The Complex Performing and Creative Arts Centre

A Community of Creative Thinkers and Innovative Artists

2020 / 2021 Education Season

*The Learning Lab begins September 8 

*Arts Education (dance, acting, theatre, music, visual arts) Classes begin September 14

2020 - 2021 Welcome Newsletter
• A Note from the Director:

   Welcome to our new students and welcome back to all of our beautiful returning faces!  As we approach the beginning of our 16th season, we are filled with excitement, a little anxiety, and most of all, gratitude.  It is with a gracious heart that the directors and staff welcome you back to embark on a learning adventure unlike any we have been on before.  On March 12, 2020 our worlds were turned upside down and our everyday would never be the same.  We certainly felt some devastation during the weeks that would follow, but out of this has come something stronger, and that is community.  The Complex, and the greater Northeastern CT, Community has always been tight-knit and loyal, but what has taken place from March 12, 2020 to present is another level of connection and kinship.  Our communities have come together to keep each other safe, protect our small business, and maintain "normalcy" for our children through authenticity, mindfulness, and compassion.  
   Our 16th season of Arts Education and Creative Development will look a bit different than anything prior, and we honestly couldn't be more excited to start this new journey together.  A few months ago I said, "this is the year we get through".  I am now saying, "this is a year for self-discovery, re-invigorating and re-imagining."  We have all learned so much in the past 6 months, for me it was a complete loss of control which, if you know me, you know how difficult that was!  But, in all seriousness, it has been a time of reflection, examination, gratitude, and change.  I watched our children adapt and feel for others.  I watched, in awe, as they automatically put their emotions to the side to care for their neighbor without giving a second thought.  I am inspired by our children and often think about how I would have handled what they are going through at their age.  As we embark on our 16th season amidst a pandemic, we are doing what we do best - using our creative minds to respond, inspire, and evolve.  We are grateful for our community, most importantly our children.  This time will forever shape their lives and we, at The Complex Performing and Creative Arts Centre, are honored to be on this journey with them.  Thank you all, for what I know will be, our absolute best year yet!  

                                                                                                                                                                 - Nichola Johnson

• Upcoming Important Dates:
-September 8: The Creative Learning Lab begins
-September 14: The Complex Performing and Creative Arts Centre's Dance, Theatre, Acting, Music, and Visual Art Classes begin
-October 12: Columbus Day / Indigenous People's Day - No CLL or Classes Scheduled


• Things to know for this year:
-All in-person classes are running at 50% capacity - space in class is limited
-Upon registering for classes, you are committing to studying with us for our full season - space is very limited and we have turned away students, at this point, to ensure the safety of our community by keeping our enrollment low.  In order for this model to be sustainable we must all be committed.
-We are prepared to transition to an online platform, or a hybrid platform, if absolutely necessary.  Our curriculum this year will ensure a successful transition, if the need arises
-We are not planning any performances for this season.  With that being said, performances may be permissible in the Spring of 2021 and we will make further decisions about live or filmed performances later this year.


• COVID Protocols
-All people entering The Complex must wear a mask.  Masks shall be worn until a staff member announces it is safe to remove them (strenuous physical activity, CLL members working in their personal learning stations, classes where students can be more than 12 feet apart, children under 6 while in dance class, open air instruction)
-All students will have a personal space, that is socially distanced from others, to wait at prior to class
-The lobby is closed to parents / family members at this time.  All children over the age of 6 should be dropped off at the front entrance and picked up immediately following class.  Children under 6 may be accompanied into the building and to their "personal space" by a guardian.  The guardian may wait with the child until the teacher brings everyone up to class and then return to pick up their child at the end of class.
-No one with a temperature over 100.4 will be allowed to take class in person, but are welcome and encouraged to take class virtually.  If your child shows any symptoms associated with COVID-19, please keep them home to study virtually until they are symptom free or receive negative COVID test results.
-Sanitizing Stations can be found in each studio
-We are taking drastic measures in reducing our enrollment by 50% which allows students to spread out, we ask that parents remind children to not touch others, wash hands, use sanitizer, and that their mask is their to protect our community.  We understand that little ones will not keep a mask on and that is fine - we can distance them in class.  We want this year to be safe, healthy, fun, and inspiring for our entire community.  
-If anyone should test positive for COVID-19 or has been exposed to COVID-19, they must notify directors immediately.  We will begin contact tracing within The Complex and, if necessary, move to an online platform for 14 days. 


