We at the Angela Floyd Schools are beyond excited to announce the creation of our NEW acting class for students ages 8 and up interested in pursuing the study of performance! Featuring a proprietary curriculum created for AFS by professional actor, experienced teaching artist, and AFS staff member Jessie Holder Tourtellotte, this acting class is our newest way of offering you additional value in the performing arts at AFS.

While you may find that there exist children’s and community theatre options in Knoxville, you will not find a curriculum or instructor of this caliber and background elsewhere. At AFS, we are already dedicated to providing the best possible arts education to your student, and the welcome addition of this acting program is a natural extension of our commitment to excellence in pedagogy, joy in the performing arts, and lifelong benefits to our students.

For students who love to perform, this class is the best news on the scene. With school budgets cut left and right, often the arts suffer first and many schools don’t even offer an in school theatre class, and many have reduced theatre’s presence in school to club status. Those that do have classes often divide their focus between teaching acting, tech work, history, and theatre “appreciation”, and the art of performance does not become the predominant focus.

In this class, we will focus on a structured approach to acting, from playing actions and objectives to analyzing text, from scene work to expressive movement, from the use of articulation and the voice to performance energy. The student who dreams of the lead in the school play can’t go wrong with real, professional training in the techniques that make their performance infinitely more polished than what untrained peers can deliver. Students interested in college theatre will find that an extracurricular course not only better prepares them for those auditions, but shines on their resume. The dancer who wants to improve their expression and performance level will find that an understanding of storytelling with one’s body and face is paramount! (Not to mention that for the dancer who wishes to take the work beyond school, much of the work in the world for dancers is narrative and expressive). The vocalist who wants to bring more dimension to their songs, pursue a future in musicals or opera, or add another skill set to their tool belt will discover that skills in acting are imperative. All those who already perform, and those who wish to, will gradually find that without the ability to communicate effectively, tell a story, and grab an audience’s attention, all the bells and whistles in the world do not a performance make!

While the class will focus on skill development and acting technique, students will be encouraged to bring their monologue, scene, music and voice work, musical theatre, and dance material to class for performance and audition preparation so that the work we’ve done on their acting skills can be implemented and applied to those pieces in preparation for their presentation! The students will receive professional feedback and an opportunity for peer review and study.

Beyond performing itself, acting training improves reading comprehension and analysis skills, articulation, and confidence. In college interviews, job interviews, and public speaking events in your child’s future, the skills gained in an acting class will prove invaluable. The unique structure of acting classes provides an environment in which every student can explore self expression, improve their personal presentation, and leave any fears of standing up in front of peers or superiors behind them. There is truly something to the adage “if you can perform, you can do anything”. Students who study acting develop skills to take on any challenge and face it with a smile and the serene confidence that they know exactly how they want to present themselves and be perceived.

Studying at AFS is a dream in and of itself, with state of the art studio space and mirrors, access to music sound systems and monitors for displaying sample scenes, and a highly trained administrative staff dedicated to making every student in every discipline comfortable and welcome, there can be no better place to begin your pursuit of acting, performance, and the arts on the whole. Please talk to us today about the benefits that this wonderful new program can provide for your young actor, dancer, vocalist, or energetic student with a dream!

*AFS Instructor Jessie Holder Tourtellotte, holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre and Acting Performance from the University of the Arts’ Ira Brind School of Theatre Arts in Philadelphia, where she also became the student instigator of the Ballet Emphasis Dance Minor, and completed a senior thesis in intersectionality between narrative ballet and narrative theatre. She is a fairly recent transplant to Knoxville by way of New York City, where she most recently appeared as Juliet in The Poetics Theatre Collective’s Romeo and Juliet at The Secret Theatre while continuing her vocal studies under Forrest McClendon (Tony Award Nominee, Scottsboro Boys). She was most recently seen as Marjorie in Extremities at the Clarence Brown Lab Theatre under the direction of David Ratliff. Jessie has also served as a teaching artist with Acting for Young People, lead teaching artist with Treehouse for Creative Kids, instructor and ballet mistress with Orizon Dance, T.A. and instructor with the University of the Arts Summer Pre College Program the Rutgers Summer Acting Conservatory at the Mason Gross School for the arts etc. She has worked as a producing artistic director with her own two theatre companies, and is collaborating with her husband to create an independent classical theatre company in Knoxville. Jessie has danced with Virginia Ballet Company, The Ballet Arts Ensemble of Fairfax, Aspire Dance Theatre, and more and has acted (and sung) for The Scranton Shakespeare Festival, The Poetics Theatre Collective, The New Hope Players, REV Theatre Company, The Secret Room Theatre, Theatre of the First Amendment, and more. She currently serves on the dance and music staff (ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, hip hop, voice, piano) at the Angela Floyd Schools as well as choreographing for the Angela Floyd Dance Company, as well as working as the primary performer, Vice President, and teaching artist for Knoxville Princess Parites, and as a freelance artist. Jessie performs regularly, guests as a master teacher and lecturer, and maintains private lessons in college/general audition preparation, monologue coaching, etc. She also plays the piano and French Horn.

Notable dance teachers include: Tanya Russeau, Oleg Tupine, Debra Shank, Tameika Gray, Tony Powell, Kelly Payne McMillan, Erin Sliwa Debra Savage, Bennett Savage, Mark Rubin, Gretchen Vozelgang, Marilyn York, Susan Brock, Scott Jovovich, Eva Szabo, Nancy Kantra, Rachel Kantra Beal, Rex Henriquez, Traci Librizzi, Karen Cleighton, Anastasia Rodan, Dr. Catherine Robert

Notable voice teachers include: Lynn Adcock, Erin Sanzero, Reginald Pindell, Neal Tracy, Mary Ellen Kennedy, Dr. Patricia Raine, Justin Binek, Forrest McClendon

Notable Acting Teachers include: Mary Lechter, Kevin Kittle, Chantal Jean Pierre, Stacie Lents, Drucie McDaniels, Ernest Losso, John Desotelle, Gene Terruso, Charles Gilbert, Rick Stoppleworth, Rosey Hay, Dr. Patricia Raine, Ben Dibble, Amy Dugas Brown

Piano Teachers: Ann Rollins, Linda Henderson

French Horn: Carl J. Bianchi

A user's photo.
           Miss Jessie