The Lower School’s creative movement program enhances the learning of curricular concepts and nurtures the well-being, imagination, and movement expression of each child. The program introduces the principles of dance movement through improvisation, fosters creativity, and improves muscular coordination and strength through vigorous and expressive activities.
During grades 6 and 7, all students will spend an entire semester studying dance (the remaining three semester classes are general music, production technology/costuming, and drama). All four classes are exploratory, experiential, and connected thematically. An informal sharing for peers celebrates the end of each semester of exploration.
The Upper School performing arts curriculum offers courses for students to continue their exploration of dance along with acting, music, and production technology. There are two Danceflete Collective concerts in a typical academic year.
Mary Jane Pagenstecher
Director of Performing Arts
Creative Movement in Early Childhood and Lower School
The Lower School creative movement program enhances the learning of curricular concepts and nurtures the well-being, imagination, and movement expression of each child. The program introduces the principles of dance movement through improvisation, fosters creativity, and improves muscular coordination and strength through vigorous and expressive activities. The basic elements of movement—space, shape, force, and rhythm—are explored as students create and practice movement often related to a theme. Traveling through space (run, gallop, skip) and responding to text and music are also essential parts of the experience.
Individual work helps students develop a greater awareness of themselves in relation to the surrounding space, while group studies encourage collaboration and organization. Movers start the year relating activities to general themes, including word opposites and the environment. As the year progresses, new curricular themes are interwoven into each class, encouraging students to create detailed, expressive movement studies. Historical events, scientific inventions, mathematical challenges, and literature (traditional and original) come to life through movement exploration. The program promotes active learning and discovery, and nurtures confidence and a sense of accomplishment, all at a pace that is both comfortable and challenging.
Dance in Middle School
Grade 6 and 7 classes
In formal classes that meet twice a week, students gain skills and experience in various performing arts disciplines. Over this two-year span, students spend one full semester in each of the following: dance, drama, general music, and production technology/costuming. These four classes are exploratory, experiential, and connected thematically. An informal sharing for peers celebrates the end of each semester of exploration.
(In grade 8, drama class builds on the sixth and seventh grade performing arts classes and includes a range of exploration, from public speaking and writing monologues and scenes to acting and collaborating on a full-grade culminating performance.)
Dance in Upper School
PE Dance is an option for each of the three sports seasons. Upper School dancers have the opportunity to concentrate on dance technique, composition, choreography, and repertory. As members of Danceflete Collective, dancers will focus on technique and compositional skills during the fall season, then continue their technical training and prepare repertoire for two dance concerts in the winter and spring seasons. Concerts are scheduled annually in March and May and feature faculty and student choreography in a variety of styles—Modern, Contemporary, World, and Jazz Dance. Members of Danceflete Collective earn ½ credit in the Performing Arts by completing two seasons of PE Dance while simultaneously fulfilling their PE requirement.
Choreographers are also invited to create innovative, alternate-space works for the MS & US Coffeehouse–Sharing of Original Works held each March. Coffeehouse calls student playwrights, composers, songwriters, choreographers, poets, comedians, etc., to create and share original works—in draft or finished form—in a casual performance on the Franklin Theater Stage. Members of the Performing Arts Team provide coaching for students as they work toward this celebration of creativity, risk-taking, and self-expression!
Students wishing to supplement their academic experiences (for an additional cost) may add enrichment music lessons and workshops on our campus.