Redding Arts Project
What began in 1997 as the Redding Ballet Academie has transformed into the Redding Arts Project. And while ballet is still a major component, RAP provides a home for all artists with quality instruction in dance, voice and theater.
“People often assume we only offer ballet classes because we are best known for our annual ‘The Nutcracker’ ballet,” says owner Diana Christensen. “While ballet is our main focus and the foundation of our training, we are ultimately a performing arts studio. We train dancers of all ages and levels.”
Started nearly 25 years ago by Cindy Michaels as a space for the Redding City Ballet Company to rehearse and train, Christensen took over in 2012 and changed the name to encompass and grow other areas of performance.
“Our story is appealing because although Redding is a small town, we are fortunate to have our own ballet and theatre companies here in the North State that create and perform large-scale productions on stages like the Cascade Theatre,” says Christensen.
And having nonprofits like the Redding City Ballet and Redding Theatre Company allows local talent to stay local to train and grow – talent that includes “costumers, set designers/builders, dancers, choreographers, singers, musicians and more.”
Along with Administrative Director and Costume Mistress Julie Smyrnos and Ballet Mistress Ashley Ramsour, Christensen and RAP work to train artists of all levels and ages.
“We value small class size for individualized instruction and focus on teaching correct technique incorporated into age-appropriate activities,” RAP’s website says.
“The Redding Arts Project focuses on the whole dancer with an anatomy-based curriculum to ensure correct technique and the safety of growing bodies,” Christensen says.
And also to keep the arts alive through teaching and mentoring.
“We have a wonderful team of creative and professional teachers at the RAP,” Christensen says. “Under their supervision, we also have some junior teachers who are developing their teaching skills through internships.”
Most recently, RAP’s theatre class performed a musical that was written, composed, directed, choreographed and costumed by students at their Festival of Theatre and Dance.
And some of RAP’s alumni have gone on to do amazing things, representing the studio and community nationally and abroad. Nicolina Lawson created Ballet North Texas, an up-and-coming company, while other alumni have graced stages in places like Italy, France and Nashville. Some have danced with companies like American Ballet Theater, Joffrey Ballet and Sacramento Ballet. Other talented alumni have toured the world performing on cruise ships and traveling with Shows like “Peter Pan” and “Miss Saigon.”
“When our students grow as artists and performers, I am inspired,” Christensen says. “Those of us who teach, encourage, train, motivate and inspire students see our ’work’ as serving those who have a desire to flourish in their art.”
TheRAP – The Redding Arts Project
1726 Market St, Redding