Donna Park's passion for performance preceded the bulk of her vocabulary: at 4 years old, she got into the habit of correcting the dance steps of the other children in her recitals. Her unquenchable thirst for performance led her through a theater minor in college to the discovery of film, then onto a career as a director, writer, and producer of television specials and commercials. Now, calling upon contacts developed during her 20-year career, she brings working professionals to Texas Creative Arts Academy to share their hard-earned wisdom with the young.
The Academy's year-round programs gather students aged 4 to 18 to celebrate their interest in dance, art, film, and melodrama. Aspiring artisans learn the basics of canvas and garment craftsmanship in Hi Ho! Van Gogh! and Design Fashion Diva! camps. Teachers unlock high notes in students' vocal ranges with voice lessons and train the eyes of future cameramen in video-production classes. Piano and guitar instruction empowers kids to realize a future where spontaneous public musical numbers don’t just happen on stage.
Inspired by New York City's The Actors Studio, thespians Erica and Shane Peterman established The Acting Studio as a place for youngsters and adults with acting aspirations to focus on their craft. Along with experienced dancer Kellie Carroll, the Petermans train students on musical-theater fundamentals in classes that range from jazz dance to private voice lessons. The advanced Triple Threat program places pupils intending to pursue a performing-arts career under the tutelage of industry pros who prep them for performances. Kids more interested in dabbling, meanwhile, can meet industry bigwigs at workshops, and several full-scale productions each year grant children the chance to act alongside their peers and improvise dance numbers.
Arthur Murray has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and The Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, The Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Clients who arrive to lessons partnerless will be paired up with instructors during private lessons and other classmates for group lessons as instructors assess their current skill level and make recommendations on the most appropriate program. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
Founded in 1991 by Sara Akers, Plano Children’s Theatre exists to help children ages 5 to 18 find out who they are. For more than 19 years, the theatre has been a place where kids could be the star and a place where they could gain an appreciation and love for live theatre.
When Angi Ullrich was looking for a children's theater class for her daughter, she was ruffled at how inconvenient the class times and locations were. It got her thinking, "What if the classes took place where the kids already were?" So she founded Broadway Bound School of Performing Arts in 2007 as a way to bring drama classes to schools, daycares, and wherever else kids wanted to learn. With classes covering everything from puppetry to musical theater, the experienced teachers help students from 3 years old through high school tap into their imaginations.