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The Kids Rock On with Procida Creative International

Procida Creative International presents "The British Invasion" at Finley's of Greene Street in Huntington village.

Procida Creative International presents “The British Invasion” at Finley’s of Greene Street in Huntington village.

She exudes an energy that is both calming and captivating. And she has that effect not only on her students, ages 4 through 18, but on their parents, too. While observing one of her classes, I found myself drawn in, wanting to dance and sing along. The charismatic Brooke Marie Procida, creator and director of Procida Creative International (PCI), a Performing Arts School based in Huntington, NY, has attracted a group of students who love her teaching and what it brings to their lives. She is passionate about her holistic lifestyle and sharing that with her students.

“”Learning how to sing and dance is great. But learning how to sing, dance, be healthy, happy and kind is a whole other story,” says Procida. “I am very passionate about teaching not just the arts but a way of life.”

And a holistic way of life must start at a young age, according to Procida. “I was blessed to have yoga and meditation training at University of Southern California, but I was already 18 by then and wish I’d learned all this stuff earlier so that they were embedded, life-long habits. Starting young with holistic arts training, in my opinion, will literally save you from so many potential pitfalls along the way,” adds Procida. “The entertainment business, and life in general, can be harsh, demanding, and unrelenting. If you know who you are, know how to take care of yourself, and can sing circles around everyone, you will succeed no matter what.”

A native of Huntington, Procida has many years of professional experience from which to draw when designing and teaching her classes. She graduated with a musical theater degree from the Long Island High School for the Arts, and she holds a master’s degree in Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship from Goldsmith’s University of London (Holistic Arts Education) as well as a BFA from the University of Southern California School of Acting. As a professional actress, Procida has been seen on television in various shows such as “The Sopranos,” “Family Matters,” and “As the World Turns” and has performed in many musicals from New York to Los Angeles as well as in London. As a singer, Procida proudly opened for STING and as a singer-songwriter, she has several original recordings.

Recent PCI Performing Arts classes have been held at The Huntington Center for Performing Arts in the village as well as Punch MA Fitness in Huntington Station. Her most recent workshop, “The British Invasion,” culminated in a show at Finley’s of Greene Street in Huntington village and featured soloist and group performances of songs from The Beatles, One Direction, Adele, and Queen, as well as Matilda, Oliver, The Lion King, and Willy Wonka. Procida instructed, choreographed, directed, and coached her students during classes and rehearsals to prepare for the final show at Finley’s. She credits her time living in London with the creative inspiration behind “The British Invasion” workshop.

“The ‘International’ in PCI comes from my having lived and worked abroad in London, and it was a huge pleasure for me to share some of the British culture and history with the kids,” details Procida. “I mean, you can’t grow up and not know who the Kinks are, right? I think my favorite memories of that show are listening to the kids speak in Cockney accents to my fiancé. They were spot-on, as we say in London.”

Students of PCI practice their final bows at rehearsal with Brooke Marie Procida, front and center.

Students of PCI practice their final bows at rehearsal with Brooke Procida, front and center.

This past February, Procida held a two-day workshop called The Agent Workshop, which featured a Saturday class in which parents were invited to join their children to ask pertinent questions about how to choose an agent; prepare for auditions for TV, film, and theater; and get headshots, audition material, and resumes ready for an audition. Then, the parents left the class, and the children practiced their audition material—songs, monologues, commercials. The next day, students were invited to audition for one of the industry’s top agents for youth in New York City.

What was the inspiration behind the start up of her company? “It was just a progressive, natural development of everything I am as a person–creative, nurturing, and entrepreneurial,” recalls Procida. “It provides a creative outlet and a source of income for me while allowing me to be useful and give back—a win-win.” PCI offers Performing Arts classes, workshops, and private lessons for youth ages 4 to 18 in New York City and Long Island. “There is truly something for everyone,” says Procida.

Upcoming Huntington area workshops include a four-day Glee Camp, to be held in Cold Spring Harbor, that is geared toward younger performers, ages 8 to 12, who are either beginners or advanced beginners looking to increase their experience. In July, Procida offers PCI’s first five-day Writer’s Workshop, to be held in Huntington, where kids ages 8 to 15 will write their own scenes and compose songs in collaboration. Both workshops will likely roll over into fall sessions and an original musical for teens and tweens. “Kids will receive writing credits, and we aim to get an original cast album on iTunes,” adds Procida.

In June and July, PCI will offer Wednesday night soloist classes in New York City for more serious students to expand their repertoires and polish their audition pieces. And in August, the New York City Industry Show will showcase the best of PCI.

What is most fulfilling about PCI? “It keeps me grounded and happy,” explains Procida. “I go teach a class and my whole energy shifts. Finding what you truly love to do is like taking a happy pill. I am sooooooo lucky. Having PCI up and running puts me in a position now to do my own creative projects and stay active as an actress and singer. I will always keep learning in order to keep teaching, and, at the same time, I will always keep teaching in order to keep learning. Kids know so much that we forget.”

For more information, visit www.brookeprocida.com, or email Brooke Procida at brookemariemusic@yahoo.com. PCI also offers photography services for families, couples, babies, pregnancies, as well as headshots for actors, musicians, and models.

 

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