Stella Adler Academy Los Angeles Review - The Right School For The Serious Actor

Stella Adler Academy - LA


When I decided to take acting classes, I did my homework. And I found that The Stella Adler Academy Los Angeles “A Conservatory for Actors” is the right school for me, and by far, the best acting school in Los Angeles. The Stella Adler Academy Los Angeles is a world renowned acting school located in the heart of Hollywood, California. The Adler-LA offers extensive training for the serious actor in theatre, film, and television (on camera).

Stella Adler Los Angeles is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization. The 18,000 square foot facility houses three “state of the art” Equity Waiver theatres, numerous rehearsal studios, a dance/fencing studio, a scene shop and a restored original Speak Easy (one of the last ones left in Hollywood). The Adler-L.A. continues to expand upon the work of Stella Adler.

Miss Adler was the only American to study personally with the father of modern acting Constantine Stanislavsky. Through this study, Miss Adler developed a Technique of acting, or a means by which actors can create a moving, profound character in theatre or for the camera. The Technique nurtures the imagination of the artist and honors the ideas of the playwright/screenwriter. At their best, plays, films and television can change the world. Through the use of their limitless imagination, well-trained actors bring those plays and screenplays to life—freely giving ideas, enlightenment and entertainment to the world.

Stella Adler Academy - LA


The Stella Adler Academy mission is to create an environment with the purpose of nurturing actors who value humanity--their own and others--as their first and most precious priority while providing art and education to the greater community.

Stella Adler Academy - LA: Ron Burrus


I was fortunate to be a student of Ron Burrus in his Technique I class. Ron Burrus speaks calmy and soothingly. He knows all the right technique’s to get an actor into character. The well known acting coach was the only actor selected to apprentice under Stella Adler as her technique teacher in the mid-1970’s. Mr. Burros has taught the Adler technique and its evolution for the last 35 years (teaching alongside Adler for 10 years on both the New York studio and in LA during summers).

Technique I is the course of study upon which the training of the modern actor is based. Actors are the "doers" in the collaborative effort that results in a film or play being seen and heard. Therefore, all understanding is made "doable" in the learning of the skills for the actor. Listed below are eight highlights of the craft that actors are taught to practice:

1. Understanding of self through the art form of acting
2. Actors relationship towards words and feelings
3. Physical and mental relaxation within the circumstances
4. Creative imagination as a major acting tool
5. Application of the three levels of justification
6. Non-verbal expression through character behavior
7. Relationship with partners
8. Mental actions and their four specific types

Stella Adler Academy - LA


Each day, in the beginning of class, Ron would ask each student what we’ve learned. In this day and time of a fast-paced lifestyle, we see things, we hear things, but many of us don’t take the time to learn about the simple things in life because we take things for granted. There is something to be learned everyday. In order for actors to get into a character, we must experience each and every moment of our life. So when we need to project a feeling for a certain scene, we have an experience to reach out to that we normally take for granted.

After taking his class, I make it a point to learn something everyday and to live in the moment. It is the experience that we must have to taste our character. Then with that we can let our imagination sail away. Don’t take your imagination for granted, it is a gift! And Ron can help an actor use it to its fullest potential.

Stella Adler Academy - LA


In Technique, I’ve learned that the imagination is a powerful tool. In one exercise, Ron had us identify the location of where we were as a character. With this exercise, I was able to transform myself into my character with my imagination. My imagination is unstoppable and it can take me anywhere. An actor can bring any character alive just with this exercise.

What I liked about Ron, is if any student felt insecure or unsure about any exercise, Ron wouldn’t push—he guided, he nurtured, he educated, he helped the actor become the character.

