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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 through the John F. Kennedy Center’s Partners in Education Program. Washtenaw Intermediate School District joined the partnership in 2012, and together our three organizations collaborate regularly on the development of accessible and high-quality arts education programs for our area’s students and teachers.


K-12 School Day Performances

From theater to modern dance, 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.

Over the last year, UMS adapted to offer innovative new ways to safely connect audiences with engaging arts experiences, especially in the K-12 classroom. In the 2021/22 season, we will continue our commitment to igniting student imagination and support student development through the arts by offering a season of both virtual and in-person School Day Performances.

Just announced! Explore our 2021/22 School Day Performance Series:


We know that this is a challenging time for teachers and students. As you consider making plans to attend School Day Performances in the 2020/21 school year, we want to reassure you that we will prioritize the health, safety, and comfort of your students and you first. If you have a question that doesn’t appear on this list, please feel free to call our Ticket Office at 734.764.2538. Our staff is working remotely and available from 1-5 pm Monday-Friday, or you can email us at

How do I register for a Digital School Day Performance?
Visit our website at There you will find information about each Digital School Day Performance. Click on the registration button and fill out the form to reserve this opportunity for your classroom.
How do I know if my request was received?
Once your request has been processed, our Patron Services Coordinator Rochelle Clark will send you a confirmation email. If you do not receive one in 3-5 business days, please contact the ticket office at 734.764.2538. Our staff is working remotely and is available from 1-5 pm Monday-Friday, or you can email us at
How long will the Digital School Day Performance be available?
Each digital School Day Performance will be available for a specific two week period, beginning on a Monday and ending on the following Friday. You may access the performance at any time during that time frame. Please check the website for the window of availability of each performance.
How do I access the Digital School Day Performance?
An email with a private link and a password that allows you to access the video presentation will be sent to the email address on your registration form.
Are these digital School Day Performances available to the public?
These performances are specifically designed for our K-12 audience and will not be available to the general public.
What resources are available that are appropriate for K-12 students?
Please visit to explore our online video units featuring UMS teaching artists, or to download K-12 Learning Guides from past UMS School Day Performances. New Performance Playground videos and Learning Guides will be added in the coming months, so check back to see the latest offerings.
Will UMS still offer pre-and post-performance workshops or other K-12 education arts enrichment experiences?
UMS will continue to support the K-12 community with exceptional arts experiences for educators and students. We are currently exploring ways to adapt our pre- and post-show workshops to bring teaching artist workshops to your virtual classroom.
Will UMS be okay?
We want to reassure you that UMS has been around for over 140 years, and thanks to decades of support by generous supporters, audiences, university, and K-12 communities, we are optimistic about the future. We survived the Spanish flu epidemic, we survived the Depression, we survived the Great Recession — and we fully expect to be around for a long time to come. We will always put the health and safety of our audiences and artists first, and we will continue to serve the K-12 community through digital artistic and educational events until we are able to safely gather in person once again.

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.


2020/21 UMS Teaching Artists

Allen DennardAllen Dennard is a trumpeter, composer, and bandleader who was born and raised in the city of Detroit, Michigan. At the age of 9, Allen decided to join his elementary school’s band, John Trix Elementary. From then on he never put the trumpet down, finding a whole new passion for instrumental music. Throughout high school, he chose to play classical music, but around the 10th grade, he decided to dive into learning more about jazz. From then on he chose jazz as his musical style. He began to study players such as Freddie Hubbard, Miles Davis, Woody Shaw, Lee Morgan, and Roy Hargrove just to name a few. Around his senior year of high school, Allen had the privilege of being mentored by the great Marcus Belgrave, one of Detroit’s own legendary trumpeters.

Allen attended the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor where he received a full scholarship from the university’s jazz department. Allen has made three appearances as a sideman in the Detroit Jazz Festival, one with the great saxophonist Wendell Harrison (2015), with Detroit bassist Ali Bey (2017), and lastly with the Detroit Jazz Festival All-Star Alumni Band (2019). Allen is a bandleader and has three of his own groups, the Allen Dennard Trio, the Allen Dennard Quartet, and the Allen Dennard Quintet. All groups have been headliners in venues around Detroit, Metro-Detroit, and throughout Michigan, such as Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, Cliff Bell’s, The Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe, Bert’s Marketplace, The Blue Llama, The Whisky Parlor, etc.


Tariq Gardner is an electrifying drummer, composer, 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, bassist, Marion Hayden, who greatly impacted his musical knowledge and instinct. A broad lover of music, Tariq is driven to bring the worlds of Jazz, Neo-Soul, Hip-Hop, and live instrument oriented music together in the city.

