Arthur Murray has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and The Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, The Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Clients who arrive to lessons partnerless will be paired up with other classmates as the instructors assess their current skill level and make recommendations on the most appropriate program. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
Victoria Academy of Dramatic Arts’ 11 instructors share more than two centuries of combined experience in the entertainment industry, heading up a yearlong, by-audition acting program designed specifically for television, film, and commercial work. Not everybody is ready to make the plunge into the screen, so the school also runs smaller-scale workshops appropriate for all experience levels that cover casting dos and don’ts, career guidance, and summoning the willpower to meet James Cameron’s third eye. The Actor’s Makeover course tightens audition material into 15 minutes of pure emotional power, and part-time intro classes accommodate day jobs.
A quick glance at Vashti Fairbairn’s resume is telling. At local theatre company Fighting Chance Productions, she has directed the critically lauded Little Shop of Horrors and The Mystery of Edwin Drood, both of which magically combine music with dramatic arts. At her own Music Box Music and Theatre Academy, Fairbairn, along with a team of dedicated teachers, does the exact same thing on a daily basis. Children’s group classes give little ones as young as 6 months old a chance to strut their stuff on the dance floor, belt out their favourite show tunes, and learn to tickle the ivories like a seasoned elephant sitter. Private lessons are open to adults as well, and expand the instrumental scope to include strings, music theory, and the speaking arts. The latter comes in handy during the school’s drama clubs, which teach kids 3 years and older how to use their imaginations to create real-life and fantasy scenarios. Outside of their educational programs, the facility entertains visitors to the River Market with free music and theatre performances in the Music Box Presents series.
One of Studio Cloud 30's missions is to bridge "the gap between music schools and major label development." The sleek studio is an open-concept facility that caters to aspiring entertainers of all skill levels. Vocal coaches train singers with tips for both live performances and studio sessions; percussion teachers drill drummers on rhythm, groove, and pocket; and acting instructors deliver one-on-one assistance for excelling in auditions for roles in theatre productions and commercials advertising stage trapdoors. The studio professes a credo of "for artists, by artists," a message of support for up-and-coming performers of all kinds.
Two years after Michelle Meyrink began her acting studies at the Loft Studio in Los Angeles, she landed her first film role?in Francis Coppola?s The Outsiders. Throughout the 1980s, she portrayed characters in films such as Revenge of the Nerds and Real Genius. Today, she instills her acting experience in others as the owner of Actorium, opened in 2013. In four-stage programs tailored to professional or recreational actors, she introduces some core principles of the Meisner Technique?an approach focused on teaching preparation and helping actors fully inhabit their characters. To accomplish this, she guides students from acting exercises to scene study and, eventually, to performance in a fully staged production. Other classes touch on specialized acting groups, such as those "supernaturally shy", new actors over the age of 40, teen actors, and workshops for organizations.
At Vancouver Acting School, experienced coaches impart the skills necessary for a marketable career in the world of film and television. Training within the rooms of a working casting studio, proteges practice in a small black-box-style theatre and rooms outfitted with cameras, gaining the courage to recite monologues in front of Stanley Park's discriminating squirrels. Part- or full-time classes teach audition, voice, and improvisation skills as students learn to transform imagination into an outline for success.
A companion studio, the Vancouver Young Actors School, teaches younger artists the same classic and contemporary techniques, building both their self-confidence and a solid artistic foundation for future work. In the past, the school's training has led students to land appearances on Nickelodeon, Syfy, and the Family Channel.