Spring Performances are fast approaching, which means *very soon* your Drama Kid will discover which exciting character they will portray! While practicing lines with your Drama Kid you may think to yourself, "Why does my child only have a few lines?" or "Why is the script only 10 pages long?" Well... for starters, we only spend the last 9-11 weeks of class rehearsing for the Spring Performances. Seem like a long time? Well consider this - that's only 9-11 HOURS of rehearsal time! That's just a little over an average work day! (Not to mention we still spend a portion of that time playing our popular skill based drama games!) It's amazing what our Drama Kids can accomplish in that short amount of time, and it's all thanks to the Drama Kids difference!
Another reason why each child only has a few lines is we believe in focusing on QUALITY over quantity. Think of a play like Annie. With all of the lines that Annie has, do you think the director has time to focus on each and every one of her lines with her? (Trust me, I speak from experience - NO!)
Well, at Drama Kids we do! Our passionate teachers spend precious time with each and every one of our students, encouraging them to analyze every word that comes out of their mouth. Helping them to discover their character's motivation, what interesting body movements or facial expressions to deliver their line with, or what different emotions to bring out in the tone of their voice. Meanwhile encouraging them to project their voice so that the world will stop and take notice of just how special YOUR child is!
But do you think we stop there? NO! Even when your child is NOT saying a line, we aim to teach them that they are always "ON." What is your character "saying" non-verbally? In other words, how are you reacting to what is happening in the story? What background stories are you telling the audience through your body language? (Wow...just think of how these skills are applied in the real world!)
We are proud to instill in our Drama Kids that they are an important part of this team no matter how many lines they have and that it doesn't always matter what you say - but HOW you say it!
This is going to be our most #IMAGINATIVE round of films yet! Last year we were inspired by Shakespeare, super heroes, and fairy tales. The 2017/18 films captured the heart of our #INSPIRE project. This year we are going to spark our audience's #IMAGINATION even further!
So, what movies are our Drama Kids making THIS year?
It's no secret that we have taken major inspiration this year from the head "imagineer" himself - Walt Disney! Well, this was all in preparation for our Disney-inspired Project Silver Screen films!
#IMAGINE if Disney characters were just like us... what if they went to school? What if they made potions in science class? What if Disney villains were sent to detention!? Is your imagination spinning? Ours too! We are so excited to dig into this scripts with our students!
We love Disney movies, because the characters are so recognizable and familiar amongst our Lower Primary students. Our students already have a good grasp on these characters' traits, personalities, and backstories. So, when we throw these characters into a completely NEW setting, and when we challenge our students to make the characters their own - the results are positively #IMAGINATIVE! Our goal is to have our Drama Kids see these famous characters in a new perspective, find some empathy for the "bad guys", and add their own unique flair to the characters we thought we knew.
Watch our Lower Primary kiddos bring Disney characters to life in: "ENCHANTED ELEMENTARY" A Drama Kids Original Picture!
While our Lower Primary explores Disney characters in a new perspective, our Upper Primary students will view school through a new lens as well! Instead of #IMAGINING how famous film characters would act in a school setting, they will #IMAGINE what school would be like in a blockbuster movie!
What if going on a field trip to a museum was like exploring a temple with Indiana Jones? What if every gym class had a training montage? What if students had the technology to build Iron Man for the science fair? What if all of this really WAS possible... if you just used your #IMAGINATION!
These films will be some of the most challenging scripts we've give to our Upper Primary students to date - but after 5 years of walking the red carpet, we think they're ready! The movies will challenge our students to be flexible, and to think outside of the box. The genres of each film will change, the tone is ever evolving, and many of the characters switch personalities throughout the scene! Does it sound like a big undertaking? It is! But the results are going to be AMAZING!
#IMAGINE if school was a blockbuster movie with our Upper Primary kids in: 5 Star Imagination: A Drama Kids Original Picture
By now many of you have seen our Acting Academies pitch their movie ideas to YOU! This is something we have never done before - we are truly exposing our tweens and teens to all aspects of the movie-making experience this year. They've learned that it takes more than a star-studded cast to make a movie a success. It takes a true DREAM team - made up of writers, directors, producers, editors, and many hours off-camera to make a vision a reality. It's one thing to come up with an idea - but our Acting Academy is realizing it takes a lot of work to make that idea a reality.
