New York Magazine

     
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Language and Drama Lessons
 
Dance | Music | Art | Language | Drama

Language

ABC Language Services
135 W. 29th St., near Sixth Ave., Ste. 1204
212-563-7580
abclang.org
Beyond school-subject and standardized-test tutoring, this learning center offers instruction in more than ten languages, including sign. It accepts students 4 years old and up, and offers a host of group classes (starting at $324) as well as private instruction. No extra fees for at-home instruction ($660 for twelve hours).

Baby Fingers
Call 212-874-5978 for class locations
mybabyfingers.com
According to instructors (and many enthusiastic parents), teaching infants to sign will help them learn to talk. Baby Fingers offers year-round, twelve-week mommy-and-me sessions ($75–$450), as well as a drop-off nursery school ($2,500–$7,500 yearly) for kids 2–4 and a six-week summer camp starting in July.

French Institute Alliance Française
22 E. 60th St., near Madison Ave.
212-355-6100, ext. 214
fiaf.org
Younger students learn all things français through songs, games, and stories, while older children move through the rules of grammar, vocabulary, written and spoken dialogue, and some of the fundamentals of French culture ($190–$285 for eleven weeks). The institute also offers special classes for bilingual students, as well as one-on-one lessons.

LanguageLunch
54 Franklin St., near Broadway
212-226-9926
languagelunch.com
LanguageLunch’s kids program teaches youngsters ages 21⁄2 to 7 languages ranging from Spanish and French to Italian and German ($350). All classes are limited to six children, and instructors keep their attention through storytelling, songs, and arts-and-crafts projects; private instruction is available ($720 for twelve hours).

The Language Workshop for Children 
888 Lexington Ave., at 66th St.
212-396-0830
thibauttechnique.com
This school utilizes the Thibaut technique, which involves structured play groups and specially composed vocabulary-building songs. They offer mommy-and-me classes called French for Tots and Spanish for Tots for kids ages 6 months to 3 years ($495–$941). French or Spanish for Children for ages 3–10 is $541–$1,705; preschool program, $1,881–$4,995.

Talent Agents
 
Wilhelmina Kids
300 Park Ave. So., near 23rd St., second fl.
212-473-1253
willykids.com
Convinced your kid is movie cute? From Gap ads to Spider-Man 2 parts, Wilhelmina Kids (a division of Wilhelmina Models), with three superagents, has more placement bragging rights than any other agency in the city.

Drama

Acting Creatively
122 W. 26th St., near Sixth Ave., 11th fl.
646-336-7985
actingcreatively.com
Instructor Kerry Lea hosts eight-week sessions focusing on improvisation and character development for kids 7–16 ($200–$300), as well as periodic workshops with specific themes like auditioning and circus performance ($65). Students are invited to participate in an Industry Showcase, where they show off their skills for casting directors and agents.

Brooklyn Arts Exchange
421 Fifth Ave., at 8th St., Park Slope, Brooklyn
718-832-0018
bax.org
This popular center for the arts offers K–12 children after-school classes in dance, circus arts, drama, video, and musical theater ($117–$250) plus a seven-week summer arts program: Each week, kids in grades K–5 focus on one of six different specialties for $285 per week. There are also theater and dance intensives for ages 13 through 17.

Developing Artists
48 W. 21st St., near Fifth Ave.
212-929-2228
developingartists.com
This theater space offers classes—including Basic Acting, Developing the Dramatic Idea, and Improvisation—geared toward students who are truly passionate about the performing arts. Workshops are $25; semester-long classes start at $400; sit in on a free class to see if it fits.

Drama Kids International
180 W. 135th St.
212-268-0054
dramakids.com
Kids ages 5 to 17 participate in confidence- and self- esteem-building activities in this Harlem-based program. Verbal and movement skill exercises culminate with the presentation of scripted productions for friends and family at the end of the year. Tuition is $195 for twelve weeks with a free trial class.

The Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute
115 E. 15th St., near Third Ave.
212-533-5500
newyork-strasberg.com
If your child or teen is especially passionate about theater, this serious-minded institute is a good bet. The application process requires an in-depth interview, an essay, and recommendation letters; students can enroll in their age group and study acting, singing, and music and dance. Tuition for twelve weeks is $550 for ages 7 to 11; $500 for ages 12 to 17, or $750 with electives.

Tada! Youth Theater
15 W. 28th St., near Broadway, 3rd fl.
212-252-1619
tadatheater.com
Tada! offers a wide array of age-appropriate classes (most are around $200 to $275) in acting and musical theater, in addition to running the community service-oriented Resident Youth Ensemble Program (ages 8 to 18), which gives members the opportunity to perform for the general public, take advanced-level classes, and see Broadway shows. Weeklong sessions ($300) are also available during the summer.

 
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From the Fall 2004 edition of the New York Family Guide
   
   
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