LMflng . . , . ... .i V at ; Wednesday. Sept. 22. 1976 C Section The Sun-Telegram. San Bernardino, Oil if. Staff photos by David Rees i c - , ? s I J I J . - "Si , 4. ?.., . I ' I " f 5 :" "'iV . 'A fit', . " V- - 1 ::; -J v. ' i Uhw.'a - - nm TiiiinWritf ili a firinl r: - - .... V - Ron Cocking leads dancers Steve Hatch and Mansa Win 0 Drama coach Gloria McMillan Students silently prepare for theater game Poise grows through the Looking Glass By ROSEMARY HUE Vn-Ttgrm Stif Wrltr SAN BERNARDINO At the tender age of 4, Gloria McMillan began her theater career. She believes early trainHig in the many aspects of dramatics helps a child develop as a "total person," which is one reason she opened a drama studio here. With partner Ron Cocking, who teaches dance and body movement, Gloria started the Looking Glass Studio for children two years ago. The studio has been at 3258 N. E St for about a year. "I think our concept in this studio is different from most schools where they train children primarily for professional roles." Gloria said. "We are interested in the development of the child into a total person. We want to build a feeling of self- confidence and self -respect" Gloria's own acting career continues in selected assignments. She played the part of Sister Ann, a nun, in the 90-minute pilot for "Most Wanted," Robert Suck's fall television series on ABC. She was also in a recent film, "Smile," with Bruce Dern and Barbara Feldon, but her best know role remains that of Harriet Conklin. the principal's teenage daughter on "Our Miss Brooks." which starred Eve Arden on radio and television for many years. While acting, the energetic blonde served as a children's drama coach for several Hollywood studios, and her interest in working w ith young people has never stopped. "I think it's too bad we consider drama only as a professional field," Gloria said. "Lots of adults are afraid to get In front of a group. Theater games are being used in therapy and given all sorts of marvelous names drama is the core of it all." Ron added, "Everyday living is a form of drama you have to express yourself in some way." The studio, newly painted a bright tropical green, has one long wall of mirrors where students watch themselves dance and perform. 'They need to like that person they see In the mirror," Gloria said. "We work In small groups so everyone can feel at ease. They learn to utilize that wonderful instrument, the body. They really feel free to express themselves, to be themselves." The partners said they don't promise better grades in public school for their students, but some cases have been reort ed. One girl who had trouble speaking before a group won a school sp-ech contest after training at the studio, Gloria uses a combination of approaches in teaching theater games, scenes, dialogue, pantomine. Ron offers tap, jazz and ballet dancing He has taught at the Vera Lynn School of Dance and been in Civic Light Opera productions. "Drama and dance complement each other so much," he observed. "In acting you hear that you mustn't break your character; in dance you have a character which must Ik1 maintained too." He is pleased that as a team the partners offer "nialeness and femuleness," so Ixtth boys and girls can feel a part of the acting dancing world. "When I was 5, a teacher told me the Itams studied ballet and dance for coordination," Ron said. "1 still tell my students that." Even though the studio was not organized to prepare young people for professional careers, some of them have found opportunities Sondra Theodnre, who was the first student to sign up when the studio oH iied, had a role in the Bill Cosby television special Sept li. She was also Miss Bicentennial for San Bernardino, and bad the leading role in the California Stale College production of "Tobacco Koad" here. Gloria had worked with her in past years in Junior t'niversity. "We are not a referral agency," Gloria emphasized," but my mother has Inm a Hollywood agent for children for 2.r years and I know many cople in the profession. Sometimes, opportunities come to us. If someone asks, do you have any really talent ed kids, I don't turn them away." She said Sondra made her own contacts in Hollywood Students at the studio, who range In age from 4 to 19. have two major drama dance lcrformaiices each year, one at Christinas and the other in the sprmu Tuition is $IH a mouth for each class or til for a comluna Hon drama and dance package, which amounts to two hours a week Classes average 8 to 10 students and are Monday-Thursday afternoons and evenings and during the clay on Saturday Family rates are available.