Today, January 31st, is National Inspire Your Heart With Art Day, a day “to ponder how art affects your heart.” I had to make a post for this national holiday because I don’t know who I’d be, where I’d be if I didn’t have the arts in my life. The arts have shaped as a person, given me something to live for, and most importantly I love what the arts stand for. No matter what kind of art (acting, singing, dancing, painting, poetry, pottery, cinema, etc) the arts give people hope, inspiration, encouragement to express oneself without having to change who you are and so much more.
Art to me is universal it has a way to communicate to people no matter where you are from or what language you speak, it touches people in the heart. When I watch a good movie, even a foreign film I feel it, when I hear music without words I feel it, and when I watch a dancer I feel it because they feel it. Two people can see a painting and have completely different interpretations but they both still connect to it. That’s the power of Art, it communicates beyond words, and it has an inconceivable power to change us, move us, and inspire our hearts.
As an acting teacher I always hope that what I am teaching is resonating with my students and that they can feel the passion I have for what I am teaching. As a teacher I want my kids to feel inspired that they have the possibility to do anything they want, express themselves freely without any judgement, and to learn how to communicate honestly with others and be able to share real emotions. Growing up I was shy, had social anxiety but the one place that made me feel at home was my acting class. I was able to be myself, I felt alive and that I had a purpose.
This past week I asked some of my students to share what the arts mean to them. And as I write this, I get tears in my eyes from the responses I’ve received because I never thought I could make an impact on someone.
I’m going to share some comments from my students that I received but if you can do me a favor for this week, pick one of the following to show your love for the arts or if you never think about the arts still pick one and see how it moves you.
- Visit an art gallery
- Read a book
- Listen to a new genre of music
- Go to a ballet performance or any dance performance
- Go to a conert
- Take a an art class
- Watch an art or music class on YouTube
- See an inspirational film or a genre that you don’t really watch a lot.
- Share YOUR ART with others.
If you have something coming up, a show, performance, gallery, let me know because I would love to be there and support or leave where I can find it in the comments! If you’ve never shared your art before, take a chance this week, your art deserves to be heard.
“I hadn’t taken an acting class in 9 years and when I met Miss Danielle for the first time I remember the genuinely warm welcome she showed to me and to any new person I’ve seen take her classes. I was a new student in the class and she did the absolute most to make me feel comfortable. For me personally, that’s one of the most rare things to find in a teacher. Making sure that each student is happy and comfortable. She’s a teacher who is always fully concerned with her students well-being. In the past, I’ve known teachers who couldn’t care less about that or they had much more important things to worry about. Also it’s possible that teachers sometimes just don’t realize how important it is to be aware of a students overall mood, but she does.
Since taking classes with Miss Danielle for almost year and a half I’ve come to realize just how great of an acting teacher she really is. She has many different ways of teaching, so it’s always interesting and new. One day we could be working on monologues and scenes, the next we could be watching her Uta Hagen DVD, or even sharing our own personal stories with the class in order to become more open with our emotions. She goes the extra mile to make all her students the best actors they can be. She lends out her plays for all to read, and if she films any material we do in class, she takes time out of her day to send it to us.
There’s no doubt that my acting skills have grown but more importantly my confidence has too. She’s given me a place where I’m free of cruel judgement, that I’ve gotten by just being myself in the past. I can be free to cry, free to laugh, free to be me.
Because of her considerate and kind-hearted personality she is definitely one of the most approachable people. Whenever anyone needs advice or just someone to talk to she’s always there. And whenever I doubt myself she’s always someone I can count on that will believe in me or encourage me to keep going and pursue my goals.
