Samara Kelly
Monrovia, CA
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Samara Kelly

Samara K.

Monrovia, CA
Profile-background-check Background Check
This teacher successfully passed a thorough criminal background check with SterlingBackcheck. This badge verifies trusted teacher status.
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Levels taught:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
I guide you in finding your own authentic expression in monologues, cold readings, and scene-work. We'll focus on bringing the elements to light that make you and your character unique for a memorable and engaging performance. With text analysis, you'll learn how to make smart, strong choices, and sharpen the tools you need to bring yourself fully to your work. Through cultivating a professional, reliable acting technique, you can amass your full potential as an artist, allowing you to truly shine on stage, screen, and in your auditions.

About Samara K.

English, Science, Psychology, Speech/Public Speaking, Anatomy and Physiology

Registered Yoga Teacher
Certified Nutritionist


An innovative artist committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion with a demonstrated commitment to promoting creative learning environments that are conducive to excellence in music, dance, and drama

Visionary and creative educator with a Master of Fine Arts from Harvard University, American Repertory Theater. Strong history of success in creating equitable opportunities for learning while engaging and inspiring audiences through captivating performance and visual art. Artistic scholar, with a well-rounded background in roles with include Dance Program Director, Acting Department Chair, Acting/Vocal Coach, Choreographer, and Professional Actor. As a dedicated teaching professional committed to creating and maintaining a productive teaching environment based on camaraderie and equity for all students regardless of race, gender identity, sexuality, ability, class, and ethnicity. Outstanding qualifications in choreography, able to teach varying levels and styles of dance, including professional-quality musicals. Recognized as a collaborative leader, a resourceful teacher, and a reliable colleague. Successful at motivating, leading, inspiring, and empowering students to meet and far exceed their goals/aspirations. Core strengths include:

Drama, Musical, Theatre, & Dance | Life Skills Training| Curriculum Development | Diverse Musical Genres and Styles| Cooperative Learning | Cultural Awareness | Performance Assessments | Character Development | Creative Arts Program Planning, Implementation, & Management | Strategic Leadership | Conflict Resolution/Mediation| Yoga, Fitness & Wellness Instruction | Project Management | Team Building & Leadership | Process Improvement

Teaching Philosophy in Acting:

I coach everyone from high-profile professionals to young artists at the beginning of their career. Each session with me is always personally tailored to your progression, your type, taste in material, and preferred learning method in developing your craft.

I've trained formally for many years, holding a Bachelors in Fine Arts (Theatre) from NYU Tisch School of the Arts and a Masters in Fine Arts (Acting) from The American Repertory Theatre at Harvard University.

I'm a proud member of SAG-AFTRA and The Actor's Equity Association, having worked professionally in New York, LA, Miami, and Moscow in award winning Theatre, Television, Film, and Voice Over.

Each client I take onto my roster holds a special place in my life as a coach. I serve not only as a teacher of the craft, but as a mentor you can turn to at any time regarding any facet of your journey as a working actor. I support my clients through auditions, workshops, headshot decisions, agent meetings, and major milestones in their blossoming careers.

Many of my clients begin coaching unsure of their skill and place in the industry, but in only a few sessions, mold into artists with authority, staking their claim in prestigious training programs, arts colleges, and roles in professional theatre, TV, commercials, and film.

My overarching ambition is to open the channels that allow you to flow freely in life and art, encourage you to take meaningful, rewarding risks, and unleash the confident performer inside of you waiting to emerge.

“Acting is living truthfully under imaginary circumstances” -Sanford Meisner

My pedagogical approach to the craft of acting is derived from the fundamentals of the Stanislavski System, which comprised a great deal of my graduate training at The Moscow Art Theatre School. My teaching and directing model stems from these revered Russian techniques which show actors to use their emotional memory and trained concentration to respond impulsively to the circumstances of the full stage environment.

My curriculum integrates physical and vocal training which increases emotional availability and releases tension. I teach the value of sensory awareness with imagination-based exercises such as Anne Bogart’s Viewpoints and Meisner repetition. These practices help to strengthen observation and impulse awareness, training actors to fixate their attention outside of themselves, instead of acting from a place of self-consciousness.

I encourage my students to investigate their scene-work from different angles, and I believe that script analysis is absolutely integral in identifying a playable action, or objective. Clues in the playwright’s text allow us to discover the unique world of the play. To personalize their connection to the character with an “inside-out” perspective, one emerging from their own inner psychology.

The variety of tactics an actor uses to achieve their character’s objective should be ever evolving, ranging on a scale from low to high intensity. This undulation of energy creates a quality of “aliveness” on stage and film. I ask students, “Is it working? Are you getting what you want?” In many instances, the actor’s default, habitual tactics fail to elicit change in their scene partner and drive the scene forward. I encourage students to explore new impulses by tapping into their tactical toolkit, ushering them away from a premeditated idea, which inevitably falls flat.

