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Preview of Live Oak Fall Arts Classes

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More courses. More teachers. More talent! The fall class sessions of Live Oak Theatre and Conservatory promise a fruitful course in arts education at the Carol & Frank Morsani Center for the Arts, located at 21030 Cortez Boulevard, Brooksville. Classes begin the week of September 5, and Live Oak Conservatory is hosting an open house, offering course registration and teacher meeting opportunities, on Saturday, August 27, from 11 am to 2 pm at the Carol & Frank Morsani Center for the Arts.

“As a conservatory, our focus is to develop life skills and leadership skills,” said Live Oak Spokesman and Teacher Vince Vanni. “We offer all forms of arts, and not just the performing arts. Unlike other programs, we began as a full musical theatre program, initially focusing on voice, drama, and musical theatre. Our dance component is an adjunct to our theatre arts program.” As an extension of Live Oak Theatre, the conservatory offers extensive performing arts opportunities for children (Pre-K –18) and adults. Classes that are offered include beginning and advanced tap, jazz, ballet, voice, musical theatre, improv, and acting at various levels. “Arts education has always been a focus at Live Oak,” said Randi Olsen, Live Oak director and teacher. Private lessons in a wide range of musical instruments are also available at the conservatory, with all courses to be taught by veteran performers and instructors.

Vanni’s Acting – All Levels will be a part of the offered classes. “We have an incredibly strong concentration on acting. This summer we had over 25 advanced students taught by three veterans: Kevan Richards (MFA), Ron Dykes, and me,” said Vanni. “In fact, this fall our season opener is Agatha Christie’s murder mystery drama ‘Murder on the Orient Express.’”

A Music Theory class will also be offered and will be taught by Andi Garner. Andi will also teach Tap, Musical Theater, and Hip-Hop as well. “I’m excited about teaching this year! I spent my summer in New York researching every new Broadway show out there!” said Andi Garner. “My hip hop musical theatre class will implement all the new stylings of current Broadway while singing, dancing, storytelling, using props and more. My tap classes are for ages 12+ who have tapped before. This year we will explore storytelling, advanced rhythms and intricate steps.”

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Improv classes at all levels will be taught by Esprit Herbert. “For first-year improv students I’ll be teaching the basics of improv. It’s silly and quirky, and sometimes scary. We’ll be learning how to be comfortable on stage, and push through any doubt or fear,” said Herbert. “There are no scripts, just ideas, and no bad ideas at that. For returning students, classes will be focused on teamwork and creating trust on stage.” Live Oak’s next live Improv Night will be performed at 7:30 pm on August 26, at the theatre.

The Youth Art classes will be taught by Amanda Bates, it was previously taught by Robyn Gray, who has since retired. “Amanda was my art student for at least six years. She was the most attentive, obedient, and talented of all my students. She showed a servant’s heart as well as a keen interest in others,” said Robyn Gray. “Her work awarded her blue and rosette ribbons at the Hernando County Fair. I recommended her as a teacher for her talent and sweet spirit.

Kat Burburan will teach the Lyrical, Stretch/Conditioning, Ballet (Beginner), Musical Theatre/Jazz, and Ballet (Intermediate) classes. “The gifted Kat Burburan will teach an expanded ballet program,” said Olsen. “We’ll be offering more courses after school to make them available to more kids.”

Also among the roster of amazing teachers at Live Oak are Debbie Bonacki teaching Ladies Dance, Lexi Allocco teaching Primary Musical Theatre and Primary Tap, Gavin Yarro teaching Acrobatics, and Zeke Richards teaching Jazz, Tap, and the all-new Boys’ Dance. “Instructor Zeke Richards has been a part of Live Oak since he was a little kid,” said Olsen. “He’s an incredible dancer. I call him Live Oak’s answer to Gene Kelly.”

Primary Acting classes will be taught by Stephania Torres. “In the acting class my job is to give children a basic overview of the theater world, introducing them to being in front of people, memorizing lines for skits, games, and other fun activities!” said Torres. “The art class is coordinated with what the acting class is doing. We will primarily focus on creating sets/props/costumes which will be used in the skits.”

The Acorn Theatre Program, currently at capacity, will consist of Youth Theatre aimed at ages 8-18 with a performance-based musical theatre class. This class will rehearse and perform two musicals per year and will be featured in Brooksville’s Annual Christmas Tree Lighting. “We’re starting the youth theater group a month earlier this year,” stated Olsen. “The education that these courses provide go beyond the arts world. They learn here how to work under pressure and still have fun and we love to watch them grow up from Live Oak kids, to amazing young adults.”

For information about Live Oak Conservatory go to www.LiveOakTheatre.org/Conservatory, call 352-593-0270, or email [email protected].

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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