After-school classes & workshops

After-school classes & workshops

COCA's after-school classes in the performing, literary and visual arts have been offered as at schools and districts throughout the St. Louis metro area since 1992. These opportunities extend learning outside the school day, supporting and enhancing in-school curriculum. After-school classes may be scheduled in eight-week (or longer) sessions or throughout the entire school year. Theatre, music and dance classes culminate in an observation day or performance; visual arts classes culminate in a showing of work. Introductory one-time workshops based on many of the classes listed are available.

  • Minimum number of students: 8 (for tuition-based programs)
  • Maximum number of students is determined by student age, program content and available space.

I’ve Got Rhythm (Ages 4-K)

Students will explore movement, music and performance in this class. We will dance, sing and play rhythm instruments while developing stories to show family and friends.

Magic Trunk (Ages 4-K)

Open the magic trunk and let your imagination soar! Perhaps one day we'll discover a pirate's costume or fantastic sunken treasure; another day, perhaps fairy dust and jewels. Whatever we find, students will move, sing and act their way through classic children's tales. Come join us to find out what the magic trunk contains.

Play A Story (Ages 4-K)

Each class students will listen to a classic folk or fairy tale and create their own version through creative drama, movement and song. On the final day of class, parents are invited to share one of the students’ favorite stories.

Seuss on the Loose (Ages 4-K)

Children explore the ‘wiggled roads’ and ‘weird wildish space’ of Dr. Seuss in the class all about possibilities. Each class they will engage in creative movement and pretend play as they inhabit fantastical characters like the Cat in the Hat and Horton the Elephant.

Space Odyssey (Ages 4-K)

Kids will explore the galaxy in Space Shuttle Imagination, taking a walk on the moon and experiencing zero gravity, creating alien and astronaut characters and stories to infinity and beyond!

Under The Sea (Ages 4-K)

Students explore the marvels of the ocean - both real and imaginary. Through drama and movement, they will create a world of starfish, imaginative sea creatures and other watery wonders. Perhaps they’ll even meet a favorite mermaid there. Dive in!

Curtain Up! (Grades 1-3)

Budding actors will learn to use the body and voice to create characters under the guidance of a COCA theatre instructor. Using improvisation, dramatic play, story enactment, theatre games and imaginative journeys, students will develop confidence as they discover the joy of theatre.

Gleeful (Grades 1-3 & Grades 4 & up)

Learn songs from some of Broadway's best loved musicals as well as kid-friendly pop numbers! Students will be encouraged to develop their vocal performance technique, then add some 'choir style' movement and show what they learned on the last day of class.

Lullaby of Broadway (Grades 1-3)

Young performers will learn about the stories, characters and songs of classic Broadway shows. They will develop basic skills in acting, singing and stage movement as they explore the world of musical theatre. Family & friends are invited on the final day for class observation.

Music Matters (Grades 1-3 and Grades 4 & up)

Students will develop vocal projection and proper breathing through song and develop stage presence through creative movement. On the final class day, students perform a medley of songs.

Topsy Turvy Tales (Grades 1-3)

What would happen if Dorothy met The Three Little Pigs along the Yellow Brick Road or if Cinderella didn’t like to dance? Children will take a traditional story then give it a twist. Students will make props and act out their own topsy turvy tales.

African Rhythms (Grades 3 & up)

Students participate in a hands-on exploration of the different instruments in the drum orchestra. Playing hand drums, stick drums and a variety of small percussion instruments, they learn traditional rhythms of West Africa. As they work with the music and rhythms they discover the culture and countries the music comes from and even try out the language.

Broadway Bound (Grades 3 & up)

Develop skills in acting, singing and stage movement as you explore the world of musical theatre. Students will develop vocal projection and proper breathing through song and develop stage presence through creative movement.

Drama Express (Grades 3 & up)

In this introduction to stage acting, students will play theatre games; learn about theatrical improvisation, and how to use their bodies and voices to create both comic and dramatic characters of all kinds. The class explores acting terms and all the “do’s and don’ts” of professional theatre.

Playwriting (Grades 4 & up)

Students learn how to develop and structure story or character ideas for stage performance. Focus is on understanding the differences between dramatic and narrative writing. Basic acting technique is also explored to support the young writer’s sense of dramatic action. Students will see their strongest work acted by other members of the class.

