Performing Arts at Derby help children build essential aptitudes including collaboration, self-confidence, poise, teamwork, patience, and dedication. Students benefit from performance opportunities, as well as expert instruction in choreography and all “behind the scenes” technical areas.

Poise, dedication...and essential life skills!

The Performing Arts Program offers students in all grades an opportunity to explore the world of theater. Starting in the Lower School, drama is incorporated into classroom activities, such as the second grade dramatization of poetry in Poetry Out Loud and the third grade Thanksgiving Play. As students grow, the dramatic offerings increase until students are doing full-scale musical and dramatic productions.

The Derby Academy dance program enables students in grades six through eight to gain exposure to different styles of dance. There are numerous opportunities for students to perform, either in a performing arts concert, morning meeting or musical production. There are also dances that are created each year specifically for the annual holiday shows, Let There Be Light and Holiday Traditions.

Performing Arts at a Glance

List of 4 items.

  • Middle School Drama >>

    Students continue to explore drama in the Middle School. Students in the Grade 4 take the lead roles in Holiday Traditions, an original piece that portrays families from around the world celebrating the traditions of their specific holidays. In Grade 5, after extensive research and preparation, students give a formal presentation on a country from around the world at International Night. During rehearsals, students are introduced to various theater games and improvisational exercises to improve concentration, confidence and community. Script analysis, character studies and historical research relevant to the piece are also a part of these productions.
  • Upper School Drama >>

    In the Upper School, students can fully immerse themselves in all aspects of the theater. Choosing from a host of dramatic-based electives, students may choose to enroll in classes such as Improvisation, One-Act Play, Children’s Theater or Shakespeare. Each of these electives culminates in a school or public performance and requires students to work not just on dramatics, but also on the technical aspects of theater. In Grade 6, all students participate in a full-scale musical production incorporating not only acting, but singing and dancing as well. Past productions have included Freckleface Strawberry,The Little Mermaid, Jr., Dear Edwina, Jr., Mything Links, Alice in Wonderland, Jr., Beauty and the Beast, and Tortoise and the Hare, among others. Together, students and teacher decide which sets, props, costumes, lighting and sound are appropriate for the piece. Students work both onstage and off to assist in the preparations. Students also engage in theater games and improvisational exercises designed to reduce self-consciousness, foster teamwork and build confidence. In addition, students study techniques to improve their vocal projection, diction and physicality, as well as analyze scripts and discover character motivations. In the winter term, students may also choose to participate in the Upper School Musical. Past musical productions include The Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music, Willy Wonka, Jr., Anything Goes, Oklahoma!, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Jr., and Music Man, Jr. Opportunities to participate in the technical aspects of theatre also exist. Upper School students may choose to build and design sets for the musical productions, or choose to assist with lighting, sound, costumes, and publicity.
  • Grade 6 Dance >>

    Grade 6 Dance introduces students to basic jazz and ballet technique. Each class begins with a ballet/jazz warm up designed to improve flexibility, increase strength and balance and emphasize proper body alignment. Using ballet terminology, students are taught fundamental ballet positions, turns and leaps, which provide the basis for many types of dance. Students then help to choose a piece of music and begin to learn a choreographed routine. Improvisational movement exercises are used to allow students to learn new ways to move their bodies. These exercises also allow students to have a part in the choreography process. The students then perform that routine at a performing arts concert for parents and students.

    Grade 6 Dance also includes a unit on folk and/or ethnic dancing. In the past, students have learned Bharatanatyam, a classical Indian dance, a traditional Chinese folk dance using fans, and Gahu, a traditional West-African dance. Donning traditional costumes, the Grade 6 dancers perform these ethnic dances before the school community.
  • Upper School Dance >>

    In Upper School Dance, students continue to study ballet and jazz technique, but also begin to explore other types of dance including modern, hip-hop and lyrical. By studying the works of famous choreographers, students begin to learn about the art of choreography. Students are then assigned a group choreography project where they must work in small groups to create a dance piece of their own. Choosing and editing music, picking a style of dance, choreographing a dance piece and submitting a written summary of the steps are all a part of the project. In addition, the class as a whole learns a group number involving all dancers choreographed by Mrs. Beniers. At the end of the term, the choreography projects along with the group dance are presented at a school-wide dance assembly.

    Upper School dance students also have the option to take an introductory class in tap dancing. In Tap, students learn rhythm, coordination and basic tap terminology and combinations. Students also learn and perform a tap routine at the end of the term. For more advanced dancers, opportunities exist to dance in the annual holiday show, Let There Be Light. Numerous dances of many different styles, including jazz, ballet, lyrical, modern and tap have been a part of Let There Be Light in past years.
The best educational choice on the South Shore for Pre-K through Grade 8 education.