Students are required to take at least one semester of Performing Arts. Only courses labeled as “Advanced” and AP have pre-requisites. All other classes are open to all students and do not require any previous skill or experience.
|SEMESTER 1||SEMESTER 2|
|T923 Writing for the Stage, Screen and TV|
|T925 Acting and Directing For the Stage|
|T927 Costume Design|
|T931 Documentary Filmmaking|
|T933 Studio Time For Actors, Singers, Rappers & Poets||
The purpose of this course is to help students become more adept at speaking in public and giving presentations. People use more than the voice to communicate their ideas effectively. Other modes of communication that we will take into consideration include: facial expressions, body language, word choice, and adapting to your audience. In addition, students have a variety of technologies to assist in their oral presentations, but few know how to use them properly. In this course, students will have three speeches to complete: demonstration speech, persuasive speech with technology, and a welcome/introduction speech or a student driven debate. Students will be able to take risks in a safe rehearsal environment involving individual and group critique and self-reflection in order to improve their presentations for this class and for the future. (9th,10th, 11th, 12th grades)
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be an actor or director for a show and think you might want to give it a try yourself? This course will bring together students who have an interest in learning about acting and/or directing while exposing them to the various ways that a script can be brought to life in performance. We will explore the role and responsibilities of a director as well as learn basic acting techniques through classroom exercises, assignments, observations and critiques. In addition, this course will help students understand the process of reading and analyzing a script, conceiving a vision, and communicating it to the actors and the audience. As a final project, students will either perform in or direct a scene with a cast of their peers. (9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grades)
WRITING FOR THE STAGE, SCREEN, & TV
(1 UNIT) SEMESTER 1
At some time or another, everyone has a great idea for a movie, play or graphic novel. However, few people ever write those stories because they are not sure where to start. Students will focus on how to write dialogue, use proper format, and how to construct a scene. Each week, students will write a new scene and discuss their work with classmates after reading the material aloud. Areas to be discussed will include: creating dialogue, character development, obstacles and conflicts, raising the stakes, finding material to write about, using props in the script, and opening and closing the scene. Students will also learn the difference between writing for the stage and writing for film, television and stage. (9th, 10th, 11th, 12th grades)
This course is for students interested in the art, history and practice of costume design. Line, form, color, scale, texture, pattern, period costumes, functionality on stage, and the effects of stage lighting on fabric will be explored. Students will learn basic hand and machine sewing stitches and techniques, which can be applied to their daily lives. Students will research, design and build a costume for a character of her or his choice. No prior experience with fashion design, sewing or figure drawing is necessary – just a love of fashion and clothes from different periods and cultures with a passion to create art that is worn on stage.
Documentary filmmaking will introduce students to the world of cinematic nonfiction storytelling. Students will make films with topics of their own choosing centering on real-life stories and events while exploring sub-genres such as biography, current events, and history. Students will learn production planning, archival research, storyboarding, lighting, editing styles and techniques (such as Ken Burns), and the use of B-roll footage. They will also explore interview techniques, text as narration, and voiceovers. Looking at the tradition of documentary photography at various points during the course will aid students and inform their own work. Occasionally, they will also analyze and critique important documentary films to deepen their understanding of the field, and expand their creative work. Students will have opportunities to present their concepts and plans for feedback and review. In addition, they will present work in progress, as well as finished films, for class critique. A full range of equipment is available to students. Students with previous experience or coursework may register for VA858A. (9th, 10th, 11th, 12th grades)
Radio. Television. Movies. Broadway. It seems easy enough to perform, but the self-confidence of the performer comes with only hours upon hours of practice. This class welcomes any aspiring actor, singer rapper or poet (from novice to experienced) who desires to build a repertoire for college auditions, or just to get over a fear of stage fright. Throughout the semester, students will analyze, interpret, rehearse and present monologues, scenes, poems, songs and/or rap in a safe and supportive environment. During the process, students will strengthen their confidence, poise, and public speaking/singing abilities as they develop an awareness of the voice and body, while expanding their creativity and imagination. These skills will help develop the student’s stage presence, but can also be used outside the classroom. In addition to working on material the student may already be familiar with, the teacher will assist the student step out of their comfort zone and explore new material. This class is not just for the actor, as it would benefit any student who desires to perform better in front of an audience. Prior experience on stage is not necessary, but performance is required as a part of this class. (9th, 10th, 11th, 12th grades)
Have you ever wondered what The Lion King and Avenue Q have in common? Do you love watching musicals and listening to show music? If so, this class will encourage you to explore the progress and major innovations throughout the history of this truly American performing art form. This genre will be examined from its inception in minstrel shows, operetta, vaudeville and burlesque to the present day. Students will also explore the lives and major contributions of various librettists, lyricists and composers such as Gershwin, Porter, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Bernstein and Sondheim. The coursework will consist of reading, active listening, analysis and criticism as well as student presentations, which will include the performance of a scene or song from a show of a certain time period. Students do not have to be able to sing to enroll in the course. (9th, 10th, 11th, 12th grades)
