By Josette Keelor
Previously of Winchester, Selah Theatre Project has set up shop in Warren County, recently announcing several theater classes for its winter season, said owner La Tasha Do'zia-Earley.
"I offered summer camps this past summer," she said. "That was my first time dipping into Warren County."
"There seems to be a need and a want in Front Royal," she said. Classes will be held at Warren County Community Center, she said, but Selah now shares an address with dance studio Tap Etc., located at 23 S. Royal Ave.
In collaboration with Kristin McCullough, of Tap Etc., Do'zia-Earley plans for the two businesses to complement each other.
"Using her studio to offer year-round theater classes," she said, it's "an exciting partnership."
McCullough said the partnership started when she needed a new theater teacher.
"I contacted the local high school acting department and asked for name suggestions, and La Tasha was at the top of their list," McCullough said.
"We met and just clicked."
She said when Selah's contract with the community center ends, classes will transfer to the studio at Tap Etc., where McCullough has set aside rooms for Selah to use.
Selah's only dance-inspired class, Leap 'N Learn Music Theatre, is for ages 3 to 4, while Tap Etc's dance classes are geared toward older dancers, Do'zia-Earley said.
Previously located in The Bright Center, on the Loudoun Street Pedestrian Mall in Winchester, Selah moved to Front Royal because of increased opportunities.
"In Winchester, there wasn't that much of an interest," she said. "Frederick County, there's a great interest, but more of a recreational [way]." Do'zia-Earley still teaches classes through the Frederick County Parks and Recreation.
"Warren County, they don't have theater at all," she said, echoing what McCullough has said in the past.
McCullough agreed, "We have no theater. We have a little bit of dance."
Teaming with Selah, she said, will provide "an outlet for the kids and even the adults in the area. ... You know, give them an outlet besides sports."
Tap Etc., which has added 14 new dance classes since last summer, will host an open house on Feb. 9, offering workshops in ballroom and country line dance.
Do'zia-Earley said she gravitated to the area, and the response so far has been good.
"Warren County's a whole different field than the city or [Frederick] county."
Spots are filling quickly for classes. "Goldilocks on Trial," a production class that started Monday, is full.
"We're actually maxed out. Yeah, 20 kids was my max and I got 20 kids," Do'zia-Earley said. "I was very excited."
Others are still open for registration, though, and she offers financial assistance through sponsors for those who need it.
Helping children gain an education in dance and theater, whatever the price, she said, "It's important to me."
Said McCullough, "I am just so excited, I think it's going to be a wonderful experience for the community."
Leap 'N Learn Music Theatre, for ages 3 to 6, runs from 6 to 6:45 p.m. Mondays from Feb. 4 to March 11. The cost is $38 and works with young actors and dancers to expose them to beginning elements of dance, drama and voice.
The Drama Workshop Series, for ages 13 to 17, runs from 7 to 8 p.m. Mondays from Feb. 4 to March 25. The cost is $48, and it allows teenagers to show off their skills in a class that combines technique with performance.
Bravo Performers, for ages 6 to 7, runs from 2:30 to 3:15 p.m. Saturdays from Feb. 9 to March 16. For $38, children will develop creative drama skills while having fun learning character development and vocal expression.
Improvisation Sensation, for ages 8 to 12, runs from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Saturday from Feb. 9 to March 16. For $35, beginning actors will learn facets of improvisation through comedy, drama and scenic work.
Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or firstname.lastname@example.org