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Theater, dance schools team up to serve Doylestown-area youth


When Theatre Arts Center in New Britain closed in August, it took part of the community with it. Having been the main theater center for aspiring performers, its closure rattled many students and their families.

It had offered a space for kids, teens and adults to experience theater and learn from the best. Musical Director at Lenape Middle School Jaime Rogers, who joined the center back in 2017 as music director decided she wasn’t going to let the art of theater disappear.

The idea first came to Rogers and her business partner, Kevin Handy when the theater center closed. Both had kids fully ingrained in it, performing shows annually. Rogers and Handy decided to partner up with Impact Dance Complex to offer a space for students to explore their love of theater once again.

Rogers and Tony Azzaro, part-owner of Impact Dance Complex, have been close contacts for many years.

“Upon hearing the news about TAC, it seemed a natural fit to combine industry dance and musical theater to give young aspiring professionals a home to get a complete dance and acting education” said Handy.

The new Doylestown Theatre Academy will function as a seasonal theater production company with an annual winter show, summer shows and summer camps. The project already has two-week summer camps lined up for 2024. The summer camps will provide training for the summer shows.

“Crazy for You” a romantic musical comedy, is set to run July 29 through Aug. 9 with three performances on Aug. 9 and Aug. 10. “SpongeBob SquarePants,” is set to run from Aug. 12 through 24 with three performances on Aug. 23 and Aug. 24.

In addition to the musical aspect, both Rogers and Handy believe their students should be exposed to everything offered.

“We highly recommend taking dance, musical theater and acting classes at Impact Dance Complex, where much of our creative team teaches classes year-round,” explained Rogers and Handy.

The studio offered a variety of dance classes, including hip-hop, jazz, ballet, tap and musical theater. But Rogers and Handy say they’re constantly looking to “build and expand” programming.

“Don’t be surprised to see new and diverse offerings throughout the seasons,” they said.

The acting program offered continues to grow.

“While currently offering some unique techniques such as improv and stage combat, we’ll look to broaden its horizons as it gets settled into Impact Dance Complex” they said.

This isn’t the first time that Rogers and Handy have teamed up to help benefit and better the community.

Back in 2020 during the COVID pandemic, they built a school in Handy’s basement to “help working families facilitate online learning.” The pair hired two teachers to work with their children. Ten attended during the 2021-’22 season before returning to Central Bucks School District in the fall.

Impact Dance Complex’s new location on Skyron Drive in Buckingham Township will provide rehearsal space for Doylestown Theatre Arts. According to Rogers and Handy, Impact Dance Complex is looking forward to continuing to build alongside DTA, “and providing its staff a home base to allow its young performers to proudly showcase their talents and produce professional quality work.”

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