A 2018 graduate of the University of Michigan’s Jazz Studies program, Tariq has served as the Drummer for the John Douglas Quartet from 2017-19, led groups at the Charles H. Wright Museum’s African World Fest in both 2017 and 2018, has performed with the Detroit Jazz Fest All-Star Alumni Band (a three-month residency featuring pianist Cameron Graves), played at the Detroit Jazz Festival (2018-2020) and at the Cape May Jazz Festival (2019). He continues to work as a drummer, composer, and bandleader for major events in and around Detroit (including his own group the Evening Star).


Susana Quintanilla Susana Quintanilla is an educator (M.A. Bilingual Education) and a classically-trained Mexican folkloric dancer who began her studies at the Insituto Nacional de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. She studied under accomplished choreographers such as Amalia Hernández (Ballet Folklórico de México), Rafael Zamarripa (Universidad de Colima), Francisco Bravo (Insituto Nacional de Bellas Artes), Graciela Tapia (Los Angeles), Luz María Gallego (Pánuco, Veracruz) and Miguel Vélez (Universidad de Veracruz).

As director of El Ballet Folklórico Estudiantil (EBFE), Maestra Susana organized and produced the Midwest Folkloric Dance Workshops, Folkloric Dance Seminars for students in Mexico, and the Huapango Dance Workshop (Houston, TX). She produced youth performances with Mono Blanco, Sones de México, Los Folkloristas, Zazhil, Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández and Mariachi Guadalajara. She danced competitively in Concursos de Huapango (San Joaquín, Querétaro) and the International Folkloric Dance Competition (Chicago) where EBFE was awarded Second Place and the only U.S. group to place in the competition.

Always seeking cultural preservation and continuous improvement, Maestra Susana’s teaching focus for EBFE is to develop dancers and musicians as instructors with professional performance experience and academic knowledge in culture and literacy as well as to effectively empower all students with pride in themselves and respect for all ethnic groups.


Andrew MortonAndrew Morton is an award-winning playwright and theatre-maker who creates socially engaged theatre with and for vulnerable populations. His plays have been featured or produced nationally at the Write Now Festival, the New England Theatre Conference, Flint Youth Theatre, and internationally at the Blue Elephant Theatre and the Hampstead Theatre in London. Andrew previously taught playwriting at the University of Michigan-Flint, and from 2017-2020 he served as the Region III Chair of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival National Playwriting Program.

Andrew lives in Detroit, where he is a project manager for TimeSlips, an award-winning international nonprofit that promotes creative engagement techniques for people living with dementia. He also works as a teaching artist and facilitator with various organizations, including the Ennis Center for Children, the Detroit Phoenix Center, and University Musical Society.


Deidre D.S.SENSE SmithDeidre D.S.SENSE Smith is a Detroit, MI native who has always shown great pride in her city. Her music, textured with layers of emotion and urban innovation, is a reflection of Detroit and the best it has to offer. The purpose of her music is to blend and mix all the eras and genres of music that have influenced her. By doing so, she hopes to introduce different styles and rhythms to intergenerational audiences everywhere.

As a Cultural Ambassador, Deidre D.S.SENSE Smith has performed on various stages both nationally and internationally, in support of equal rights, education, art, and the eradication of the many socio-political and economic woes plaguing our world. Smith has also developed S.Y.M.M.Y.S (Speak Your Mind, Mind Your Speech) and T.I.C. (The Inclusion Cypher) which are workshops with a curriculum rooted in the fundamentals and principles of Hip Hop. The goal of these workshops is to encourage community building, outreach, transforming conflict, and restorative justice through the Arts.


Susan FilipiakSusan Filipiak brings a life-long dedication to dance, focusing on American vernacular styles of tap, jazz, and swing dance. Years of music study (piano and voice) also gave her a strong understanding of the musicality of dance.

Susan studied extensively with the masters and mentors of American jazz & tap dance – Honi Coles, LaVaughn Robinson, Buster Brown, Frankie Manning, Gregory Hines, Brenda Bufalino, Dianne Walker, Heather Cornell. Susan has decades of teaching experience in dance studios, universities, K-12 arts enrichment programs, and was named a Michigan Traditional Artist by Michigan State University in 2014. She is delighted to work again with UMS, bringing dance into the classroom.

Events coming soon.


