From acting alongside Al Pacino to working with the casting directors of Boardwalk Empire and Argo, Joshua Nelson knows firsthand the hurdles actors must face, both in front of and behind the camera. As the head instructor at LaGuardia Acting Studio, he draws on his 20-plus years of experience to train actors of all ages and skill levels. Instead of emphasizing specific methods, Joshua weaves elements of Stanislavski, Strasberg, and other techniques into lessons tailored to each individual student. With these foundations of craft intact, pupils strengthen their chops for film, television, and commercials through scene studies and character development exercises. Joshua also emphasizes the business side of the industry by training his students in audition etiquette and resume writing.
At the helm of L.A. Dance School of the Arts is director Angela Paolino Thompson, a graduate of NYU’s dance program. Certified by the Dance Educators of America, she leads a team that instills the grace and technique needed for recreational, competitive, and professional dancing success. Their twinkle-toed repertoire includes at least 10 modalities of dance at any time, such as tap, jazz, hip-hop, and ballet. They also incorporate acting, vocal, and fitness classes into their repertoire, and offer more traditional boot-camp workouts as well.
Before taking the reins at Broadway Performing Arts, Elisa Heinsohn appeared on the TV series Fame, and Cleve Asbury acted in the Oscar-winning film Chicago. The duo also racked up an impressive set of Broadway credits—Asbury most recently played Mr. Ovington in the hit How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying—and starred in more television commercials than a dog who can talk. Nowadays, the two continue their performing-arts work while co-owning and co-directing their studio, leading their team as they teach students from 3-year-olds to adults. The studio’s eclectic curricula hone students’ skills in disciplines such as musical theater, dance, and guitar.
If you want to become a successful actor, you could watch your favorite stars in movies or read up on various techniques. Or you could study under Luigina Vecchione Curran, the Artistic Director at DennyLoo Studios. The actress, director, and acting coach brings her on-camera and on-stage experiences—as well as her stint at Playhouse West with Jeff Goldblum, Robert Carnegie, and Bill Esper of Esper Studios —to her students during interactive classes and workshops. Once here, she delves into scene studies, improv, and monologues about monologues to help her students boost confidence and build a wide range of skills that will assist them in getting auditions and landing acting jobs.
The 2010 Nickelodeon Parents' Pick for best New York City acting school, The Arts Effect activates young actors with classes and camps rooted in method acting and a fun, encouraging environment. Much like speaking to a jury, classes challenge kids to use real-life experiences, textual analysis, and a lawyer to bring authenticity to their performances.
Kids-make-movies instills the basics of filmmaking in its students with private moviemaking lessons. With these classes, someday-Spielbergs and beginning-Bigelows will learn how to bring their mind movies to life, with instruction on story development, filming, and editing. Encourage your niece in her stop-motion animation ambitions, or let your son edit existing footage of last summer's family road trip to Antarctica into a compelling, soundtracked travelogue. Kids-make-movies teaches iMovie, Final Cut Pro, and Photoshop, allowing students to bring knowledge back to home computers/editing bays. At the end of the class or project, kids will get a DVD or Internet-ready clip of their cinematic output. View finished films from former kids-make-movies students here.