Ron Burros has a long list of credits: theatre directing credits in NYC include: T he Three Sisters and You Can’t Take it With You for Circle in the Square, The Brick and the Rose for New York University, The White Whore and The Bit Player for the Cubiculo Theatre. Los angeles theatre credits include: award-winning, Gusts of the nation with the TV cast of Days of our Lives at the Court Theatre and twenty years of productions for the Actors’ Platform at the  Los Feliz Playhouse, and one directorial film credit for Getting Personal, a romantic comedy selected for the Seattle Film Festival and Austin Film
Festival and then sold to Lakeshore productions, HBO, Cinemax TV, Hollywood Video, Keeping Mr. Burrus in the business of acting. Mr. Burrus has also conducted acting seminars in Rome, Italy – Sydney, Australia _ Lausanne, Switzerland – New York University, Graduate Program, Grand Valley, MI and Portland, OR.

In addition, Technique, Ron also teaches Script Breakdown/Character, Adler On-Camera.  In 1984, the Ron Burrus Studio was opened to train film actors in Los Angeles and in the summer of 2007 merged with Stella Adler Academy to continue on the tradition of teaching. Mr. Burrus teaches classes and coaches in NYC during the Fall and the remainder of the time is in Los Angeles. He is currently writing a book on acting.

Stella Adler Academy - LA: Pat Date


Another class that taught me a lot was Improvisation I. I took Improvisation with Pat Dade. Originally from Washington D.C., Pam came to Los Angeles in 1996 and began teaching at the Stella Adler Academy in 1998. She has appeared in numerous television series including Lifetime’s “Strong Medicine” and NBC’s “Homicide” in a recurring role as attorney Monica Murphy. Film work includes the Michael Jackson horror short Ghosts, and SWAT. She has performed for 15 years with the national improv troupe Comedy Sportz and is a former member of the Groundlings Sunday Company. Ms. Dade is also a professional writer, recipient of a 2001 Telly Award for her screenplay, “The Cross.”

Improvisation
means a performance given without planning or preparation. First of all, in this class we’re taught a bunch of games to stimulate our minds. Improv is quick thinking, there is no forethought, just the first thing that comes to your mind. This, of all classes, is the most challenging. There is no preparation whatsoever. Through the use of theatre games, improvisational exercises, and scene work, the actor learns to leap past boundaries and move forward into strong choices in role playing, characterization, and interrelating.

Improv is a class to explore freedom of imagination and experience acting. But more importantly, it’s about working together as a team. This class will only help you as an actor if you work together with your classmates. After all it is the sum of the class as a whole that will create a strong actor. In this class, you’re able to explore your left and right side of your brain, i.e., the artistic and logical side of your brain.

This class is fun but full of challenges, once you understand that you and your team are out for the same goal. Your team becomes one force and you let any character take over with no inhibitions. You can become a  kid again without embarrassment. You can talk with accents that you never knew you had. You can be anyone in a moment’s notice. And in the end, you’ll discover that you are more talented than you really knew, but you have to let yourself go and be free with yourself. This may not come right away, but it will, and I’m still working on it.

Stella Adler Academy - LA


Improv is the class to take to strengthen your skills as an actor and it looks great on your resume. It has made me become free as an actor. It has allowed me to get into character in a split second. Ms. Dade is very funny and a very gifted actor. I truly have an appreciation for anyone who can do improv shows. Pat makes our exercises look so easy because she is so talented. She gives her students praise and confidence for each and every exercise. There were times in an exercise that I felt totally blank and lost confidence. She helped me get through the exercise with kind and encouraging words. Pat wants her students to succeed and every class she gives words of encouragement to fill us with the confidence that we need as actors.

Stella Adler Academy - Heidi Yudis


Voice class is a must for any actor. My voice class has made my voice stronger and more connected as an actor and in my personal life. Heidi Yudis is a designed Linklater Voice Teacher who was trained and certified by Master Teacher, Kristin Linklater, author of the acclaimed book “ Freeing The Natural Voice.” Voice class is important to strengthen your voice as an actor, but it also can keep your voice young. Voice class trains the actor to free the natural speaking voice by learning and exploring the classic progression of the Linklater voice work. The actor will learn a series of physical and vocal
exercises that will free the voice from tensions and negative habits while developing, strengthening and expanding vocal range, power, resonance and clarity so that your voice will be the ready for a performance or an audition. 

