Fine Arts: Performing Arts

The mission of the Fine Arts Department is to offer instruction, resources, and a culture that inspires students to develop artistic awareness and proficiency by providing a professional environment and a comprehensive curriculum in the visual and performing arts. We believe that the exploratory creative process encourages cognitive growth and builds problem solving skills that promote resilience and flexible thinking.

Music

The core offerings of the music program at St. Johnsbury Academy are the large ensemble Band and Chorus. In addition, several small ensemble groups, both curricular and extracurricular, are available.

Band (Standard)
1 Credit/All Year (8801)
Prerequisite: A year’s experience in band or private instruction or department recommendation. Band may be taken multiple times for credit
Students will rehearse and perform music ranging widely in style and difficulty, with an emphasis on broadening their knowledge of repertoire and developing technical ability. The band performs at home football games and pep rallies, marches in selected parades, and performs in four concerts throughout the year. Students are expected to reserve all performance dates. Students who have achieved a higher level of proficiency are encouraged to audition for a number of festivals. Smaller ensembles of students with similar ability will be allowed to pursue more challenging literature.

Chorus (Standard)
1 Credit/All Year (8814)
Chorus may be taken multiple times for credit
Chorus provides students with an introduction to many styles of choral literature. Students will work to develop their reading and singing skills in an ensemble environment. The Chorus will perform four concerts per year and participate in other special performances in the community. Students are expected to reserve these times for performances.

Jazz Band (Accelerated)
½ Credit (8803)
Prerequisite: By audition. Jazz Band may be taken multiple times for credit
Students in the Jazz Band will explore the classical and modern jazz repertoire in this select ensemble. Development of musicianship and improvisational skills will be encouraged. The Jazz Band will perform many concerts throughout the year. It is expected that those in the Jazz Band will keep current in the concert band’s repertoire and participate in the large ensemble as needed. The Jazz Band participates in many concerts throughout the year – students are expected to reserve these times for performances.

String Ensemble (Accelerated)
1 Credit (8806)
Prerequisite: By audition. String ensemble may be taken multiple times for credit
The String Ensemble will provide students with the opportunity to develop their skills in playing violin-family instruments as they prepare music in a small ensemble environment. Students will be involved in extracurricular performances and rehearsals.

Guitar I (Standard)
1 Credit (8805)

In this introductory course students will learn or refine skills such as chord identification and facility, strumming patterns, and finger-picking styles. The class emphasis is on developing the students’ reading of melodic and rhythmic notation to a level that would prepare them for Guitar II.

Guitar II (Accelerated)
1 Credit (8807)
Prerequisite: Guitar I
Students will strengthen their skills in playing guitar-family instruments as they prepare music in a small ensemble environment. Students will be involved in extracurricular performances and rehearsals.

Music Appreciation and Theory (Standard)
1 Credit (8815)
Prerequisite: Department recommendation
The class will expand on students’ understanding of music theory and harmony through improving their skills in notation, interval and chord recognition, scale construction, form, harmonic structure and analysis along with rhythmic and melodic dictation. Students will apply their understanding by composing, with the opportunity to participate in the Vermont Midi project. In addition, students will explore music literature from the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, and Modern periods and its contribution to the development of Western music. Students should have some familiarity with notation, and some experience with keyboard instruments prior to signing up for the course.

AP Music Theory
1 Credit (8819)
Prerequisite: Music Appreciation and Theory (Standard) with department recommendation
Motivated music students who wish to sign up for the AP version of Music Theory will explore the ideas in the Music Appreciation and Theory course in an accelerated manner.

Theatre

Academy Theatre is the largest extracurricular organization on campus, with four full seasons of theatrical productions. Students who wish to explore the crafts of acting or stagecraft in more depth should consider the curricular courses described below.

Acting I (Standard)
1 Credit (8824)

Physical characterization is the focus of this course.Students will work on mime, masks, and Laban’s work for actors; including the effort actions and Michael Chekhov techniques.Daily voice work includes vocal production, vocal range, and articulation.To be a performing artist, vocabulary study is necessary, as well as the historical development of theatre from the creation myths, to Ancient Greece and Rome.Students work in improvisation and write their own short scenes.Two evening public performances are required.Students are kept apprised of audition details for the Academy Theatre productions.

