5 Things You Should Know
5 Things you should know about choosing a performing arts conservatory for adults, teens, and children:
1. No Performing Arts Conservatory should be aligned with an agency.
Scam agencies are rampant. You've probably seen an expose on them on television. Legitimate agencies make money only when the performer makes money from acting jobs, NOT by selling you classes, photographs or "portfolios." Beware of agencies that say things like "You have a great look! All you need to get going are some photos (or classes)." "No experience necessary" is also a dead giveaway: there are plenty of people out there who have experience, and know what they're doing. Why would they work with someone who has no clue? (The answer is, 'because they can sell you photos, classes, etc.!')
ATC Studios has always been dedicated to the highest quality, professional training. We are not affiliated with any agency or photographer. Whether or not you decide on ATC Studios as YOUR place of study, please do not hesitate to call us if you have questions concerning an agency "deal."
2. All three disciplines-- acting, musical theater, and dance -- should be offered at gradient levels to provide students a well-rounded training experience.
Dance schools, music schools and acting schools certainly can be found separately. Some dance studios will also offer acting on the side. A true performing arts conservatory will offer all three disciplines. In today's competitive market, actors and singers need to have a command of their bodies and be able to move well; singers and dancers need to be able to act; dancers and actors need to at least understand their own individual vocal apparatus. Even if you think you are only interested in one aspect right now, aligning yourself with a performing arts conservatory gives you the future option of expanding your horizons.
It's also important to make sure there are multiple levels of experience represented within the class structure. If you are just starting out, you do NOT want to be in a scene class with people who already understand how to break down a scene, know the "lingo," and are ruthlessly going after their objectives. You will be lost, and your class time will not be enjoyable or beneficial.
ATC Studios carefully places students in the correct classes for their development, and monitors their progress through periodic evaluations to ensure continued growth throughout the training process. ATC offers classes in all levels of acting, improvisation, musical theater, as well as dance, stage combat, speech, movement, TV/Film, auditioning, and voice over technique. Other specialty classes such as playwriting and classical theatre (Shakespeare!) are often added as interest dictates. Children and Teen classes allow young people to work on the same skills offered in the adult classes, modified to be accessible for these age groups.
3. A fair percentage of instructors should be professionals in their particular performance discipline. Professionals teach what works.
If you are interested in an academic theatre training, you should be looking to university and college programs. But if you want to learn the craft, techniques and the "business" of show business, look for a performing arts conservatory that has show business professionals on its teaching staff. These people have been out there in the "real world" and know the techniques that work. They live the business every day, know how to network and can pass on that knowledge to you.
ATC Studios' staff is comprised of show business professionals. When you are in an acting class, your instructor knows what it's like to make a living as an actor; your musical theater instructor has performed on the Broadway, regional or international musical theater stages; your dance teacher understands the rigorous performance demands on a dancer, because s/he dances and choreographs professionally.
4. An outlet to "try out" what the student has learned should be provided.
You probably know that most dance studios have recitals at the end of the year to show what their students have learned. A performing arts conservatory has the very word "performing" in its title. There should be an opportunity to try out the techniques you've gathered. This does not necessarily mean that if you're just starting out, you should have the added pressure of performing, BUT as you progress in your training, performing for an audience should actually be PART of your training.
ATC Studios has always incorporated showcases as the culmination of its intermediate and advanced classes. The actors in Character Technique, Advanced/Professional Class, Actors Lab and other master showcase classes, as well as the participants in our Teen/Young Adult Summer Workshops have an opportunity to perform in NYC Scene Evenings or NJ Showcase events to which agents, managers and casting directors are invited! And now we give our students the opportunity to perform in short films, webisodes, and other film projects seen on Youtube, cable, iTunes, and here on our website!
5. No Performing Arts Conservatory should promise that students will get a job, agent, or be the next super-star.
Show business has NO guarantees. So much depends on talent, persistence, and simply being in the right place at the right time. Sometimes casting will come down to the color of one's hair! There is no way a conservatory, agency or manager can predict what YOUR future will bring.
ATC Studios will never promise you any of the above. What we do guarantee is high quality, professional training that will prepare you for that job, that agent, or even for becoming the next super-star!