With directors, talent agents, and professional performers composing the faculty, it's no wonder the students at Class Act Studios spend much of their class time in front of the camera. With courses geared specifically toward kids, tweens, teens, and adults, the studio covers fields of study ranging from commercial work to film acting. Soap-opera and sitcom classes equip actors with genre-specific skills, such as how to expertly mimic the sound of a live studio audience. Improv and scene-study courses help students inhabit any scenario, with or without a script. Instructors even run private tutoring sessions and birthday parties that thrust invited friends in front of the camera.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studio, which was cofounded by the legendary dancer himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form using their expert eyes. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.
Helmed by professional choreographer and ballet and jazz dance instructor Scarlett Antonia, Antonia Arts helps kids and adults alike hone their skills in a wide variety of performing arts. Led by Broadway vets and passionate teachers, kids can learn the graceful movements of ballet or participate in a spring production of The Wizard of Oz, while students of all ages learn to write shows or work with the Meisner technique of acting.
Warner Theatre serves as profound evidence that grassroots efforts can make a difference in the arts. Opened by Warner Brothers Studios in 1931, the Thomas Lamb?designed cinema house served for more than 20 years as the area's top venue to gawk at the silver screen. Yet business declined with the rise of the television, and in 1955 a flood left the venue severely damaged. It was hardly a surprise, then, when the Warner faced foreclosure in 1981. But a non-profit, citizen-run group called the Northwest Connecticut Association for the Arts raised the $275,000 needed to rescue the theatre, and repaired the years' damages to the art-deco design. Today, more than 800 volunteer actors, musicians, designers, and crew members bask in the applause and gleefully thrown lorgnettes of an estimated 35,000-plus patrons each season.
Catherine and Adrienne, the seasoned performers and educators at Kids With A Voice, LLC, cultivate dancing, singing, and acting skills in children of all ages. Whether kids develop their creative talents in group classes or one-on-one lessons, they benefit from the tutelage and experience of these motivated instructors.
Nicole Kristoff, director of Kokopelli School of Music and Arts, doesn't just run the show?she also draws on her 18 years of dance experience to teach evening classes such as hip-hop for kids and Piloxing for adults. As a whole, the school covers a much broader range of arts education, though, including theater, dance in styles such as ballet and hula hooping, and visual arts. Music buffs also hone their craft in private lessons, which can focus on instruments ranging from guitar to cello.