Acting II (Standard)
1 Credit (8825)
Prerequisite: Acting I; with department recommendation
Students will continue to develop their acting skills by studying main acting philosophies in addition to vocal and physical techniques. Through a focus on script analysis and the process of acting, students will become better able to develop characters, to determine objectives, and to prepare for roles and auditions. To develop actors who are better prepared for challenging roles, more challenging scripts are used. An emphasis is placed on each student taking a lead in our two class productions performed in the evening. Students are encouraged to take part in Academy Theatre productions.

Acting III (Accelerated)
1 Credit (8826)
Prerequisite: Acting II
This class may be taken twice for credit, with department permission. Students will continue to put script analysis, acting technique, physical characterization, vocal training, and knowledge of historical periods to the test, as students tackle classical scripts including Shakespearean scenes and monologues. Two evening performances are required where each student is featured in lead roles. The semester ends with a showcase of the Creative Writing Class’ new plays.

Dance

The curricular dance offerings at the Academy focus on the modern dance technique of Martha Graham, and provide students with a background in the technique appropriate for those who wish to pursue the serious study of dance in any genre. Extracurricular clubs allow students to explore other dance styles, including jazz, Middle Eastern, and African dance.

Popular Dance
1 Credit (8830)

Popular Dance is a survey course on dance trends that reflect styles and popular moves of different cultures and times. Students will be introduced to various dance idioms that have evolved over the centuries: including Tango, Waltz, Square Dancing, Salsa, Jazz, Hip Hop, etc. Students will examine the roots of these styles in popular, ritual, and social evolutionary patterns. Students will gain insights into the physicality and mechanics of movement, moving through space, and partnering. Introduction to Popular Dance does not result in the waiver of one credit of physical education.

Dance I (Standard)
1 Credit (8831)
Dance I can be taken multiple times for credit
The modern dance technique of Martha Graham is the basis of this class, which progresses carefully from a basic and thorough introduction to an energetic, challenging, and healthful movement experience. Classes are exciting, intense, rigorous, and challenging as they focus on correct technique as well as proper body conditioning and toning. The course is appropriate for novice dancers, as well as experienced dancers who are unfamiliar with Graham technique. Athletes in any sport can benefit dramatically from this course. Some evening and afternoon attendance at dance performances and rehearsals will be required. Completion of one credit of Introduction to Dance results in the waiver of one credit of physical education, but may not be substituted for Introduction to Physical Education.

Dance II (Accelerated)
1 Credit (8833)
Prerequisite: With department recommendation. Dance II can be taken multiple times for credit
Dance II builds on the ideas presented in Introduction to Dance, and is appropriate for dancers familiar with the ideas of Martha Graham and who have mastered introductory skills. An emphasis is placed on the recognition of familiar body patterns, and executing them with the precision of the professional dancer or athlete. Some evening and afternoon attendance at dance performances and rehearsals will be required. Completion of one credit of Dance II results in the waiver of one credit of physical education, but may not be substituted for Introduction to Physical Education.

Training for the Athlete (Standard)
1 Credit (8835)
Prerequisite: None
This course is designed to enhance athletes’ agility, physical control, coordination, flexibility, and sense of timing.The course focuses on proper and safe body alignment while it develops core strength.Classes are designed to include sport-specific features for in-season training.The class also provides hardy and essential training for athletes in the off-season.This is not a dance class; it is a class for athletes making use of dance training for complementary cross-training purposes.The course allows students to gain valuable skills to improve their flexibility, range of motion, balance control, speed and agility.

Ballet I
1 Credit (8837)
This course is designed to enhance athletes’ agility, physical control, coordination, flexibility, and sense of timing.The course focuses on proper and safe body alignment while it develops core strength.Classes are designed to include sport-specific features for in-season training.The class also provides hardy and essential training for athletes in the off-season.This is not a dance class; it is a class for athletes making use of dance training for complementary cross-training purposes.The course allows students to gain valuable skills to improve their flexibility, range of motion, balance control, speed and agility.

Ballet II
1 Credit (8838)
Ballet II is a continuation of Ballet I on a more demanding level. Exercises are more complicated and demanding, involving changes of direction, feet, sides, front and back. The barre work and center floor are more intricate and incorporate more use of arm and upper body movement in concert with leg work. Exercises coming across the floor and grande allegro are more varied, incorporating jumps, turns, jetes, tour jetes, multiple pirouettes, and beats in longer movement phrases and phrases with rhythmic changes. Use of the upper body and port de bras are incorporated with a focus on creating fluid and well-coordinated movement. Ballet II is a continuation of Ballet I and a preparation for Ballet III.