With a host of classes in theater, music, and dance, Premier Centre for the Arts aims to unleash a bevy of talented youth performers upon the community. Up to 500 students per week immerse themselves in performance studies such as improvisation, musical theater, and tap dancing, learning new skills that they’ll later show off during the center's 250 annual performances or in front of a rapt audience of stuffed animals in their living room.
Each of the 16 practice rooms at Music University contains another musical treasure for its students. Yamaha grand pianos, Sonar drum sets, and Fender amps ensure that each visitor gets the chance to work with professional-grade equipment. But these rooms' most important assets are its teachers. The staff, which specializes in instruments ranging from guitar to bagpipes, boasts pedigrees from such prestigious schools as Juilliard, Berklee College of Music, and Boston Conservatory. And, like any university, the school maintains an impressive library of sheet music, including Broadway musical pieces and guitar tablature.
Newark Music Makers—a Musikgarten studio—bestows youngsters with a passion for all things music. During the Family Music For Babies class, parents rock, bounce, and sing to newborns and babies as old as 18 months. Kids up to six years of age, meanwhile, participate in classes that feature listening games, instrumental play, movement games, and stories, all aimed at instilling a lifelong love of music and self-expression.
There’s no water underneath Napoli School of Music and Dance’s floating dance floor. Instead, there’s high-density foam, which absorbs precise steps, occasional stumbles, and the dog pile that ends every classical ballet. Atop the foam lies marley, the same vinyl composite surface used in Riverdance. Within this professionally equipped studio, Napoli’s experienced dance faculty teaches small groups of aspiring dancers, starting with three- to five-year-olds in creative movement sessions. For older students, instructors focus on an array of dance styles, from the axel turns of jazz to the heel clicks of tap.
Similarly proficient teachers – including graduates of Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music—staff Napoli’s music faculty. During one-on-one sessions, they focus on each student’s specific musical goals and interests, always drawing examples from pupils’ favorite musical styles. While instructors of guitar, bass, and drums train the next generation of arena rockers, woodwind and brass teachers guide players through classical clarinet melodies or jazzy trumpet solos.
A Pennsylvania Ballet holiday tradition for more than four decades, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker blends the sweet descant of the Philadelphia Boys Choir into the bounding melodies of Tchaikovsky’s ballet suite. An enduring holiday fantasy, George Balanchine's The Nutcracker captivates the eye and ear with toy soldiers who leap and lunge in battle with the giant Mouse King, sparkling snowflakes who twirl across the stage en pointe, and a medley of dancing confections in the Land of the Sweets. Unlike flipbook fairy tales found in wholesale crackerjack boxes, the ballet has outfitted their production with vivid costumes, complex choreography, and a talented cast to create a colorful rendition of the seasonal story.
The natural-light-bathed Retro City Studios features one of the best live rooms in the city and a host of customizable isolation rooms. In the main recording room overlooking the entire space, you'll be able to play and fiddle with board after board of high-end tuning technology. Taught by working professional musicians (the founders of Retro), classes will help you quickly pick up the fundamentals of recording and audio production, using your hands and your mad sense of beat to manipulate and therefore familiarize yourself with the core properties of sound. From there, you'll handle all the obscure pieces of equipment and the latest Pro-Tools and MIDI programs before giving it your grooviest shot at mixing your own track. Even the least aurally talented can always slam the Auto Auto-Tune button, and everyone gets a free T-shirt at the end of the session, even if the koalas can't shake it to your custom dub.