One of the many things I’ve taken away from taking classes with Miss Danielle is that acting class has to be a safe space for everyone to be able to reveal their true colors, so we can truly grow as people and as actors. Which is exactly what she has achieved. But I can’t thank her enough for always making me feel like I’m capable of doing anything. She has given me much more than acting lessons, but life lessons as well.” – Summer Martin
“Ms. Danielle’s acting class has helped me in so many different ways. When I go to class I feel like I can be myself and express my feelings with no worries of being judged. I have loved every minute of her classes and feel as if I am really growing as an actress. I have set goals for 2018 and believe that Ms. Danielle can help me reach those goals and achieve more than that . I feel like she really helped me last year and am excited to spend 2018 in her class.” – Ally Menezes
“This class has helped me so much!!! Breaking up the script into moments helped me get more organized and helped me get better, stronger emotions! Also, it gave me a reason to wake up on Saturdays. 😜 “- Jason Brewer
“The arts have helped me by giving me a chance to express myself, be unique, make lots of friends, and have fun!”- Leah Han
“Acting class has helped me show more emotion in scenes. Acting class has helped me be better at actively listening to the other person in the scene and making eye contact. Ms. Danielle has helped me with all of these things. We play games in class with a koosh ball that helps us focus and watch the person that has the ball. Ms. Danielle’s acting class has helped me improve so much in the past year. Thank you for being such a great teacher!” – Addy Waugh
“To me, the arts are a lifestyle, something where you embrace people’s special abilities and talents and you get to put smiles or tears on the faces of the audience. You tell a story through what you do, sort of like a fairytale, and that’s how I feel about them. I get to not only do something I love but I get to do something I love with people I love. I get to entertain others alongside my friends and family, and it makes me so very happy to know that what I’m doing makes others happy. Without the arts, I wouldn’t be who I was today. It’s transformed me into someone who is confident in themselves and not afraid to put themselves out there. Ever since I was just a baby, my mom would dance with me and tell me, “One day you’re going to be a dancer!” And “You’ll thank me one day!” Which shows how important the arts are to me. Danielle has helped me boost my confidence as an actor and as a person. She has taught me so much knowledge about acting and how to be a good person. Every Monday and Wednesday when I walk into her class, she immediately puts a smile on my face, whether it’s just her smiling or giving me a hug. I’ve been able to tell her everything and she’s helped me be able to truly draw out my emotions when I’m performing.
Sometimes, I’ll even see her in church and I can easily just walk up to her and she’ll immediately greet me and make me feel special. Danielle is so caring and I don’t know where I would be without her. Without Danielle, the arts wouldn’t have had such a big impact on my life. Thank you Danielle for all you have done, I don’t know where I would be without you.”
– Cole Thompson
“I think acting class helped me express real emotions and you taught me so many valuable acting skills that I can use at auditions or anywhere. I remember one time when I went to an audition and we had to do a cold read in front of a camera and we only had about 10 mins to look over the script. And I used what I learned from acting for camera at the audition. I felt that I did pretty well and was proud of myself that I did my first audition with a cold read.” – Autumn Clodt
“Acting class has helped me open up about my feelings and emotions. This class has given me an outlet to express what I feel, and has helped me grow tremendously in the arts. Ms. Danielle has taught me that acting should be less of, “Oh look at me! I’m talking loud & moving my hands!” and more true and raw. I love her quote, “Be simple, be clear, but most of all be sincere”, and is one which I live by on my acting. Danielle makes me super excited to come class every week and strive to improve each time I get cast in a new role.” – Sofia Candela
“Acting class has helped me so much. Before I took classes I didn’t know anything about acting, and I was too afraid to even try it. But as I took your classes they helped me more then anyone else’s classes have helped me. You are always a good friend and teacher and I know that if I’m ever feeling down I can just go to one of your classes and all the negative feelings I had before disappear. Although in acting we may not always use a happy script acting will always be my happy place.”
– Trinity Stinson
“Ms Danielle has done so much for me! She has given me confidence in my acting, and helped me realize that I am good enough, just being me. One thing that I will always remember is that as an actress it was very hard to let people see me cry. I thought it was a sign of weakness, one day we were doing a video for Mother’s Day. We had to talk about different things of why you love your mom, and I was the very last one to go. I kept telling myself not to cry, after a couple minutes she turned off the camera and asked “Where is my usual confident and sweet Lexie” and I said “This is a hard subject, because my mom means so much to me” and I start balling. From that day my acting has skyrocketed, just recently I did a monologue and I had to cry. When I performed it, I cried, but not as much as I want or as I practiced. Then I look over at her and she tearing up and my heart exploded, knowing that she was proud of me. She saw the potential in me and never gave up! I love Ms. Danielle for all that she has inspired me to be! Thank you so much for believing in me!! – Lexie Gilstrap