“The program evolved into 50 students with a common goal: storytelling through theater and dance,” Noel told us. “I knew that PACK was something special…so I made the decision to sign a commercial lease for rehearsals and classes, and I also found the perfect performance venue for children’s theater: The Arts Bank on Broad & South. We rent it for our shows. Leaving Meredith was a hard decision, but ultimately the right one. It has been a longtime dream of mine to have my own space. The timing was right.”
PACK still has ties to Meredith – students from all schools are welcome – and puts on a new show every semester with each class focusing on one aspect of the show. This semester the performance will be The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Previous shows include The Velveteen Rabbit, Alice in Wonderland, Jack and the Beanstalk, and The Polar Express.
|Polar Express photos from last year, from Andrea Cipriani Mecchi|
|Jessica Noel, via Andrea Cipriani Mecchi|
Noel has a natural rapport with the young performers and they respond enthusiastically. She is trying to instill a love of musical theater and dance in these kids and it shows. No Dance Moms attitude here.
Adult classes have been added to the repertoire too and are geared toward working out. Dancer Roger Lee, PACK assistant director, is helping develop the program. He teaches Hip Hop and Jazz classes and Noel teaches a Ballet Body class, a combo of barre fitness routines aimed at lifting, sculpting, and stretching through choreography.
Noel has a goal of making PACK a premier theater and dance education center in Philadelphia. The class fees are reasonable and there are limited scholarships available by application.
Welcome to the hood, Jessica.
- Martha Rich, martharich.com