ArtSpark provides children with an age-appropriate opportunity to explore the performing arts, guided by music and theatre artists/educators. Each day students will participate in theatre games, singing, storytelling, movement and more—all centered around imaginative, fun themes. Best of all, as a result of their performing arts training, kids become more confident, creative, and better communicators. Each session will conclude with a showcase of students’ work, demonstrating what they’ve learned and created in ArtSpark. Fee includes team-taught instruction, class supplies, and program t-shirt.

Ages: 6–11 (as of August 31, 2018)

Time: 8:30 am–4:30 pm, Monday–Friday for each session

Lunch: Students are responsible for bringing their own lunch, snack and beverages.

Fee: $250 per one week session (Choose your week and location that works best for you!)

Register: Click here to view and download the 2019 Artspark Registration Form.

West Fargo School District students are eligible for $100 fee waiver paid for by West Fargo Public School.


Theatre Instructor

Shanara is so excited to be back for another summer of ArtSpark! Shanara owns It’s A Small World Preschool and The Bare Stage Theatre with her husband, David.  She has had the honor directing productions throughout the community with Fargo-Moorhead Community Theatre, Harwood Prairie Playhouse, and The Bare Stage Theatre and teaches piano to 8 local students. She hopes that her young daughter will love music and theatre as much as she does!  Shanara looks forward to ArtSpark every year and loves spending time with such inspiring students and teachers.


Theatre Instructor

Dan Glaser is a Trollwood alumni who currently works in Los Angeles, CA as an award-winning filmmaker, screenwriter, and novelist. His past film directing credits include the crime thriller Pinching Penny and the adventure dramedy Oxenfree, which earned multiple awards on the film festival circuit. His debut novel A Fistful of Nothing was published in 2014, and he is currently drafting a follow-up novel, A Lungful of Glass. His recent film project Valley of Bones was released in theaters nationwide in 2017 and he currently has several projects in development. Glaser spent 5 summers as a student taking classes and performing in Trollwood’s Mainstage Musical production. This marks Glaser’s 7th summer teaching the filmmaking courses at Trollwood and he’s thrilled as always to return!


ArtSpark Music Instructor

Bailey recently graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead with a Bachelor of Science in Instrumental Music Education and she is so excited to be able to teach! She looks forward to working alongside many other talented individuals and students that will come to Trollwood this summer!


Music Instructor

Jill is very excited to be coming back to ArtSpark as a music instructor this summer! Jill graduated from Concordia College with her degree in Music Education this spring and will be starting her career in the fall as the choir director at Central Middle School in East Grand Forks. She grew up in Fargo participating in Totally Trollwood and Trollwood Academy programs and has been an ArtSpark assistant for four summers. She has been involved in theatre at Concordia College and has worked as a choreographer for musicals in the Fargo Public Schools. Jill looks forward to spending more time with amazing students and teachers this summer!


Music Instructor

Josh Dahl is the Artistic Director of the Fargo -Moorhead Youth Choir. Mr. Dahl is responsible for providing artistic leadership, vision and direction to the Fargo Moorhead Youth Choir. Mr. Dahl currently teaches music at Bennett Elementary in Fargo with 14 years of teaching experience. Mr. Dahl attended Concordia College in Moorhead and graduated in 2005 with a degree in Music Education. He holds a master’s degree in Education with an emphasis in leadership from Southwest Minnesota State, and a school administration license from Minnesota State University Moorhead. Mr. Dahl is also certified in the Kodaly and Orff methods of music education and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Music Education. Mr. Dahl’s work experience includes teaching elementary music, directing middle level musicals and theater, and teaching middle level choir.

Rachel Gillen

Theatre Instructor

Rachel has been directing and assistant directing plays at Fargo North High School for 15 years. Recent productions she’s directed include Newsies, The Tempest, Our Town, and Heathers. Previously she directed at Red River High School and Summer Performing Arts Company in Grand Forks. Rachel was the Trollwood Registrar for three years and this is Rachel’s third year teaching ArtSpark. She is delighted to spend this time fostering love of the performing arts in younger artists. When she’s not working in the theatre world, Rachel is hauling her own theatre kids to and from their rehearsals and Trollwood classes, working in her church, writing plays and young adult novels, and spending time with her professional and personal partner in crime, her husband Tom.


Music Instructor

Madi is looking forward to her first summer working at Trollwood! She has recently graduated from Concordia College-Moorhead with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Vocal Music Education (K-12). Madi has trained and performed with Stages Theatre Company (Hopkins, MN), Children’s Theatre Company (Minneapolis, MN), and Chanhassen Dinner Theatres (Chanhassen, MN). She has workshopped new productions and spent 2 summers as an education intern with Stages Theatre Company. Most recently, Madi has performed in Concordia College’s mainstage production of Fiddler on the Roof, under the direction of Bill Russell, a Tony nominated writer. Madi can’t wait to sing, create, and imagine with this year’s Trollwood students!

