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.
Velocity's coaches, many of whom are trained in kinesiology and exercise science, lead heart-pounding fitness programs for adults and children ages 8 and older. The one-hour movement sessions gather an ever-shifting array of exercises calculated to increase kids' speed and agility and challenge grownups' coordination more than their offices' annual air-hockey-based performance reviews. Small groups of 15 people work to reach their peak performance level under the coach's custom-tailored tutelage. After the program, strengthened bodies may measure their tangible successes in greater endurance, improved metabolism, and an abandoned belief that stale Twizzler jousts counts as exercise.
The closest ocean is hundreds of miles away, but you wouldn't know it once you've set foot on the grounds of Bahama Beach Club. Outside, competitors spike volleyballs on fourteen sand-covered courts and, during breaks in the action, order cocktails from a beach bar. It's all part of the club's summery theme. Once the victor has been crowned, teammates retire to a shaded deck to relax with sandwiches and tacos, flat-screen TVs, a beer garden, and, once a week, live music.
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.
Polar Ice House beckons ice-caperers aged 3 and older onto its slippery stage, where they can hone figure-skating and hockey skills or simply twiddle their blades during daily open-skate sessions. Beginners' skating courses include an all-ages Learn to Skate program and a Parent-Tot class that re-creates the gliding experience of moonwalking on an air-hockey table. The rink also hosts whirling laser-light shows that captivate the eyes of skaters on Friday and Saturday night, as well as private events such as birthday parties or broomball tournaments.
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