per student, teacher, or chaperone, unless otherwise noted. Please allow at least one chaperone for every 15 students. There is a 10-ticket minimum per performance. Before requesting tickets, be sure to check school calendars for conflicts and transportation availability.

Ticket demand often exceeds availability. To accommodate demand, UMS reserves the right to cap the number of tickets requested by any given school for each performance. All performances are subject to change and cancellation.

Ticketing Timeline

Ticket requests will be honored as long as the performance still has available seats. Once tickets are sold out, UMS will add your order to a waitlist. Check back soon for the ticketing timeline for the 2016-17 season.

Deposit and Final Payment Deadlines

50% Non-Refundable Deposits must be received by the deadline to secure your reservation. Full payment for tickets to attend any UMS School-Day Performance must be received 14 days prior to the performance, or your reservation may be canceled. Payments can be made by check (payable to “UMS”), money order, credit card, or purchase order.

Performance Ragamala Dance Sphinx Virtuosi Chanticleer Urban Bush Women Piedmont Blues
Performance Date Fri, Oct 20 Mon, Oct 30 Fri, Nov 10 Fri, Jan 12 Wed, Mar 14
50% Non-Refundable Deposit Due Fri, Sep 29 Fri, Sep 29 Fri, Sep 29 Fri, Dec 1 Fri, Dec 1
Final Payment & Confirmation of Ticket No. Due Fri, Oct 6 Mon, Oct 16 Fri, Oct 27 Wed, Dec 20 Wed, Feb 28


50% deposits are not refundable. Refunds will be issued only if school is cancelled due to inclement weather or if the event itself is cancelled. UMS will not issue refunds if tickets are purchased for a day when school is not in session or if transportation is unavailable. Please check your calendars carefully when booking events.


UMS assigns seats to accommodate students with special needs and to ensure school group cohesiveness, stage visibility, and efficient auditorium entry and exit. Seating assignments do not correlate to when the ticket request is received.

Ticket Discounts

Schools with half or more of their students qualifying for Free or Reduced Lunch are eligible to receive a $1 per ticket discount on their group’s total ticket order for a UMS School-Day Performance. To be eligible for this discount, please send official documentation of this percentage to UMS with your ticket request. UMS will apply the discount to your invoice. This discount represents one way in which UMS is attempting to achieve equity of access to our programs for schools across the region.

Participation agreement

I understand that my students’ participation in the Program is voluntary and that as a condition of my students’ participation, I agree to comply with all Program requirements including, but not limited to: (a) accurately completing all registration forms in a timely manner, (b) ensuring that students are aware of the Program’s standards of conduct; (c) and immediately notifying the Program Administrator of any concerns related to the health, safety security of my students, other participants, or Program staff.

Download and review full participation agreement [pdf]

Photo credit: Jesse Meria

Workshops for K-12 Students

For select School-Day Performances, a UMS teaching artist will visit your classroom and facilitate a 30- to 50-minute arts-integrated experience that is directly connected to school curricula and the performance. After the performance, the UMS teaching artist returns to your classroom to lead students in reflection and discussion.

These workshops are designed to actively explore the art form and themes that students will encounter during the performance, and, best of all, come at no additional charge to your school. Your students will deepen their experience as audience members and critical thinkers, while collaborating and connecting with each other, growing artistically and academically, and practicing their creative skills in the classroom.

2017-18 UMS Teaching Artists

brendan asanteBrendan Asante is a Ghanaian vocalist, educator, conceptual producer, and musician born and raised in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. He is the co-founder of Video7, an audio/visual collective based in Detroit containing multiple singers, MCs, jazz instrumentalists, and producers. A graduate of the University of Michigan’s jazz studies program, Asante sings in phrases that appear to contain and conceal words. In an effort to deduce meaning from Asante’s lyrics, listeners can assign an individualistic connection to the music. He also uses this as a method of songwriting, combining this with his melodic reading technique to unlock new musical ideas when teaching to students.

