Current Senior, Gary Smith, interviews 2 BSA theater alum in this interesting piece.
I sat down with Taylor Miller, a BSA alumnus, to chat about her life now and how its different from her time here at Baltimore School for the Arts.
GS: What are some things that you learned at BSA, that you have found to be especially useful now?
Taylor Miller: Well, I was already used to the dual curriculum of BSA, arts to academics. So Tisch (Arts school at New York University) works like, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday is acting and then Monday, Wednesday is academics, so I think a lot of people have a hard time transitioning, but I was like, “Did this in High school.” So the switch over is easier because of BSA. I think a lot of people also had culture shocks when they came to NYU (New York University) like my roommate from Texas, she got to NYU and was like, “Wow” because everyone is so different here, everyone is from different countries and speaks different languages and I feel like BSA really prepared me for that. So I definitely feel like my people skills. And then Tisch wise, I feel like the expectations like don’t be late, have your scenes memorize, be prepared, all that stuff I have taken with me so definitely the class room expectations.
GS: What is a lesson that you took for granted that you wish you had paid more attention to?
Taylor Miller: Try everything that is thrown at you. In high school, I was very musical theatre oriented and now I am really opening up to the idea of straight theatre. So no matter what they throw at you arts wise Shakespeare, you know whatever they throw at you just open up to it and try it.
GS: What is something that you learned artistically at BSA that has been helpful now?
Taylor Miller: I realized that you have to practice exercises and techniques that you are taught in class, when you are outside of class as well. Like doing Nancy’s exercises outside of class, I wish I had done that since freshman year, once a week is not enough. I know she’s crazy, but it’s true, because I started doing them in senior year and saw a huge improvement. And here I do my exercises outside of class and I feel like that’s something I should have taken more seriously. It’s those small things that you don’t think will matter that actually will make you so much better. Little things that your teachers say will help that you don’t think will, they will.
I also interviewed Alana Bowers about how BSA prepared her for her life now.
Me: What is one thing you leaned at BSA that you have found to be particularly useful?
Alana Bowers: So, coming to college, I have realized that BSA taught me many things that are essential to not only essential for college, but for life in general. Like being punctual and prepared. BSA beats that into us for a good reason. Also, in the theatre department, they encourage us to reach beyond our comfort zone and that is all they talk about in college. Knowing how to access your inner self and being able to take your own personal journey already really helps when your teachers give you a direction to go above and beyond what you’re used to. Also, taking risks is something BSA embedded in us freshmen year. And college is all about taking risks! So all of this is very useful (:
GS: What is a lesson that you wish you had paid more attention to while at BSA?
Alana Bowers: Honestly, I wish I would’ve payed more attention to Denise. Lol. Ben though by junior year we are all kind of over her, the concepts she teaches us are not bulls–t. They are exercises from real iconic theatre geniuses. Ha, ha, but I love Denise and I always tried to listen to her but sometimes, as you know, she would go off on tangents and you just stop listening. As hard as it is, don’t stop listening. Her words help. Same with Nancy! I didn’t realize how lucky I was that Lessac technique is apart of me already. That helps so much with what I am learning in speech class. We are learning the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and knowing Lessac makes the process easier with how you say words.
GS:What is something that you didn’t expect artistically?
And what are other things that shocked you?
Alana Bowers: The biggest shock to me was how much I already knew or faintly knew from high school. Don’t get me wrong, I learn something new everyday here and I love it so so much, but the amount work and dedication that the teachers at BSA put in us the students is immense and I did not realize that until I got to a prestigious university like NYU and I know they say when they say “the six sided box”, “constructive rest”, “emotional channel”, etc. it’s actually quite amazing!