Imagine the moment when a shy, introverted young girl steps in front of a room full of people for the first time and speaks with confidence and clarity. This is a regular occurrence at Drama Kids International, where experienced teachers use a unique, copyrighted curriculum to help shape and focus outgoing children or draw shy children out of their shells. Classes for kids as young as 5 refine speech techniques, dramatic movement, and imagination, giving them the confidence to perform in front of an audience or finally ask their parents to change their names to Thespis. For older kids, aged 12–18, Drama Kids International offers the DKI Acting Academy, where serious theater kids can expand their speaking, acting, and auditioning skills through exercises and performances.
Donna Park's passion for performance preceded the bulk of her vocabulary: at 4 years old, she got into the habit of correcting the dance steps of the other children in her recitals. Her unquenchable thirst for performance led her through a theater minor in college to the discovery of film, then onto a career as a director, writer, and producer of television specials and commercials. Now, calling upon contacts developed during her 20-year career, she brings working professionals to Texas Creative Arts Academy to share their hard-earned wisdom with the young.
The Academy's year-round programs gather students aged 4 to 18 to celebrate their interest in dance, art, film, and melodrama. Aspiring artisans learn the basics of canvas and garment craftsmanship in Hi Ho! Van Gogh! and Design Fashion Diva! camps. Teachers unlock high notes in students' vocal ranges with voice lessons and train the eyes of future cameramen in video-production classes. Piano and guitar instruction empowers kids to realize a future where spontaneous public musical numbers don’t just happen on stage.
Epicenter for the Arts is a massive training complex where youth can learn how to express themselves through, music, dance, and the visual arts. Classes for kids of all ages teach technical skills for ballet and jazz, painting and sculpture, and piano and voice. For those who love the theater, lessons help students hone their abilities to perform in commercials, musical theater, and auditions.
The six-headed hydra of spontaneous comedy known as Four Day Weekend has been wreaking havoc on North Texas doldrums since 1997. Critically adored by the metroplex’s most prominent presses, the group squelches laughter droughts with their weekend bouts of unscripted hilarity. The professional troupe of cut-ups, many with film and Second City Conservatory of Chicago credentials, happily share the tricks of the trade in their four-level training center. Emphasizing “truth in comedy,” the curriculum covers fundamentals such as characterization and long-form improv, giving students the tools they need to extract their inner hilarity or survive an hour in a prop closet with Greg Proops.
Inspired by New York City's The Actors Studio, thespians Erica and Shane Peterman established The Acting Studio as a place for youngsters and adults with acting aspirations to focus on their craft. Along with experienced dancer Kellie Carroll, the Petermans train students on musical-theater fundamentals in classes that range from jazz dance to private voice lessons. The advanced Triple Threat program places pupils intending to pursue a performing-arts career under the tutelage of industry pros who prep them for performances. Kids more interested in dabbling, meanwhile, can meet industry bigwigs at workshops, and several full-scale productions each year grant children the chance to act alongside their peers and improvise dance numbers.