• Important information:
  Tuition will be automatically withdrawn on the 1st calendar day of each month from the credit / debit card put on file at time of registration.  If you have not yet secured your registration with a credit card, please do so by calling 860-963-7170 or by responding to the billing email from Square that was sent out following the receipt of your registration form.  All payments that are not made by the 10th calendar day of each month will incur a $10 late fee and subsequent $5 late fees for each 10 days not paid. 

Tuition for Dance, Art, Music, Theatre Classes:  
  -Tuition is due on the first calendar day of the month if you are paying monthly. 
  -Tuition is due on September 1, November 1, January 1, March 1, and June 1 if you are paying bi-monthly

Tuition for the Creative Learning Lab:
  -One time payment for Semester 1 is due September 1
  -Semester one payment plan due dates: September 1, October 5, November 10


Regular attendance in class is essential for proper development for your child as well as their class/cast mates. Students that are not feeling well and cannot attend class, can now attend class virtually.  


If you are going to miss a class – please call the front desk. Not showing up and not telling someone isn’t fair to anyone.

Arrival/Departure for Class Time: 

Students should arrive no more than 5 minutes prior to the start of class.  Please arrive at The Complex dressed for class.  Students should take all belongings home with them and throw all trash in receptacles. Please plan to pick up your child at the time their class ends. Please call the office if you will be late picking up your child.

Withdrawal from The Complex Classes: 

At the time of registration you are signing a contract for the 2020 / 2021 education season. If you withdraw from your contract during the months of September through December there is a one-month tuition penalty fee, if you withdraw after December 31, 2019 you will still be responsible for the remainder of the tuition left on your child’s contract. A written letter of withdrawal must be submitted to The Complex Director, Nichola Johnson


Dress Code:


Tiny Tots Classes: Loose, comfortable clothing and bare-feet or socks

Creative Movement and Intro to Dance/Pre-Ballet: Female - any color leotard, tights and ballet shoes. Male - any solid color t-shirt, athletic shorts/pants, ballet shoes. Hair secured back

Ballet I, II, III: Female - Black leotard, pink transition tights, pink canvas ballet shoes, hair in bun. Males - White or black t-shirt (not baggy or oversized), black athletic shorts (not baggy or oversized), black canvas split-sole ballet shoes

Ballet IV and V: Female - Black leotard, pink transition tights, pink canvas ballet shoes, pointe shoes, hair in bun, optional ballet wrap skirt. Male - White or black t-shirt (not baggy or oversized), black leggings/ballet tights, black canvas split-sole ballet shoes

Modern / Jazz / Contemporary Dance: Female: Black leotard, pink or black tights or black leggings. Male: White or Black t-shirt, black athletic shorts/pants or leggings. Bare Feet, hair securely tied back

Tap: All Black, comfortable clothing (any attire from above is acceptable as well). Tap Shoes: Black Hard-Soled Tap Oxford - examples of good shoe choices: Capezio CG09, Bloch "Respect" lace-up tap shoe, Bloch Child "Tap-on" Buckle Tap Shoe, Bloch "Sync" lace-up tap shoe, So Danca TA22 1" heel tap oxford (advanced students). We do not suggest split-sole or "flex" tap shoes, slip on tap-shoes, or patent-leather and economy tap shoes.


Musical Theatre / Acting:

All Black Comfortable Clothing, Black Jazz Shoes (strongly suggested)


Comfortable Clothing

Visual / Creative Arts:

Comfortable clothes

(Students may choose gender specific dress code based on and individuals' gender identification)


Monthly Newsletters: 

Each month we email a newsletter by the 5th calendar day of the month, if you do not receive an email by October, please check in at the front desk so we may rectify the situation. Check your spam boxes. We ask that you read the entirety of the email.  *Newsletters are also place on the blackboard wall in lobby in the slot labeled “Monthly Newsletters”

Performance Notes and Info Sheets: 

Emails and hard-copy notices will go home as well as be posted on The Blackboard Wall pertaining to specific shows or events.

The Blackboard Wall: 

The blackboard info wall contains much important information and dates….please check this every time you enter The Complex to keep up to date. 

Our website is filled with information! Have a question? Check there for answers!

Social Media: 

Look to our Facebook and Instagram accounts to keep you posted! All the cool happenings can be found here, plus sneak peeks of rehearsals and class work!