Of course, if you believe in what you do, work can also be a whole lot of fun - and there is no shortage of fun in our classrooms! We've let our students take the lead on their movies this year. With only a few set rules, they can let their imaginations run wild and create a movie they are proud of. Each group's story will focus on a single moment in life - but it's up to our students to figure out what that moment and problem is. Their films could be anything from a serious drama to a hilarious comedic situation.
Our hope is that each finished movie will be a work of art that every student involved can be proud of, and we can't wait to see them at our movie premiere nights!
See our Acting Academies shine, as well as our Lower and Upper Primary classes in January! Stay tuned!
Our Drama Kids have proven time and again that a mere spark of imagination can ignite into something brilliant. That if we imagine with all our mind, believe with all our hearts and achieve with all our might, the possibilities are endless. That's why this year we are encouraging our students to think big and tap into their imaginations full force!
You may be asking yourself, "Isn't imagination just synonymous with 'playtime'? What is my Drama Kid actually learning?" Well, studies show that an active imagination is a true key to success in life - beyond our childhood years! How so...?
Enhance problem solving skills...
If you can tap into your imagination, you have the capability of looking at obstacles in a different way! Instead of giving up when a problem arises, you can come up with multiple creative solutions.
Strengthens social skills and empathy...
When we can imagine ourselves in someone else's shoes, it makes us a more understanding and open-minded individual. Empathy enables you to be more observant, be more collaborative, and encourages respect in an ever-growing digitalized world.
Did you know, according to recent studies, that having an active imagination creates more neurons in your brain? If you continue to utilize your imagination throughout adulthood, then you are 73% less likely to develop memory problems later in life!
As Walt Disney once said, "If you can DREAM it, you can DO it." While daydreaming may seem like a waste of time, it's not something you want to stifle! Daydreaming can inspire us to do great things - and developing these aspirations in our mind, judgement-free, can lead to serious success!
At Drama Kids we are giving our student's a safe place to develop their imaginations in a way that is so often discouraged in schools today. While self-expression may take a backseat in other programs, at Drama Kids we're ALL about tapping into our student's creativity! We never direct our students with an iron-fist, because we know their ideas are just as important as our own! There is never one right answer in our classroom; which is why class to class, and year to year, our program is never the same. Seriously! You could sit in on the same lesson multiple times and always discover something new! No two children's imaginations are the same - so why should their characters be?
As we gear up for Project Silver Screen, we are so excited to see our students turn their imagination and ideas into a reality. There will be more information to come next month (we can't give away all of our secrets just yet!) but we can say that our Acting Academy students will be taking control, and creating a piece of art and imagination that they can truly be proud of! After all, imagining something is one thing, but actually taking an idea and making it a reality is all the more rewarding! Stay tuned :)
On the first day of class we asked our students to think big and #IMAGINE a world where ANYTHING is possible! Their ideas were hilarious, silly, thoughtful, inspiring... and dare we say... IMAGINATIVE! Zoom in on the graphic below to read their ideas, and try to find some familiar faces in this year's mosaic!
In case you haven't noticed, we are feeling really #INSPIREd this year at Drama Kids! That's because inspiration was the inspiration for our theme this year!
Our teachers were so proud of all of our Drama Kids after their Spring Performances in June. The hard-work, dedication, enthusiasm, and courage that our students brought to the stage was overwhelming. It made us realize how brave they truly are, not only on stage at the Egg, but each and every week in class. Our Drama Kids classes are obviously a LOT of fun, but they can also be quite challenging too! Asking a child to get up and perform in front of a group of their peers, and then hundreds of people in the Spring isn't easy. (Heck, it's hard for an adult to do!) Then factor in the fact that we only have one hour a week to work our magic, and their performances become even more impressive and #INSPIRING! Watching our students take such huge risks makes us feel like we can do anything, too. If our students are confident enough to allow themselves to be vulnerable on the stage, then there is no excuse for us adults to run away from our own fears and insecurities!
This is why over the summer we decided that our theme this year would be #INSPIRE. Not only because our Drama Kids inspire us in class every week, but also because we hope to be an inspiration for our Drama Kids too. We want to give them the inspiration they need to leap out of their comfort zones, to face the world head on, and be the best version of themselves they can be!