Speak the Speech (Grades 7 & up)

Students will learn and enjoy how to use clear and effective speech to boost their communication skills and self-confidence. The class is designed to help students discover special techniques and vocal exercises to improve the speaking voice, while exploring stage presence, creative script writing, public service announcements and panel discussion skills.

Yearlong Theatre Production Program (Grades 4 & up)

COCA has a limited number of openings each year for these theatre production classes. First semester is dedicated to learning basic elements of the craft of acting through improvisation, character and movement study, and voice technique. Second semester focuses on the rehearsal process, culminating in a fully staged production in spring for families, fellow students and friends.

Broadway Stars (Ages 4-K)

Every star on Broadway started somewhere. Students will dance to music from some of Broadway's most beloved musicals, like Annie and The Lion King.

Hip Tots (Ages 4-K)

Energetic young students will love to move to hip beats and music while developing motor skills and focusing on creative expression. Children will channel their energy while learning counting, musicality, rhythm and developing movement control.

Dance Around the World (Ages 4-K)

Children will be encouraged to move actively – to hop and slide, spin and stomp to a variety of lively musical styles from around the world. Kids will by inspired by world music as they explore such basic movement concepts as space, shape, time and rhythm.

Movement Safari (Ages 4-K)

If you were an animal, what animal would you be? Take a trip through the animal kingdom in movement and song. Young explorers will hop, creep, lumber and gallop, even create characters and stories with animal heroes and villains! Class culminates with a sharing of what kids have learned.

Story Ballet (Ages 4-K)

This course is designed to develop foundational dance movement skills in an imaginative setting. It introduces children to concepts such as rhythm, patterns, and exploratory dance composition as well as developmentally appropriate locomotor skills.

Haitian Dance (Grades 1-3, Grades 4 & up)

Haitian folkloric dance combines African, French and Native heritage into a polyrhythmic style of movement. Some Haitian dances mirror aspects of human life like agriculture, conflict and celebration, while others imitate animal movement and elements of nature.

Jazz Dance (Grades 1-3, Grades 4 & up)

Jazz dance is immediately accessible, and an ideal way for new students to explore the world of dance and movement. Jazz incorporates high-energy Broadway musical and contemporary pop dance styles, and stresses flexibility, strength and alignment.

Move It (Gr. 1-3)

This class offers an introduction to jazz, modern creative movement and hip-hop. Students will learn about the relationships between these three styles of movement and show what they’ve learned for the final day of class.

Musical Theatre Dance I (Grades 1-4)

In this fun and energetic class, students will focus on well-known musicals. They will dance to songs from some of the most beloved children's musicals which may include 'The Wizard of Oz', 'Mary Poppins', 'The Lion King' and 'Annie'.

Step Into Dance (Grades 1-3)

A great introduction into the world of dance styles, which may include Jazz, Modern, Swing Dance, Hip-Hop and more. Students will gain knowledge, techniques and the vocabulary of dance while having fun moving.

Dance Exploration (Grades 4 & up)

Students learn techniques of multiple dance styles and the connections between them. These may include Jazz, Hip-Hop, Modern or Swing dance. Students will gain knowledge, techniques and the vocabulary of dance while having fun moving.

Hip-Hop (Grades 3 & up)

COCA’s Hip-Hop classes are designed to provide a comprehensive experience surrounding the technique, culture and progression of hip-hop. Students learn the latest, cutting-edge moves while building technical proficiency.

Musical Theatre Dance II (Grades 5 & up)

Ready to audition for the middle or high school musical? Students will experience the exciting world of Broadway dance while sharpening audition and performance skills. They will expand their musical theatre dance vocabulary in order to successfully prepare for a career on the stage!

Swing Dance (Grades 3-5, Grades 6 & up)

Students learn the basics of Swing Dance as they develop discipline, coordination, strength and flexibility. Each class will start with a warm up and progress with combinations and movements across the floor. Students will be exposed to the historical and cultural elements that contributed to the formation of this style of dance.

West African Dance (Grades 1-3, Grades 4 & up)

Experience the joy of movement and learn about the cultures of West Africa in this dynamic class. Students will be introduced to high energy dances rooted in African life and legend.

