At City Dance Studios, classes are tailored for students with various levels of experience to ensure everyone can enjoy the art of self-expression through movement. Lessons introduce students to a diverse array of dance styles ranging from classical ballet and jazz, to contemporary hip hop and exotic Bollywood, and West African. Each of the five spacious studios (they range from 900 to 2,400 square feet) are equipped with sprung hardwood or Marley floors and are surrounded by mirrors, so budding dancers can keep an eye on their form and keep pet parakeets occupied until the class has ended.
At Stepz, professional Bollywood dance instructors imbue students of all ages with dance moves inspired by Eastern India. They foster an environment of support and encouragement as dancers soak up fundamental foot positions and learn to express themselves through fluid movements and flowing hand gestures. Students looking to shed excess pounds can speed up routines in one-hour aerobics classes, which lead groups though rigorous dance routines specifically designed to tone muscle.
Each season, the gifted student thespians of Diablo Valley College dazzle audiences with moving productions of classic works and contemporary plays. Satisfy your dramatic hankerings with a trio of the 2011 to 2012 season's artfully staged offerings, starting with Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet , a moving tragedy inspired by the classic musical West Side Story (October 21–30). A striking, challenging contemporary piece, The Skriker fills the stage with magical realism, shape-shifting, and unearthly characters (February 3–12, 2012; restricted to adults 18 years and older). Diablo Valley's young stage stalkers also tackle Arthur Miller's The Crucible, a stirring depiction of the Salem witch hunts of the 17th century and a poignant allegory for the anticommunist hysteria of the 1950s, when Americans were required by law to consume at least three apple pies a day (March 23–31, 2012).
Owen Walker, the guru of the Action Theater method, and he is now one of the method’s six designated senior teachers.
The Action Theater method approaches physical improvisation and theater from three angles: language, voice, and movement. Classes give special attention to being fully present, connecting with a scene partner, and urging students to focus on how they do something, rather than what they do. The end result not only can transform a student’s performance on the stage, it can also enhance everyday skills such as empathy and spontaneity. Thus, though the technique is rooted in the theater, it can also benefit non-actors, much like a playhouse’s cell-phone-activated trap door.
Though Action Theater sometimes features a discounted price online, this Groupon still offers the best deal available
Mexico City native Ricardo Téllez began dancing when he was 12, shimmying his way through styles such as cumbia and guaracha. In 1995, he packed up his dancing shoes and moved to the Bay area, accelerating his salsa study not only by studying under Gabriel Romero, but also by trying out his footwork in clubs. Armed with a passion for dance, Ricardo founded RicaSalsa Dance Company in 1999 to share his love of the art. Today, he and dance partner Tianne Frias—with whom he placed third in the World Latin Dance Cup—teach private lessons and group classes that impart new and advanced dancers with the steps, partnership skills, and medallions filled with glowworms needed to light up the floor. By focusing on social dance skills and the ability to follow the rhythm, they help their students adapt easily to different songs and settings.
An alumna of New York City’s Actors Studio, Shelley Mitchell won acclaim for her one-woman performance of Talking with Angels: Budapest 1943, which Los Angeles Weekly lauded for its “leisurely, lifelike timing” and “excruciating beauty.” Shelley draws on her extensive teaching and acting experience at institutions such as The Dublin Fringe Theatre Festival to teach dramatic acting to film, television, and theater thespians at the Arts Center of San Francisco. Three-hour classes develop individual concentration and emotional response through sense memory exercises before students partner up for scripted scene work or practice tumbling into the orchestra pit. Eight-week courses introduce pupils to acting fundamentals, while three or ten-month intensive training grants unlimited studio access, weekly or biweekly lessons, and private sessions with Shelley to dedicated participants.