Is the director’s intention to inform, incite or entertain? That will be the groundwork for our discussions in this course. Students will view clips from films throughout the ages, both commercial and independent. They will see how society has affected film and how film has affected society. What has changed for the better or the worse since the beginning of film as an art form? What role do race, gender, religion and sexual orientation play in the way a film is made? If a film is adapted from a book, is material edited out so as not to offend the mass audience and protect society or to make sure there is more revenue from the box office? In addition to regular forms of assessment and a powerpoint presentation, students will be expected to present a clip from a film and then discuss its impact on themselves as well as society in general. (9th, 10th, 11th, 12th grades)
Documentary filmmaking will introduce students to the world of cinematic nonfiction storytelling. Students will make films with topics of their own choosing centering on real-life stories and events while exploring sub-genres such as biography, current events and history. Students will learn production planning, archival research, storyboarding, lighting, editing styles and techniques (such as Ken Burns), and the use of B-roll footage. They will also explore interview techniques, text as narration and voiceovers. Looking at the tradition of documentary photography at various points during the course will aid students and inform their own work. Occasionally, they will also analyze and critique important documentary films to deepen their understanding of the field, and expand their creative work. Students will have opportunities to present their concepts and plans for feedback and review, and will present work in progress, as well as finished films, for class critique. A full range of equipment is available to students. Students with previous experience or coursework may register for VA858A. Students who request the advanced designation of this class must have worked in the media before and have prior approval by the instructor. (9th, 10th, 11th, 12th grades)
Improvisation, sketch comedy and stand-up is not just funny but also a way to make the public aware of controversial issues through the use of humor. This class lets the students develop material in the style of The Daily Show, SNL, Second City, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, Ellen DeGeneres and other comedic influences. Students will collaborate in groups and individually to create material that is humorous, yet connects the audience to current events. Students will study comedians to understand how to create their own material. This class is not just for comedy enthusiasts, and stage experience is not necessary. This is a project-based course, and performance is required as a part of this class. (9th, 10th, 11th, 12th grades)
In this survey course, students will choose a wide variety of creative projects to explore theatre’s early history through the lens of different cultures. From theater’s origins in Ancient Egypt and Greek tragedy to Indonesian shadow puppet plays and African ritual drama, students will read excerpts of scripts and then have the option to do a performance, visual arts or written project connected to the genre studied. Scripts will be analyzed based on the historical time period, culture, and religion and comparisons will be made across genres. (9th, 10th, 11th, 12th grades)
Courses Not Offered in 2017-2018
ACTING FOR THE STAGE
(1 UNIT) NOT OFFERED
A basic acting class for those students who are interested in learning the art of acting and improvisation. In addition to doing acting exercises, students will have an opportunity to do scene work as well as monologue work. The finished products of the class will be performed during class for students from other divisions or in assemblies. Other assessments include journal writing and class participation. (10th, 11th, 12th grades)
(1 UNIT) NOT OFFERED
What happens behind the scenes at a rock concert or a theatrical production? In this class, students will learn how to interpret a script to design lighting, sound and sets for virtually any show. Students will get hands-on experience with the various types of theater equipment and technology available in the Kurtz Center for the Performing Arts, including the counterweight rigging system, lighting board and sound board. They will learn to choose color and intensity in lighting design, create a lighting plot and sound plot, and write cues for performance. In addition, this course will cover scene shop etiquette and safety, set construction and scene painting techniques. Grades will be determined from participation in class discussions, student commitment, and projects that assess both practical knowledge and creative design. Students who pass this course will be eligible to work in the Kurtz Center for both school events and rentals. (10th, 11th, and 12th grades)
(1 UNIT) NOT OFFERED
Have you ever seen Blue Man Group, Cirque du Soleil or a Poetry Slam? Did you ever wonder what it would be like to put together your own performance art production? If so, you will enjoy this course. You will learn about the varieties of performance art and then choose a topic to explore using a various performance styles. You will have an opportunity to explore your theme or topic using improvisational exercises using movement, text, music, body percussion, etc. After some research, you will create your own performance art piece, which may include poetry, songwriting, dance, short scenes, monologues or choral readings. Your final products will be performed at the end of the trimester with time for reflection and critique. So, if you are interested in writing, directing, production and/or performance, while learning how to create a performance art piece from the bottom up, this is a great course for you.
(1 UNIT) NOT OFFERED
The class aims to give students an understanding of dance as an art, as a physical activity and as a means of communication. Class workouts will focus on alignment and posture, turnout, development of the feet, extension, arm and head placement and movement. By utilizing exercises demonstrated in the New York City Ballet Workout, and taught in dance studios everywhere, this class will teach exercises that increase flexibility, core strength, balance and coordination. This is not a class solely for dancers, although dancers will greatly benefit from these exercises meant to supplement their studio training. This is also a class for athletes who would like to increase their agility, coordination, flexibility and quickness on their feet. All levels of dance, from the beginner to the advanced, will benefit from the techniques taught in this class.
In addition, those students taking the class for Performing Arts credit will learn different processes one can use when choreographing a dance piece. Students will participate in exercises to help them understand form, space, rhythm, tempo, storytelling, theatricality, and their relation to dance and movement. In the second half of the semester, we will explore some of the aspects of social dance as well as their significance in history, and their development over time. This term, we will touch on the basic steps for Waltz, Salsa, Swing, and Tango. Each student will participate in the choreography of one dance piece. Dancers can choose to choreograph using any type of music or movement from ballet to hip hop. (9th, 10th, 11th, 12th grades)
OS101, 102, 103
(1 UNIT) NOT OFFERED
See Visual Arts for course description.