Jennifer Mercedes Boyak is a visual and movement artist who has been teaching young people art and arts-infused education for over 15 years. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts at Wayne State University and went on to teach art through Living Arts’ In-School Arts program, the Center for Creative Studies’ Community Arts Program, Matrix Theatre Company, and more. Jen speaks Spanish and is experienced in including youth and adults with disabilities in art education, exhibition and performance. She recently returned from travels in the states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala in India, studying and volunteering.

kimberly boydKimberli Boyd is a dancer, performing artist, teaching artist, and arts in education consultant. She has toured extensively, conducting workshops and residencies for many presenters including the Kennedy Center and Jacob’s Pillow. Her work with students ages 3 months through adulthood, as well as her training of educators, integrates basic elements and principles of dance with best practices in teaching and learning. A graduate of Florida State University, and a former member of the critically acclaimed Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, Ms. Boyd is the founding artistic director of “Dancing Between the Lines,” a solo performance company and arts-as-education organization based in metropolitan Detroit.

Allen Dennard is a trumpeter, composer, bandleader and educator who was born and raised in the city of Detroit, Michigan. Allen attended the University of Michigan -Ann Arbor and graduated in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Jazz Studies. He now plays around Detroit and the Metro Detroit area with his group at venues such as Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, Bert’s Marketplace, Music Hall Jazz Cafe and Cliff Bells. Allen also works as a jazz mentor at the Max Fisher Music Center for their Civic Youth Jazz program.

Tariq Gardner is an eclectic drummer and educator from Detroit who has his roots in Detroit’s rich and storied jazz tradition. He was brought up in the music by his mother and preeminent bassist, Marion Hayden, who immensely impacted his intuitive musical knowledge and instinct. Gardner attended the world renowned Detroit School of Arts. It was there where he began to hone his compositional skills, and also traveled with the Wind Symphony and Orchestra to perform at the historic Carnegie Hall. A soon to be graduate of the University of Michigan’s esteemed Jazz Studies program, Tariq has served as the drummer for the John Douglas Quartet since the beginning of 2017, is the host of his own Wednesday night jam session at Bert’s Marketplace, and continues to work as a drummer, composer, and bandleader for major events around Detroit. “Life is a song so you better sing” – Tariq

Cara Graninger is a dancer and arts educator specializing in dance improvisation and arts integration. She grew up in Liberia, Saudi Arabia, Fiji, and Costa Rica, as well as the United States, learning Spanish and French along the way, and has made Detroit home since 1993. Passionate about contact improvisation, which she has studied and taught avidly for seventeen years, Cara also practices authentic movement and enjoys many other forms of movement and music too. Cara is a certified DanceAbility instructor, trained to facilitate dance improvisation classes, workshops and performances including disAbled movers. In addition to her work as a teaching artist, Cara helps coordinate UMS K-12 programs as Teaching Artist Coordinator.

Karilú Alarcón Forshee was born and raised in Juarez, Mexico, Karilu earned her degree in Theatre Arts at the University of Texas. She has been involved in the arts for the last 20 years as a singer, dancer, actor, and director. Her work is influenced by the entire Latin American diaspora. She strongly believes that the world is full of possibilities, and we are here to be effective creators. That is what encourages her passion to use the arts as a tool to transform the lives of children. She has been working with children and youth for the last ten years in both, Mexico and the US. She has been living in Michigan for the last five years where she has worked as a Teaching Artist for Matrix Theatre Company, Compas, Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, and Living Arts. She is a member of the Theater Company A Host of People.

Miryam Johnson is a dancer, choreographer and instructor who earned her degrees in Dance Performance and African American Studies from Eastern Michigan University. Originally from Akron, Ohio, she received classical training from the University of Akron School of Dance, from the performing arts middle and high schools she attended, and from Alvin Ailey’s “The Ailey Extension.” Miryam’s performed as a guest artist with The Detroit Dance Collective, People Dancing, and Kristi Faulkner Dance. She was one of the featured dancers in John Sobczak’s book Portraits in Motion. A committed educator and community activist, Miryam believes in using her body and her art as protest.

