Art provides an essential outlet to process our human condition. It’s become all the more necessary as we weather the crazy of 2020 and yet the very factors that have made it more necessary are the very constraints that limit our ability to pursue an artistic outlet. Kids in particular have seen their extracurricular, art-based classes limited and canceled in lieu of Covid.
Musical Theater gurus, Kid Experts & roommates Natasha M and Catherine P have combined their years of triple threat skills together to create an epic, virtual theater intensive for budding super stars. Hear about their own experience in the arts, what role it played in their own childhoods and how they are sharing that experience with minis virtually:
CC: What artistic pursuits are you passionate about? Do you dance, sing, etc? Why do you love it?
Natasha: I choose to express myself through dance as an art form because of its physicality. When I move through space I forget everything else – all of my concerns and worries – It is pure experience.
Catherine: I am an actor/musician and have loved working in the theatre world! From acting, to playing instruments, to singing on stage I love being a part of the theatre in any capacity.
CC: What did you want to be when you grew up?
Natasha: In Kindergarten I announced that I wanted to be a teacher who owned a horse. In 2nd grade, I decided I wanted to be a 2nd grade teacher. In 5th grade, I changed my mind to 5th grade teacher. In 7th grade I realized middle and high school teachers specialize by subject, and landed on my long-time goal of being a secondary English teacher.
Catherine: A Princess! I still want to be a Princess.
CC: When did you know you wanted to be an artist? Were there particular moments or experiences that moved you in this direction?
Natasha: I started dancing after my grandmother took me to see a local production of The Nutcracker when I was seven years old. I immediately started begging for ballet classes; my mom let me take one sample class to see how I liked it, and I never left. My grandmother also took me to see musicals and provided soundtracks for me to listen to. She really inspired my love of theatre!
Catherine: I was sitting backstage waiting for the curtain to rise in my high school production of The Music Man. I remember looking around and thinking THIS, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
CC: Did you have a particular teacher growing up who fostered your artistic pursuits? Why were they memorable?
Natasha: After seeing the Radio City Rockettes perform, I decided to take tap and jazz and switched dance studios for the remainder of high school. The studio owner became a treasured mentor and friend. Her teaching is memorable to me because encouraged me as not only as a performer but also as a person. It’s easy to get caught up in the details of dance technique, or whether or not the class is prepared for a recital. But this instructor always took the time to teach life lessons and foster emotional wellness students, something I strive to do as well in my own teaching.
Catherine: I was incredibly fortunate that most of my teachers fostered my artistic pursuits! Not only my teachers but also my family believed in my ability to create and helped guide me along my journey.
CC: What do you find gratifying about teaching as an artist?
Natasha: It brings me so much joy to share an art form that has impacted my life so deeply. I love working with little ones who are just being introduced to the arts; they bring such a sense of joy and fun to the process. I also love older kids who are passionate and eager to dig deeper into a form they already greatly enjoy. It’s rewarding to pass on a legacy to the next generation of artists.
Catherine: One of my favorite things to do is watch a kid grow throughout the weeks of a class. Watching a child who has stage fright on the first day proudly step to the front of the stage on the last day of class brings me unmeasurable joy. I love watching each child grow and learn all that the arts have to offer.
CC: Why are the arts important in general and for kids?
Natasha: The arts are important because they help people to process experiences and emotions in a safe and healthy way. They bring us joy when we feel sad, help us express our anger without harming others, and make us feel less alone in our darkest moments. I believe the arts are important for kids especially because they help to provide a greater context of the world. Commonly cited benefits of dance and theatre are confidence, communication, teamwork, and memory.
For dance specifically, kids start to explore unspoken questions such as: How can we interact with others physically in a mindful way? How should we use and take care of our own bodies? How do we relate to our physical environment? Dance starts to provide subtle answers to these questions, making students more aware of themselves, others, and the space around them.
Catherine: The arts foster skills that manifest in all areas of life, not just on the stage. From public speaking to being comfortable with who they are, the arts help create an open, warm, loving world that allows children the freedom to explore and create. The arts foster future inventors, lawyers, marketing directors, by creating a space in which they are free to try new things and develop new skills that use their imagination. By giving kids a space in which to create, they are being set free from the box that they are put in by the world.
Check out Natasha and Catherine’s epic virtual musical theater workshop and reach out for more information at email@example.com!