Stella Adler Academy - LA


Every class was like coming out of therapy. Each day we did fantastic, easy exercises to release tension in my body. These exercises are so good that it has helped me in my daily life. We carry tension all over our bodies, and this affects our voices. Voice class trains the actor to free the natural speaking voice by learning and exploring the classic progression of the Linklater voice work. The actor will learn a series of physical and vocal exercises that will free the voice from tensions and negative habits while developing, strengthening and expanding vocal range, power, resonance and clarity. In the end of class, you will feel less tension in your body and your voice connected.

If you feel nervous, your voice will show. If you feel happy, your voice will show that, too. Heidi will help you understand your breath awareness and vibrations of the voice. She will teach you how humming will free and amply your voice. Heidi Yudis is very talented and has an impressive resume. She has taught at New York University, New Actors Workshop, California Institute of the Arts, The Gene Frankel Theatre, Circle in the Square, Shakespeare & Co., The Hamptons Shakespeare Festival, and Kids Onstage. Heidi was a founding member and educational associate of the Hamptons Shakespeare Festival where she has performed in mainstage productions, as well as created and taught their summer education program, Camp Shakespeare.

Stella Adler Academy - LA


She was also a member of Shakespeare & Company where she trained, acted and taught voice and text. Heidi has performed throughout the U.S. including touring nationally in two historically based one-woman plays about Anne Frank and the Holocaust, and Immigration at the turn-of-the-century, with the Seattle based theatre company, Living Voices. She has directed and/or produced theatrical productions and readings of Kimberly Akimbo, Win/Lose/Draw, The Herbal Bed, A Christmas Carol, and Beautiful Bodies. Currently, she is a member of the Vox Humana Theatre Company in Los Angeles. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Circle in the Square Theatre School in New York City.

I honestly didn’t think I was going to learn as much as I did in this class, but I use the exercises in my daily life. My voice is stronger and connected, and if I feel tension, I know the tools to release my tension. 

Paul Cueno - Movement class teacher



Another great class is the "Movement" class taught Paul Cueno. This class is fun, fun, fun. You're in a character in every class. Cueno is enthusiastic in his class and he's contagious. You will learn pantomiming and movements of various characters. For example the character of royalty takes a special kind of movement and concentration. This class will help students learn various mannerism and posture in portraying this type of character as well as other characters. Each student will take away a lot of information to prepare for a role. The pantomiming movement is awesome--Cueno breaks it down easily so students can learn without confusion. I loved it! It’s a skill that takes practice, but a whole lot of fun!

Cueno has been the "Movement" for actor’s teacher at The Stella Adler-Los Angeles for five years, during which time he has worked as a movement coach for Sony Films (Spanglish) and Columbia Pictures (Monster House), as well as dance companies, theater companies and individuals.

Cueno began performing on stage at age 15 as a magician and clown. He continued for six years while studying pantomime with Richard Morse and dance with Joy Harper of the St. Louis Ballet. In Los Angeles he studied flamenco with Yvonne Rodriguez, who invited him to be a founding company member of Flamenco de la Garza.

Cueno recently appeared as the Etiquette Ref. on MTV'S From Gs to Gents. In November he'll create the creature role in the independent feature Creepers from World's Last Hero Productions. Cueno is the creator of the "Movemental movement training program for actors." To learn more about "Movemental" check out Cueno’s blog on the physical work of the actor at www.MovementalLA.com.

The Stella Adler Academy Los Angeles staff is a family. They want you to succeed and are there if you need any advice. I checked out a lot of acting schools, but none compare with Stella Adler Academy Los Angeles “A Conservatory for Actors.” If you’re not sure, call Stella Adler Academy Los Angeles to audit some classes. For more information, see www.stellaadler-la.com

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