Sculpture Safari (Grades 1-3)

It’s time to explore the animal kingdom through a variety of sculpture media. Students will use clay, wood, even handmade paper to create 3-D creatures of all kinds. This class will emphasize construction and shape recognition and help students to link physical skills with their imagination. Interest in an art adventure is a must; no passport is necessary.

Meet the Masters (Grades 1-3)

What made Calder click? What got Van Gogh going? Students will enter the world of the masters and then, using drawing, painting and sculpture, create their own 'masterworks.' Each week, children will be exposed to a new artist. Move over, Monet!

Shutterbug (Grades 1-3)

Students will experiment with the basics of photography, while using a variety of conventional and unconventional cameras and techniques. They will learn how to use composition, light and shadow, as well as point of view to communicate their ideas. Students will photograph the school community and the world around them.

The Young Illustrator (Grades 1-3)

Young illustrators will experience popular children’s tales by authors like Maurice Sendak, Lane Smith and Eric Carle. They will then learn techniques to develop their own creative ideas in watercolor, tempera, collage and chalk illustrations.

Art Stew (Grades 1-3 or Grades 4-6)

Students will explore drawing, painting and printmaking for a class filled with fun and variety. Inspired by stories, nature and music, students will explore color, learn to use line expressively and create works using traditional and non-traditional art materials.

Crafting Mosaics (Grades 3-5 or Grades 6-12)

Students will learn the art and craft of mosaics as they make beautifully decorated objects, like picture frames, boxes for treasures, bird houses and many other works of art using ancient techniques and materials like glass, stone, tile and more.

Drawing From Life (Grades 1-3 or Grades 4-6)

Students in this class will develop their ability to draw images from the world around them. Through a variety of challenging and fun assignments, students will explore contour, line, positive and negative space, perspective, proportion and shading.

The Book & Beyond (Grades 1-3 or Grades 4-6)

In this class students learn to create a variety of book forms – accordion books, box books, pop-up books – and learn different binding techniques. The process integrates focus on drawing skills and work in collage with creative writing, as students explore new and unique ways to combine words and images.

Creating Comics (Grades 3-5 or Grades 6-12)

Don’t just read the comics, draw your own! This class is for students who want to develop their ability to draw characters and scenes that tell a story. Learn how to create a story board and find the right words to complement your visuals. Students also explore what makes some of their favorite cartoonists so good.

Exploring Printmaking (Grades 3-5 or Grades 6-12)

Students will develop skills in creating sculpture and learn about contemporary art. Students will explore a wide variety of materials, including clay, paper and found objects to create unique works based on personal imagery and ideas.

In Living Color (Grades 3-5 or Grades 6-12)

This program is for students who want to explore and develop their painting skills. Composition and color theory will be stressed and students encounter great artists throughout history as they create works in watercolor, acrylics and pastels.

Sculpture Studio (Grades 3-5 or Grades 6-12)

Students will create original works in a variety of three-dimensional media. Artists will practice techniques for working with wire, clay, paper, found objects and natural materials to create miniature, life-size and large-scale sculpture.

Mural Making (Grades 4 and up)

Students will be encouraged to draw on their personal experiences, culture, and knowledge as a source of inspiration for creative expression as they create a piece of public art to be permanently installed in their school.

Photography (Grades 4 and up)

Students learn the basics of photography, experimenting with a variety of conventional and unconventional cameras and techniques, as well as learn how to use composition, light, shadow and point of view to communicate their ideas.

Custom Program

Take a look at classes offered on-site at our University City facility. If we can teach it at COCA, we can likely bring it to your school. Just ask!

Tuition Sample A (8-week class): Individual students register & pay tuition through COCA: Eight-week class session meeting once per week for 60-minutes - $120 per student; $20 per student materials fee for visual arts classes.

Tuition Sample B (8-week class): School/Organization contract with COCA: Eight-week class session meeting once per week for 60-minutes - $1,000; additional fee for visual art class materials - varies slightly depending on class selected.

For more information or to reserve a program, contact:

Eileen Manganaro - (314) 561-4880 x 127 -

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SPARK 2015: COCAbiz Creativity Conference
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Sep 2, 2015
At SPARK, keynote addresses are interposed with hands-on arts experiences and dynamic conversations led by teaching artists paired with business strategists.


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