One of the things I want for my kids is for them to be able to pursue their dreams. They’re both very lucky in that their dreams seem to line up nicely with their talents: Jake, who has a great mind for math and science, wants to do something with computers or video games. Fiona, who has a sweet voice and a lot of dancing ability, wants to perform professionally. Thank goodness. It’s so heartbreaking to watch kids on shows like American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance who want desperately to excel at something they simply have no talent for.
Plus, there are kids who’ve learned how to do one thing very well but can’t do anything else. I remember one of my first auditions was for a local production of Annie. Just about every kid got up on stage and sang “Tomorrow,” and some of them were phenomenal. But then the director would ask the kids to sing a scale, and a lot of them couldn’t. Or the director asked them to sing the song a different way, and they couldn’t. These kids had potential, but they hadn’t learned the fundamentals. Luckily, Fiona hasn’t had enough training or experience to learn any bad habits yet. If she wants to perform, I want her to have a good understanding of the basics. I want her to do the work.
Recently Fiona got to participate in two workshops, courtesy of Broadway Edge: One was a very fun and intense weekend audition workshop with other Broadway Edge students. The other was a no-less-intense (but much shorter) class for bloggers and their kids to see what it was all about.
Director/choreographer/movement coach Michael Schloegl and owner/audition coach/director Jill Jaysen, with the kids at the Blogger Workshop
Working with Broadway Edge was amazing for many reasons. As a proud mom it was so much fun to see what Fiona could accomplish in a short amount of time. Performing professionally is intense, and it was reassuring to see that Fiona’s stamina and excitement did not waver from beginning to end.
It was also interesting to see the way that the Broadway Edge instructors treated the kids. They were gentle, but realistic: they expected a lot out of these kids, some of them very young. They would ask the kids to do something several different ways, so that the kids could learn to take direction. They worked the kids like they were pros but made sure to work on fundamental concepts that would give the kids an edge over the kids who are just told to smile and sing out.
Choreographer Michael Schloegl, working with the Audition Workshop students
What kids learn at Broadway Edge doesn’t just apply to auditioning and performing. At some point, just about everybody has to get up in front of a group and do something, so learning how to speak with confidence, how to present your ideas without questioning them and making them seam weak, is invaluable, whether your kid ends up on a stage or not.
The instructors that Fiona got to work with are all pros who know the business because they work in it. (And they have access to casting directors!) Some Broadway Edge students have gone on to Broadway, and it was thrilling for the kids to get to talk to a former student Adam Riegler, who has performed on Broadway in Shrek The Musical and The Addams Family.
With the help of owner Jill Jaysen, Fiona chose a song from Mary Poppins and worked on memorizing the words the day before the workshop started.
She loved every minute of the two-day workshop, which culminated in a performance for the parents. After each kid performed either a song or a monologue, he or she was given a direction and asked to do a part over again – not an easy thing to do in a room full of people! But the kids were all great. They listened, they internalized the directions, and showed that they were learning to perform, not just memorize.
These first two performances are from the weekend Audition Workshop. The kids worked on dancing, singing (or a monologue), improv, and other skills. I’m so impressed with what they were able to accomplish in just a couple of days.
This performance, from the blogger workshop, is not as polished as the one from the weekend workshop, but the kids were working on this number for less than an hour, so it’s quite an accomplishment! But I’ve really included it so that you can get an idea of how Jill and Michael speak to the kids, how they encourage them, and how they treat them.
You can get more information about the next Broadway Edge workshop, which is being held the first weekend of March, and register here. I can’t wait to see where Fiona goes after this. She’s more fired up than ever before, and Broadway Edge gets the credit for that.
UPDATE: Guess what? Just for being one of my readers you can get $50 off of the next Audition Workshop! Sign up by February 4th, 2013 and enjoy $50 off using the code MBLOG.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 1. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.