Performing Arts Conservatory

A Summer Conservatory for Youth with a Strong Desire to Experience Performing Arts

A group of young girls dancing during the Performing Arts Conservatory's final performance in 2019.
A group of young girls dancing ballet during the Performing Arts Conservatory's final performance in 2018.
A group of girls with their arms extended towards a young woman with her hands to her face in a shock gesture. During the Performing Arts Conservatory's final performance in 2019.
A group of girls on stage during the Performing Arts Conservatory's final performance in 2019.

Our Preforming Arts Conservatory

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The Performing Arts Conservatory introduces and cultivates a love of performing arts in third- to eighth-grade students (children ages 8 to 14) by emphasizing dedication, discipline and enjoyment in dance and musical theater. Students are exposed to a multidisciplinary arts education while building our three core values of confidence, character and community.

The Conservatory is devoted to delivering quality instruction in dance (ballet, jazz, hip hop, modern and contemporary) and musical theater in a safe, nurturing and fun-filled environment. Over the course of seven weeks each summer, students of all skill levels learn the magic of dance, stage presence, vocal technique and ensemble work. Students also have opportunities to experience the rich artistic vibrancy of their city on local field trips.

The Conservatory’s multidisciplinary curriculum is taught by professional New York City-based artists and led by experienced artists and arts educators; our Dance Director has over 20 years of professional experience in teaching and performing and our Musical Theater Director is an arts educator and Broadway performer. Students receive additional support from an enthusiastic, talented and dedicated team of youth counselors who combine a love of theater and dance with a desire to help young people achieve their highest potential.
The Conservatory concludes with a showcase performance and celebration. Family, friends and community members are invited to watch students share the fruits of their hard work throughout the summer.

The Performing Arts Conservatory is dedicated to creating an inclusive community. We welcome students of any skill level with a desire to explore the performing arts. We are committed to supporting the uniqueness of each student and encouraging them to be their best selves. Our goal is to offer artistic exploration and personal growth to every young person in our community, regardless of experience or circumstance.
The Conservatory is offered by Goddard Riverside’s Community Arts and Beacon programs, working in partnership with Ballet and Beyond NYC.

Our Teachers 

Christopher Usher – Conservatory Co-Director

Christopher Usher is a hybrid artist from Houston, Texas. With a background in acting (Prairie View A&M University), directing, playwriting, and further studies for a Master of Arts in Applied Theatre from CUNY School of Professional Studies, Christopher is a visionary with a mission to tell stories, build community and say something through art. He currently resides in Los Angeles, California. His most recent work was on the production team of CBS’ All Rise (Season 1).

Michelle Cave – Conservatory Co-Artistic Director & Dance Director

Michelle Cave is the founder of Ballet and Beyond NYC and a teacher in both the Pre-Professional Program and the Conservatory Program at Steps on Broadway in New York. Born in California, Michelle received her early ballet training at the Sacramento Ballet School, was awarded summer scholarships to the San Francisco Ballet School, and attended the Royal Ballet Upper School in London. As a professional, she performed with Sacramento Ballet, Western Ballet, Ballet Internationale, New Jersey Ballet and Classics Dance Theatre, among other companies, and performed as a guest artist in Seattle, Washington. Her academic work culminated in a BA in International Relations, an MA in International Policy and an MBA, all from Stanford University, and she worked for more than ten years as a fixed income research analyst on Wall Street. Michelle has taught ballet to children and adults for more than 30 years. In 2016, Michelle founded Ballet and Beyond NYC with the goal of providing high quality ballet training for any child in NYC who has a passion for dance. She is certified in the ABT National Curriculum Training from Primary through Level 3.

Carlton Terrence Taylor – Conservatory Co-Artistic Director & Musical Theatre Director

Carlton Terrence Taylor has been performing for 20 years and directing for the past eleven. Carlton was recognized as one of Broadway’s Rising Stars at Town Hall and performed with Janelle Monáe on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Dedicated to “artivism,” art for social change, Carlton is also the Artistic Director of Impact Repertoire Theater, a Harlem-based youth organization, nominated for an Oscar and a Grammy.


Registration forms can be submitted via email to Amanda Hopper at or in person to the Beacon program at 154 West 93rd Street, Office B2, New York, NY 10025.

Performing Arts Conservatory

Amanda Hopper,

212-799-9400 x4405

Our Kids 

“I had no idea my daughter loved ballet. She comes home every night and puts on her leotards and tights to practice what she’s learned”. – Parent of a 13 year old girl

“I registered my 8 year old son for a neighborhood camp and he was put on a wait list. So I enrolled him in the Performing Arts Camp. He grudgingly went and was not happy. And then he cried when camp was over because he didn’t want it to end”. – Parent of an 8 year old boy

“He has always been shy but this year he came out of his shell. He is so much more confident. – Mother of a 9 year old boy who had a solo in the summer performance