Classes provide self-esteem and confidence

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'As much as I can, I run with their opinions'

TRURO – If one child leaves a class of Leana Todd’s feeling more confident, it’s all been worth it for the local drama instructor.

Leana Todd, owner and operator of The’Atre Side of the Tracks, is hosting a number of drama and dance classes locally for youth and adult this winter. The main goal of her youth classes is to help build self-esteem and confidence in children. 

Todd is offering drama and dance classes for youth and adults throughout the winter, with many of the programs starting this weekend. She’s hosting some of them at The’Atre Side of the Tracks, with some being held at the Marigold Cultural Centre.

“It’s all about the child’s growth and building of their self-esteem,” said Todd, who lives in Truro. “I love teaching and seeing how the kids feel at the end.”

Todd’s classes for youth are aimed at using theatre to help a child develop and grow, all while learning about the theatre itself without feeling pressured.

“It helps them build their self-esteem so they can put themselves out there,” she said.

Using a script to a play called ‘Humpty Dumpty is Missing,’ Todd said the youth in the classes will work on the script with her throughout the course of the program, performing it at the end.

“They’ll have a chance to alter it and change it. As much as I can, I run with their opinions.”

She said two pieces of feedback she’s gotten about the youth programs are some of the best compliments she has received.

“One parent said after they watched the performance that she felt like she was in her basement watching kids put on their own play,” she said. “She said it felt like it was something they created.”

Another parent told Todd that by allowing children’s input into the performance was a great way to “honour the children for their individuality.”

Along with the drama classes, which also include adult classes that focus on script and text analysis as well as character development, Todd is offering dance for musical theatre, something that came about thanks to parents’ inquiries.

“Some of their kids like theatre and performing, but they didn’t have hard dance instruction, so they were looking for some sort of dance class. It’s for beginners and newbies would don’t have dance training that might like to try it.”

Todd has brought in Jessica Wile for the dance for musical theatre classes after having worked with Wile on the West Colchester Consolidated School’s production of Wizard of Oz last year.

“She’s young and energetic and always made it fun for them,” Todd said about Wile. “If the choreography was too hard for them, she changed it so they were comfortable with it.

“There’s quite a bit of interest in the dance program.”

Most of the calls Todd’s received regarding the adult dance class are from former dancers who want a local dance class.

Organizations: Marigold Cultural Centre, West Colchester Consolidated School

Geographic location: Truro

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