By Sabina Mollot
A Stuyvesant Town couple who’ve worked professionally as actors and dancers on Broadway and traveling productions have recently branched out to launch a school/studio aimed at teaching theater and dance to kids.
The company, I Can Do That NYC, will officially launch in the fall, but owners Jeffrey Schecter and Melissa Swender-Schecter have already been gauging local interest from parents by offering summer camp intensive workshops. The classes they’ve held so far have been at the Town & Village Synagogue on East 14th Street after the company moved to a space there from a studio in Chelsea.
The school was inspired mainly by Helena, the couple’s three-and-a-half-year-old daughter.
“She loves to sing and dance although she’d rather be teaching the class than listen,” said Schecter. Because of Helena’s interest, her parents had taken her to a few different children’s classes, only to then feel like they could do better, both in lesson content and price.
What’s different about his concept, he explained, is that he works in the industry as do the other teachers he’s already recruited for classes. “The classes are being taught by working actors. We’re in the business. We’re living it. I’m auditioning for shows every week.”
Schecter noted that prior to launching the school, he’d already had some teaching experience. For years, he’d guest taught at numerous workshops, usually speaking about the business end of working on Broadway, and recently, he began volunteering as a jazz dance instructor to seniors at the Stuyvesant Town Community Center. His students, he noted, are “so freakin’ cute” and he hopes to have them perform for neighbors on the Oval at some point.