The Youth Excellence on Stage (YES) Academy program serves as American Voices’ flagship cultural engagement program, as a means to further accessibility and understanding of American performing arts and culture. The YES Academy program was launched in 2007 to connect and inspire youth in areas of the world that lack opportunities for cultural exchange and dialogue with the United States.
The YES Academy program provides high-quality professional training and performances in some of America’s great cultural genres, including Broadway, Jazz, Hip Hop & Breakdance and Classical Orchestra to work to inspire and motivate youth artistically and train future teachers and leaders. Through the YES Academy program, we are able to offer creative outlets of empowerment to the lives of so many vulnerable youth from countries in transition.
At its core, the YES Academy model is based on multicultural artistic collaboration. The YES Academy embraces people-to-people engagement as it brings American teachers and volunteers who are proficient in American genres of music, dance and theater to conduct performance and professional training in countries throughout the Middle East and Asia. Moreover, YES Academies have provided teacher training and institutional capacity building for both partners and participants.
The effects of this cross-cultural engagement are mutual—the YES Academy model has proven to be life-changing for both participants and faculty alike.
Beyond providing artistic skills, training and opportunities for youth in the Middle East and Asia, YES Academies also affects perceptions of American culture and American citizenry by creating a space in which cultures are shared.