So, what kind of inspiration can our Drama Kids expect this year? Keep reading to find out!
Our Lower Primary students will be taking a LOT of inspiration from literary works this year! Did you know that creative drama builds literacy skills? It's true! By exploring popular works of literature through drama exercises, frozen stage pictures, and plays - students' comprehension of the works improve! And we're already seeing the effects in class!
So far, our Lower Primary kiddos have explored the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf, traveled through Oz, and imagined what life would be like as a pet! What more #INSPIRATION can they expect? Without giving away ALL of our secrets, we can say that your young ones will be having a "frightfully" good time discovering another children's classic, they will experience their very own Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, and they will also be putting their own twist on the Bard.
Our Upper Primary students will also be finding their INSPIRATION through some literary works, as well as some figures in Pop Culture! By now they have attended class at the Wizarding World of Piglumps, they discovered that (when dealing with character) BIGGER is BETTER, and they learned that food fighting is much more fun when they use their imaginations instead of real baked beans! They can also look forward to meeting strangers from another planet, dancing with horror classics, and discovering that not all heroes wear capes!
Want to know what our Acting Academy students will be up to? We've made a special blog post just for them! Click HERE!
Who is your Drama Kids' Inspiration?
Watch our latest #FilmFriday videos, where our Drama Kids answer the question, "Who #INSPIREs you?" We think their answers are, well... INSPIRING!
Have you ever heard of the Christopher Durang play The Actors Nightmare? In this play, an accountant named George is mistaken for an actor's understudy and is thrown into a performance, without any knowledge of the play. The play is very funny, but it is also a real common nightmare for many actors - young and old alike! Both professional and student actors will often have nightmares in which they forget their lines, mess up, get stage fright, or bomb an audition. Why? Well, their brains are reacting to stress, and embodying all of the common "actor fears".
While our Acting Academy students are certainly brave, they all have their own "actor fears" to contend with! That's because we all have our own strengths and weaknesses! Some of our students really thrive in an improvisation. They love to discover their characters and scenes without a script, and make everything up as they go along. However, some of our students prefer the comfort of a playwright's script and structure. While some of our students love to be silly and make ridiculously big character choices, many of them struggle with "letting go" and "embracing the crazy". Then there's the ever-so-fun situation when an actor has to be in an uncomfortable character relationship - which many of our students (and professional actors!) struggle with immensely!
So, recognizing these common fears, and knowing that we wanted to #INSPIRE our teens this year - we decide to focus on a specific actor fear each week in class! Sound a little scary? Actually, it's not! Our goal is to face these fears head-on, and give our students the tools and skills they need to turn any of these potentially uncomfortable situations into something FUN. "Having fun" is our golden rule, after all! Plus, we've always challenged our Acting Academy students to break out of their comfort zones in our classroom. Performing for a class full of your peers is NOT an easy task. However, the difference in this year is that we are specifically taking the time to discuss WHY certain situations make actor's feel uncomfortable, and to assure them it's completely normal! (But certainly something that's possible to overcome!) Hopefully they can put the techniques they learn in class into good use - both onstage and off.
So, what are some of the actor fears we will be facing? Well, to name a few...
Some of our teens "letting go" and just embracing the silliness...
Don't miss the most dramatic night of 2017! Mark your calendars for our Project Silver Screen movie premieres! All dates and classes listed below:
Our t-shirt and hoodie orders are in - and we want you to show your Drama Kids pride on Instagram! Details below:
All you have to do is take your most dramatic selfie in a Drama Rocks t-shirt or hoodie of your choice, and post it to Instagram using the hashtag #DramaRocksTheWorld! (And don't forget to follow us and tag us @dramakidsalbany!) Only students enrolled in our Junior and Senior Acting Academies are eligible to win - but our younger students can post for fun! You may submit as many selfies to the contest as you would like, just as long as the logo is clearly visable in the photo.
The Drama Kid with the most likes on their selfie by December 21st at 9pm wins! The winner will be announced the following morning and will win a FREE Drama Rocks hoodie or t-shirt.
