Taking the Leap!

By | May 2, 2016

Margie   class acts 2015-3   Kids On Stage 1   MusicalTheatre(2008.04) (2)

Stage Fright?  Take the leap and follow your dream.  Start an acting class.

If you have signed up for your very first acting class at NJSDA (or anywhere for that matter): Congratulations! You did it!  You did the single most important thing an actor can do for success!  You Showed Up!!

New Jersey School of Dramatic Arts is housed in a generous studio space with a small theater and classrooms. We have a beautiful yellow and black engraved sign outside our Bloomfield Ave entrance. We have an easy to navigate website featuring class schedules and performance dates. Each beckons, calls, and invites you to enter.  But so many people who have the desire to try a class choose, instead, to walk by, click out of the website, or hang up the phone-  too afraid to take the next step and actually come in the door.  The reasons are common and daunting: “What will my friends say when I tell them I am taking an acting class?  Will they make fun of me, will they doubt me?  “Am I good enough?”, “Am I too old?”  “Who am I to do something like this?”  The fear of rejection, judgement and disappointment feels so huge that too many people turn and walk down the sidewalk- taking their dreams with them.

Acting is a craft that often asks us to feel a little bit afraid.  As creatives we are often required to try new things that can feel scary.  It is important to know that you are not alone in those feelings.  Trying new things can often bring up our insecurities (for both the beginner AND the seasoned professional).  However, most good acting studios will offer beginning classes that are designed to be nurturing and safe environments in which to explore and try new things (without fear of judgement).  Beginning Acting classes offer the most fun ways to learn.  Theater games and group activities are used to develop skills and test the waters. They are a place to discover who you can be and what this “acting” thing is all about.  One of my greatest joys as an Intro to Acting teacher is seeing the complete transformation of my students from the beginning of the session to the end. Stepping into the first moments of my new class, I typically see a row of apprehensive folks with their handbags and backpacks perched on their laps, eyes straight ahead, protective body positions firmly in a place, and absolutely NO interaction with anyone else in the room.   But, by the end of class, that same group of terrified people are now engaged in lively conversations, the room is filled with laughter, and there are plenty of pats on the back. This is the transformative power of theater play is at work; and here a new excitement is born from being part of newly formed community and experience. They took the risk, entered the space, and found a new home- supported and validated by people who share the journey.

If you have registered for an acting class -Congratulations!  Your essential risk taking spirit will serve you well as you begin the process of becoming a creative artist. And for those of you who are still standing outside our door, (or any door between you and a creative dream), I encourage you to step off the sidewalk and come inside. Stop visiting the website and instead visit the studio. Do the one thing that is required of actors on every level (from the beginner to the professional): show up. Be present. Try. Participate.  Step over the line of fear and go for it.

New classes are beginning this week.  I hope to see you in a class and witness your transformation.  And to our all our current students and alumni: we continue to support and celebrate your progress as artists and risk takers… Onward!

All my best, my dear students-

Beth Baur
Co-Director, NJSDA