Joan Degerness

Theatre Instructor

Joan Degerness is currently a Music Specialist in Moorhead, MN and teaches Grades K-4 at Dorothy Dodds Elementary. She has been a music educator for thirty years. Joan was the Artistic Director of the Red River Boy Choir from 1997-2005. She has also been an active church musician and soloist for over twenty years, serving as a worship leader, accompanist and children’s choir director of Hope Lutheran Church in Fargo. Ms. Degerness attended Trollwood Performing Arts School through her junior high and high school years. Her “claim to fame” was playing the part of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz (1983). She has also served at Trollwood as an administrative assistant, Imagine Children’s Choir Director, Children’s Choir Director for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (2008), and an ArtSpark Instructor since the program’s inception in 2004. Joan helped to start the Trollwood Children’s Theatre program in 2012 and serves as the program’s Artistic Director and Stage Director. She has also been the Director for the Totally Trollwood Musical since 2013. Joan holds a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction degree from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree in Public School Music (K-12) from Concordia College, Moorhead, where she graduated with honors. She resides in West Fargo, ND with her husband, Dan. They have three sons, Jordan, Walker and Parker.


AGES 6-8 (age by August 31, 2019)

  • June 3-7 at Ben Franklin Middle School
  • June 10-14 at Carl Ben Eielson Middle School
  • June 17-21 at Carl Ben Eielson Middle School

AGES 9–11 (age by August 31, 2019)

  • June 3-7 at Ben Franklin Middle School
  • June 10-14 at Carl Ben Eielson Middle School
  • June 17-21 at Carl Ben Eielson Middle School

Ages: 6–11 as of August 31, 2019.

Registration Deadline: Friday, May 17 for ArtSpark June sessions.

NOTE: Registration remains open after this deadline. However, a $25 late fee will be assessed.

Register: Click here to view and download the 2019 Artspark Registration Form.

Ben Franklin Middle School is located at 1420 8th St N, Fargo

Carl Ben Eielson Middle School is located at 1601 S 13th Ave, Fargo


AGES 6-8 (age by August 31, 2019)

  • July 15-19 at Trollwood Performing Arts School
  • July 22-26 at Trollwood Performing Arts School

AGES 9–11 (age by August 31, 2019)

  • July 15-19 at Trollwood Performing Arts School
  • July 22-26 at Trollwood Performing Arts School

Ages: 6–11 as of August 31, 2019.

Registration Deadline: Friday, June 7 for ArtSpark July sessions.

NOTE: Registration remains open after this deadline. However, a $25 late fee will be assessed.

Register: Click here to view and download the 2019 Artspark Registration Form


ArtSpark introduces elementary students to the performing arts in three curricular areas: Vocal Music, Drama, and Dance.  The applicable standards and benchmarks for this program are listed below.  Not all standards and benchmarks will be addressed in each one week session, but a significant number of them will be represented.


Standard 1: Singing
Students sing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.

K-5.1.1. Sing independently on pitch and in rhythm.
K-5.1.2. Sing expressively.
K-5.1.3. Sing from memory a varied repertoire of songs representing genres and styles from diverse cultures.
K-5.1.4. Sing in parts.
K-5.1.5. Sing in groups.

Standard 2: Instrumental Performance
Students perform on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.

*This standard is not applicable in ArtSpark.

Standard 3: Improvisation
Students improvise melodies, variations, and accompaniments.

K-5.3.1. Students improvise simple melodies, rhythmic and melodic variations, and accompaniments.

Standard 4: Composition
Students compose and arrange music within specified guidelines.

*This standard is not applicable in ArtSpark.

Standard 5: Reading Music
Students read and notate music.

K-5.5.1. Read simple rhythms in basic meters.
K-5.5.2. Know how to use a system to read simple pitch notation.
K-5.5.3. Know symbols and traditional terms.
K-5.5.4. Know how to use basic symbols to notate music.

Standard 6: Listening
Students listen to, analyze, and describe music.

K-5.6.1. Know simple music forms when presented aurally.
K-5.6.2. Know a variety of styles representing diverse cultures.
K-5.6.3. Know terminology to describe music.
K-5.6.4. Know the sounds of a variety of instruments and voices for various cultures.
K-5.6.5. Understand the relationship between music and movement.

Standard 7: Evaluating Music
Students evaluate music and music performances.

K-5.7.1. Develop appropriate criteria to evaluate performances and compositions.
K-5.7.2. Understand how to use music terminology to express personal preferences for specific musical works and styles.

