Edie Ollwerther grew up a touring dancer, with television and teaching credits to her name. When she married, she took a break—but it wasn't long before neighborhood parents knew of her history in dance. They encouraged her to begin giving lessons to their children, and Edie obliged by transforming her basement into a studio space.
That was in the 1970s. Today, Edie and her fellow instructors—some of whom are former students, now grown—act as the heads of a continually growing family of dancers. Their curriculum encompasses tap, jazz, ballet, and musical theater, as well as vocal coaching and hip-hop routines. Some of their pupils learn to shimmy as a hobby, and others aim to join the competition team, whose performances have taken them to Disney World and aboard a Carnival Cruise ship.
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.
Catering to aspiring dancers as young as 18 months, A Dance Place offers lessons in a non-competitive friendly environment to help build youngsters confidence and self-esteem. The littlest dancers can take part in mommy and me classes or creative movement sessions, which instill them with a love of physical expression. Ballet, tap, and hip-hop lessons, meanwhile, allow pupils to delve into more specialized disciplines.
JCDA has been in business for over 35 years. The school provides the atmosphere and training that will nurture both the potential artist and the recreational dance student who studies only for the inherent rewards of self-discipline, confidence, physical fitness and a greater appreciation of movement and music.
A comprehensive dance and movement facility, Manhattan Movement & Arts Center provides movers and shakers of all sorts a space for learning, rehearsing, and performing. MMAC classes are taught by renowned dance educators and dancing queens in obstruction-free studios, which are equipped with sprung floors and kept fastidiously free of rhythmically challenged Godzillas who “borrow” classmates’ leg warmers and return them all stretched out.
For nearly four decades, the intellectual incubators at Playwrights Horizons have hatched award-winning productions of thought-provoking, emotion-evoking plays, nurturing new generations of writers and theatrical performers. The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World makes its New York debut in a joint effort with the crafty thespians at the New York Theatre Workshop, who themselves have fostered more than 100 dramatic new works over the past 27 years, including Jonathan Larson’s RENT and Doug Wright’s Quills. Together, these two show-stopping institutions weave a tale of rock-and-roll ambition cast against against the backdrop of the 1960s, a time when music was raw and Oprah’s guidance was nowhere to be found. Audiences will sit on the edge of their seats as the characters from this brand-new musical grapple with the dark side of parental obligation and the limits of talent––all based on a true story.