I encourage actors to investigate their own personality traits which serve as the foundation for building and molding compelling characters. I ask students to consider how they are similar and dissimilar from their character. This generates a spectrum of attributes for them to navigate; familiar ones stemming from their own core personality, as well as adventurous behaviors which are foreign and exciting to play with. Eventually, a captivating character emerges in the crossover.

As an educator, my top priority is to foster a nurturing environment, one which is supportive, collaborative, and inclusive for all students. I believe that growth emerges from commitment, and a willingness to take artistic risk. I hold students to a professional standard and maintain aligned expectations.

The craft of acting is methodical and multi-faceted. It demands a solid technique, a vivid imagination, and a strong conviction. My overarching ambition is to guide each student in finding their own inspired expression, integral to success not only as a theater artist, but as a global advocate of the arts, lending a distinctive voice to a world stage in great need of change.


Teaching Philosophy in Dance

As an instructor of dance, I strive to witness the growth of the class ensemble, as well as each individual, not merely as dancers, but as artists with unique, layered complexities. I aim to celebrate the joy and passion of movement, married with technical foundations to enable the dancer to find his/her distinct expression. I wish ultimately for the themes explored in studio to extend organically into all aspects of each dancer’s life, unifying personal experience and art.

Fostering A Conducive Learning Environment:

By cultivating open communication and collaboration with students, I am determined to propagate the following values:

Vulnerability & Discovery:

Laying a bedrock for a safe environment that serves as a platform for exploration and discovery, I encourage open-mindedness and a willingness to risk—to strip oneself of artificial layers of self-identify, so that each dancer can reveal their own personal truths through movement that is not forced or pre-meditated.

“Movement and gesture are the oldest language known to man. They are still the most revealing. When you move, you stand revealed for what you are.” -Doris Humphrey

Self Care:

Dancers know their bodies better than anyone else. I urge students to develop an intuitive awareness, as well as responsibility, for their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. I engage my students in open discourse, constructive feedback, and guide them in locating their strengths and weaknesses so that they are able to look after their bodies like instruments that need consistent attention and care.

Growth & Balance:

Regardless of the level of experience a dancer enters the studio with, there should be an established trajectory of continual growth: including but not limited to—advancement in technical skill, athletic endurance and stamina, and artistic sophistication. I believe in goal-oriented lesson planning to facilitate this navigation, journeying with students as they negotiate the balance between strength and flexibility, sharpness and smoothness.

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” -Scott Fitzgerald

Efficiency of Movement:

By balancing weight and momentum in a technical equation that promotes energy conservation, a dancer is able to develop movement that is not compromised in quality. My students will be supported in building internal muscle strength, namely a localized core-energy that radiates power, so that they can efficiently utilize their inertia.

Specificity and Detail:

The ability to execute distinct, stylized movement enables a dancer to articulate intention. Bringing awareness to detail of movement so as to paint the air precisely is key to presenting movement with finesse and flair, more fully embodying the character of the music.


Improper alignment is the number one contributor to injury. Utilizing my experience as a trained yoga teacher, I find it essential to educate on anatomical alignment as a means to ensure preservation of the dancer’s finite instrument- the body.


Sensitivity to dynamics in music greatly determines a dancer’s level of professionalism. My goal is to impart a deep sense of rhythm that permeates the “thinking” mechanism/barrier and lives in the soul unquestioned. It is crucial for dancers to be able to respond to music in a way that uniquely informs and enriches movement. Students will be equipped with basic music fundamentals such as (but not limited to) rhythm, timbre, and tempo in order fully master choreography.

Performance Presence:

Assurance in one’s craft is the defining force in making an indelible mark on the audience. I intend to highlight the essential quality of confidence, a presence that arises from within, inseparable from a performer’s personality, and not worn like a costume superficially.

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.”
-Martha Graham

In closing, the art of dance is rooted in symbiotic sharing of inspiration and energy. It is the universal language of storytelling. I am honored to share in this craft with students who in turn reciprocate and celebrate the interconnectedness of the human spirit.


Write a Review
14 Reviews
Monica H.
Profile-location-online Online

Samara is a wonderful, dynamic and skilled acting teacher. She worked with my daughter on line and my daughter booked 2 films in Miami!

Posted Sep 23, 2017
Profile-location-online Online

I love, love, love Samara's ability to scrutinize the text and guide me into creating finer, more compelling work. And the performance warm ups (relaxation/concentration) prepare me to deliver!

Posted Sep 11, 2015
Donnacha K.
Profile-location-online Online

Great lesson. Looking forward to continue sessions.

