Northwest Ohio has gained another asset in the performing arts community. Toledo Metropolitan Academy for Performing Arts, also known as Toledo Met, is located in downtown Sylvania and offers a student-centered, safe environment. Carolyn Savage and Dr. Stephanie Cole took their experience from the Toledo Ballet Guild to create a program that provides top-level training in dance, acting and singing. Offering a full musical theater curriculum, Toledo Met provides training in a way that remains focused on a healthy environment for all students to thrive.
“Our goal is that kids will have a discernible skill when they leave our doors and also confidence to succeed in whatever it is they do outside of performing,” Savage says.
Toledo Met opened in the summer of 2022 but has quickly established key relationships in the region. Toledo Met is partnering with Oregon City Schools, which has recently built a new state-of-the-art performing arts center, as well as collaborating with University of Michigan Department of Musical Theater.
Toledo Met recognizes that the world of dance is evolving, and many productions or higher education opportunities are seeking performers who are a “triple threat.” As a way to prepare students for this change, world-renowned instructors are not only brought in for dance, but for acting and voice as well.
“All of our teachers have at least a bachelor’s degree in performing arts or professional experience. Many of them have both,” Savage says of their high quality instructors. “We also have teachers coming down from the University of Michigan for weekend workshops.”
In addition to voice and acting, students can choose to study ballet, jazz, tap or hip-hop. Parent-child classes begin at two and a half years old and Creative Movement begins at age three. These programs focus on musicality, rhythm and coordination. Toledo Met places an emphasis on parents following the child, as they understand not all kids want to separate from their parents at these young ages. Beginning in January, daytime parent-child classes will be offered. Ballet, tap and jazz classes begin at age five.
While other local programs typically run from fall to summer, Toledo Met operates by semesters, so that students who missed fall classes are able to join in January.
Students are asked to wear jazz or tap shoes. Science shows a neurological connection when movement is associated with sound. This helps with not only remembering dance steps but providing body awareness.
A unique approach Toledo Met takes on student well-being is participating in athletic and performance conditioning. Instead of taking a more traditional boot camp style of fitness, students condition by participating in yoga, pilates and resilience training. Conditioning benefits include increased muscle strength, cardiovascular and social emotional health. Toledo Met’s Athletic and performance conditioning is also open to athletes. This conditioning reduces the risk of sports-related injuries.
“We know the amount of anxiety that kids are having today is rising. This training and conditioning really helps raise their metabolic awareness and teaches them healthy ways to cope under stress,” Savage explains.
Beginning in 2023 there will be two showcases per year that will not interfere with school performances.
Parents can find more information about classes and enrollment at toledomet.com