Project Silver Screen is officially in full swing, and our Drama Kids couldn't be more excited. And why wouldn't they be? They get to write and star in their very own short films! While it's a lot of fun, our Project Silver Screen Session teaches our students a valuable lesson. Our primary goal has always been building confidence, self-esteem and communication skills in our students. We always try to instill in them the confidence to get up and perform in front of a live audience – whether that be performing a play, giving a speech at school, or communicating socially everyday with their peers!
However, this new world we live in requires new competence in old communication skills. There’s no denying that our kids are IMMERSED in media. And we believe that today’s children must learn to use their real eyes and ears and brains if they are to truly understand the TV-EYE, the Radio-EAR, and the Computer’s MIND. Thus the genesis of “Project Silver Screen” and what our focus has been in Drama Kids since we started class back in September! In essence…bringing your child’s communication skills to the next level.
But do you know what really makes it all worth it? Watching their self-esteem, confidence and knowledge blossom throughout the entire film-making process…watching as this one spark of creativity, one imaginative idea, is brought to life right before their very eyes. This is going to be an experience that they will cherish for the rest of their lives…and we can’t wait for you to see them shine in January at our big movie premiere!
As you have probably heard, this year we are going back to our #FUNdamentals! Of course, we never actually stopped teaching our fundamentals. After all, it's what makes our program unique and different from the rest! But this year we are really trying to put the "fun" in our fundamentals with all new plays, activities, and games that our students are positively loving! They are having so much fun in class, and learning so many valuable lessons along the way. But... what ARE the fundamentals of Drama Kids, and what makes them so much fun?
Our number one goal in Drama Kids has always been (and always will be!) to build the confidence and self-esteem of our students. Every child is capable of accomplishing great things, so we encourage each of our Drama Kids to spread their wings at their own pace in a positive and caring environment. We want each of our students to feel accomplished, proud, and excited for the next week when they leave our classroom. The most rewarding part of our job is seeing the pride and smiles on our Drama Kids' faces at dismissal time.
Our praise is never fabricated - our students truly accomplish so much in just one hour each week! It takes a lot to get up on a stage and perform for an audience. Just the fact that so many of our students can get out of their comfort zone every week is a HUGE achievement! Plus, our students always give our activities and plays their all - which makes for some seriously entertaining stuff! Children of all personalities and abilities can shine on our stage. Whether your child is a jokester, a total drama Queen, or more reserved - they are sure to find their own unique voice in our class.
Speaking of voice - what you say is important. And how you say it makes all the difference! That's why at Drama Kids we pride ourselves in a curriculum that encourages good public speaking. It's so important that our children learn to speak eloquently and confidently at a young age. After all, the leading fear amongst adults is public speaking! Whether our students are destined for Broadway or the boardroom, they will be prepared to shine!
So how do we teach our students to speak confidently? Well, our students learn all of the FUNdamentals of speech every week in class! They learn how to properly project their lines so their voices can be heard by everyone. They learn how to correctly articulate their words clearly and concisely so they can be understood by everyone. (There are no "mumble-bees" in Drama Kids!) And they learn how to express their thoughts so they can inspire everyone!
In Drama Kids there are no wrong answers, and the possibilities are endless! We always encourage creative thinking and imagination in our classrooms, and not just with our youngest students! The creative process is a vital skill that every child should learn, because it applies to much more than just the arts. From scientists to architects, there is no shortage of creative thinking in the workforce!
Our curriculum is full of creative opportunities for our students. Many of the activities we do are improvisational, and many of our scripted plays offer up plenty of creative thought. (Sometimes they don't even have an ending, and our students are able to try their hand at playwriting!) There's never just one way to play a character, and we encourage our students to explore their ideas to the fullest!
TEAMWORK & LEADERSHIP
Being a good team player and leader takes risk, courage, and empathy. Our classes are designed to provide opportunities for our students to work with, and to lead, their fellow classmates! Often we will have fun group work activities full of creative problem solving and collaboration. Our students must embrace each others' ideas in order to create a successful piece to perform for the class. This is no easy task, and I'm sure you could name a few adults who have trouble with this skill! ;)
In class we remind our students that they are an ensemble. Our biggest rule in Drama Kids is that everyone must treat each other with respect. Our students learn to trust and encourage one another in our classroom through many ensemble-building activities and games. This is the only way we can all accomplish the GOLDEN rule of Drama Kids... to always HAVE FUN!