The Ballet Center, Ballet Long Island, and The Theater Company all share one space and one mission: to provide opportunities for all people to experience the art of performance. Seasoned dance instructors lead 38 different types of dance classes in preparation for performances in the studio, with ballet and theater companies, and at the Islip Town Hall West recital. Classes train toes to pas de basque in beginners classes for youth through professional-level pointe classes, and contemporary styles such as modern and hip-hop infuse choreography with vivacious rhythms and full-body flutters. Small class sizes ensure students can progress quickly with individual instruction, and a floating dance floor set on high-density foam absorbs shocks and reduces the chances of injury from attempting a triple salchow sans ice skates. As a nonprofit, The Ballet Center directs its funds to make it possible for community members to learn dance through scholarships and low tuition fees.
In 1998, School of Rock's first location was built in Philadelphia to strengthen kids' self-confidence, develop their musicianship, and most importantly, spark an insatiable enthusiasm to learn. Today, the School of Rock franchise has branched out to more than 65 locations throughout the United States and Mexico. During the school's music lessons, encouraging instructors well versed in methods of rocking and rolling—such as strumming guitars, tickling keyboards, and causing avalanches with yodels—demystify music theory for mini Mick Jaggers of all skill levels.
School of Rock's Rock 101 program acquaints beginners with the instrument of their choice using a curriculum of weekly private lessons and group band rehearsals. Virtuosos ready to hit the stage can participate in the performance program, which prepares students for live performances that pay homage to beloved rock icons such as Queen, Led Zeppelin, and Mount Rushmore.
Cultural Arts Playhouse has been fostering the development of up-and-coming actors for more than 15 years. At its Musical Theatre and Acting Academy, students from 1st–12th grade hone their on-stage skills by taking classes on singing, acting, and improvisation under the tutelage of an experienced teacher. Kids get to show off these skills in full theatrical productions, with main-stage shows opening up auditions to the entire community so people can see their neighbors' acting chops and dusted-off fake skulls. Cultural Arts Playhouse alumni have found success in New York and throughout the country, appearing in HBO's The Sopranos, and such Broadway productions as Les Miserables and Aladdin.
The Music Theatre of Connecticut, an Equity acting company fueled by leading talent from Broadway, celebrates 25 years of award-winning performances with a winter production of John Cariani's popular romantic comedy Almost, Maine. Set in a tiny, mythical town on a midwinter's night, the tale explores how love appears, disappears, and morphs into a bat when dawn approaches. Nineteen characters populate nearly a dozen vignettes, which intertwine to reveal how chilly weather, a remote location, and the magical glow of the Northern Lights comprise an ideal recipe for both romance and heartbreak. The plot unfolds in a 50-seat studio theater, whose prime sight lines let guests glimpse the actors' subtle gestures and tattoos of Laurence Olivier.
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.