Performing Arts Courses

Jam Band performing

2022-23 Performing Arts Course Offerings

Acting Shakespeare
Description:  Students will learn techniques for understanding and acting Shakespeare’s works.  Most important is that students find acting Shakespeare fun and enlightening.  Emphasis will be put on learning to turn Shakespearian acting into a physical experience including stage combat, appropriate expressiveness, and clowning.  The student will come away from the class wanting more Shakespeare in his/her life.

Advanced Acting Techniques
Description:  In Advanced Acting Techniques, students will build on techniques learned in Basic Acting and Performing Arts Seminar. The course will include Michael Chekhov’s Acting Techniques, the basics of the Stanislavsky Method, and Boleslavsky’s ideas in his book Acting.  Students will gain an understanding of acting through the ages from Greek chorus to Victorian melodrama to modern theatre.  A performance piece will be chosen, and students will be required to take on a character or characters and present a performance to the public.

Arts Management Internship
Description:  Supporting the brilliant performances at the Cultural Center is the business of Arts Management. The performing arts cannot happen without the important background work of budgeting, scheduling, coordinating, marketing, and publicizing. Arts Management student interns help to make the Cultural Center and its programs a success by playing a vital role in the Center’s operation.

Basic Acting Techniques
Description:  Basic Acting Techniques is a course for beginners or a refresher class for seasoned actors. This course builds actors’ creative confidence through active learning, creativity, and play. This course covers a broad range of acting techniques.

Chorale
Description:  The Eagle Hill Chorale class serves to increase the musicianship of individual students while building a musical ensemble. Musicianship is measured by students’ understanding of 1) musical terminology and its applications, 2) what constitutes effective and healthy vocal technique, 3) how to achieve appropriate expression in singing and in choral performance, and 4) what is necessary from the individual at any one moment in a performance to improve the sound of the whole ensemble. Building any musical ensemble requires that its members, including the director, treat each other with respect and good humor; that they be mutually supportive, working for the good of the whole rather than of any one individual; and that they be willing to make substantive contributions towards publicizing and presenting the ensemble’s concerts.  Chorale students need to be able to sing in tune and to hold their part in a four-voice choral arrangement.

Dance Concepts
Description:  Dance Concepts is a studio course that explores the dance activities of improvisation, technique, choreography/composition, and performance. Students will create and perform short and informal dance studies in a variety of styles and will use movement analysis, choreographic concepts, and personal reactions to write about and critique dance performances, both informal and professional. Students will engage in creative/critical conversations that challenge their awareness of arts making, individual creative voice, and the overall process of discovery. Close attention will be paid to an ethical creation of work and the authentic use of voice.

Film as Art
Description:  Film as Art explores American and foreign films as an art form. The objective is to develop a keen, critical appreciation of films, from all over the world, as art. The method is to work with established criteria for judging and appreciating the film medium. Students view films and read the reviews of each film. Then each student writes his or her own review based on the established criteria.

Improvisation
Description:  This course builds students’ confidence and improvisational skills. They practice acting in improvisational situations, using their voices, creating songs, and using props. In addition, students learn to act with partners on the stage and to understand the methods of improvisational performance.

Introduction to Guitar
Description:  This course will give students hands-on instruction in playing the guitar. The instruction will begin at an entry level with scaffolding and advanced challenges provided. Students will learn how to play notes, scales, chords, and songs. Students will also be taught various rhythmic techniques, such as alternating strumming patterns and finger picking.

Introduction to Lighting
Description:  The class will explore the theories of theatrical lighting design. We will begin with learning the different lighting instruments and the safe process of rigging and hanging the lights. Students will learn how to cable and operate the dimming system and focus all fixtures. Following that, the course will introduce the ETC ION lighting board. Students will learn how to write cues and program the board for performances.

Introduction to Technical Theater
Description:  The Introduction to Technical Theater class will work with students who have an interest in exploring the world of backstage work. They must demonstrate attention to detail, teamwork, organizational skills, responsibility, initiative, and a can-do attitude. They will work with faculty members designing and implementing lighting, sound, rigging, and set construction, and running the technical functions for each concert and production—in addition to less glamorous but equally important labor such as setting up risers and other furniture, and helping to keep equipment organized and well-maintained. This introductory class will be an opportunity to see if the Technical Theater Intern program is a good fit for the student.

Introduction to the Performing Arts
Description:  Introduction to the Performing Arts is an exploratory course focused on performance art. Integrating the study of world music, instruments, artistic theory and history with the practice of singing, playing, acting, and dance, the course introduces students to a variety of performance opportunities and arts knowledge. Students will be challenged to create, practice, and perform each day as they discover different ways they are interested in interacting with the arts. Topics to be introduced include but are not limited to: percussion and rhythm, instrumental practice, choral singing, spoken word, songwriting, improvisation, music in social justice, production, and dance, as well as brief introductions to some of the visual art offerings at Eagle Hill. This class is a prerequisite for EHS Chorale, Jam Band, and IB Music.

