Local performing arts group continues to grow
Wednesday, 02 April 2014 13:47

A Brand New Day moves to a new location

by Nicole Rodman

    Last spring, Jeanette Campbell and Cathy Steffen set out to develop a performing arts program  open to people of all ages and abilities.
    The result — A Brand New Day Performing Arts Group — is now celebrating its first anniversary with a brand new studio.
    When classes first began nearly one year ago, the group was meeting once a week at the Dundalk American Legion Post 38 hall on Dundalk Avenue.
    As the months passed and enrollment doubled, Campbell, the program’s director, and Steffen, the theater instructor, realized that they needed to find a new space that would give the program room to develop.
    “We just couldn’t grow there,” Campbell said of the former space.
    Moving just down the road, the program now occupies Suite 103 in the rear of 40 South Dundalk Avenue (the building that houses Dundalk Pharmacy).
    Over the course of a few weeks, Campbell enlisted the help of family and friends, including her husband and nephew, to turn the empty space into a theatre and dance studio.
    “It was a family-and-friend collaboration to get all of this done,” Campbell acknowledged.

One of the largest renovations to the new space was the installation of a hardwood sprung dance floor.
    According to Campbell, the springs in the new floor make the surface easier on dancers’ joints.
    Campbell and her crew also built a new wall, painted and hung mirrors to complete the studio space.
    Spring session classes began at the newly-finished studio on March 10.
    For the spring session, A Brand New Day is offering a number of dance and theatre classes for both children and adults.
     Dance classes, taught by 18-year dance veteran Jenna Riley, include ballet and tap for children ages 2 to 5, ballet and modern dance for ages 10 and up and teen and adult hip-hop dance classes.
    The program’s theater clases are taught by Cathy Steffen with the assistance of Priscilla Wise.
    Steffen also serves as an adjunct theater professor at the Community College of Baltimore County.
    This session, Steffen is teaching an adult lyrical class as well as a class for children called “Want to Be in a Play Acting II.”
    The children are currently working to mount a production of Hansel and Gretel.
    While classes have already started, new students are always welcome.
    “We will find a part for them,” Campbell said.
    Campbell and Steffen are also working to enroll students in a number of new classes set to begin later this spring.
    At the end of April, A Brand New Day will begin offering Zumba classes led by certified Zumba instructor Shannon Pouncy.
    Other classes currently open for enrollment include ballet and tap for ages 6 to 9, musical theater, improvisational acting classes for ages 10 and up and a “Mommy and Me” creative movement class for children ages 1 to 3.
    The program also offers private lessons for dance and theater.
    Following the spring session, A Brand New Day will offer a summer camp as well as summer classes on evenings and weekends.
    In keeping with the mission of accommodating students of all ability levels, classes are open to all students, including those with special needs.
    “We’re open to working with people with all different abilities and disabilities,” Campbell explained.
    The first-floor studio is wheelchair-accessible and instructors have experience working with those with special needs.
    Cathy Steffen was formerly involved with The Sky is the Limit performing arts program.
    Like Steffen’s current venture, The Sky is the Limit also works with individuals of all ability levels.
    As Steffen noted, she works to accommodate all students in her theater classes by adapting scripts when necessary.
    “I’m streamlining the parts so they can do those characters,” she noted.
    Though the program is still settling into a new studio, Campbell and Steffen are excited to continue expanding the program.
    “We’re hoping to keep growing, adding more classes,” Campbell explained, adding, “Everything takes time to grow.”
    For more information on A Brand New Day Performing Arts Group, call Jeanette Campbell at 443-804-4181 or Cathy Steffen at 410-282-0939 or visit the website www.