As I’ve said on another occasion, it’s not easy to cover every subject in New York … after all, writing a blog is much more than just describing information. The idea here is to share experiences. And if I have not had such an experience, how am I going to talk about it? Well, some people asked to talk about acting courses and then I asked Bia Borin to help me on this mission. Bia is an actress, TV host and Youtuber of NYTipsBR, she has lived here in New York and is now she in Los Angeles. I hope you enjoy this post – and check out Bia’s work here.
- I want / can stay in the city for how long, more or less? I say “more or less” because there are a lot of people who have come to stay a month and BUM! They fell in love with the city and they are here until today hahahaha
- I want to improve on what, exactly, and what is my plan for it? Musical theater? Camera? Or am I a beginner and want to have an experience in a course / school that gives me a general notion of everything?
- Do I want a college degree or a free course?
- What is my English level?
From these questions, your search will be oriented. In addition to my story, I interviewed two actors who had different experiences. Each story is a story, of course, and you will make yours. By the way, my main tip is to be open to changes in the way. Your experience will be lighter – and incredible.
1. “Acting on film”, by Bia Borin – these are courses that do not give you a visa. Your English level should be more advanced (you don’t have to be super fluent) and you have to be a more experienced actor. I don’t recommend it to anyone who is starting. These courses are focused on acting for camera, because my focus (remember the “goals” above?) was film and TV. These are courses more affordable, but once a week only, turning around $300 / month. See my suggestions:
Apt 929 with Clark Middleton – Clark is a wonderful actor, he has acting in TV series like “The Blacklist” and movies with Tarantino. The last series he did was “The Path”. Classes are real discussions about acting, and you get the footage recorded , which is cool to have an English portfolio. More information on the website.
Kimball Studio – I had classes with Janine DiTulio. She wasEmmy nominated 6 times as a TV scriptwriter / producer. I loved her class! Super dynamic and she, as a screenwriter, has a vision of her acting through history, which I think is amazing. You also get the material recorded in class. More information on the site.
2. Acting at “Lee Strasberg”, by Juliana Suaide – Focus on the Method Acting. They offer courses from 3 months to 2 years. You can register for those 3 months at any time and do as many times as you want as well. Lee Strasberg is one of the most famous and traditional action schools in NY. What I think is different and cool is that the courses are not separated by levels, they have all classes together. It makes everyone to be reviewing basic content all the time and at the same time venturing into more advanced exercises. When you are hired to perform in a piece / film, and you are required to work with people from different levels of performance, it makes you ready for that too. The price varies for each course, but starts with the 12-week (3-month) fee for $ 6,250.00 plus a $ 150 registration fee. Famous students: Marilyn Monroe, Scarlet Johansson, Miles Teller, Uma Thurman, Alec Baldwin, Sienna Miller, Barbra Streisand, Chris Evans and others. More information on the website.
3. Musical Theater, by Gabriel Malo – What I truly believe is that there is no distinction in musical theater. This ends up casting people into thinking that doing the Musical Theater is different from doing theather. And then everything gets very “copy”, you get stuck to patterns, instead of trying. The way for me, in New York, would be to look for the same schools separately. Studying THEATER is the first thing. There are several schools, like Lee Strasberg etc. Bob Cline Casting gives classes for audition, group lessons, I think that’s important. Choose the right music, understand your profile to audition for a musical. There are always workshops. More information on the site.
Dance! Dance classes are super important. Steps on Broadway is wonderful (International Student Program). They give student visas, so you get legalized in the country. You need to do a number of dance lessons per week, and because it is a school with all styles, you will have pilates, in addition to ballet, jazz, tap dancing, musical jazz. For me, one of the most important things when doing music these days is understanding the care you have to have with your body. Few music schools deal with the stress that seven or eight sessions of one show per week cause in your body. So, I think pilates is essential for you to understand how your muscles work. More information on the site.
And parallel to that, it’s nice to look for a singing lesson – there are many good teachers. I can recommend one that is wonderful, which is Joe Wagoner. He’s on “School of Rock.” Very good teacher. It opens your head so you can understand where your language vibrates so you do not imitate others but find your voice. More information on the site.
The most important is to look for the right references in each area rather than a school that teaches everything. This is because understand you better as an actor, singer and physically mature as a dancer, it is always an individual research. A music school makes you a little good at everything. But if you delve deeper (along with Bob Cline’s coaching, for example) you’ll make a difference because you’re … you.
Research hard, get ready … but take the risk! Other theater courses for you to research and see if they fit your taste – and budget:
HB Studio: http://hbstudio.org
American Academy of Dramatic Arts (Anne Hathaway, Paul Rudd e Jessica Chastain): https://www.aada.edu
Atlantic Acting School (Jessica Alba, Simon Helberg, Elizabeth Olsen): https://atlanticactingschool.org
Circle in the Square (Kevin Bacon, Lady Gaga, Irina Menzel): http://www.circlesquare.org
Stella Adler Studio of Acting (Robert De Niro, Salma Hayek, Anthony Quinn): http://www.stellaadler.com
Neighborhood Play House (Eli Wallach, Jeff Goldblum, Christopher Meloni): http://neighborhoodplayhouse.org
There are also the schools for undergraduate / masters in acting, direction, dramaturgy … or also the summer courses! The first ones are expensive and they give you a visa, of course. But you have to prepare a lot and require proficiency in English. But institutions usually offer summer workshops, which reduces the price (but does not give graduation).
Columbia University: http://arts.columbia.edu/theatre-arts
The New School: http://www.newschool.edu/drama/mfa
New York has thousands of possibilities for the field you want to follow (I covered only a few). But the most important thing is to plan and be open to get out of your comfort zone. Come prepared both to realize your dream and discover as many worlds as you ever imagined.
Xoxo. Bia Borín
Thank you very much Bia for this post! I hope it can help anyone planning to study acting in New York!
Laura Peruchi is a Brazilian blogger, author, and entrepreneur. She has lived in Manhattan with her husband since 2014. Since then, she has shared on her blog varied content about the Big Apple. From travel tips, including unusual things to do, shopping tips, etiquette, restaurants, and a lot more, her blog has become a reference in Portuguese (also available in English) for anyone planning a trip to New York City.