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Performing Arts Courses

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Dance
Satisfies Arts Program Requirement
Classes I, II, & III
This comprehensive course is designed both for students who have had little or no previous formal dance experience and for the intermediate-level dancer. Students explore and practice the principles of dance technique, improvisation, and composition, working to develop greater awareness, freedom, and control in the use of the body as an instrument of expression. Ballet, modern, and other dance styles will be introduced and practiced.

Advanced Dance: Modern
(Half Course)
Classes I & II
This course is designed for students prepared to work at the advanced or intermediate level in modern dance technique. Students practice advanced warm-up exercises, center combinations, and movement patterns. Students may learn repertory from established modern dance choreographers. In addition to technique, students explore improvisation and dance composition in a more in-depth manner, culminating in a collaborative performance in the Winter Dance Concert. (Prerequisite: Arts Program Dance or permission of the department chair.)

Advanced Dance: Ballet
(Half Course)
Classes I & II
This course is designed for dancers prepared to work at the advanced or intermediate level in ballet technique. Students practice advanced warm-up exercises, center combinations, and movement patterns. In addition to technique, students may learn repertory from choreographed ballets. (Prerequisite: Arts Program Dance or permission of the department chair.)

Advanced Dance: Choreography
(Half Course)
Classes I & II
This course explores the path from improvisational dancing to sophisticated dance making. In a fun and supportive atmosphere, students cultivate their natural movement resources, developing movement ideas into fully shaped dance and movement pieces. Students also study relevant and well-established choreographers. No formal dance training is required; however, the ability and the desire to move are necessary. Students in this course will work collaboratively to create and perform a dance for the Winter Dance Concert. This course is strongly recommended for students interested in choreographing as individuals for the Winter Dance Concert. (Permission of the department chair is required.)

Drama
Satisfies Arts Program Requirement
Classes I, II, & III
This course teaches acting skills to students of all experience levels. From interested novices to the advanced performer, each actor is given tools to continue their performing-arts growth. Exercises and scene work aim at developing concentration, freedom, and power of expression, connection with a text and with acting partners, and a process for approaching characterization. The emphasis is on representational acting techniques and contemporary, realistic texts. Attendance at all Upper School performances is required. Excursions to professional productions may be required.

Advanced Drama: Directing
(Half Course)
Classes I & II
This course introduces students to the principles and practices of directing for the stage. The course is project-based, and emphasizes hands-on instruction and exploration in the directing of scenes and short plays. Students learn the basics of concept development, actor coaching, and blocking. The course is highlighted with a public presentation of student directed work in the spring. Students will also shadow faculty directors and may act as assistant directors for current-season productions. (Prerequisite: Arts Program Drama or equivalent experience and permission from the department chair.)

Advanced Drama: Improvisation
(Half Course)
Classes I & II
This course covers the many aspects of improvisation, such as quick and thorough thinking on one’s feet; creating believable characters; the use of subtext, concentration, imagination, and observation in short and long-form non-scripted scenes; working cooperatively with an ensemble and audience; creating truthful relationships; and the use of the body and voice as communicative instruments. Through participating in class activities, attending two off-campus shows, and performing in public, students will become more spontaneous, trusting, and cooperative performers. (Permission of the department chair is required.)

Advanced Drama: Musical Theatre
(Half Course)
Classes I & II
This course focuses on developing skills in acting, singing, and dancing for musical theatre. The course is team-taught by members of the Performing Arts and Music Departments and combines exercises and scene work from contemporary Broadway musical theatre. The course culminates in a public performance by members of the class. (Prerequisite: Arts Program Drama or equivalent experience and permission of the department chair.)

Page to Stage
Satisfies Arts Program Requirement
Classes I, II, & III
How do you bring stories to life? This performance-based course gives students the tools to create captivating presentations from a variety of sources, such as prose, children’s literature, newspaper articles, plays, poetry, and even cereal boxes. With text in hand, students will develop the physical, vocal, and interpretive skills necessary to engage audiences through the use of their personal voice. Course performances may include presentations with the Lower School, Arts Night, and other cross-campus collaborative opportunities.

Spoken Word Poetry
(Half Course)
Classes I, II, & III
Learn to become a bold and creative writer/performer! In this course students will immerse themselves in the world of spoken word poetry by reading, listening to, and watching the work of accomplished poets. Modeled after the collegiate writing process, coursework will include workshops centering students’ original poetry while honing their poetic craft and critical feedback skills. These pieces will be brought to life through a variety of performance approaches to create meaningful group and individual live performances. Students will explore styles of spoken word, slam, and dramatic poetry readings.

Design for the Theatre
Satisfies Arts Program Requirement
Classes I, II, & III
This course introduces students to the collaborative art of scenic design, lighting design, and costume design. In the first semester, students will explore the elements and principles of design through hands-on projects in perspective drawing, technical drafting, watercolor rendering, and scale model construction. Two-dimensional work will be explored using Vectorworks and other digital design tools along with free-hand drawing and drafting techniques. In the second semester, students will form a design team for a spring production. Through play analysis, hands-on projects, and collaboration, each student will create a complete design for an actualized project. These projects may include a full design or specific projects within a design. The course culminates in a presentation of a design portfolio composed of drafting, renderings, and models illustrating growth throughout the year.

Advanced Drama: Costume Design
(Half Course)
Classes I & II
This course explores costume design and construction through theoretical and practical projects. Students will learn basic sketching, hand- and machine-sewing techniques, pattern reading and adaptation, millinery techniques, and costume jewelry making. In addition, through play-reading and analysis as well as historical research, students will develop and present costume plots, individual character costume sketches, and design concepts.

Advanced Drama: Hidden Voices in Theatre
(Half Course)
Classes I & II
In this advanced level acting course, students will explore contemporary plays highlighting largely underrepresented voices both in terms of subject matter and playwright. Students will perform scenes and monologues from these plays, interact with working playwrights, and write about their discoveries throughout the course. (Prerequisite: Arts Program Drama or Page To Stage or equivalent experience and permission from the department chair.)

Hamlet
(Half Course)
Classes I & II
This course is team-taught by a member of the English Department and a member of the Performing Arts Department. Please see the full course description in the English section.

Project Story: Narrative Journalism & Performance
(Half Course)
Classes I, II, & III
From competitive story slams performed for packed venues to storytelling courses designed to empower workplace professionals, sharing narrative with live audiences has never felt more current or relevant. In this course, students will study the art of storytelling through moving their own and others’ stories from page to stage. During the first half of the semester, students will learn narrative journalism skills, performance skills, and peer workshop practice to collect and shape stories of our school. They will work collaboratively during the second half of the semester to identify, research, write, and perform a story that originates beyond Milton Academy. Throughout the year, students will read and view storytelling models, attend performances, and hear from visiting artists and activists who promote storytelling around the country, believing that shared stories strengthen and sustain human connection. (This course is listed under both the English and Performing Arts departments.)

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