Tag Archives: Webster Groves

St. Louis Theatre Expo

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rep-logoCome experience: You’re Wearing That, Theatre Stars Trivia, From Oedipus to Hamilton, It Starts with the Words, Not a Dummy, The American Musical, Not a Dummy, Make It Up, Did You Hear That? and more!

These exciting sessions are all coming to The Repertory Theatre St. Louis’s “Making a Scene: A St. Louis Theatre Expo” on September 17, 2016, 9 am to 1:30 pm, at the Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts, 130 Edgar Road, Webster Groves. This fun, free event features live performances, demonstrations, tours, and more–an all-inclusive celebration of the magic of theatre. Among the 14 participating theatre companies are The Rep, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, STAGES St. Louis, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, New Line Theatre, St. Louis Actors’ Studio, New Jewish Theatre, Stray Dog Theatre, and Metro Theatre Company.

“The initial inspiration for The Expo came from The Rep’s 50th anniversary,” said Marsha Coplon, The Rep’s Director of Education. “But we wanted to do more than celebrate The Rep’s legacy. We wanted to make this day about theatre – how it enchants, thrills and enriches us. We’re joined by a fantastic group of artists from throughout our region. It’s the perfect event for long-time theatre lovers and first-timers alike.”

Included in the day’s schedule are demonstrations on costuming, makeup and stage combat (watch out for the swords!), performances from Fox Performing Arts Teens and The Improv Shop, live cabaret, backstage tours of the Loretto-Hilton and discussions led by local theatre luminaries. Speakers include The Rep’s Augustin Family Artistic Director Steven Woolf, actor Joneal Joplin, and Webster University theatre professor Lara Teeter.

In addition to the many family friendly demonstrations and performances, a special Kid Zone area will feature craft activities such as dragon puppet making and creating “scenes” with crayons and stickers on a stage coloring sheet. From 10 to 10:20 am, there is a kids cabaret and from 12:20 to 12:40 pm, enjoy a kids interactive improvisation session. Plus be sure to see participating companies show off their current and upcoming works.

Read the Expo Schedule.

All programs and artists are subject to change.

Photo by Jerry Naunheim, Jr.

Artsy Summer Camps in St. Louis

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There is an abundance of excellent summer camp offerings in the St. Louis region for kids of all ages. Looking for something special for your little arts enthusiast? Here are some suggestions. Classes are filling up quickly, so be sure to register soon. Note, some nonprofit organizations offer discounts for members.

Doesn’t this list make you want to have summer vacation again?

COCA (Center of Creative Arts)
COCA has numerous summer camps located in University City and Creve Coeur that focus on dance, music, visual art, story telling, theater, cooking, clowning, acrobatics, stage combat, comic books, film, legos, photography, pottery, and pretty much anything and everything art related. For ages 3 to 18. Summer camp brochure.

Laumeier Sculpture Park
4 to 6 year olds get to create artwork with composer-in-residence, Eric Hall! Expect fun experiences at these week long outdoor summer camps that explore the Laumeier Sculpture Park’s incredible collection. The average staff to camper ratio is 1:7. For kids ages 4 to 15. The park is located in the Sunset Hills area. Summer camp brochure.

Yucandu Art Studio
Located in Webster Groves, this unique hands on art studio offers small visual art camps for grades K-12. Projects include painting, decoupage, collage, mosaics, and more. For those of you who head scout troops or have a million cousins in the area, Yucandu also offers a special friends and family summer camp designed for 8 to 16 kids.

The College School
Also located in Webster Groves, the Reggio-Emilia geared College School offers all day camps for ages 4 to 15. Arts themed camps include Funtastic Fantasy, Make Your Mark, Junior Circus Skills, Science, Art, and Cooking, and Art by Nature. Summer camp brochure.

Camp Curtain Call at The Magic House
Children ages 8-11 can experience the magic of live theater during a weeklong drama camp at The Magic House. Through activities and games, campers learn about putting on a theatrical production including basic theater terms, line readings, projection, stage directions, rehearsing, props, scenery, and dress rehearsal. Participants present their theatrical production to a live audience and then give a special performance for their families on the last day of camp.

