This year, we changed things up a little bit. Taking feedback from the students from the past two years, we opted not to have any guest artists during the first week and instead focused on a more in-depth orientation to the theater world, getting to know one another, vocal and acting warm-ups, and how to present oneself (to other people and for auditions). The “introduction” exercises proved very beneficial for the students, as they became aware of how they present themselves, learning whether they had any physical habits (tics, swaying), if they seemed pleasant or nervous, if they articulated and could be understood, and if they projected their voice appropriately. Learning one’s idiosyncrasies is important not only in making a positive first impression, but also during the audition process. Greg also had the students choose a song that was inspiring to them and had the students pair up and work on inspiring one another.
We then started with our core classes, led by Dane Madsen (acting), Traci Traasdahl (dance) and Troy Bashor (music).
Here are some shots from the first week of acting class.
This is an incredible group of students, not only with regard to their talent, but also with regard to their empathy and support for one another. The first week of Next Step Prep is not easy even for the most confident of students—it can often be a test of individual insecurities, of learning that one has a lot to learn, and of resiliency. The students this year are incredibly supportive of one another, which enables them to take risks and try new things. When it comes right down to it, this is what Next Step Prep is all about.