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During COVID-19’s spread, and to help enforce necessary social distancing practices, North Texas Performing Arts has just announced a “virtual performing arts giga-centre” as it expands programming, offering more than 30 new classes online that started Thursday, March 26.

The wide variety of classes range from costume design, Shakespeare Bootcamp and intro to comedy writing to the ever-important, ever-popular Disney Heroine Appreciation. They’re all offered a la carte, in one hour sessions, since our schedules are all a little more flexible than usual.

“We see other performing arts groups pulling back operations, and we’re doing the opposite,” says NTPA CEO Darrell Rodenbaugh.  “No longer bound by physical space limitations, we’ll be offering more classes, more rehearsals, lesson and performances than we did before the Covid-19 outbreak, creating a sort of performing arts giga-centre.”

Scholarships are also available for families who can not afford the $9.99 price point. A full class schedule and registration are available now at NTPA.org/virtual.

NTPA did extensive director training last week, teaching the staff how to utilize the new online medium so that rehearsals for their 40-odd productions could be moved online.

“In many ways, the “virtual world” is superior to live rehearsals or classrooms” says NTPA Head of School and NYU Tisch School of the Arts Masters graduate Mike Mazur. “The participant can review the recordings and analyze their performance, and the Director can hone in on the actors expression and vocality.”

Read more: Ways to Remotely Support the Arts During the Coronavirus Outbreak

NTPA also announced its “North Texas’s Got Talent” competition earlier this week, offering adult and youth performers the opportunity to “take the stage” virtually and compete for cash and other prizes. NTPA expects this online performance program to be the largest virtual all-ages talent contest ever staged, as adult professionals, amateurs, and moms and dads together with youth of all ages compete. The talent competition will consist of four regional competitions with host cities Dallas, Plano, Fairview and Frisco, and a global competition for North Texas and beyond.

There will be 5 different age divisions per competition, ranging from entry level to a featured Adult competition. For a small entry fee, participants can submit their video entries to any or all of these competitions, and win cash prizes and NTPA scholarships. Tickets will be made available for for online audiences around the world. Full details available at NTPA.org/talent.

NTPA’s efforts are a part of their “Together We Can Beat This” campaign, with a goal to keep adult and youth performing arts lovers engaged and productive while its physical locations are closed by state and local mandate.

Aayushi Pramanik

Aayushi Pramanik is a student at Williams College. When not working or studying economics and math, she enjoys dancing, singing, and taking countless photos with her camera.