Interactive Arts Media for Kids on PBS LearningMedia. Created by Dan J. Gordon

Take the Stage Kids visit the Houston Ballet!

Our How-to Series is at the center of our mission which is  to make the arts more accessible for kids.  So, in this “how-to” series, we bring the viewer on a journey to local arts organizations where they learn step-by-step instruction from professionals right alongside the kids on the show!

We filmed the first of our How-to series at the Houston Ballet.  The Ballet was such a wonderful  collaborator for our first series.  Namely, Andrew Murphy, Jennifer Sommers and Lauren Anderson truly made it all come together.   They are real superstars!

And we’re so happy that Patrick Beverley from the Houston Rockets and Chester Pitts from the Original Houston Texans eagerly joined in to dance with us.  They were an absolute blast to have on set and added some humor to the videos.  While I was directing, I turned around and they were giving the kids piggy back rides around the ballet! 🙂



Take the Stage online

Gordon Education’s Spring 2015 College Internship Program complete!


CUNY’s New York City College of Technology interns, from left to right:
Dimple Mirpuri, Tamanda Msosa, Lindelle Anglin, Daiane Bushey, Professor Adam Wilson.

This Spring 2015 marks our first college Internship program associated with Gordon Education’s Take the Stage. Two colleges in NYC participated in our internship program: CUNY’s NYC College of Technology in Brooklyn and The School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. In Fall 2014, I spoke with college professors at both institutions who facilitated in  putting this internship program into motion.  Professor Adam Wilson at CUNY City Tech and Professor Kat Llewellyn at School of Visual Arts.  Kat Llewellyn actually did some of the backgrounds and animation on the actual episode as well.  Both are super creative and knowledgeable in their fields.

INTERNSHIP PROJECT #1 – “BE A MAESTRO” – A game to  teach kids music theory

In the fall 2014, I pitched a few different game ideas to the class that have to do with the performing arts.  The music game got the largest response, so we ran with that.  The concept is for kids to practice identifying pitch and learn musical notation.  Eventually, the game will have different levels of difficulty and another function for kids to compose their very own songs.

A LOT goes into building a computer game from scratch.  It’s pretty amazing to watch these coders hard at work problem solving, writing code and matching their code to each other’s work.  Every detail has to be coded: like when when you push x, what happens to y.  I sat in on a few coding sessions to learn all that went into it, though it would probably take me a few years to get a decent grasp on all of it.

The graphic designers actually created a ton more amazing graphics and images than we ended up using for our prototype.  They used SVG(Scalable Vector Graphics) for the images and actually created a video tutorial.  We hope to use their great designs when we complete the full version of the game.

Check out the final prototype of the game below where we used Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”:

Be a Maestro

This prototype may be  a little challenging for young people, but one  can understand the concept.

Be a  Maestro Internship team:

CUNY’s New York City College of Technology
Lindelle Anglin, Software Engineer
Daiane Bushey, Software Engineer
Dimple Mirpuri, Software Engineer
Tamanda Msosa, Software Engineer

School of Visual Arts
Megan Dobkin, Graphic Designer
Angelica Mercado, Graphic Designer

INTERNSHIP PROJECT #2 – “Gabby’s Pizza Pie Palace”  – An educational video that teaches fractions through  visual arts

As part of our educational initiative, we create educational videos that teach the academics through the arts in a fun and interactive way.  In this video, you see we are teaching fractions (halves, quarters, eighths) while the students can participate in a visual arts/crafts activity.  Video comes with worksheet below:

Our sole intern on this project, Kaitlyn, created multiple backgrounds for this game until we decided on this exact one in the video.  She also did the animations and time-lapse video.

Pizza Fractions (Color Master 2)

School of Visual Arts, ’15
Kaitlyn Carroll, Graphic Design and Animation Intern
“Gabby’s Pizza Pie Palace”


HELLO!  We’re set to air on May 30th, 2015 @ 9:30am on Houston Public Media, 8.2!


If you’re in Houston, tune in and tell your friends, family, neighbors, and of course, tell the  kids.  🙂

This is a “soft launch” as we are not doing massive publicity, for this initial episode will be used for research and testing and just making the show more awesome-er for the first season.

This episode airs on station 8.2 on Houston Public Media.

HOUSTON – (May 14, 2015)Take the Stage  is a brand new TV show for kids debuting on  Houston Public Media TV 8.2, on Saturday, May 30 at 9:30 a.m.

