The Metropolitan Performing Arts Academy took residence at Alki Middle School just over a year-and-a-half ago, and it’s quickly taken a lead role in offering peerless performing arts education and entertainment to the community.
According to creative director Noah Scott, the program fills a need for theater education. Most local organizations focus on productions, where MPAA is teaching fundamentals like breath and pitch control, reading music and understanding choreography.
“We give them the education first, and the show second,” Scott said. “I think some organizations focus on putting shows on, but it takes a special type of person to really teach kids.”
Almost anyone can find a part to play at Metropolitan. Its membership – now totaling more than 100 students – ranges from 6-year-olds to 50-somethings, but is largely comprised of school-aged kids. These are dedicated kids, that come to MPAA from as far as Washougal, Camas and Portland. Beyond ballet, tap and vocal technique lessons, these kids must quickly learn how to balance their classes and homework with six to eight hours of Metropolitan commitments per week.
“There are kids who are serious about this. They give 100 percent,” Scott said. “This is their soccer – their big thing.”
It’s a devotion that shines through in the academy’s productions. Since expanding its mission to include community theater, Metropolitan has been producing well-reviewed classical and pop musicals such as Bye Bye Birdie, Gypsy and My Son Pinocchio.
Between rehearsals, showcases, workshops and full-on productions, Metropolitan has a lot going on. Whether you want to brush up on your karaoke skills with a technique-based singing course, explore musical theater through a three-hour workshop, or go for star status with a premier path; there’s an educational plan for anyone who walks through the door.
Scott said that kids aren’t “picking their noses in the corner” at Metropolitan. Instead, they’re engaged with experienced instructors in classes of about eight students.
“It’s like reading a language,” Scott said. “When you give kids the tools to do a job well, they do a wonderful job.”
This is the big picture of Metropolitan. Scott said the goal is to get kids off couches and give them a reason to do their homework. The structure of goals and expectations instills a work ethic that equips members for the big stage of life according to Scott. He said the result is empowerment, community and confidence.
“That’s the greatest thing – to watch this harmonious, creative environment of people who have never danced before that are just in there going for it together,” Scott said. “It’s amazing to watch how bonded a 6-year-old and a sixteen-year-old can actually be, even though there’s so much difference in where they are in life. It’s like a family.”
METROPOLITAN PERFORMING ARTS ACADEMY
1800 N.W. Bliss Road, Vancouver
All tickets available by emailing
firstname.lastname@example.org or online.
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