LeVar Burton, actor, director and famed host of “Reading Rainbow,” has launched an online course sharing his approach to storytelling — and how to effectively connect with other people.
Burton’s internet course, “The Power of Storytelling,” is available on MasterClass, as part of the site’s $180 annual membership. Comprising 13 individual video lessons, the class features Burton’s exploration into the motivation behind storytelling.
“Stories are the universal language of humanity,” Burton said in a statement. “Every one of us has a personal story to share, and in my class, I want to help members find those stories from within and have the courage to share them with the world.”
With his trademark warmth and congeniality, Burton shares his approach and philosophies to empower students to activate their imaginations, rethink the way they approach communication and gain confidence as speakers, according to MasterClass. He covers a range of formats, from acting to podcasting, and provides a tutorial on storytelling performance skills such as timing, tonal inflections and rhythm.
Burton also offers his personal insights on the value and impact of storytelling, particularly as it relates to representation. As part of the course, he recounts his experience portraying the young Kunta Kinte in breakthrough 1977 miniseries “Roots,” as well as excerpts from his children’s book, “The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm.”
In the trailer for the class, Burton admits to having a fear of public speaking: “I’ve been doing this for 45 years — every time I open my mouth in public, I’m nervous.”
Burton is slated to be a guest host on “Jeopardy!” the week of July 26, after a huge social-media campaign to have him get a slot on the popular quiz show. The award-winning multihyphenate’s acting credits also include his turn as Geordi La Forge in “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” For the iconic PBS educational series “Reading Rainbow,” Burton served as host and executive producer for more than 20 years, earning 12 Daytime Emmys and a Peabody Award.
Launched in 2015, MasterClass hosts more than 100 on-demand video courses taught by celebs and experts across a range of subjects. Its roster of instructors includes Issa Rae, RuPaul, Shonda Rhimes, Alicia Keys, Ken Burns, Jodie Foster, Spike Lee, Martin Scorsese, Judd Apatow, David Mamet, Steve Martin, former Disney CEO Bob Iger and James Cameron.
Watch the trailer for Burton’s MasterClass below, and sign up on Masterclass.com for $180.