Andrew Morton
is a playwright, and theater-maker based in Detroit. His play Bloom won the 2013 Aurand Harris Memorial Playwriting Award and premiered at Flint Youth Theatre in 2014 and has since been produced in Ohio, North Carolina, and Australia. Since 2017 he has served as the Region III Chair of the National Playwriting Program for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Originally from the UK, Andrew has an MA in Cross-sectoral and Community Arts from Goldsmiths College-The University of London. While in London he worked with several educational theatre companies and was the Education Officer at the Blue Elephant Theatre, where he ran the Young People’s Theatre and the Speak Out! Forum Theatre project. Andrew currently teaches theatre at the University of Michigan-Flint and works as a theatre practitioner with a variety of social service organizations throughout Southeast Michigan, including the Ennis Center for Children, The Mariners Inn, and the Ruth Ellis Center.

Chaula Thacker is a lifelong student of the classical and folk dances of India. Her Gurus include Shri Shrinivasan Shenoy, a disciple of Acharya Parvatikumar; Shri K. Ramaiah and the Padmabhushan Shreemati Bala Saraswati, “Queen of Abhinaya or Expression.” Chaula has studied Carnatic, Uttar Hindustani Music (South & North Indian styles) and has studied Ballet for 12 years. Chaula is a certified Yoga, Meditation, Ayurveda teacher, and Reiki Master. Chaula is the artistic director and founder of Nadanta, Inc. and Chauladevi Institute of Dance and Yoga (C.I.D.Y.) where for almost 40 years she has taught teaching Classical, Creative and Folk dances, as well as Yoga. She currently has over 100 students in southeastern Michigan. She had been a faculty member at the College for Creative Studies and has also taught dance courses/master classes at Wayne State University, Oakland University, and Marygrove College. In 2006, Chaula directed Super Bowl XL multicultural show “Nations in Rhythm Detroit!”

Events coming soon.

U-M Credit Union Arts Adventures program

Thanks to the U-M Credit Union Arts Adventures program, UMS continues to be able to provide a limited number of grants to defray the cost of a UMS field trip. Funds can be used for transportation or to reduce the cost of School Day Performance tickets.

Eligibility Guidelines

  • Applicants must be from an accredited Michigan K-12 public or private school.
  • A certified teacher must be the primary contact.
  • Priority will be given to schools where one or more of the following apply: (1) At least 50% of students qualify for Free or Reduced Lunch (2) The school does not have a full time arts/music teacher (3) The classroom primarily serves students with disabilities or special needs (4) Priority will be given to schools who are attending a UMS School Day Performance for the first time.
  • Funding must be used to attend a UMS 2017-18 School Day Performance (cannot be transferred to next season).
  • Teachers must complete the reservation form for the School Day Performance they wish to attend, otherwise the application will be incomplete.
  • Teachers may only apply for one grant per school year (though you may request funds for multiple classrooms for one performance).
  • A classroom may only receive one grant per season, regardless who applies for the funds.
  • Teachers may request a maximum of $250 per classroom (a classroom is defined as 30 students).
  • Teachers must submit a bus invoice for transportation reimbursement.

UMS reserves the right to limit the number of grant awards to any one school. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

The application deadline is Friday, October 6, 2017 for fall School Day Performances and Friday, January 5, 2018 for winter School Day Performances.