Standard 8: Music and Other Disciplines
Students understand the relationship between music, the other arts, and other disciplines.

K-5.8.1. Develop appropriate criteria to evaluate performances and compositions.
K-5.8.2. Understand the interrelationship of music and other disciplines.

Standard 9: Music, History, and Culture
Students understand music in relation to history and culture.

K-5.9.1. Know music from various historical periods.
K-5.9.2. Know how elements of music are used in music examples from various cultures.
K-5.9.3. Know various uses of music in daily experiences.
K-5.9.4. Know characteristics that make certain music suitable for its use.
K-5.9.5. Understand the role of musicians in various music settings and cultures.
K-5.9.6. Know appropriate audience behavior for the context and style of music performed.


Standard 1: Dramatic Literature
Students comprehend a wide variety of dramatic literature.

K-5.1.1. Know published and non-published fiction and nonfiction.
K-5.1.2. Understand scripting.
K-5.1.3. Understand the emotional reactions created by dramatic presentations.

Standard 2: Acting
Students will engage in fundamental acting skills.

K-5.2.1.Use a variety of movement, vocal pitch, tempo, and tone.
K-5.2.2. Understand the relationship between character and movement, vocal pitch, tempo, and tone.
K-5.2.3. Create and sustain a character.

Standard 3: Production
Students engage in fundamental production skills.

K-5.3.1. Know how visual elements and aural aspects are used to communicate.
K-5.3.2. Select materials to create technical elements of production.
K-5.3.3. Create marketing and publicity materials.

Standard 4: Cultural Context of Drama
Students will understand the cultural context of drama.

K-5.4.1. Recognize similarities and differences between theatre and one’s own life.
K-5.4.2. Use dramatization to understand culture.

Standard 5: Consumer of Theatre
Students will understand how to be knowledgeable consumers of theatre.

K-5.5.1. Know appropriate audience behaviors.
K-5.5.2. Know that people react to theatrical productions in different ways.

Standard 6: Drama and Human Development
Students understand the role of theatre in human development.

K-5.6.1. Use drama to develop creative thinking skills.
K-5.6.2. Use drama to develop critical thinking skills.
K-5.6.3. Use drama to develop social skills.

Standard 7: Drama and Other Disciplines
Students understand the connections between drama and other disciplines.

K-5.7.1. Know connections between drama and other disciplines in the curriculum.
K-5.7.2. Know how to use drama to demonstrate knowledge of other disciplines.


Standard 1: Movement Skills
Students demonstrate proficiency in motor skills and movement patterns needed to perform a variety of physical activities.

K-5.1.1. Use dance elements to expand movement experiences.
K-5.1.2. Know boundaries of dance space.
K-5.1.3. Understand characteristics of nonlocomotor/axial movements.
K-5.1.4. Understand the characteristics of locomotor movements in many directions and pathways.
K-5.1.5. Move to a rhythmic accompaniment and respond to changes in tempo.
K-5.1.6. Understand the characteristics of balance and proper alignment.
K-5.1.7. Understand how body parts and joints are used in movement.
K-5.1.8. Use kinesthetic awareness, concentration, and focus in performing movement skills.

Standard 2: Choreography
Students understand choreographic principles, processes, and structures.

K-5.2.1. Understand the characteristics of a movement sequence.
K-5.2.2. Understand how improvisation is used to discover and invent movement.
K-5.2.3. Understand the characteristics of a dance phrase that is repeated and/or varied.
K-5.2.4. Know how to use the characteristics of solo and group dance to create whole compositions.

Standard 3: Dance and Meaning
Students understand dance as a way to create and communicate meaning.

K-5.3.1. Communicate ideas using movement.
K-5.3.2. Know how dance is similar to and different from other forms of movement.

Standard 4: Dance and Thinking Skills
Students apply critical and creative thinking skills in dance.

K-5.4.1. Know that a variety of strategies can be used to solve movement problems.
K-5.4.2. Understand how various dance styles are similar to and different from one another.

Standard 5: Dance, History, and Culture
Students understand the historical development of dance and its relationship to various cultures.

K-5.5.1. Know the characteristics of multicultural dance forms.
K-5.5.2. Understand the role and purpose of dance in various cultures.
K-5.5.3. Know characteristics of the forms of theatre dance.
K-5.5.4. Know and apply proper audience etiquette.
K-5.5.5. Know dances unique to local geographic regions.

Standard 6: Dance and Personal Wellness
Students understand the connection between dance and personal wellness.

K-5.6.1. Know healthy practices that enhance the ability to dance.
K-5.6.2. Understand the importance of warming up and cooling down the body.

Standard 7: Dance and Other Disciplines
Students understand the difference between dance and other disciplines.

K-5.7.1. Know how to use dance concepts to enhance understanding of other academic disciplines.