SOPAC Launches its 2010 Arts Education After-School Programs

Following overwhelmingly positive feedback and interest over the past three years, the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) expands its 2010 Arts Education programs to include a plethora of opportunities for kids of all ages ranging from six to 17. New to the roster this year is the Drama Desk Award-winning TADA! Youth Theater, a stellar musical theatre program perfect for honing the singing, dancing, and acting skills of our future Broadway stars. In addition, SOPAC continues to offer its popular classes and educational opportunities: ArtWorks, a performing arts industry training and leadership program; Lydia Johnson Dance Classes, a weekly dance class program teaching the technique of ballet and choreography; and School Time Performances, an educational resource for students and teachers of regional public and private schools, offering performances that complement the New Jersey State learning curriculum. (Details and schedules are below.)

"We are thrilled to welcome the new addition of TADA! Youth Theater to SOPAC Education's curriculum," explains Ondine Landa Abramson, the Executive Director of SOPAC. "We strongly believe that SOPAC is vital in nurturing the next generation of artists. We provide these kids an opportunity to learn and grow - both onstage and off."

ArtWorks, TADA!, and Lydia Johnson Dance Classes take place every week and will culminate in May 2010 with student performances that are open to the public. SOPAC's School Time Performances series started in October 2009 and will wrap up in March 2010. For more information about SOPAC Education programs and to purchase tickets to the final performances, visit or call 973.313.ARTS (2787).

February 23 - May 18
Weekly Classes: Tuesdays from 4-5:30PM (Ages 9-12) & 6-8PM (Ages 13-17)
Final Performances: Tuesday, May 18th in the SOPAC Loft. Tickets are $15. Proceeds from the performance support the ArtWorks program.
Price: $295 for new students.

ArtWorks provides a unique hands-on learning environment where kids are introduced to all facets of the performing arts industry. Students ages 9 and 17 will participate in an intensive, 10-week long program consisting of weekly classes and workshops, culminating in two student-produced performances on May 18, 2010, in the SOPAC Loft. ArtWorks exposes students to all of the ins and-outs of putting on a production. From acting, directing, playwriting, songwriting, choreographing and singing, to discussing sales strategies and collaborating on flier designers, every aspect of producing the performance falls to the students. Classes are facilitated by SOPAC staff while the students participate in leadership, acting, stage design, budgeting, development and marketing workshops. Offstage, students hone their leadership and team building skills by learning how to resolve conflict, communicate effectively, develop an idea, and make decisions through individual areas of responsibility within the production such as Costume Manager, Stage Manager, Finance Committee, Press Writers and Directors in Training.

TADA! Youth Theater
March 3 - May 19
Weekly Classes: Wednesdays from 4-5PM (Creative Musical Play for Grades K - 1) & 5-6PM (Musical Theater Skills Building for Grades 2-5)
Final Performances: Wednesday, May 19th
Price: $295 for new students.

Through musical theater classes led by caring, highly-skilled teaching artists, TADA! provides students with the opportunity to thrive both on stage and in life. For 25 years, The Drama Desk and Coming Up Taller Award-winning TADA! has been providing young people of all different backgrounds the opportunity to explore and perform musical theater together in an educational, supportive, and professional environment. TADA's mission is two-fold: to provide high-quality musical Theater Productions performed by talented kids for family audiences and to provide a safe, creative and nurturing place where kids can harness their inherent energy, build their self-assurance and realize their true potential through the unique collaborative art form that is musical theater.
Two classes are being offered at SOPAC: 1) Creative Musical Play - celebrating a child's natural inclination to engage in the world of dramatic play while learning the essential elements of musical theater; and 2) Musical Theater Skills Building - building core musical theater skills in singing, acting, and dancing through Broadway and Off-Broadway songs plus original TADA! musicals. This class focuses on singing and dancing skills, plus elements of acting such as characterization, improv and scene development!

Lydia Johnson Dance Classes
January 25 - May 10
Weekly Classes: Mondays from 4-5PM (Intro to Ballet & Choreography for Grades Pre-K/K), 5-6PM (Ballet & Choreography for Grades 1-4), 6-7:30PM (Ballet & Choreography II for Grades 4-11 including beginners), & 7:30-8:30PM (Ballet for Teens & Adults)
Final Performances: Monday, May 10th
Price: $415 for each course.

Lydia Johnson Dance teaches a unique blend of Dance Technique and Choreography. No prior dance training is necessary. Unlike most other dance programs, Lydia Johnson Dance believes that technique is best learned as children use their creative energy to compose their own dance works. In discovering the power of different movements and vocabularies, students become motivated to increase their technical range. The works presented at the end of each class series are totally choreographed by students using the compositional techniques that have been worked on throughout the semester.

School Time Performances
February 8 - March 10
Performance Schedule:

CSI: Live!
By Mad Science Productions
Monday, February 8th at 10AM & 2PM (Grades 2- 8)

Charlotte's Web
By TheatreWorksUSA
Monday, March 1st at 10AM & 2PM (Grades K-5)

A Midsummer Night's Dream
By The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey
Wednesday, March 10th at 10AM & 12Noon (Grades 3-12)

Price: $12 per person for groups with more than 50 people. Group discounts apply per when purchasing tickets in bulk for one or more shows.
SOPAC Education announces the 2009/2010 School Time Performances of student oriented theater events offered to area schools each year. These performances utilize the arts as an educational resource for students and teachers. Each performance is selected for its cultural and educational value complementing the New Jersey State learning curriculum. This integrative program utilizes the performing arts to animate a variety of subject areas, including literature, science, music and dance. Study guides and lesson plans are provided to participating teachers. Guided tours are also available before or after performances, offering a unique behind-the scenes experience for the students and teachers.

Since 2006, SOPAC has been serving as the premier performing arts center in the region. SOPAC offers innovative artistic and cultural experiences for diverse audiences in an intimate, inviting environment. The multidisciplinary arts center hosts a variety of live performances, community events and education programs for all ages. To further expand its offerings, SOPAC has a partnership with the Juilliard School of Music to present Juilliard @ SOPAC-a series featuring upcoming musicians from the acclaimed conservatory. SOPAC is also a home for Seton Hall University Arts Council's performances, including Classical Concert Series, Jazz N' the Hall performances, and Seton Hall Theatre productions.

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