There are a lot of different types of classes you could take in acting school, some of which will be directly related to acting or performance, and others of which more closely relate to behind-the-scenes or support work.
If you major in theater, acting, or performance, you will probably have at least one, if not two or three, classes devoted entirely to learning how to present yourself as an actor and transform into a character. In an “Acting I” or Introduction to Acting class, you will be presented with some of the basic concepts and theories behind theater performance. This is meant as an overview of beginning topics for the student who is new to acting. This is a class that could help you decide if acting is right for you, so it might be a good idea to take this early on in your program, so that if you decide you aren’t interested you can switch to a different major. If you love learning about acting and how to act in different circumstances, you might move on to an “Acting II” type class, where you are introduced to more advanced concepts in the field, perhaps with more of an emphasis on particular techniques. It is also possible that you will have different classes for stage vs. film acting.
Fundamentals of Stage Performance/Movement
As an actress, you have to pay attention to much more than just the lines you say and how you deliver them. People will be watching you very closely and need to believe that you are who you say you are, and there is a lot that goes into making a performance believable. This includes factors such as your facial expressions, the gestures you use, and how you move yourself around a stage or set. Some acting programs offer particular classes on movement, which can help you learn different styles and techniques, as well as how to best employ these strategies during a performance. There may be an emphasis on dance during the class, not necessarily because the instructors are training you to be a dancer, but because dancing can help you get in touch with your body and learn how to control your movements more precisely.
Props and Special Effects
Acting and theater aren’t all about what the stars do while they are performing a piece. There is a lot that goes into making a show or movie believable, including props and special effects. If you watch a TV show, a play, or a movie, you will notice how many props the actors use as they say their lines and move around a set. Someone had to take the time to design or find the props, and then to decide how and when the actors would use them. Special effects are also important, although used more commonly in performances that involve a camera, as effects can be added or altered digitally. If you take a class like this in acting school, you will learn about the skills required to create, design, and then execute these aspects of theater during a performance. Who knows, you may decide that you like behind-the-scenes work more than acting. A class like this could permanently alter your career path!