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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.

School Day Performances

School Day Performance: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

School Day Performance - K-12 Programs

School Day Performance for Grades K-12:
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra’s Let Freedom Swing

Monday, December 7 - Friday, December 18
School Day Performance: Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble

School Day Performance - K-12 Programs

School Day Performance:
Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble

Monday, January 18 - Friday, January 29
School Day Performance: Caleb Teicher & Company

School Day Performance - K-12 Programs

School Day Performance:
Caleb Teicher & Company

Monday, February 8 - Friday, February 19
School Day Performance: Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández
School Day Performance: Jazz for Young People – Who Is Joe Williams?

School Day Performance - K-12 Programs

Jazz at Lincoln Center School Day Performance
Jazz for Young People: Who is Joe Williams?

Monday, March 15 - Thursday, March 25
School Day Performance: Frankenstein: How to Make a Monster
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.

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.

Latin Big Band Holidays / Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (Dec 2 )
Deposit due Oct 23 / Final payment due Nov 18

The Four Journeys / Cleo Parker Robinson Dance (Jan 22)
Deposit due Dec 11 / Final payment due Jan 8

Caleb Teicher Swing Company (Feb 12)
Deposit due Dec 11 / Final payment due Jan 29

Ballet Folklorico de Mexico de Amalia Hernandez (Feb 24)
Deposit due Dec 11 / Final payment due Feb 10

Frankenstein: How to Make a Monster (Apr 22-23)
Deposit due Dec 11 / Final payment due Apr 8


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]


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.

We also recognize that you may have questions about next season, and have put together a list of our most frequently asked questions below. 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 umsyouth@umich.edu.

What will happen if School Day Performances are canceled?
We hope that won’t happen, but if it does, we will provide multiple options for flexibility, including refunds and exchanges for future performances. For all performances that take place as planned, standard policies will remain in effect.
How will UMS determine if it is safe to offer performances again?
We will always make the health and safety of our audiences and artists top priority. UMS will continue to follow University, State of Michigan and CDC guidelines when determining whether it is safe to bring people together for concerts again.
How will seating be handled for student groups if building capacities are reduced?
It’s possible that we will be able to offer performances but will be limited in the total number of people who are allowed to be in the venue. If this happens, we will communicate a full plan in advance with respect to procedures for bus drop-off and pick-up at the venue, how students will be seated, ingress and egress procedures, and everything else you will need to know in order to enjoy the performance safely.

If we should have more confirmed registrations than venue capacity limitations permit, we may ask schools to volunteer to withdraw from the live performance experience. If that happens, schools that withdraw would receive a full refund but still have access to other K-12 resources to incorporate the event into your curriculum.

Will UMS be streaming School Day Performances next season?
We are actively exploring options and alternatives for next season including streaming services that would make our presentations available to classrooms. There are a lot of logistical considerations, however, so it will be some time before we can announce any details.
Does UMS have any resources available now appropriate for students?
Yes! Please visit ums.org/playground to explore our online video units featuring UMS teaching artists, or ums.org/k12 to download K-12 Learning Guides from past UMS School Day Performances. More resources 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 innovative ways to keep the arts alive in your 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 and the K-12 community, 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, but we will continue to serve the community through artistic and educational events.

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.

2019/20 UMS Teaching Artists

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.

Elton Monry DuranElton Monroy Duran is a Detroit-based visual artist born in Ciudad Sahagun in the State of Hidalgo, Mexico. Duran acquired a BFA from the School of Fine Arts at the University of the State of Querétaro (1998-2003). He describes himself as a humanist artist with scientific and sociological approaches, which he seeks to convey through his work. He started the mural and art company Corpus Art Inc. in Detroit in 2016.

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 was able to study extensively with the masters and mentors of American tap dance – Honi Coles, LaVaughn Robinson, Buster Brown, Eddie Brown, Brownie Brown, Lloyd Storey, 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.

Karilu ForsheeKarilú Alarcón Forshee is a Mexican performer and teaching artist raised in the border town of Ciudad Juárez. She graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a degree in theater arts and English-Spanish translation. She has been a Detroit-based artist since 2011 and is a member of the theater company A Host of People. She considers herself a multidisciplinary artist who finds joy in making theater, singing, and creating performance art. Her artistic work is influenced by the entire Latin American Diaspora. She finds profound inspiration in her roots and the women in her family. As a bilingual teaching artist for Living Arts and Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, she works primarily with the Southwest Detroit community. It is her greatest passion to use the power of the arts to transform the lives of children.

