Alpine Dance Academy in Frisco offers new kids theater program
What: Alpine Conservatory Theatre (A.C.T.) program
Where: Alpine Dance Academy
When: Two sessions; first session runs Sept. 14 to Oct. 31; second session runs Jan. 25 to March 19.
A.C.T. program consists of three weekly classes held weekday evenings. Additional rehearsal days for session one are Saturday, Oct. 10 and Saturday, Oct. 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a final performance on Oct. 31. The second session rehearsal days are Saturday, March 5 and Saturday, March 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a final performance Saturday, March 19.
Cost: $250 per session, discounts offered for participants who are already enrolled in ADA theater or voice classes
Requirements: Participants must be at least 7 years old; no dancing, singing or acting experience necessary; students must commit to entire eight-week program
Contact: Alpine Dance Academy, (970) 406-0990 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Aspiring young thespians now have another option for professional-level training in Summit County with the Alpine Dance Academy’s new eight-week theater program in Frisco.
The Alpine Conservatory Theatre (A.C.T.) program combines voice, dance and acting classes to train versatile performers, allowing students to study in an organized, supportive and creative environment, said Kelly Monahon, director of ADA.
“It’s a well-rounded approach to learning performing arts in a safe, open environment where kids can be themselves and be silly and have fun and learn new things without the pressure of having to perfect a part,” she said. “Then, once they learn those techniques and how to act, they can go ahead and learn a part in a show.”
The eight-week conservatory program starts Sept. 14 and will consist of technique classes taught throughout the week, combined with a few rehearsals on Saturdays to prepare for a final performance at Warren Station in Keystone on Oct. 31. A second session will be offered in January.
A.C.T. director Abbey Austin is helping implement the new program. A Tennessee native who relocated to Summit County from New York City, she is a graduate of Shenandoah Conservatory with a bachelor of fine arts in musical theater with emphasis in dance. She has done work with the Breckenridge Backstage Theatre since moving to the county — most recently choreographing “Spamalot” and “The Jungle Book” — and can also be recognized from her performance in “Curves Ahead.”
She was raised in her mother’s dance studio in Tennesse, Monahon said, and started doing regional theater by the time she was 10 years old. After living in New York for a few years and performing on Broadway, Austin came to Colorado to “escape the rat race of New York.”
“It’s really great that we have people like her in our community because our community does not really attract performing artists in the way that it attracts skiers,” Monahon said. “So, the fact that we have someone of her caliber in our community is fabulous. She’s a triple threat — she can sing, she can act, she can dance. … She’s well-known and respected in the community.”
There are two sessions scheduled currently for the A.C.T. program, one starting Sept. 14 and ending Oct. 31, with the second session running Jan. 25 through March 19. The cost is $250 per session, with discounts offered for participants already enrolled in ADA theater or voice classes. The program includes one theater dance class, one theater voice class and one theater acting class per week for the eight weeks. Participants must be 7 years old to high-school age, and Monahon said no experience is required, just a desire to be onstage and learn new things.
“Someone who has had a curiosity about being in theater but has never had the opportunity before, or the kid who’s been in every show since they were 5 — here’s two more opportunities to perform,” she said.
Austin said it is a great opportunity for kids who have never done theater before but have always wanted to try it.
“The voice classes that we are offering are confidence builders,” she said. “It’s group voice, and if you find out that you really have a love for it, then you can go to private voice.”
Throughout the session, participants will get to help create the final musical and will also learn about stage makeup, and set and costume production.
Monahon said there are several theater programs in the county geared to adults and older children, and she wanted to give younger kids the opportunity to learn the art of performance. Austin’s background and skills were a good fit for this type of program, so Monahon pitched the idea to her on the ski lift.
Austin said the two realized last year when she came to teach that there were a lot of kids who really wanted to hone in on their theater skills.
“We really wanted to offer them the opportunity to grow their voice and acting skills, so we decided to implement a triple-threat program that’s kind of a program that I came from growing up and studied in college,” she said. “With all of the arts that are in Summit County, we felt like this could really have a place here where kids could train in a place that’s organized and supportive and professional, with teachers who have true backgrounds in this who just like the mountains.”
The musical production for the first session is called “Kindred Spirits.” Because the show will be performed on Halloween, it will be about three Disney princesses looking to go trick-or-treating but get lost, seeing zombies and bats along the way, Austin said. The students will work throughout the semester to not only learn a part, but also help create the music and dance choreography for the final show.
Both sessions still have room for students who wish to participate. Parents should contact ADA at (970) 406-0990 or email@example.com if they would like to set up a registration appointment for the A.C.T. program. In addition to the A.C.T. program, ADA is adding more theater classes to its weekly schedule. A kids theater dance class as well as group voice classes for kids and level 4 and 5 students will be added to the weekly level 4 and level 5 theater dance classes currently in place.
“I’m excited that we are going to be able to offer this type of training here,” Austin said. “We love our jobs. … This is my treat at the end of the day when I get to come to dance.”
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