A New Kind of Studio
When a small group of local parents decided they wanted something more from the offerings of performing arts education in Bellingham, they didn’t just sit back and wait for the perfect studio to drop into their laps. They created their own. Thus, Opus Performing Arts School was born, thanks to Tiiu and Martin Kuuskman of Blaine, and their business partner, Allan Redstone.
The school, which is located at 114 W. Holly Street, opened up for students in September, and features dance and music classes for students ages six to adult. It has two programs — a pre-professional program for those more serious about their craft, and a recreational one as well. “We wanted to introduce more of an academy setting,where there was one-on-one, detailed, high-quality instruction, so these kids are getting constant attention,” said Tiiu Kuuskman.
The objective of the space, Kuuskman said, is to have teachers and faculty come together under one roof and streamline a syllabus that would help foster learning and advancement. Both of the Kuuskmans have lengthy experience in the performing arts. Tiiu has traveled with various professional ballet troupes in both Canada and the U.S., and Martin is a Grammy-nominated bassoonist. What the Kuuskmans noticed in the community was a lack of just that — community. It felt as if the many talented people in the performing arts around Bellingham were isolated from each other. “We wanted to connect these people, bring them together, collaborate, and to benefit the kids,” Kusskman said.
Now, after a year of preparation, the school houses two dance studios, a basement used for musical programs, and an office space. Opus is not about one person’s vision, Kuuskman said. It is the collective effort of many talented and unique individuals, all with different experiences they can bring to the table.
“When people think and collaborate together, great things happen,” she said.
Goals for the future of the studio include expanding to an orchestral program, as well as becoming a beacon for those seeking to train in the performing arts between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C.
But for now, they are happy with the opportunities the present is giving them.
“Everyone is very ignited and excited,” Kuuskman said. “We are feeling very connected to our community.”