Jam Band
Description:  The Jam Band course provides students with an understanding and appreciation of collective creative expression in music through playing and singing, both in class and in live performances.  Students develop creative skills, performance techniques, and social skills through working with their instruments, different musical forms, specific songs, and the benefits and challenges of musical group dynamics.  The culmination of the course is an all-day recording session at a professional studio, where the class essentially creates its own CD.

Modern/Contemporary Dance
Description:  Modern/Contemporary Dance is a studio technique course that allows students to develop expression through movement. This style of dance focuses on body and core strength, spatial awareness, and the use of breath, body weight, and release/recovery. Students will build from the techniques of modern dance pioneers José Limón and Martha Graham. By the end of the term, students will have learned a full-length dance utilizing these techniques.

Music Appreciation
Description:  Music Appreciation is open to all levels of students who enjoy listening to and discussing music. Students will bring their own musical interests to class discussions through presentations on songs and artists while learning about the diverse musical interests of their peers. Through readings and class discussion students will be introduced to a variety of musical styles and cultures. Tailored to the individual group, possible topics explored in Music Appreciation include song writing, drums of the world, and Western music history and important composers.

Music Theory
Description:  Music Theory is open to any student who is interested in music to develop a basic understanding and knowledge of the theory behind why music works, while gaining basic keyboard and sight-reading skills. This course helps students build a foundation in basic musical elements as they discover how pitch, rhythm, harmony, and structure work together to create original music. Students will study existing music to understand compositional rules and techniques, while using their knowledge to analyze the form, key, and rhythmic features as well. This course provides essential groundwork for students interested in music performance and composition, as well as a good introduction to those new to music study. Possible topics include learning the Circle of Fifths, finding the right chords for a melody, figuring out rhythmic patterns, and sight-reading at the keyboard. A Prerequisite for Advanced Music Theory and recommended for those interested in IB Music.

Musical Theater Dance
Description:  Musical Theater Dance is a studio technique course that develops jazz technique and performance quality for the stage. Students will examine the styles of well-known Broadway choreographers, such as Bob Fosse (Chicago, Pippin), Jerome Robbins (West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof), and Michael Bennett (A Chorus Line). In addition to creating new choreography as a class, students will also have a chance to learn pieces of original Broadway choreography.

One Act Competition
Description:  An advanced acting course for students who want to be involved in dramatic competitions with other schools. Students would have to audition or be screened by me to take part in the class. The commitment would mean that students would agree to all that is required by the Massachusetts High School Drama Guild including attending technical rehearsals and Performances as scheduled by the Guild. In addition, they would make a commitment to attend all rehearsals called by the director. Students would receive state recognition for their efforts as well as having the experience of performing in a competitive venue.

Public Speaking
Description:  A fun, practical course to improve your ability to communicate with others and become an effective student and leader.

Set Building and Design
Description:  This course exposes students to the technical and creative aspects of set designing and building. Students design and build sets to be used in productions at Eagle Hill School. Using hand drawings and theater software, students create interactive 3-D computer models of theater or performance spaces where the systems usually associated with performance (lights, sound, fly bars, revolves, and trucks) are used. Basic carpentry and electrical skills are learned while building sets, as well as painting and color coordination for dramatic effect. In addition, students learn about ‘dressing the set’ for performances.

Stage Combat
Description:  In Stage Combat, students learn about stage combat and how to fight safely on stage. The two areas they will be working on are hand-to-hand combat and single-sword combat. Hand-to-hand combat entails falling, slaps, grabs, chokes, pushes, tackles, punches, and kicks. Single-sword combat is sword fighting with one sword. Students will learn the parts of a sword and terms of the trade.  The class will train in the fighting techniques and will perform in front of an audience.

Technical Theater Internship
Description:  Students manage and run the state-of-the-art theatrical lighting, sound, and rigging systems at the Cultural Center for our own plays, concerts and other functions and for visiting productions. Interns must be interested in technical theater and ready to be a responsible, reliable, devoted member of a team. Student interns participate in intensive training. Then, they take on responsibilities such as consulting with performing artists about their technical needs, designing and implementing lighting, sound, rigging, and set, and running the technical functions for each concert and production. Ongoing professional development helps interns hone their practice of technical arts. Interns work at scheduled times but must also be available as-needed. They earn academic credit, but more importantly, they benefit from the exciting experience, becoming expert in theatrical systems, collaborating with performing artists, and building unusually substantive resumes.

The Art of Oral Storytelling
Description:  Oral storytelling existed long before writing ever existed. Without writing, one could not memorize a story because there was no objective written record that was considered to be the correct version. So, stories were slightly different every time they were told but were, nevertheless, considered to be the same story. Students will learn how to internalize a story image by image instead of memorizing it word for word. They will practice how to tell just the right amount of detail by watching and responding to an audience. Students will tell one story of their choice in front of the class at the end of this course. Students will also learn the important role, influence, and responsibilities held by oral storytellers in ancient Irish culture.

Meet Our Performing Arts Faculty

Mr. Will Gelinas

Performing Arts Teacher

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Mr. Carl Mercier

Theater Arts Teacher

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Mrs. Molly Romaker

Dance Teacher

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Ms. Isabella Gentleman

Music Teacher

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