Friday, June 9, 2023

Hamilton Arts Academy Branches Out With New Location

On Saturday afternoon, a new performing arts institution put down some definitive roots.

Red Tree Performance Academy sprouted out of community theatre organization Hamilton Theatre Inc. in 2021. It was a natural place for the Academy to lay its seeds, with its founder, Dustin Jodway also serving as Hamilton Theatre Inc.’s Board Chair. Focusing on voice and performance coaching, the Academy tapped into an in-demand market and quickly grew to encompass lessons, classes and workshops. 

“Our goal is to foster freedom and growth in every student and to create a safe space for learning.” said Jodway about the school’s opening in a press release. “This is not about being competitive… It’s about being collaborative.” 

Jodway is no stranger to either competition or mentorship and collaboration. After representing Canada at the Karaoke World Championships, Jodway shifted his focus to mentoring other competitors, eventually being named Head of Artistic Development for Karaoke World Championships Canada. During his tenure, Jodway coached individuals and teams to record finishes.  

In outgrowing its original home at Hamilton Theatre Inc., Red Tree Academy has branched out and has found its own space at 222 Main Street West. The building features lesson rooms, studios and recording spaces that are meant to grow with the Academy’s increasing offerings for all ages and experience levels, which has grown to include voice, piano, guitar, strings, dance, performance coaching. 

At Saturday’s grand opening, the Academy showcased their two-storey space, offering the ability to connect personally with instructors as well as showcase the talents of pre-existing students throughout the day.

Looking ahead, the Academy plans to expand its work into additional dance forms, instruments, and group classes. There are also plans to offer workshops and individual support for audition preparation, interviews and more. One of these additional offerings in the new space is burlesque; a form of dance that empowers performers through theatrical elements that often include storytelling, humour and irony. 

“Burlesque is a great style for people who are interested in dance but want to start out in a more open environment and it’s also a good way for seasoned performers of all kinds to add to their skill set.” said teacher Claire Hughes of the adult art form. “It’s a body-positive class open to all shapes, sizes, and genders, so it has a real body-positive bent. More than anything, I want our students to explore the joy of movement and to find a deeper sense of confidence in themselves and their abilities.”

With the new home officially in place, burlesque classes begin this week in the 222 Main Street West space with multiple class times available. Most spaces are already filled, but a few are still available for selected dates and times, according to Red Tree Academy’s Facebook page. Future class offerings and events can be found on the Academy’s website.

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