At Lauridsen Ballet Centre, the well-timed tinkling of piano keys accompanies each leap and plié. Live musical accompaniment is just one of the ways in which the school's professional instructors, led by artistic director Diane Lauridsen, preserve the classical traditions of their art. They maintain a careful balance between encouraging attitudes and rigorous lessons, cultivating physical poise at the same time as mental focus.
Classes for ages three and up accommodate all skill levels, from beginner to pre-professional, and performances through the non-profit South Bay Ballet company showcase students' skills. Though they consider much of their choreography timeless, the staff does not neglect advances in the science of dance—they incorporate current discoveries in the fields of anatomy and movement to enhance both children's and adult classes. Their summer camp intensive also helps attendees to achieve new levels of grace and balance.
An AT&T ad executive hangs up the phone, grabs his jacket, and heads toward the subway to Hell's Kitchen. It's the late '80s, and at the New York comedy institution The Improv, a slew of up-and-coming talent, including Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock, are testing jokes and honing timing. In the next few years, they'll perform on television for millions. But for now, they're changing the life of one ad executive.
The founder of LA Stand-Ups, Joe Falzarano, quit his promising advertising career because he "hated being a suit" and preferred to nurture promising young comedians. With accomplishments that include producing the CableACE Award–winning Caroline's Comedy Hour for A&E, Falzarano helped launch the performing and writing careers of entertainers including Jon Stewart and Louis C.K. Today, Falzarano imparts his more than 20 years of industry experience to aspiring joke-tellers, teaching them tactics for perfecting a punch line, calming nerves, and subduing hecklers with a marshmallow gun. Falzarano maintains a supportive atmosphere where students learn how to use who they are to connect with an audience, and even lets students try out material at the Hollywood Improv.
Led by Allen Levin, an experienced actor, producer, and writer, Lifebook Acting Class’s celebrity-extolled workshops impart budding performers with the art of dramatization. Stratified into three levels ranging from orientation to advanced, classes for aspiring professionals mix improv and character building with career coaching to prevent missteps such as starring in a western with talking tumbleweeds. Acting hobbyists develop comedic and dramatic talents in Acting for Non-Actors and First Timers, a self-confidence strengthening romp through the basics of theatrics. For those with proven celebrity or one major credit to their name, the Master Class sharpens already deadly dialogue skills into a force to be reckoned with in time for a prized audition, starring role, or first meeting with future in-laws.
The faculty members at the School of Rock believe that immersion is the best way to learn any new skill, which is why they don’t just teach students how to traverse the notes and rhythms of guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, and vocals in isolation. In addition to teaching students the technical skills during one-on-one lessons, the professional music instructors push them to fuse their individual parts into songs during full band practices with fellow beginner rockers. This combination of one-on-one attention and cooperative group learning helps kids of all skill levels hone their craft while overcoming common pitfalls such as stage fright or playing off-tempo. As kids learn to shred riffs, pound out drum solos, and summon Ronnie James Dio by hitting the correct vibrato atop a silver mountain, the classes build their confidence and kick-start a lifetime of loving rock 'n' roll.
Founded in 1989 by Mestre Amen Santo?the choreographer who added a touch of authenticity to the capoeira scenes in 1993?s Only The Strong ?Brasil Brasil Cultural Center hosts classes in Brazil?s signature martial art alongside lessons in other multicultural disciplines. Like a fight with the cast of a variety show, capoeira combines martial artistry, dance, and acrobatics, fusing them into a stylized Afro-Brazilian art form. To complement capoeira sessions?available to adults as well as children aged 4 and older?instructors also teach Portuguese language classes, health classes and dance classes. Students can also cut rugs in dance styles such as the samba, West African dance, and belly dancing, and youngsters can get their first taste of Brazilian rhythms through workshops with the Ballet Folcl?rico Do Brasil, a dance company that reaches more than 50,000 children annually.
Founded in 1974, L.A. Theatre Works (LATW) is a non-profit media arts organization whose mission is to present, preserve and distribute significant classic and contemporary plays through audio recordings. Originally named “Artists in Prison,” the organization used theatre as a tool for creative expression by incarcerated men and women. In 1985, LATW began producing audio recordings of plays, which can now be found in some 11,000 U.S. libraries. The group’s catalogue consists of over 400 plays by classic and notable playwrights, many recorded by famous film and TV actors. In 2012, LATW began releasing e-books and apps as well, which accompany the audio performances – which are staged locally at UCLA’s James Bridges Theatre – and allows a user to read the text of a play as they listen to the recording. The company also tours nationally.