The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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February 28, 2014

Teens can take swing at staging combat

JOHNSTOWN — Area teenagers have a chance to learn hand-to-hand combat without taking a punch.

Bottle Works is offering six “stage combat” classes over three weeks beginning March 10.

Sessions will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays at the arts center at 411 Third Ave. in the Cambria City section of Johnstown.

The classes will be presented by local actor and stage combat choreographer Kevin Bean, 35, of Stonycreek Township.

He is certified by the Society of American Fight Directors and has worked with staged combat for more than 13 years.

Youngsters ages 13 to 17 can practice their acting skills and learn techniques for hand-to-hand stage fighting.

“The biggest component for these classes is safety,” Bean said. “A fight has to look real on stage because there is nothing worse than a bad fight scene.”

No actor can fake his way through a fight scene, Bean said.

When he earned his certification from the fight directors society, Bean spent six weeks just learning to fall down.

“There is a technique for falling forward, backward or how to roll correctly,” he said.

“The course will give youngsters confidence in another aspect of theater.”

A parent must sign a waiver before teens can participate.

Rosemary Pawlowski said today’s society is concerned about teenagers having an awareness of staying physically fit through good nutrition and exercise.

“Stage combat is another layer of this by bringing in play timing, coordination and movement,”‚ÄąPawlowski said. “The over-reaching goal here, for young women and men, is being able to defend oneself and demonstrate that to others.”

An actress with whom Bean worked closely was his fight partner at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Jennifer Warren, who now lives in Los Angeles.

Warren recently used her stage combat skills on an episode of “American Horror Story,” a TV show comprised of a self-contained horror miniseries.

Bean is certified in hand-to-hand combat, quarterstaff, and rapier and dagger.

“This course is strictly unarmed,” he said. “Working with weapons is an entirely different situation.”

A stage and screen veteran, Bean has been involved with multiple productions and companies in the area including Cresson Lake Playhouse, Richland Center for the Performing Arts, Pennsylvania Highlands Community College, Arcadia Theater and Grand Midway Hotel.

Cost of the classes is $54 for members and $60 for nonmembers.

To register or for more information, call 536-5399.

Fighting fit

What: Stage Combat for Teenagers.

Where: Bottle Works, 411 Third Ave. in the Cambria City section of Johnstown.

When: From 6 to 7:30 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays beginning March 10.

Cost: $54 for members, $60 for nonmembers.

Registration and information: 536-5399.

Tom Lavis covers Features for the Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter.com/Tom LavisTD.

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