TRaC Alumni TestimonialsSummer TRaC outside sculptor Robert Lazzarini's studio in Brooklyn
"In eight weeks, TRaC managed to change my life. Opening my eyes to new experiences, enabling me to think critically, and improving my writing skills, TRaC became the acceleration pedal to my drive toward an artistic career. When it ended last March, I was left completely unsatisfied. I wanted, needed more! I literally jumped at the chance to take it again. Besides being able to apply my past knowledge and experience to my current reviews, I was also learning new and different things to improve my writing. My amazing classmates, the wonderful shows we have seen, and the special guests we have met constantly remind me of how lucky I am that this program exists. Having been given two such rewarding opportunities, I only hope that others in the future will be given that same chance."
"It is very important to be able to voice your opinion, especially in the society we live in, and to do it well (so people will listen to you) is a really beneficial quality. TRaC helped me to become secure in my views, convinced me that we really do have freedom of speech, and I shouldn't be afraid to take risks when it comes to expressing what I think."
"TRaC forced me to think. I couldn't help but think. Whether it be responding to comments from classmates or work-shopping reviews or writing my own reviews, I used my critical thinking and writing skills to their full capacities. At the same time, TRaC made me realize how much more I needed to learn and grow."
"The TRaC Program is an opportunity to break away from the world of video games and formulaic television programs to explore the vast amount of experimental or traditional self-expression that flourishes in the city. As a New York high school student, I feel that many of my peers are not aware of how fortunate they are to live in such a diverse center for the arts, and do not take full advantage of many opportunities to bask in this self-expression. The TRaC program attempts to introduce students to these art forms and encourages them to form their own opinions. Dance TRaC has taken me out of my comfort zone of visual art and introduced me to the world of dance. It has made me appreciate the human body as a canvas for self-expression."
"I have been a part of TRaC for two years and have loved every minute of it. I have never been so intellectually stimulated outside of school as I have in TRaC. I had been interested in theater for quite some time; I loved performing in theater and writing for and about theater. When I started TRaC, all my passions were refined, and I found TRaC was perfect for learning how to control and let loose my critical eye. What I learned to do in TRaC, which I could not even find in school, was to develop a voice in my writing. When someone reads a review of mine, whether dance, art, music or theater, he or she can tell it's my style of writing, and even see the thinking that goes into it. TRaC has taught me to be myself in writing while still telling me what techniques work for everyone. Because of this, TRaC has helped both my critical and creative writing everywhere, whether for school, for the program, or just for myself. Since TRaC I made a promise to myself to pursue arts criticism in college, perhaps even beyond college. I am seriously considering becoming a playwright or a theater critic (or both) and I will owe a debt to TRaC for whatever success I have."
" TRaC forced me to think critically and back my statements. It has given me a different way of thinking and viewing the arts. My writing had to be clear and understandable to someone who had not seen what I had, which forced me to be clear and critical."
"...TRaC really helped me appreciate the arts from all angles."
"The TRaC Program is the gas station pumping culture back into the depleted tanks of teens. I am grateful that such a program exists as I was beginning to think that our culture was dying. I found myself looking in the wrong places."
"My opinion of the arts has changed a great deal, mostly from hearing the opinions and criticism of classmates. I met people I never would have met, types of people I never knew existed, from places I doubt I'll ever go. Their opinions were so different from what I was used to, which led me to consider entirely different perspective in writing many of my reviews."
Quotes from Student Panelists, TRaC Open House
"[In Visual Art TRaC,] I learned how to enter a gallery and absorb both the general atmosphere of the room as well as notice the tiniest details. Armed with a notepad and a pencil, I would stand in front of a photograph or painting and scribble away everything that popped into my mind - fodder for later writing pieces. In those moments, lost in my note-taking, I did not feel like a teenager in a program learning about art critiquing... I felt like an art critic. It was an invaluable hands-on learning experience."
"TRaC really opened my eyes to so much wonderful art out there and expanded my love for writing reviews. TRaC was the experience: not only did I get to see amazing shows and go to many great places, but there were also speakers, such as music critics and theater critics, which I enjoyed listening to... One of the most valuable and important lessons I learned was from Librettist Deborah Artman, who said that we always have to look from the author's point of view and consider what was he/she trying to achieve and what he/she meant to do. I still carry this lesson with me when I'm watching movies or a show."
"To me Modern Dance isn't about the movement of feet or the intricate interplay of bodies on bodies, as it is uninhibited self-expression. Modern Dance is a chance for the artist to realize who she or he is by trying something new that isn't unearthed in the day-to-day gestures of mundane life. Modern Dance is an escape from life as you know it and a way for you to better realize who you are. And, although I'm kinda crazy, I think that for me Dance TraC might have been a lot like that too."
"[Dance TRaC] changed how I view not only movement on stage, but movement all around me. Our teacher, Brian, probed us to make discoveries about dance in the world around us and consequently, we were able to make discoveries about ourselves. Every Thursday, I looked forward to meeting my fellow Dance TRaC-ers to discuss the show we'd seen the previous week, to talk to an esteemed dancer or choreographer, to discuss how to write a coherent review, or just to talk about how dance impacts each of us in our everyday life."
"I am currently a second semester senior in high school, and we all know that that is the semester when students tend to slack off and do their own thing. However, seeing as I have been involved with the Teen Reviewers and Critics program for several terms now, I can not think to part with it. There is no other group in NYC, where students have the chance to see concerts and plays without paying a fee, develop writing skills by reviewing the pieces they attend, meet so many professionals in the field, work with such a great deal of enthusiastic and well informed instruc-tors, and to add to all of that meet some amazing people who they grow to become friends with."
"Dance TRaC opened doors for me that I didn't even know existed. Before TRaC, I felt really out of place in my school. I still do. I didn't feel like the other kids in the school were up to my level or that anything I "learned" in school was challenging. All of a sudden I was swept into this class, which felt more like a group of people just learning from each other. I never felt like I was being talked down to. I was always treated like a smart young adult, which was refreshing coming from a public school. I had finally found a place where I could prove to myself that I was worthy of a challenge, that I really was smart when put up to the test. I met kids just like me, and I felt really comfortable becoming friends with them. We all came from different places but we all came together to learn from each other... I owe high 5 a lot. It kept me away from trouble, and made me want to better myself as a person and as a student. I thank high 5 warmly from the bottom of my heart for giving students like me the opportunity for letting us shine like the stars we didn't know we were."