May 5, 2020
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra speaks with Darla Lemay, who has spent nearly three decades as Artistic Director of Stageworks Academy of the Performing Arts, which offers performing arts education to all people, no matter their gender, abilities or financial status. On top of her nearly 28-year-run with Stageworks, Lemay has also directed many different Broadway Productions — such as Annie, the Sound of Music, the King and I, Hairspray, and Mamma Mia — and has been extensively involved community projects.
Lemay teaches dance for the love of dance, and her pursuit in life is to share that joy with all people who are willing to have it; however, Lemay also knows the danger of losing sight of that target — of veering off course. On the podcast, Darla shares about her incredible dance journey, deep dives on her dance academy, and expresses the importance of sticking by your values in all situations, even if it means taking a more difficult road.
“I heard a quote — ’Talent is universal, but opportunities are not.’ And I want to switch that. I want to say, ‘Opportunities are universal in our organization.’"
“The arts are just an extension of who we are. If we love the arts, it’s hard to deny the arts."
“When you’re dealing with people, they’re not robots. They come with their own experiences, desires, and passions."
Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed:
3:17: Darla deep dives on her academy, describing its structure and the values that it instills into the hearts and lives of its students.
9:16: Given the many different academy programs, Lemay discusses how she effectively ties all of these elements together under one common goal and mission.
13:42: Lemay shares more about her incredible theater empowerment program which serves adults with special needs and what inspired her to kickstart a program like this.
17:35: Darla discusses how “by the grace of God” she got involved in dance when, as a young person, the art was basically nonexistent in her community.
21:51: Darla shares about a difficult time at her academy when she was drawn away from her core values and paid the price for it.
26:09: Lemay explains how her academy is able to accept all dance students, regardless of economic situation or ability to pay tuition.
28:28: Lemay discusses what the future holds for her, which involves serving even more kids and more communities by introducing a love of dance.
29:47: Darla ends the podcast by answering some unique, rapid-fire popcorn questions.
Bullet List of Resources –
Stageworks Academy of the Performing Arts