Coming home

Warwick dance instructor opens performing arts center in her childhood dance studio

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  • Melissa Padham-Maass

  • Children will have the opportunity to participate in their favorite princess camp this summer at the Warwick Center for the Performing Arts.

With a talent and passion for dance and the arts, Melissa Padham-Maass recognized the need for a multi-disciplinary center for dance and theater training with the resurrection of her childhood dance school, The Dancer’s Studio, to re-open as the Warwick Center for the Performing Arts.

Since the closing of The Dancer’s Studio in 2010, former student Padham-Maass has envisioned the development of a new instructional and performance space offering classes in dance and theater as well as a black box theater to hold dance, theater and multimedia arts performances. When the building that housed the Dancer’s Studio became available to purchase, Padham-Maass knew she could realize her own dream and carry on the legacy of the Dancer’s Studio as the Warwick Center for the Performing Arts in the Village of Warwick at 63 Wheeler Ave.

The Warwick Center for the Performing Arts, directed by Padham-Maass, with the guidance of Lucinda Henry, former owner of The Dancer’s Studio, will include the Dancer's Studio, the Actor's Studio, the Black Box Theater and the Warwick Dance Collective.

“As many people in the community remember, The Dancer’s Studio was a very special place," said Padham-Maass. "Cindy created a magical and nurturing environment for so many students to experience and appreciate the art of dance and theater. I am excited to re-establish this wonderful space and expand on Cindy’s vision for the performing arts in Warwick.”

A roster of year-round instructional classes in both dance and theater are under development. Year-round programming is in place to teach classical techniques, self-discipline and focus while promoting creativity, autonomy and self determination in the classroom.

Summer camps have begunWeekly summer camps in dance and acting began in July 2017 and an open house is scheduled for August where guests will meet the owner/instructor and additional faculty instructors, receive a tour of the facility and have the opportunity to learn about the center’s programming.

The camps include:

Princess Camp: A week long exploration into your child's favorite fairy tale through dance, theater, story-telling, costume making, scenery design and prop creation. Each camp runs Monday through Friday, culminating in a small performance in the Black Box Theater.

Children ages 4 and 5 meet from 9 to 11:30 a.m.; kids 6 and 7 meet from noon to 2:30 p.m. The cost is $200 per week; discounts are available for siblings and for those attending more than one camp.

Moana Camp: July 17 to 21

Little Mermaid Camp: Aug. 21 to 25

Frozen Camp: Aug. 28 to Sept. 1.

Performing Arts Summer Programming: Classes include ballet, modern, hip-hop, musical theater, acting and partnering. Individual programs will culminate in small performances in the Black Box Theater. Open to all levels; ages 8 and up.

July 17 to 21; Aug. 28 to Sept. 1;

Ages 8 to 10 - 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.;

Ages 11 and up - noon to 2:30 p.m.;

The cost is $175 per week with sibling discounts available. Registration is required.

Open House: A weekend showcase of Warwick’s newest performing arts center featuring class demonstrations and a tour of the facilities;

Sunday, Aug. 6 and Saturday, Aug. 19, 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Free introductory dance classes offered on the hour from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Tours of dance studios and Black Box Theater on the half hour from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

All students who register at the open house will be entered to win one month free tuition

Refreshments available.

About Padham-MaassPadham-Maass has developed a professional career that is rooted in her childhood dance training, maintaining a well-rounded commitment to promoting and supporting the arts. She holds numerous professional and non-profit positions that allow her to give back to the community. She maintains a diverse professional repertoire of instruction, programming and performance achievements as a college level instructor, dancer, arts festival executive director and now as an entrepreneur. Her career and passion allow her to teach and support the arts, physical fitness, arts festivals and fundraising events.

After completing her bachelor of fine arts, Padham-Maass lived and performed professionally in New York City and commuted to Warwick where she taught numerous dance classes and summer camp programs at The Dancer’s Studio until its 2010 closing.

“I envision the center being a space for all things performing arts,” said Padham-Maass. “In the future, I would love to have a music department and design departments with lighting, costume and set design classes. The Black Box will be the space where all of these things will come alive!”

For more information, visit the WCAP website and like WCAP on Facebook and Instagram.

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