Community Music School of Webster University
Summer opportunities for infants through high school students include a family “zoo train” session for children and their caregivers, band camp, flute camp, low brass week, chamber music camp, strings camp, composing camp, and individual instruction.

Opera Theatre of St. Louis
Youth entering grades fourth through eighth spend a week singing, dancing, writing words and music, making instruments, and learning about costumes and makeup, lighting, and set design. They tour backstage, work with Opera Theatre of St. Louis professionals and leading music educators, and see a performance of Unsuk Chin’s Alice in Wonderland. Located in Webster Groves. Summer camp brochure.

Piwacket Theatre for Children
Located in Maplewood, this delightful children’s theater offers week long camps for children ages 6 to 15. Participants create an original show through games, music, dance, theater, and play.

Craft Alliance
These summer camps are packed with creative art experiences for 4 to 18 year olds. Activities may include working with clay, glass, graphics, metal arts, wearable art, fiber materials, and more. Camps are held at the Delmar studios or the Grand Center studios. Summer camp brochure.

Dave Simon’s Rock School
Band rehearsals, recording studio, private lessons, music appreciation, rock history, song writing, and/or improvisation is offered for students ages 9 to 18. Youth should have at least one month of instrument instruction prior to the beginning of a camp session. Beginners and advanced students are welcome. Located in Olivette.

ArtsINTERsection at New City School
Metro Theater Company’s ArtsINTERsection summer camp is for children ages 4 to 11. The camp offers kids a great place to experience art, music, movement, and drama in a safe and warm environment. Classes are taught by experienced, professional artists and are located near Forest Park.

Photo: COCA


Staying in ballet shape during the “off-season”

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It’s that in-between season for serious ballet classes in the St. Louis area. If you’re an adult/teen ballet student looking for drop-in classes, many studios in the area are on break or have changed over to their summer intensives which require enrollment for the entire workshop. Here are a few suggestions to keep your technique strong until your regular ballet classes start up again. The ballet studios I mention here offer drop-in classes. COCA in University City does have some great adult/teen ballet classes right now, but you need to register for the entire summer or be a student or professional dancer to purchase a class punch card.

1. East West Ballet (Crestwood)
Kay Tabisaura-Hahn owns and runs this excellent studio located inside Crestwood Mall. Kay is a certified Royal Academy of Dance teacher and previously performed with Ballet Philippines and Singapore Dance Theatre. On Saturdays she teaches a beginning class from 8:45 to 9:55 am. On Sundays there is an intermediate class from 2:30 to 4 pm. Class cards are $53 for 5 classes or $12 drop in rate. If you’re new to the studio, there is a $5 trial class rate. Kay is also offering an adult ballet workshop on Saturdays from 1 to 3 pm (June 25 through July 30). The workshop includes strengthening floor exercises, a regular ballet class, and a variation. If you’re interested in the workshop, be sure to email info@eastwestballet.com to register. East West Ballet has a great noncompetitive environment, beautiful floor, and quality teaching. Your turnout will thank you! There are also spots available in the kids summer camps.

2. Caston Ballet Academie (Webster Groves)
Caston Ballet Academie offers adult/teen intermediate classes from 6 to 7:30 pm, Monday through Thursday, from now until July 21. The classes are taught by Lynette Khoo-Summers, Shannon Caston, or Akari Manabe (they rotate, so contact the studio if you’re interested in a particular teacher’s class). Akari’s classes are particularly comprehensive, well-paced, and full of smart corrections. The only drawback on these classes is that the drop-in rate is $20!

3. Dance Center of Kirkwood (Kirkwood)
This gem of a studio has a dedicated group of adult ballet students and a wonderful teacher and owner, Kathleen Massot. The studio is currently on break but will be open July 5 through August 15. The adult ballet classes are offered on Wednesdays at 9:30 am and Saturdays at 1:15 pm. The drop-in rate is $12 per class. The adult classes are mixed levels, but tend to be geared towards advanced beginners and early intermediate students. These classes are a perfect place to gain some strength, back flexibility, musicality, and a clean tendu.

