At City Dance Studios, classes are tailored for students with various levels of experience to ensure everyone can enjoy the art of self-expression through movement. Lessons introduce students to a diverse array of dance styles ranging from classical ballet and jazz, to contemporary hip hop and exotic Bollywood, and West African. Each of the five spacious studios (they range from 900 to 2,400 square feet) are equipped with sprung hardwood or Marley floors and are surrounded by mirrors, so budding dancers can keep an eye on their form and keep pet parakeets occupied until the class has ended.
At Stepz, professional Bollywood dance instructors imbue students of all ages with dance moves inspired by Eastern India. They foster an environment of support and encouragement as dancers soak up fundamental foot positions and learn to express themselves through fluid movements and flowing hand gestures. Students looking to shed excess pounds can speed up routines in one-hour aerobics classes, which lead groups though rigorous dance routines specifically designed to tone muscle.
Each season, the gifted student thespians of Diablo Valley College dazzle audiences with moving productions of classic works and contemporary plays. Satisfy your dramatic hankerings with a trio of the 2011 to 2012 season's artfully staged offerings, starting with Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet , a moving tragedy inspired by the classic musical West Side Story (October 21–30). A striking, challenging contemporary piece, The Skriker fills the stage with magical realism, shape-shifting, and unearthly characters (February 3–12, 2012; restricted to adults 18 years and older). Diablo Valley's young stage stalkers also tackle Arthur Miller's The Crucible, a stirring depiction of the Salem witch hunts of the 17th century and a poignant allegory for the anticommunist hysteria of the 1950s, when Americans were required by law to consume at least three apple pies a day (March 23–31, 2012).
It Factor Studios' film performance and industry workshops unfurl under the leadership of Hollywood directors and professional actors from the American Film Institute. Founder Ryan McKinney and coach to the stars Steve Whittaker apply their workplace experience to create a safe and progressive learning environment and help actors to prepare for industry difficulties such as auditioning, resumé writing, or staring contests with Jack Nicholson. The results-driven team mentors budding performers of all experience and skill levels in a wealth of techniques, including Method and Meisner, with many courses designed to complement each other.
To enable instructional shoots and commercial productions, the studio boasts full capabilities for film preparation, shooting, and editing. Students interested in the back side of the lens can sign up for instruction in film shooting, editing, and screenwriting, enabling them to stage scenes and reboot old home movies under professional conditions. In addition to workshops, events such as guest-speaker series with working or retired film professionals help pupils to garner real industry connections.
Popcorn Media gives kids the chance to experience strutting down the red carpet during their Movie Star workshops and weeklong camps. Attendees soak up the secrets of screen acting from a director who works with Disney and Nickelodeon studios while producing their own unique work. They oversee each production element that goes into a film's creation, from lighting and filming to rehearsing and giving their parents an autograph. At the end of each camp, kids attend a red-carpet premier of their work amid the applause of friends and family.
As its students learn the basics of on-stage performance, SuperStar Performing Arts also shows them what it's like to work together as part of a larger whole. The studio's instructors explain principles of acting, singing, and dancing in musical-theater classes for students of all ages. Throughout the year, the center also produces its own shows—ranging from original works to Broadway musicals—in which everyone who auditions gets a role.