How did you hear about RRS and what will be you be teaching at RPAC?
I first heard about RRS when I came to the Riverdale Y in January of 2010 to teach for RiverdaleDance! I worked with RRS as the Resident Modern Dance Teacher for Summer Stage 2012 and Broadway on the Hudson 2011.
I am excited to continue working with the young performing artists at the Y as I will be teaching four new integrative arts classes with RPAC. Through the integration of Theater, Dance, Visual Art, Music and Voice, my students will have the ultimate opportunity to become well-rounded performing artists. I am teaching: Expressive Story Tellers for Ages 5-8, Creative Arts Makers for ages 9-11, Character Development for Middle Schoolers and Dance for the Actor for High Schoolers.
What do you do when not working with RRS?
I teach Modern, Ballet, Jazz and Tap dance for all ages at RiverdaleDance! and also at a privately owned Performing Arts School in Brooklyn.
Did you grow up with a similar program to RRS in your neighborhood?
I was not lucky enough to have such an incredible program as RRS. However, I was involved with choir and drama at my middle school, and in high school I shifted my focus to dance. I continued taking theater improvisation classes and Musical Theater Dance classes throughout high school.
How did you get involved with theater?
It started with dance. My mother signed me up for a Jazz class when I was 9 years old to help align my spine (I have scoliosis). Dancing lead me to explore Theater and other types of performance art.
Can what you teach in the rehearsal room be applied to outside life?
Anything I teach in my classroom can and should be applied to real life! Specifically, I hope to help my students develop body confidence and mind-body awareness both ON and OFF the stage.
What is your biggest challenge as an actor or teacher?
One of my greatest challenges I face as a teaching artist is honing in on each of my student’s specific learning style(s). This is also one of my favorite parts about being a teaching artist!
What do you look for your students to bring into rehearsal/class?
An open mind, willingness to think outside the box and excitement towards exploring and creating new art in a cooperative environment.
What do you hope each student of yours gains from your class?
A better understanding of him/or herself, a new-found body confidence and of course, the ability to find joy in movement.
Everyone’s favorite – tell us a funny or embarrassing moment involving YOU and theater/acting etc?
I will never forget my eighth grade Choir performance! We were singing “I say a Little Prayer for You”, which I had choreographed a dance to. The risers were supposed to be split in half and rolled off stage for this song. To my dismay, the risers were NOT moved. I did not know this. There was a part of the choreography where I had to walk backwards, but remain facing the audience. As I walked backwards, my leg hooked onto one of the risers and I ended up tripping and falling backwards over the risers (very dramatically) on my bum (in front of most of my middle school). Like a true performer, I stayed in character and pretended it was part of the choreography, I jumped up, winked and waved at the audience and finished the number. For the next week, I was known as “that eighth grader who fell during the choir performance”. I can laugh about it now, but at the time, I was mortified!
What was the last show you saw?
What TV shows are you watching now?
About Lauren E. Harrison
When I am not teaching or sharing my art with others, I am usually making visual art! In my free time, I craft hand-beaded jewelry and I spend time scrapbooking. Additionally, I love wandering around NYC and trying new food! But, I bet if my cat Tooty had a say, I would probably have to spend every waking moment of my time playing with her!