The Front Desk: 

When all else fails, check in with the front desk! We will be happy to answer your questions and help you find the information. If something needs clarification, don’t hesitate – ask us!

The Complex Boutique:

Find your dance wear and performance needs at our boutique.  If we don't have it, we can order!

Contact Info:


135 Main St. Putnam CT 06260

Monthly Newsletters

October 2020

A Peek into Group Classes

Kelly's Classes:
In our Contemporary IV and V classes, we are focusing on developing a strong foundation, and improving our control while enhancing the quality of our movement.
We are also working on personal goal setting, actionable steps to produce our goals and aligning with our values in class.

In Tap 1 we are making music with our feet!  We are working on musicality, concentration and building memory skills.  We are getting to know each other and taking short active “brain breaks” throughout class with our fun “stand up sit down” game.

In Teen tap we are working on alignment, musicality and producing clear clean sounds, while developing our vocabulary and improvisational skills.  We are diving in to a bit of tap dance history and learning the national anthem of tap, the “Shim Sham”.

Sarah's Classes: 
Miss Sarah's Ballet 1 class has started this new year with a focus on memorization and teamwork. We begin each class with a question of the day that we all answer to get to know each other better. We then work on our ballet terminology at the barre and practice remembering all of the important rules of ballet such as standing tall, pointing our feet, and smiling while we perform. We have also been working hard on patience and taking turns in class by splitting the class into two groups, by working in this way we can also practice our skills as audience members as well as supportive friends and classmates! 

Miss Sarah's Intro to Dance / Pre-Ballet class has been focusing on creativity and collaboration in class this year. We begin each class by putting on our listening ears and doing our warm up exercises to wake up our bodies and to get excited to dance together. We then move through a series of creative activities to learn how we can move our bodies in different, creative ways. We have also started introducing ballet terminology into class each week and students have already learned first position, second position, and plie! At the end of class, dancers have the opportunity to earn a fun sticker when they show great dancing and  listening during class

Seana and Emily's Class:

On the first day of Seana and Emily’s Acting and Directing class students took time to set SMART goals to work toward this semester. The primary subject in class this month has been working on the components of improv. Students have been honing their skills in listening , storytelling, trusting their instincts, awareness , team work, saying ‘yes and‘ as well confidence. Each day class begins with students writing a promise to themselves for class whether this be to try something new, take a risk or not interrupting that day. Starting class with a promise to themselves has been a nice way to challenge students  as well as hold themselves accountable for their time in class and what they want to get out of it that day.

Emily's Classes:
For the month of September, Junior theatre classes are working on improvisational skills! Confidence, Teamwork, Instincts! Saying yes! Improv may look silly on the outside, but performing is a team sport and learning to improv is learning to think on your feet, work together, and shed inhibitions. 

Playwriting classes are discussing the elements of the hero's journey, story structure, and the process of adaptation.  Most of our conversations are dedicated to discerning patterns within stories we enjoy. Why are we drawn to our favorite shows/movies/books? We are learning to look at stories differently, and groups are creating original adaptations of familiar fairy tales so we can directly apply concepts learned in class. 

Our youth theatre class is enjoying exploring the different ways we can express ourselves on the stage. Practicing clarity of movement, voice, facial expression, and ideas. 

Musical Theatre teens and seniors are splitting their time between musical concepts and competency, and an exploration of musicals through choreography and design. Understanding music in the written form is a crucial skill for a performer, as is understanding the many layers of artistry within any show. 

This past month in Youth Art was dedicated to working with clay. We've designed and sculpted coil pots and beads. Working with clay is fun, challenging, and satisfying. It asks our artists to connect their ideas to their hands, think about their designs in three dimensions, as well as strengthening fine motor control. 

Shannon's Classes:

Shannon’s ballet classes are starting the year by studying the “building blocks” of ballet. Ballet II and Ballet III are focused on anatomically sound technique, with a special emphasis on placement of feet and arms, as well as soft landings in our petit allegro (little jumps). We are also working on building a focused, joyful ballet barre practice that nourishes our minds. 

Jazz I and Jazz III are currently exploring classic JAZZ movements inspired by Broadway and jazz legend Bob Fosse. Think: jazz hands, shoulder and wrist isolations, and jazz walks. We are also developing performance skills and exploring improvisational movement to a variety of music.