Set in an afterschool performing arts program in Houston, nine kids between 7-11 years old confront personal challenges and comical situations as they take the stage as young performers.

In the opening episode, “Dreams So Real,” Kylie, a painfully shy girl, tries to fit in and make new friends while goofy boys, high-fashion girls and two encouraging coaches try to keep everyone together. When they meet the world-renowned DJ Reborn, Kylie discovers what it truly means to take the stage with confidence.

Not only do the kids on this television show experience the performing arts, but the viewers at home learn right alongside them.  With step- by-step instruction, and the appearance of celebrity artists, each show takes you on a new and exciting adventure into the world of the performing arts.

The young stars are mostly Houston-based actors, though the cast also hails from Dallas and San Antonio.  The Take the Stage   kids are Nishta Boys, Paulet Del Castillo, Payne Houck, Camryn Jones, Dieter Kingwergs, Jeslyn Luu, Sriram Madhusudan, Iyanni Pradia, and Maceo Smedley.

Rounding out the cast are the performing arts coaches, starring Rita Ochoa and Dan Gordon.  Special guest appearances include DJ Reborn and Len Taylor.

Gordon Education is collaborating with the Houston Independent School District and Harris County Department of Education to bring arts-related videos and in-class activities to teach the core academics though in-class arts-based activities.

Funding for Gordon Education’s Take the Stage is generously provided by The Brown Foundation Inc. of Houston, The Baxter Trust and Greggory & Patrick Burk.

For more information on this new television program and its educational initiatives, please visit  and learn how you can become involved.


Gordon Education:  713.906.3638


We had a screening on April 26. :-)

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Finish line

Well, I can see it!  The finish line, that is…

Houston Public Media and I have been chatting the past week about the actual airing date, and I can assure you it’s coming soon!  A few more confirmations, but the show is already being closed captioned, which is pretty much the last thing to be done.   The website is being completed, as is our very own computer game.  Very cool, as I’ve watched coders and animators hard at work designing this game.  It’s very complicated(for me at least) and hats off to them.

Now, as the finish line draws near, I can see the opening as the possibilities for Take the Stage open up wider.  It will be an interesting next few months as we work with our first episode and transform and mold it into a series.  I have begun the stage of talking to varying producers to take it to the next level.  And, to the next level, we will go!

Looking forward to Take the Stage take Houston and then some!



I will  take a moment and give much respect and appreciation to the post-production process.   We are currently in the midst of editing the first episode.  It’s going well, though it does take some time as there are many departments.  Well, five departments to be exact. We have a department for editing, music composition, sound effects/foley, animation and color correction.   And, each department heavily relies on the other ones.   Since this is our first time going through the process, I’m taking a little more time with every step.  It’s all coming together.

After speaking with HoustonPBS, we are aiming to air the episode in early 2015.   Though, of course, we will need the final approval from the airing station it before it debuts.

As I’m back in NYC, I’ve been taking classes at CUNY, and I’ve also had an opportunity to meet with professionals in children’s television media.   I’ve been meeting with those who write, direct and produce, but I’ve also been met with someone who does research on how American kids TV shows have been adapted for other countries around the world with respect to their own set of customs and cultural practices.  It’s quite interesting as kids TV is definitely not a one-size fits all for other countries.   For example, Sesame Square is the Nigerian version of Sesame street and the show takes into account the set of challenges that a Nigerian child may encounter that may not be directly applicable to an American child.

Anyway, what the take-away is from all of this is that I’m always learning.  🙂

Going back into my post-production mode now.  I’ll emerge soon!  I promise.  Til then, be well.


Episode #1 coming soon! Are YOU ready to take the stage?


All images are Copyright (c) 2014 Gordon Education Initiatives for the Performing Arts, Take the Stage

Photos credit: Kristine Canterbury

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This was Monday.

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Can we sing? Yes we can.

Tuesday was a really fun day.  We recorded the theme song!

We were were joined by the lovely young composer, Daizha, who wrote the song and who just happens to be 9 years old. Hanry Darragh’s lent his amazing musical artistry and composition skills and helped sculpt this diamond of a song into an incredible arrangement of musicians at Sugarhill Recording Studio.

Thank you to the talented musicians and the staff at Sugarhill Recording Studio..  Here are some photos from Tuesday’s session:

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