MUSE stands for "mastering unique self expression"—a common experience for students at the MUSE Center for the Arts, where they show off their creativity in dance, music, and theater classes. Its instructors, who come from a variety of arts backgrounds, have extensive résumés, including dancing with choreographer Twyla Tharp's company, performing at the Metropolitan Opera House, and specializing in stage combat.
Both children and adults learn styles such as jazz, hip-hop, and contemporary in dance classes, and skilled kids aged 6–18 can try out for MUSE's competitive dance team. Musicians can further their craft in private or group lessons available for a variety of instruments, including voice, guitar, and violin. And the theater season is divided into school-year and summer sessions, where young Broadway hopefuls learn how to sing, dance, and write a quippy Playbill bio.
Not many actors can say they've performed in a production directed by a 12-year-old, but Erin Coley has always had an instinctive sense of how to put on a show. Years later, she and her husband, J.R., founded Standing Ovation Performing Arts, assembling eight other experts in the field to encourage kids to get on the stage as early as possible. Improv comedy, puppetry, and playwriting help students express themselves while giving them the skills to deliver confident class presentations and rousing monologues on the futility of naptime.
The members of PAN Performing Arts Network bring a range of backgrounds to their international collective: some are experienced musical composers, guitarists, and singers, while others are established teaching artists and actors. Their expertise allows them to gather all the arts under one roof with an annual performance season and more than 40 regular classes each week. These classes span instruction in dance styles such as ballet, modern, Afro-Haitian, and Irish step, as well as training in creative movement, acting, instrumental music, and voice. Instructors tailor their classes to the needs of beginner through advanced-level adults, children, and children disguised as adults. They also provide classes suited to senior citizens and students with special needs.
Nicole Shelley Models has placed people in campaigns for some of the world's most recognizable brands, including Coca-Cola, Mercedes-Benz, and Nike. As a licensed and bonded model and talent agency, the company works with both seasoned and amateur models, prepping the less experienced ones with runway and print training before seeking their placement in advertisements or runway shows. Nicole Shelley Models can also provide support for various types of events, putting together promotional items, invitations, entertainment, and public-relations campaigns.
Founded in 1999, Just The Funny Theater hosts a rotating roster of improv and sketch teams, and also opens its stage to standup comedians. The theater’s comedic cast members have numerous credits from local theater productions. Just The Funny also offers classes in the improvisational arts and sketch writing, during which instructors dispense the comedic skills they’ve learned from their own training with such groups as The Second City, Upright Citizens Brigade, and The Groundlings.
The award-winning acting coach and filmmaker Ralph Kinnard still offers classes for beginners and professionals at Miami Acting Studio. His acting workshops are based on the techniques of Lee Strassberg (he of Actor’s Studio fame), the father of modern acting. Each once-a-week session works to teach actors the basics and beyond, by building on their natural instincts, emotions and abilities, before taking risks on stage. The class work includes improvisation and scene development to help actors build their craft, and many of the Studio’s graduates find work have had success in television and movies. Best of all: the first class is always free.