New Steamboat Arts Academy opens its doors this month | SteamboatToday.com

New Steamboat Arts Academy opens its doors this month

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — When Celina Taylor gets out on the ice to skate, she's not a mom. She's not the director of the Boys and Girls Club. Nor is she the director of figure skating for the Steamboat Skating Club.

"When I'm out there, I feel like I'm my truest form of myself and can express who I am and how I feel," Taylor said. "Performing arts saved me. I was bullied in high school and had a tough time socially, but when I performed, I was a totally different person."

Performing arts, she said, has the ability to teach life skills that cannot be acquired anywhere else.

"Whether you grow up to be a lawyer or city council member, getting up in front of people, speaking and sharing your passion with others, I believe, helps us feel more confident in who we are," she said. "There are a lot of kids who may not be athletic, but it allows them to explore part of who they are and builds confidence and social skills."

Giving kids an outlet to explore the performing arts through drama, dance and music, Taylor has helped create a catalyst to what many arts organizations were attempting to do separately through summer programming in theater, music and dance.

On Aug. 27, the new Steamboat Arts Academy will open its doors to children age 3 to 18 offering class options from classical ballet and adult ballet, contemporary and introductory theater, improv, musical theater, vocal training and more throughout the year.

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Classes will be offered after school five days a week at 2465 Jacobs Circle.

"It's about collaborating," Taylor said. "In this format, it allows people to still have an impact and do what they love but they don't have to take on doing it all by themselves."

The faculty she recruited for the new endeavor includes a variety of performing arts leaders including: Scott Parker, executive director of the Chief Theater; Stuart Handloff, from the Piknik Theatre Festival; and Lizzie LaRock, Jeremiah Jackson, Jamie Boeri, Nicole LeDuc, Hayley Berg, Chelsea Bonagura and Beth Blaskovich.

The academy classrooms will have a marley floor for the dance classes, a black box room for theater and a music room for vocal and piano classes.

Adjunct faculty includes New York City performers Caitlin Abraham and Michael Blake, who will visit throughout the year for private lessons, weekend workshops and intensive courses.

"Over the years, there's been a lot of people who have tried to do this on their own or have talked about starting a program like this, but she's the first person to go and do this," said Parker, who will be teaching the theater, magic and juggling classes at the Steamboat Arts Academy. "She's a doer."

The idea for the new academy sparked last year when Taylor opened the Skating Club's “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” show to any child who wanted to perform in the ice show. Due to the number of children who didn't return for figure skating classes, she realized there was a need to provide performance opportunities for kids.

"I know people have tried to do camps like this but none have had consistent after-school programming in the arts and that's what this collaboration is hoping to achieve," Taylor said.

Steamboat Arts Academy classes will be capped at about 12 students per class. Future plans include a spring showcase performances, involvement from high school and middle school students who will help teach a few classes and classes for kids with autism and down syndrome.

"For kids who are struggling socially or academically, performing arts gives them a space to be free, to be silly and explore different personalities," Taylor said. "Through learning how to be someone else we find out who we are."

Visit https://steamboatartsacademy.com for more information and to sign up for classes, which vary in cost.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1.