Niko MartinezNiko Martinez is an Oakland University graduate student in World Percussion Performance. He is a great percussionist and educator, who also specializes in Marimba music. Niko has an undergraduate degree in music education and experience teaching K-12 music. Niko has studied marimba traditions from Ghana and Uganda with Professor Mark Stone at OU.

Andrew MortonAndrew Morton is an award-winning playwright and theatre-artist based in Detroit. Originally from the UK, Andrew has an MA in Cross-sectoral and Community Arts from Goldsmiths College-The University of London. He currently teaches theatre at the University of Michigan-Flint and is a project manager for TimeSlips, an internationally recognized non-profit that promotes creative engagement techniques for people living with dementia and memory loss. His play Bloom has been produced across the US and internationally, and is available through Dramatic Publishing, Inc. Andrew also serves as the Region III Chair of the National Playwriting Program for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, and has previously worked with UMS as one of the 2015-2016 season Artists-in-Residence and as a Teaching Artist for the 2018 No Safety Net Festival.

Tony SharpeTony Sharpe is a recent Oakland University graduate in musical theatre. Tony performed at OU in several roles in the Brother/Sister Plays Trilogy. He also had lead roles in the OU children’s musical theatre productions of Into the Woods and Three Little Pigs and related skillfully to his audience. Co-star of Comedy Central’s Detroiters (S1 & 2), Tony’s special skills include his fluency in Jamaican Creole/Patois, walking on his hands, and riffs and ad libs. His accolades include the Kennedy Center National Commendation for Distinguished Achievement in Performance.

Marly Spieser-SchneiderMarly Spieser-Schneider graduated from the University of Michigan in 2009 with a BFA in dance. She currently works in Vermont, Michigan, New York and beyond as a performer, choreographer, teacher, video dance artist, and movement enthusiast. She is a firm believer in the intelligence of the body and she strives constantly to further open herself, and those she works with, to the human form’s kinesthetic knowledge. She was born into a body driven by rhythm and has always considered the visceral communication between sound and the body to be her mother tongue. She is grateful for each and every chance to deepen her understanding of the human form and all it can teach us and, having grown up studying tap here in Ann Arbor with Susan Filipiak, she is especially excited to be back!

Events coming soon.


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 umsyouth@umich.edu or call 734-647-4010 with questions.

Professional Learning Community

Exploring Arts-Based Strategies for Early Literacy

UMS is currently recruiting teachers to join a yearlong professional learning community (PLC) focusing on arts integration strategies that support early (K-5) literacy. If you’re looking for an opportunity to learn innovative teaching strategies and bring creative energy into your classroom, you will find that our PLC will expand your portfolio of instructional tools and support your approach to whole-child development and learning. With the guidance and support of UMS staff, visiting teaching artists, and other arts integration experts, teachers will design and implement an arts integrated project at their school in the 18-19 school year. Educators will have the opportunity to work collaboratively with colleagues in order to share knowledge, skills, and resources.

PLC Participants receive preferred access to demonstration lessons and classroom consultations with visiting Kennedy Center teaching artists. The PLC provides a creative and supportive forum for educators who are curious about arts integration and want to experiment with these techniques in the context of a rich learning community. For more information contact Terri Park at tepark@umich.edu.

Bus Grants

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 2019-20 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 Monday, September 30, 2019 for fall School Day Performances; and Monday, December 2, 2019 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 umsyouth@umich.edu.

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

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, and/or use the arts to inspire, energize, and challenge the limits of their classrooms. It’s not only arts instructors who qualify, but any educator who encourages and supports an appreciation for the arts in their school.

Nominations are now open

Deadline for applications is Friday, January 17, 2020.

Award Benefits

  • Awardees receive complimentary tickets to one UMS School-Day Performance in the 2020-21 season for the winning educator’s classroom and reimbursement for transportation (up to 30 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 2020-2021 season, some restrictions may apply.
  • Awardees receive a $200 award honorarium.


  • An “Educator” nominated for the Educator of the year (EOY) award may be any individual who works 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 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.
    • How the award will impact the educator and the school community.
  • Previous participation in UMS programs is NOT a requirement for this award.
  • Educators are only eligible to receive the award once.
  • Nominations are valid for two years.

Nomination and Selection Procedure:


  • The Educator of the Year (EOY) must be nominated for the award; self-nominations are not allowed.
  • Anyone in the community can nominate an educator for the award, including administration, teachers, school staff, parents, or students (13 yrs. or older with the help of an adult).
  • Each nominator must complete an online application; incomplete submissions will not be considered.
  • Each application must include two (2) brief references from members of the (school) community.


  • 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 (either in person or by phone).
  • Finalists will 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 and school administration will be notified of the final outcome by email.

View Assessment Rubric (PDF)

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.



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