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.
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.
The Maplewood Theatre's name hovers above the marquee in an art-deco script over a row of lights, conjuring up nostalgia of the classic cinemas of yesteryear. But the retro-style facade doesn't mean that the movies are also throwbacks. Instead, the modern movie screens flicker with first-run films. The theater's 3D capabilities allow patrons to slip on glasses that make them feel as if they're in the middle of the action or to protect their eyes when they accidentally dunk their faces into 3-D popcorns.
It's a mild summer evening. As the reception hall buzzes with the relaxed camaraderie of post-wedding festivities, notes from a familiar song ring out above the crowd. The lights drop, and things get quiet. From a behind the dais, the bride and groom move slowly towards the center of the dance floor. Lit now by a single spotlight, they embrace, moving slowly, gracefully in time to the music that means the most to them. There will be more dances tonight, between fathers and daughters, mothers and sons, old friends and new, but the first dance rules them all. The instructors at Wild Child Dance Studio understand the affection and symbolism behind this memorable moment. That's why they devote much of their professional time preparing couples to skillfully glide through their first dances as man and wife. Before or after the big day, pairs can also hone their ballroom chops during group seminars, which unlock the secrets of timeless dance styles including the waltz, foxtrot, samba, and swing.
In addition to their wedding and ballroom classes, instructors train the next generation of Astaires with lessons for kids and teens. Youths can learn the secrets of beginning jazz moves, hip-hop choreography, and ballet stretches, or engage in old-timey elegance with tap lessons. Instructors also fill the schedule with adult versions of many of these classes, which join other grown-up lessons that cover belly dancing, nightclub essentials, and flirty, ladies-only chair dance routines that bolster confidence with sultry moves.
Sharron Miller has devoted her life to dance. She attended the Juilliard School and worked with the director of the Garden State Ballet. After completing her training, she danced as a soloist for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and appeared in seven Broadway shows. Sharron also taught at Renaissance Middle School for 13 years, where her dance and drama program for youth was praised by the State of New Jersey. Today, as the founder of Sharron Miller's Academy for the Performing Arts, she shares the skills she acquired throughout a lifetime in the arts with students from all walks of life.
SMAPA is a not-for-profit organization that provides classes in jazz, ballet, tap, and modern dancing for students of all ages. SMAPA's skilled faculty members teach hundreds of students every year and conduct outreach to the community, engaging youth in the arts through school programs and impromptu performances in the daydreams of teenagers.
The dedicated instructors at Afro Brazilian Cultural Center of New Jersey see capoeira as more than a blend of dance and martial arts—they see it as a way of life. They train children and adults of all ages in capoeira's graceful movements through classes, therapy sessions, and afterschool programs, many of the instructors drawing from extensive training in Brazil and an understanding of Brazilian folklore and culture. But their instruction doesn’t end at capoeira—many of the Cultural Center's coaches specialize in disciplines including yoga, Zumba, salsa, and West African dance. Though many of the instructors were born and raised in New Jersey, others hail from places such as Guinea and Senegal and infuse their culture into their teaching style. The instructors hold classes at least once a week and more frequently for students preparing to dance-battle chaperones for control of the prom.