4. Bikram Yoga
What? That’s not ballet. And why would I want to get heated to 105 degrees inside when it’s hot and muggy already outside? I recently returned to Bikram yoga classes after several years off from it, and am happy at how it is affecting my ballet strength, flexibility, and endurance. The 90 minute sweat fest is not necessarily something I look forward to, but Bikram yoga’s 26 postures definitely work your body thoroughly in parallel (even turned in), your mid and upper back, and your core. There is a tough mental aspect to Bikram yoga as most of the teachers tend to be boot camp-ish in approach. Regularly practicing this type of yoga can build your self-reliance and focus, both great skills for ballet. Bikram yoga studios in St. Louis include Yoga St. Louis and Prana Yoga. Both studios offer a $18 drop-in rate.

Are you an obsessive adult ballet dancer with a crazy work/family schedule in the St. Louis area? How do you get your fix in the summer?

Adult Ballet Classes in St. Louis

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St. Louis doesn’t seem to have a big audience for serious ballet study, and most programs are geared towards young children and high school students. If you are looking for ballet class for adults (beginners, returning students, college students coming home for a visit, etc…), here are a few good studios to try. A side note: in some cases, these web sites do not accurately represent the dance studios, so try to look beyond the design (or lack thereof).

Caston’s Ballet Academie: Located in Webster Groves, Caston has some fine teaching for beginners and intermediate dancers. I recommend the Friday at 4:30 pm class and the Saturday at 10 am class. Both are advanced beginning, maybe early intermediate levels and are attended by mainly teenagers and several adults (Saturday class). Teachers Yulia, Lynette, and Akira are wonderful with adults. The downside of this studio is that classes are quite expensive. The drop in rate for adults is $20 a class and can go down to about $16 class if you sign up for an entire semester. Pricing information.

East West Ballet: Located at the Dance Co-op St. Louis inside the Crestwood Mall, East West Ballet is run by Kay Tabisaura-Hahn, a certified Royal Academy of Dance teacher. The adult ballet classes are held on Saturday mornings starting at 9 am. The intermediate class starts at 10 am. Kay is an incredibly comprehensive teacher who is patient, creative, and uses beautiful music. These classes are very small so far, so be prepared to have individualized attention. The studio floor is fairly hard, marley on top of a rubber mat on top of cement, so be careful if you have any knee issues. East West Ballet offers a trial class for $5 and adult drop in rates are currently $8 to $12 a class depending on how many you buy at once. Schedule and pricing information.

COCA (Center of Creative Arts): COCA is the glamorous one of all (i.e. big and well funded). Located in University City, COCA is a nonprofit multidisciplinary and multicultural arts organization who provides performing and visual arts education classes, performance opportunities, professional development, a theater, exhibition space, and an outreach program for low income youth. It’s huge 60,000 square foot space gives you some expansive dance studios filled with natural light and great flooring.

Many of the adult ballet classes feature a live pianist which makes ballet so much more dynamic and time efficient (no fiddling with the CD player!). I’ve had classes with Carrie, Christine, Kathleen, and Octavio so far, and they have all presented well planned, fun, humorous, and smart classes. Carrie teaches an excellent beginning class on Sundays at 2:30 pm (I don’t think there is another Sunday ballet class in St. Louis) and Christine offers brilliant corrections in her Tuesday at 7:30 pm intermediate class. I don’t believe Kathleen is teaching adult ballet this semester, but if you do get a chance to take her class at some point, she is fabulous and challenges your memory skills and core strength. I only had one class with Octavio this past summer, but he had a wicked sense of humor and presented such thoughtful combinations with an important focus on breath and fluidity.

Classes are expensive (a recurring theme with ballet in St. Louis, a side effect of not having a large enough audience). When you become a COCA member (tax-deductible contribution) at a certain level, you can get a small discount on semester registration and do not have to pay the registration fee. So technically, classes are approximately $16 to $20 class depending on your COCA member status. They do have a drop-in card but it is reserved for professional dancers and college students, although if you ask permission you can sometimes buy a class card ($180 for 10 classes, expires in one year) in addition to already being registered for one class. They have a flexible make-up class policy.

COCA’s 2010-2011 Classes Guide

Happy dancing and keep that ice pack handy.