We are often asked the differences between the classes that we offer: the difference between an acting class and a musical theatre class; between an exclusively dancing class and a musical theatre class; between different age groups of the same discipline. These differences can often be hard to pin down because, while there is overlap, each class develops various, truly unique skills and so this blog post will attempt to articulate what we think our specific disciplines offer.
In acting performance classes, the world is your own. The characters you play are entirely of your own making and interpretation. Realistic or unrealistic, human or animal, acting allows for free reign on self expression and a celebration of individualism.
Practically, a young person can learn valuable social and communication skills through delivering scenes, both improvised and scripted, to a group of likeminded performers.
Performing with others in an improvised setting can help understand your own sense of humour, bouncing ideas off of others with absolutely no idea what might come up next. While many of the prompts that arise are silly and sometimes completely out of this world, it builds a foundation for adaptable conversations in adult life. Not only that, the unpredictable nature of these scenes allows young people to think quickly on their feet, setting them up to be flexible in academic and occupational environments.
Scripted scenes allow young people to develop their own emotional maturity as they deliver the scenes from all aspects of the human experience. These scenes allow young people to pick up on social queues and understand what others may be going through in an increasingly digitised and impersonal era.
In musical theatre classes, things are typically a little more set. The dialogue, the music and the steps are usually set in advance and are taught to the performers as they work towards a full presentation. Musical theatre can be both joyous and incredibly exposing, allowing for a curious combination of feelings that lies in the happy medium between vulnerability and security.
Having the established musical tones, script and choreography teaches a young person how to multitask in the most triumphant form possible. There is a certainty in the rigidity of learning a musical number as young people’s memories are honed in a safe and entertaining space.
Musical Theatre is performance in its most expressive and beautiful form as young people are able to shine on a merit that they have spent weeks preparing for.
Dance classes train precision and musicality. They encourage us to use our bodies to communicate messages and respond to music and it is only when we’re older on a family function dance floor that we truly realise how much we needed them when we were little.
For young people, dance classes are group rehearsals where every step is made as part of a team which creates a solid, unifying dynamic. Unlike musical theatre and acting classes where there may be larger parts than others in a scene, dance classes allow for a cohesive training progress where an entire group can grow their skills together progressively together, allowing for the perfect team building environment.
What unites all of these disciplines is the community that they foster. Spaces and environments where young people feel comfortable in being and developing themselves are rare.
This is why these drama based classes are so important. They allow young people to present themselves as they are, not held down by the pressures of academia and social expectations of the school setting, but instead free to explore ideas and group dynamics that no other speciality allows.
As we see more and more new faces at ACTS, we could not be more proud of our community as they welcome and embrace fresh young people who want to explore the limitlessness of the drama space. Seeing our young people shine on a daily basis, we cannot wait to continue to foster, host, and develop this community for as long as we are able.
Acting, musical theatre, and dance is for everyone and so is ACT Scotland.