Presenting Sponsor

umcu arts adventures logo

Other Possible Funding Sources

We recommend exploring the following funding opportunities for field trips. Have a suggested addition to this list? Email us at

Arts and Culture Trek Grants (transportation)
MCACA Arts in Education Residency Program
Ann Arbor Awesome Foundation
Field Trip Grants from Target

Public School Foundations

Ann Arbor | Birmingham | Canton | Chelsea | Dearborn | Detroit | Dexter | Farmington/Farmington Hills | Monroe | Plymouth | Saline | Troy

Learning Guides

UMS Learning Guides help teachers extend the impact of our School Day Performances beyond the walls of the theater into the classroom. By providing educator-specific information about the performance, artist, genre, as well as resources and lesson plans, UMS strives to make meaningful connections between the performance and curriculum. The content and design of the guides are informed by the State of Michigan Education Standards and by our UMS Education Coordinator.



Educator Workshops

(1192KB PDF)

PDF Download

K-12 Educator Workshops are professional development opportunities for teachers to explore arts-based classroom strategies that nurture student learning and support student achievement goals across various areas of the curriculum.

Workshop Registration

All teachers must register and pay for workshops in advance. Workshop registrants will be charged regardless of whether or not they actually attend. Refunds are available if cancellations are received at least 10 business days before the workshop.

Payments are due 72 hours prior to the workshop in order to guarantee that your spot is reserved. If this date falls on a weekend, the deadline is extended to the following Monday. A $10 workshop registration discount is available to teachers bringing students to a corresponding School-Day Performance and to students enrolled in a university teacher education program.

Workshop Reimbursement

For Ann Arbor Public School Teachers, AAPS will reimburse teachers’ workshop fees, up to $30 per workshop, subject to availability. For Washtenaw Intermediate School District Teachers, WISD will reimburse the workshop fees of the first five teachers to register. Teachers who miss the workshop may not apply for reimbursement.

Please contact or call 734-647-4010 with questions.

CANCELED: Educator Workshop: Imagination, Set, GO!

Educator Workshop - K-12 Programs

Educator Workshop:
Imagination, Set, GO!
Playwriting with Young Authors

Monday, March 19, 4:30 - 7:30 pm


Do you know a teacher or school that values the importance of Arts Education? Educators that use arts-integrated approaches to teaching in order to inspire, energize, and challenge the limits of what is possible? Join us in helping to give these exceptional educators and schools the recognition and support they deserve.

Each year, UMS asks the Southeast Michigan community to help us choose the DTE Energy Foundation Educator and School of the Year. The award recognizes educators and learning communities advocating for arts in education and doing outstanding work integrating the arts throughout the K-12 curriculum. Anyone can nominate an educator or school using the online form.

Nomination deadline is Friday, January 19, 2017.

Award Benefits

Awardees receive complimentary tickets to one UMS School-Day Performance in the following season for the winning educator’s classroom and for up to four classrooms (including transportation) at the winning school.

An artist on our season season will also visit the winning educator’s classroom or school. The type of artist interaction will depend on artist and availability; examples include a student assembly or workshop. Recipients will also receive an invitation to the Ovation, the new UMS Spring Gala that supports our Education program.

Eligibility and Procedure

  • The Educator of the Year (EOY) and School of the Year (SOY) must be nominated for the award, either through self-nomination or through the nomination of others.
  • An “Educator” nominated for the EOY award may be any individual who works in K-12 education with or on behalf of students or young learners.
  • A “School” nominated for the SOY award may be any public, private, charter, independent, or home school serving K-12 students OR a group of educators within a school (e.g. the English Department at City High School or the 7th grade teachers at City Middle School);
  • Anyone in the community can nominate schools and educators for the awards.
  • Nominees must satisfy ONE or more of the following three criteria: excellence in arts programs, exceptional use of an arts-integrated curriculum, and/or creative use of UMS-provided tools.
  • Previous participation in UMS programs is NOT a requirement for this award.
  • The winning EOY and SOY can only receive the award once every five years. Receiving one award does not exclude one from eligibility for the other.
  • Nominations are valid for two years.
  • Nominations will be reviewed by a committee of UMS staff and community members affiliated with the education and/or arts communities.