Some believe theater was the first art form. A primitive, desperate attempt to make meaning out of the random chaos of life. A fist-shaking cry into the dark:
"Look at me! I exist! I feel and hurt and love and hope! I'm here... I matter!"
Cathy and I love to dance. Mambo is our favorite. A peculiar hybrid of styles picked up along the trade routes of history - complex African rhythms, intricate European melodies, Indigenous mystery and sorrow, Gypsy passion. All brought together in that grand theater of magic - Cuba. The word mambo means "conversing with the gods." When you've been dancing all night long, drums pounding, horns blaring, singers wailing, there comes a point where your soul seems to fly from your body, fly up and out and merge with the spirits. You lose yourself in an ecstasy of union. Nothing else is real. Just that moment, that merging, that magic.
That's what acting is for us.
Just like mambo, we believe in a hybrid style of acting. Why limit yourself to one technique, one approach, one rhythm? We believe in borrowing from all traditions, like trade routes, melding them together to make a powerhouse individual style that, when witnessed, blows people out of their small sense of reality and into the realm of the gods.
That's what acting should be. Magic. Ceremony. Transcendence.
Otherwise why would anyone put up with all the indignities the actor's life presents? Why not just go get a comfortable, secure job? If you don't want to put your whole being on the line, tear open your heart, your soul, your spirit, to see what's really there, what you're capable of, what spirit is waiting to inhabit you and tell their story through the willing offering of your body, then don't come to us. Because we will push you to the limit - just like the drums and wailing horns do. Open that door and invite you to leap through, fly into what you're capable of being, what is waiting to be tasted. Dancing with the gods.
We love to nurture talent, to see the beauty, the gift, the seed that's deep inside each artist. It's an honor to be entrusted with that jewel. A sacred honor you might say. And it's a dance. We're partners. Not teacher and student, but dancers entranced by a game of wonder and mystery.
Let's see what we can discover together.
Here's what some of our students have to say:
I've never felt so safe and comfortable on stage, in front of a camera, & even in my own skin. Paul & Cathy's fearless teaching has built a strong core for my work. They are gentle yet challenging, patient yet fierce, loving yet straight-up! They teach you how to acknowledge & own your deepest fears. They know how to lead you to reach your full potential as an actor & human being!" -- Feliz Ramirez
"Paul and Cathy are committed to nurturing the development of each student's individual needs, using a variety of different techniques to do so. Classes are first and foremost FUN, safe and intimate, there is no judgement! I am more comfortable and confident in my own being, which has dramatically helped improve how I audition and perform. Words can't do this class justice! " -- Jessica Damouni
"Paul and Cathy have opened a whole new world of expressive possibilities for me.
Their insight, care, and love have made my journey into acting a true delight for which I am very grateful."-- Louie "KR.ONE" Gasparro
"Paul and Cathy's style of teaching complement each other perfectly. It's been a spiritual journey together, discovering the true artist hidden inside. I highly recommend this class to the actor looking to dive into the professional world." -- Miah Kane
"Paul and Cathy Calderon's classes have not only helped me grow as an actor but for the first time, to truly center myself and free myself of fears and limitations. Their techniques have given me an insight into characters that I have never seen before. They showed me the ability to attack a role...take chances with my choices, and to never fear pushing further. Their love for acting shows through their attention and emotion given to the students in class. My expectations were blown away and I look forward to growing with them each week." -- Brian Pollock
*** See below for more in-depth testimonials.
*** CLASSES ARE ON HIATUS UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
For Registration Info for any of our classes email us at:
ACTING FOR THEATER & FILM - Co-taught with Catherine Calderon **
For Professional & Advanced Level Actors
Interview, audition or referral required
(12 week session )
To register: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuition - $ 310 / month for 12-week term, one class per week (ongoing students) - $930 total
** Catherine Calderon is Paul's wife and long-time collaborator - yes, a sometimes stormy yet always exciting and fruitful relationship... She's had multiple careers in dance, theater & film directing & producing, film production sound design, yoga and dance teacher, and adjunct professor in film departments of various universities and schools including CUNY Graduate School and Film & Video Arts, and has been a visiting instructor at NYU Tisch Graduate Film School & The Lee Strasberg Institute. She has directed productions at The Public Theater, Naked Angels, Intar, Here, and LAByrinth among others, and was the first Artistic Director of LAByrinth Theater Company and has wonderful memories of those early turbulent, wildly creative years working with some of the most talented, passionate people she's ever known. Some of her film credits include "A Bailar!" "Dancing with the Spirits" "Crossing the Styx" "Paris is Burning" "Rocks with Wings" and "Cissy Houston - Sweet Inspiration." In her parallel life as a yoga, dance and healing guide, she founded Shambhala Yoga & Dance Center in Brooklyn, which she directed for nine years, and now leads retreats, workshops and trainings world-wide. Her other passion is working with traumatized horses, and is a certified horse trainer. She and Paul recently purchases a 6 acre farm in North Florida where she takes in rescued horses and loves them up enough to get them ready for safe, nurturing new homes.
*** HEAR WHAT MORE OF OUR STUDENTS HAVE TO SAY...
"I was delighted by the harmony they had created between a place of serious craft and dedication, with that of warmth, humor and safety. These are the perfect conditions for the actor to explore - further than they would normally - and to be consistently taken out of their comfort zone, but with confidence and trust in the directions given. It is incredible to watch both Paul and Cathy direct the scenes, and watch their professional actors, already giving strong performance, be pushed to new directions, and to create endless energy sources for new exploration. It was awe inspiring to then see the effect of these powerful transformations - on character and performance and actor - and to watch and feel the scenes burst into life on stage in this manner. I've rarely seen anything like that! Testimony to their skills and experience as professional directors as well as teachers. I look forward to continuing my work with them with excitement, exhilaration and just the right amount of nerves! Thank you!" -- Joanna Pickering
"Studying with Paul and Cathy has been a process of self discovery, development and continuous learning which I hope to continue for a long time. They work with movement/dance, breath, psychology, and the spirit, to reach your inner depths to give you the tools for powerful and authentic exploration and delivery of theatrical works. The word performance is not in their vocabulary because they believe in giving birth to life, a character. Their essence is pure love. Unlike other master classes, where you perform your work for the teacher and peers, are critiqued and then you put the piece away, they push you to your limits, by exploring the piece from the inside. Every class starts off with an exercise to go deeper, a process of self discovery using breath, tantric techniques to develop intimacy with your scene partner, enneagrams, Carl Jung's theories, movement tools for brain elasticity, and many more, followed by an intense presentation of theatrical works by the participants." -- Simona DeFeo
The thing that separates Cathy and Paul as instructors is how they truly invest in the person who they're teaching (guiding), a mentorship to not only help them develop as actors/performers, but as individuals in this crazy industry. They really made me feel that they cared. Their approach really pushed me to explore within myself. It always stuck to me when they would say, "Question your choices. What might be true right now, might not be true the next time". That truly stuck to me because as an actor, you have to be able to adapt and explore and let yourself be truly vulnerable in order to grow. They taught me to pay attention to details - subtle movements (twitch, looks, breathing) which can create huge impacts for the characters and aesthetics. I'm forever grateful." -- Ben Venturina
"I am so grateful for Paul and Cathy. Their class has expanded my mind, heart and soul to a greater understanding of the craft, myself and others. They are here to cultivate with love and spirit. I am forever grateful for being part of their community." -- Jeronimo Ek