For more than two decades, the assemblage of professional dancers and instructors at The Ballet Conservatory have taught little ones the skills necessary to plié into fully-formed dancers. They have met with so much success that, as recently as April 2013, the school sent a troupe to New York City to compete in the YAGP International Finals. Though the focus is on pointe and ballet, the conservatory delivers performance-grade instruction in a diverse array of disciplines, including hip-hop, jazz, and tap.
Since age 3, Dana Bailey has been twirling to her own beat, progressing from childhood cha-chas to appearances in promotions for Pepsi and JC Penney. After studying under instructors in California and New York City, Dana now offers pintsize patrons the same opportunity to get a head start in the performing arts with child and teen dance classes. She enlists working industry pros to wrangle kids as young as 2.5 in tap, ballet, and tumbling classes atop pliable wood and marley floors.
The boys' tap, jazz, and hip-hop classes accommodate a demographic often overlooked by the dance industry and prepare a studio team for local and national performances. Instructors regularly glean pointers from top national choreographers to craft classes such as Teen Hip Hop, which equips students with basic moves and combos that, much like the prom held outside the Grammys, are set to a soundtrack of current hits.
Arthur Murray's experienced instructors and owners, including some who have worked with shows such as Dancing With the Stars, stand ready and waiting to teach students in the ways of balance and coordinated rhythmic motion. Bring a partner to your two 45-minute private lessons (a $100 value) or fly solo and dance with your instructor. In either case, you'll leave with a greater understanding of the dance style of your choosing. These lessons are ideal for a betrothed pair prepping for the big wedding dance or a fledgling fitness seeker looking for a fun new way to get in shipshape. Stick to a stately waltz, spicy up life with a rumba, or feel vibrant and playful with a few swing steps in your personal repertoire. Whether you're an experienced dancer hoping to brush up on certain techniques or you have two left feet for feet and two right feet for hands, private lessons at Arthur Murray Dance Studio offer bountiful dance-based benefits. This Groupon also allows dancers to stop in for one group class ($30 value) to test out their newly acquired skills against unfamiliar counterfeet.
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.
LifeStage Studio opened in 2006 and has provided a variety of stage plays and workshops for aspiring spotlight-stealers. Pavlov's Dogs is a team of improvisational experts who salivate hilarity during their adult crash courses, teaching students how to think on their feet when all eyes are upon them and all noses are seeking minty-fresh smells. The hands-on session includes instruction, a variety of exercises, and games to help apply the sage teachings. The improv troupe prides itself on creating a supportive, encouraging environment where wallflowers and sacks of flour alike can cut loose.