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Hey YAA!

Youth Arts Academy of the Central Coast set to open in Grover Beach

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There’s a new arts academy in the works that will make you want to be a teenager again. No, seriously.

The Youth Arts Academy of the Central Coast, or YAA, is a unique arts school set to open in Grover Beach in approximately five years. Spearheaded by Nikolai Alexandrov, a South County resident and longtime actor, dancer, and singer, the academy will offer a two-year curriculum in all areas of art, including drama, dance, music, theater, and studio art, for students aged 14-20.

A proposed cooperation with the California Education Board would allow students to attend YAA for half of the day and their regular high school or home school for the other half, Alexandrov explained.

The ambitious 23,000 sq. ft. facility, which will be constructed on land donated by Clifford H. Clark, will have three levels, and will include a north-facing artists’ studio, a dance studio with a floating floor, a soundproofed music studio, a theater and gallery, and a combination café-studio for patrons and students. A basement level will house sets, costumes, and other equipment. Construction will begin in approximately three years.

Courses at YAA will be taught by professionals in their field, and will be offered from noon to 10 p.m. Scholarships will also be available, Alexandrov said.

While the aim of YAA will be to immerse students in as many forms of art as possible, those who show a particular aptitude in one area will be allowed to specialize after their first year, he said, even if it means finding a teacher to accommodate that student. Alexandrov, however, stressed that YAA students should be come away with a working knowledge of all art forms, not just a single specialty.

In YAA, Alexandrov hopes to create an environment akin to the one he had as a student, first at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London (where he later taught) and later at the Comédie-Française in Paris. Alexandrov brings more than 65 years in the arts to the project, including work for MGM, 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., and Columbia Pictures.

Concerned with the gradual decline of arts classes in American public schools, Alexandrov hopes YAA will be a way to bring the arts back into young people’s lives.

“I think if the world doesn’t wake up to the fact that we need the arts, we’re in trouble,” he said.

Find out more about the Youth Arts Academy at youthartsacademycc.com.

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