Dek: Encinitas-based Prodigy is dedicated to developing young talent
If you’ve got a singing, dancing or acting prodigy at home, Prodigy has something for you.
Prodigy Kids Performing Arts, the brainchild of Encinitas resident Caryn Hall, opened its doors in September, with a prodigious slate of classes for youth age 0 to 18.
Now Hall is expanding her reach, with Prodigy Players, a tuition-free children’s theater troupe that will be “as vibrant and creative as its community.”
Hall started out as a dancer, and performed with the Royal Ballet of London. She also acted in musical theater productions and studied playwriting with acclaimed English playwright David Hare. While she still loves to perform, her major focus, since moving to San Diego in 1999, has been teaching and inspiring young people.
“I love the valuable lessons that theater brings to kids: self-expression, improvisation, confidence, body awareness, humor, empathy, and the ability to interpret a script. These skills can enrich their lives, and help with job interviews, giving speeches or thinking on your feet.”
The 30 classes offered at Prodigy’s Encinitas storefront location include: ‘Mommy and Me’ (age 0-5), during which “daddies, mommies, nannies or grannies” participate in group music, movement, craft and play activities. There’s ‘Musical Theater for Tweens & Teens’ and ‘Musical Minis’ for 2-4 year olds (with adult), which helps little ones “learn to love, experience and understand music.” ‘Dancin’ Divas and Dudes’ is also geared for 2-4 year olds (there’s a dance class for 4-18 year olds, too), with a focus on body awareness, dance terminology and creative expression.
Other offerings include ‘Guitar Grooves,’ ‘Singers and Songwriters,’ and ‘Broadway Sprouts,’ a beginning Musical Theater class for 4-8 year olds.
At the end of every three-month session, students will stage a “Share,” a mini performance for everyone who’s taken class during that time period.
“Kids are giant sponges,” says Hall, who shares instructional duties with four other teaching artists.
With her teaching background, Hall feels especially adept at adapting plays “so everyone can have a part.” And that inspired her to begin the Prodigy Players, for youth age 6-18.
They’ll perform every fourth Saturday, beginning December 18, at the Encinitas Library, as part of “Hands on Arts,” a free morning of fine arts, crafts and theater.
Most of the funding for her ambitious programs comes from Hall herself.
“I have saved over the years to do something I’ve always wanted to do,” she says. “It’s a dream come true to have a studio and a troupe learning the craft and loving the fun.”
The first full Prodigy Players production is “Petunia,” a ‘barnyard jamboree’ geared for 4-12 year olds, with a message about the power of reading.
“My goal,” says the voluble, affable Hall, “is to split the performing troupe between the 6-12 year olds and 13-18 year olds. We’re starting a solo show development workshop, where teens write their own material. I think they have a lot to say. Now all I need is the participants!”
Prodigy Performing Arts and the Prodigy Players are housed at 116 Encinitas Blvd.
The first free ‘fourth Saturday’ performance and “Hands on Arts” event at the Encinitas Library is December 18, 10-11:30am.
Further information is at prodigykidsperformingarts.com; 858-336-0878.