Erin and Alex's Classes:
Pre-Ballet / Ballet 1 is focusing on exploring our bodies and the different ways that each of us like to move. We learn beginning ballet terms and exercises, as well as practice improvisation. This is done through a variety of creative movement inspired explorations and combinations.

Jazz IV is working on strengthening our technique and musicality, as well as physical endurance. Each class begins with conditioning of the abs, arms, and legs, as well as floor stretches after to enhance flexibility. We also do traveling combinations across the floor using standing or floor work. Jazz IV utilizes a variety of different music that requires attention to musicality and tempo as well as tone.

Alex's Classes:

In Miss Alex's Creative Movement class we are getting to know each other, and beginning to learn our new environment.  We are focusing on body awareness, how the body is able to move in different directions, and focusing on first and second position

In Miss Alex's Moovin' and Groovin' class we are creating lasting memories between parent and child!  We are working on body awareness, fine motor skills, large muscle group skills,  body rhythm, while also working on repetition In music and movement

In Jazz 2 we are focusing on getting the body more familiar with parallel position, isolations, and focusing on executing proper detail in choreography phrases.

In Contemporary 1 we are focusing on gaining strength, familiarizing our bodies with the basic positions of movement, and across the floor progression skills.

Michael's Classes:
What a great three weeks it’s been...a simple YAY and a BIGGER THANK YOU to Nichola and Julie for the endless preparations and getting us safely back into the space that gives all, faculty and students to be engaged in a place we call HOME! Homecomings are always a great place to arrive and what I’ve noticed thus far is the excitement of being there. Ballet levels 4 and 5 are moving with such poise and strength as they navigate the new normal with energy and effort that in such a short time they are articulating and executing both simple and complex exercises at the barre and in the center with ease and confidence. Modern level 4 and 5 have been provoked and propelled by simple gestures to develop new movement vocabulary as we further our conversations and understanding of placement as it relates to ideas of shape and story. We even had the chance to do site specific work as it was a beautiful Monday evening to expand our ideas of space and place to move bigger and fuller...for the sky was the limit...and at the Complex the students are always reaching and willing to be more aware and for me that is a Joy to witness. Speaking of the joy of being back in our space...I have the pleasure this year once again to work with the little movers in Creative Movement, the class that starts and leads students to be the advanced dancers of tomorrow. Creative Movement is the class that begins and allows us to identify ourselves as movers, as we work on motor skills, expression, musicality and spatial awareness and WOW!!! these young students have taken a plunge into their creativity with such excitement, that honestly I cannot help but to smile and, yes, tear up behind my mask. I am looking forward to a wonderful year working with, and being in conversation with, my Complex Family.

Julie's Classes:

In Julie’s Visual Art classes, students have been exploring Section 1 of the Complex Art Curriculum which includes the 3rd Dimension. We are discussing the elements & principles of space, form, shape, and line. We are visiting the basics of still life drawing as it relates to dimension, and creating 3-dimensional work through the mediums of foil, air dry clay and paper sculptures.

Nichola's Classes:
In Ballet IV and V we are working on the advancement of technique and the articulated precise execution of advanced movements and balletic concepts.  Students are engaging with work that challenges cooridiation, placement, articulation, and precision.  

In Modern IV and V students are engaging with challenging technical work that will ignite creative making and choreographic execution.  The Dancers are utilizing their rich technical foundations to explore movement theories by many modern dance pioneers and influential figures.

In Jazz IV and V students are sharpening their execution of various jazz dance styles.  Attention this past month was on coordination, musicality, traveling and center turns, and fully executing all choreography to push beyond their own boundaries and personal comfort zones.

Tap II is all about precision of technical execution and musicality.  Our level 2 tappers are in the transition space from "elementary level tap" to connecting more advanced concepts and movements.  This past month has focused on adjusting to a more advanced way of learning and thinking to accomodate for the higher level technical and choreographic work that students will engage with and master this year.

Tap IV/V is focusing on syncopation and clarity of sound.  Dancers are getting their "tap legs / feet" back in the groove and re-training their coordination skills after a long summer off!  We are working on ideas of musical phrasing and sustaining rhythms.  

Choreography students have explored two concepts this past month.  First we explored one choreographer's process and the concept of physical thinking and we utilized mental architecture to create a movement phrase from the letters in our name.  Last week we explored choreographic/audience perspective through film.  We used our surroundings to create a "frame" in which to develop movement for film.   

November 2020