UMS Performance Playground


UMS Performance playground is a great resource about the performing arts for students in grades K-12. Check out our videos featuring UMS teaching artists performing and talking about their craft. You can join them to begin your own journey! To learn more, explore accompanying slides and worksheets.

Educator Workshops

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.

Events coming soon.


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
The Meemic Foundation

Public School Foundations

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


DTE Energy Foundation Educator of the Year

Honoring Educators Who Support A Culture of the Arts in Their Schools

Each season, UMS asks the southeastern Michigan community to help us choose the UMS DTE Energy Foundation Educator of the Year. The award honors educators who value the importance of arts education, who create a culture for the arts to flourish in their school communities, or use the arts to inspire, energize, and challenge the limits of their classrooms. It’s not only arts educators who qualify, but any educator who encourages and supports an appreciation for the arts in their school.

Nominations are now open

The deadline for applications is Friday, April 23, 2021.

Award Benefits

  • Awardees receive complimentary tickets to one UMS School-Day Performance in the following season for the winning educator’s classroom and reimbursement for transportation (up to 35 students).
  • A visiting artist on the UMS season will visit the winning educator’s classroom or meet with them after the performance. The type of artist interaction will depend on artist and availability; examples include a student assembly, workshop, or meet-and-greet after the performance.
  • Public recognition of awardee in local media outlets, social media platforms, their school community, to their school board and district administration.
  • Awardees receive up to 4 complimentary tickets to a UMS performance selected from the 2021-2022 season, some restrictions may apply.
  • Awardees receive a $250 award honorarium.


  • An “Educator” nominated for the Educator of the year (EOY) award may be any individual who works full-time in K-12 education with or on behalf of students or young learners.
  • Nominations must address the following criteria:
    • How the educator actively creates a culture of the arts at their school.
    • How the educator facilitates arts experiences within their school community.
    • How the educator creates opportunities for students to engage with the arts experiences in the community beyond school.
    • The ability of the educator to overcome obstacles and be successful.
    • How the educator’s work impacts students and/or the school community.
  • Previous participation in UMS programs is NOT a requirement for this award.
  • Educators are only eligible to receive the award once.

Nomination and Selection Procedure:

Nomination Process (Phase One):

  • The Educator of the Year (EOY) must be nominated for the award.
  • Anyone in the community can nominate an educator for the award, including administration, teachers, school staff, parents, or students (13 yrs. or older).
  • Each nominator must complete an online application; incomplete submissions will not be considered.
  • Each application must include one (1) brief reference from members of the (school) community.

Selection Process (Phase Two):

  • Applications will be reviewed by a committee of UMS staff and community members affiliated with the education and/or arts communities.
  • The award committee will choose three (3) finalists.
  • Each finalist will be interviewed by the committee (via zoom).
  • Finalists may be asked to submit a short biography that outlines some of their career highlights.
  • Finalists can submit any additional documents to support their nomination.
  • All finalists, nominators, and school administration will be notified of the final outcome by email.

View Assessment Rubric (PDF)

Rachel Bomphray, 2020 DTE Energy Foundation Educator of the Year

Rachel Bomphray

Rachel Bomphray has worked over the past four years to grow a poetry program at Thurston High School. She organized opportunities for her students to collaborate on poetry and creative writing with University of Michigan students through the International Poetry Guild and has arranged trips for students to come to the university campus to have collaborative creative writing sessions with university students.

In 2018, she organized a field trip for her students to attend the performance of Wang Ramirez’s Borderline. Students used this live dance performance as a springboard for writing new creative compositions. She created guiding questions and prompts to instruct students to critically view this dance performance. In addition, handled all of the logistics to organize 33 students to participate in this extracurricular activity.

After viewing the performance, Rachel’s students collaborated with the university students in co-creating creative writing responses based on the performance and shared new work in an online format that is read worldwide.

Rachel continues to spur the interest of her students in the creative arts. This interest in the arts becomes the “hook” to do well in school, to visit the U of M campus, and to imagine oneself as a college student. Rachel’s work at Thurston has many facets. As an English teacher, she is tasked with making sure her students learn writing skills that are important to their academic development, but she is also concerned with developing the whole person, adults who have knowledge as well as an appreciation for the arts. Rachel’s use of all of these resources helps her students have a wider view of the world, themselves, and their place in it.

In response to the pandemic, Rachel has been exploring new ways to engage her students with the arts. Currently, she is collaborating with Eli Zemper (U of M Faculty) and Odyssey Works on a new initiative titled the incubator project which will begin in January 2021.

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 K-12 Education Manager.



Love great music, theater, and dance?

Love great music, theater, and dance?

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