Posted Aug 20, 2015
Beth P.

skills and has helped me unlock my potential. She's an amazing person inside and out. If you're considering taking lessons I recommend taking them from Samara!

Posted Aug 5, 2015
Beth P.

Samara is an amazing instructor! She really cares about your future and will go above and beyond to help you achieve your dreams! I was basically a beginner to acting and I feel she has helped me improve my

Posted Aug 5, 2015
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Samara Kelly is not only an amazing teacher but also an amazing person.
She was my first acting coach and I can not imagine what my life would look like without her guidance.
Samara has a strong passion for what she does and shares that passion, along with her experience and wisdom, through her lessons.
She always finds ways to bring things out of me I didn't even know were possible, all while creating a safe and nurturing environment that allows and fosters growth and progress.
Samara Kelly is the main reason I was accepted into not one, but two intensive training programs in New York City. She encouraged and helped me get on my path to becoming the actor I want to be.
I wholeheartedly recommend taking sessions with Samara

Posted Jul 21, 2015
Crystal Rose
Profile-location-online Online

Samara has really helped me break out of my shell. She is honest and thorough and really cares about her students success. I sometimes even refer to her as my therapist and my guru... She is that good!

Thank you Samara!

Posted Jun 26, 2015
Savannah S.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

I worked with Samara on monologues for college auditions and for my showcase, we worked together for a little under (I think) three months. She's such a great teacher, definitely no complaints. I really loved working with her and she totally helped build my confidence when it came to performing in front of others—I'm (or was) ironically shy/weird about performing monologues and pieces in front of people and have been since I started doing theatre (10 years ago). Nonetheless, I got over that after Samara helped me with my acting and I don't get pre-performance anxiety/nerves anymore. I don't think I would've been able to pull off any of my monologues had it not been for her lessons, she actually helped me choose one of the audition monologues because I couldn't find a second one. In the whole monologue/character-building process, she took notes and asked me questions that really made me think about my character and their motives and actions and whatnot. She's also very encouraging and would commend me on anything I did well or improved on. Point is, Samara is a superb teacher and human!! I'd confidently recommend her classes to anyone who needs help with their acting. Five stars because she definitely was the best instructor ever!!

Posted Apr 5, 2015
Brock M.
Profile-location-online Online

I can't really put into words how great (and funny) Samara is. I wasn't sure if learning how to act online was going to work for me, but I can safely say after 5 Skype sessions with Samara, they have been totally worth it and more! In our lessons, I have learned about how to approach and analyze a script, what to do in cold-readings, handling nerves, how to give a memorable audition, really nifty relaxation and concentration techniques, and so much more. I always value Samara's insights not only into the craft of acting but the business aspect of it as well. Basically, she's a rockstar and I just feel lucky I stumbled upon her lesson page. Without which, I don't know if I'd have the confidence to pursue my dream of becoming a professional actor!! Thanks a billion, Samara!

Posted Apr 4, 2015
Doug F.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

I really did learn so much in every single one of my lessons with Samara! From Acting Technique to character work, to scene study, to how to nail comedy and drama, to classical text, and not to mention the helpful breath work and insanely fun exercises and warm-ups. Samara is the the absolute kindest, most compassionate, informative, hilarious, and most importantly - talented- not only acting coach, but teacher in general that I have ever spent time with. One of her talents is for creating a safe environment to work and grow in, something that I have found to be very rare amongst acting classes in general. I was excited literally everyday for my lessons, especially because I recognized how much hard work and dedication she put into it them herself.

Samara is the absolute best acting teacher I have had, and I’m so happy and thankful to have had the pleasure of being her student!

Posted Mar 24, 2015
Candace W.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

She was fabulous and my daughter has been singing the songs she introduced her to all weekend.

Posted Mar 15, 2015
Traci W.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Wow is all we can say!!!
So well versed in so much. Her knowledge is amazing and so well rounded.
Very professional and what a Resume!!!!
Most of all could not be sweeter and most encouraging :)

Posted Nov 23, 2014
Tina W.


I have to say, I am so happy on went out on a limb and started taking lessons with Samara. It has all been 100% worth it and more. I was attracted to her profile because of her ability to integrate private yoga instruction. As an aspiring actress that struggles with stage fright, I started noticing that my yoga practice helped me to be more present in life and my acting work and I wanted to find someone who could help me explore that. Samara is a perfect fit. Sometimes we just work a monologue from many angles that allow me to clear any blockages I had with the text or character before. Then, her awesome yoga exercises and sequences totally just chill me out and help me connect with what's going on in my mind-body. It's the perfect antidote to my self-doubt. After only a few lessons, I am finding that I trust myself in my auditions, and also in my life relationships, and I don't feel nervous about presenting what wants to emerge through me. I feel confident in the artist I am! Thanks Samara!!

