Project UP is Merrimack Hall's performaning company for teens with developmental disabilities.
Project UP is a performing company for teens and adults with special needs. Launched in June 2010 with a summer camp for 9 teens, the program now meets weekly with 34 students in either the Junior (ages 12-14) , Teen (ages 15-16) or Senior (ages 17 through adulthood) companies. Project UP runs the length of the school year, and company members have numerous public performance opportunities throughout the year. Each week, these students are taught music, dance and theatre by their instructors. They are assisted by college students and adult helpers, who commit to a year of volunteer service. Students have performed at festivals, community events, corporate events, and with local high school choir and dance departments. In January 2013, Project UP members performed in a showcase at the NRG Dance Project in Atlanta and were featured in a live news segment on “Making It In America” with Vinnie Politan on CNN’s Headline News. Project UP has a tuition that is based on an ability to pay basis - scholarships are available to anyone who needs financial assistance.
In 2011, Project UP was invited to perform at the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Four-Cylinder Engine ceremony at the Toyota plant in Huntsville, Alabama. The students performed for more than 600 Toyota employees, executives, and dignitaries including Governor Robert Bentley.
In 2012 and 2013, Project UP traveled to Bessemer, Alabama to compete in the State Dance Championships. Both companies won Platinum overall awards, the highest honor awarded to a dancer or company, and each company also won First Place Overall, prevailing over their typical peers (students without special needs) on an even playing field.
We now offer a Junior, Teen and Senior Company, split by age.
Enroll a Student: Students must be able to exhibit basic communication skills, appropriate social behavior, and the general level of self-control that would be expected for a teenager with developmental disabilities. We are not trained in special education and are not equipped to work with students who have certain limitations, including discipline problems, physical disabilites or those who require attendant care.
Students must be able to attend summer camp and regular weekly classes will begin in September 2013 and follow the Huntsville City Schools calendar.
Enrollment for the 2013-14 program year begins on August 6, 2013 for returning students and August 7, 2013 for new students. To enroll a student, contact Claire Lindsay, program coordinator, by e-mail or by phone at (256) 534-6455 to schedule an interview with our faculty. Enrollment in Project UP is limited and is by invitation following an interview.
Volunteer: We respectfully request volunteers interested in serving as coaches commit to one semester at a time. No dance experience is necessary. For information about volunteering, contact us by e-mail or by phone at (256) 534-6455
Donate: Project UP is provided at a minimal cost to the families involved. Merrimack Hall is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and we rely on donations from individuals and corporations to offer these programs to people in need. All donations are 100% tax-deductible. Click here to donate online or call (256) 534-6455 to donate by phone.
Project UP is presented by generous funding from Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama
Other major funding for this program has been provided by:
The Jane K. Lowe Charitable Foundation
(first- and second-tier funding)
Alabama State Council on the Arts
National Endowment for the Arts
Wachovia Wells-Fargo Foundation
Publix Super Markets Charities
Bringing Up Down Syndrome
The Daniel Foundation of Alabama
The Dizzy Feet Foundation
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