Posted Apr 19, 2014
Katie-Beth R.

Acceptance to my Dream School!

Samara was the key ingredient to helping me excel at a recent audition to Berklee College of Music. Being a songwriter with little performance experience left me uncertain of my ability to deliver my material, performance wise. I didn't realize how I was not conveying the material to it's fullest potential until Samara had me read the lyrics to my song out loud with her. Samara and I discussed the song, line by line and she coached me on how to deliver the lyrics to best communicate the ideas and emotions in the song to my audience. By reading the lyrics out loud with Samara, I was able to emotionally re-connect with the piece and deliver each line to the fullest potential.

With her extensive knowledge regarding performance art, Samara was able to correct everything from my posture to selecting which words could be sung in head voice vs. chest voice. Overall, Samara kept my originality in tact, she did not alter anything that was not genuine to my work. She helped me remove the elements of my performance that were distracting and enhanced the parts that allowed my song to shine. By practicing the piece with Samara's guidance and employing the techniques she recommended, I had a successful audition and received my acceptance letter a few weeks ago! Thanks again for everything Samara!

~ Katie-Beth Rose

Posted Mar 24, 2014

Photos & Videos

10 Photos & Videos


Aug 2014 - Present

Samara Kelly Coaching

One-on-one coaching for aspiring and professional actors, singers, and dancers.

Dance Program Director
Sep 2016 - Jun 2019

Monrovia High School

Planned, choreographed, and taught the fundamentals of dance and yoga to underprivileged youth. Leveraged frameworks of reflective practice, classroom collaboration, educational equity, and professionalism to engage students in choreographic storytelling and composition. Successful at developing and implementing a dance program with the mission to develop an accessible conservatory-style curriculum for high school physical education, inclusive of all backgrounds and abilities including special education, as well as a competitive after-school dance team. Led the newly created after-school dance team to win a regional Master Championship, and twelve (12) first place trophies in various dance genres within two (2) years. The team received honors from the district school board with individual certificates of achievement and a presentation at the district office. Played an instrumental role in organizing community performances, choreographing and directing dance concerts and musical theatre production, and overseeing half-time game performances in addition to district and state competitions during the academic year. Utilized marketing and technical skills to build and maintain a social media presence and leveraged that presence to increase interest and participation in all events.

Acting Department Chair
Sep 2014 - Feb 2016

New York Film Academy (South Beach)

Delivered creative leadership and direction while managing all aspects of day-to-day department operations. Instructed on scene study, the movement for actors, and acting technique using principles of the Stanislavski System. Referenced and implemented Meisner-based repetition exercises and Alexander Technique. Supported operational objectives by leading open houses and increasing student enrollment. Served as an intermediary between students and faculty.


Physical Education / Kinesiology and Health Science
Jan 2020 - Present

Glendale Community College

Master of Fine Arts
Jun 2012 - May 2014

Harvard American Repertory Theatre

Master of Fine Arts
Feb 2013 - May 2013

Moscow Art Theatre

Bachelor of Fine Arts
Sep 2005 - May 2008

New York University, Tisch School of the Arts



Limited Proficiency


Limited Proficiency


University Intern Teaching Credential
Apr 2021

Alliant International University

Nutrition and Disease
Apr 2020

Wageningen University

YTT 200 Hr.
Aug 2014

Back Bay Yoga

Yoga for Every Body, Vinyasa Flow, Ashtanga, Ayurvedic Integration, Advanced Asana, Transformational Yoga Teaching, Raja and Vipassana Meditation.
CPR and AED Certified
Jul 2014

American Red Cross


Coaches Award
Dec 2018

Sharp International


Screen Actors Guild/American Federation of Television and Radio Artists
May 2010
An American labor union representing over 160,000 film and television principal and background performers, journalists, and radio personalities worldwide.
Writers Guild of America East
Aug 2009
The Writers Guild of America, East, (WGAE) is a labor union of thousands of professionals who are the primary creators of what is seen or heard on television and film in the U.S., as well as the writers of a growing portion of original digital media content. Our members write everything from big budget movies to independent films, late night comedy/variety shows to daytime serials, broadcast and radio news, web series, documentaries, and animation. The WGAE works on their behalf to promote and protect the professional and artistic interests of this diverse community. On joining the Guild, writers from an extraordinarily vast range of backgrounds and abilities unite to promote, protect, and maintain important artistic and professional principles. The Guild’s assistance is provided regardless of the writers’ degree of success.
Actors' Equity Association
May 2009
Actors' Equity Association, founded in 1913, is the labor union that represents more than 49,000 Actors and Stage Managers in the United States. Equity seeks to advance, promote and foster the art of live theatre as an essential component of our society.

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