For eight weeks this spring, second- and fourth-grade students took part in an exciting global learning program.
Unlike other academic disciplines, drama requires an outward focus. Students are trained to place their attention on the other actors in the scene and react accordingly, thus making the dramatic arts and its most visible creation – the performance – an invaluable experience for young adults and children alike.
During these four years, our rich electives encourage students to dig deep and find their own voices to express themselves creatively.
At the same time, our courses require students to cultivate a variety of personal resources and academic skills: listening, concentration, physical flexibility, emotional self-awareness, openness to others, critical reading skills and analysis, problem solving, etc. At the core of the work is the development of the dramatic imagination, learning that is unique to the dramatic arts.
Course descriptions here: Curriculum Guide.
In this three-year period, individual development is key. Each year’s courses provide students with opportunities for growth in concentration, sensory awareness, imagination, physical awareness, speech, emotion and genuine presence. Courses mirror students’ natural development in the passage from childhood into adolescence— helping them discover their own resources, explore their environment, and display a sensitivity to others who share it—thus making this program is an essential Middle School art experience.
Even Pingry’s youngest students—budding thespians and stage shy alike— can explore their inner actor. In these formative years, coursework is designed to introduce students to drama’s much larger life lessons: teamwork, collaboration, and problem solving. With a newly modernized drama studio and two performances a year, our Lower School is one of the few schools in the area to offer such a sophisticated drama program for young children, and is on the cutting edge of weaving drama into the curriculum in a comprehensive way. As students advance from basic focus, circle games, and physical awareness games in Kindergarten to the interpretation of a script for performance in Grade 5, they grow in their confidence and understanding of the art of theater.
Whether it’s a salsa beat or a Hip-Hop rhythm, dance engages the body and the mind. Led by a dedicated faculty member and former professional dancer, Pingry’s dance curriculum allows students to use their energy creatively, engaging imaginations and eliminating inhibitions. And Pingry’s dance studio, with its expansive windows and floor-to-ceiling mirrors, invites such joyful expression. Here, students, faculty, and staff alike come to move, dance, stretch, and practice yoga and mindful awareness.
Learn some fancy footwork and get fit with dance! Upper School students may take dance as a trimester course that fulfills Pingry’s physical fitness requirement, or delve into a full year elective course. Our exciting, interdisciplinary curriculum covers a wide range of movement skills, from social dance to individual dance rhythms (salsa, Afro-Cuban) to Vinyasa yoga and Movement for Actors, where budding thespians use movement to free mind and spirit, fine-tuning their ability to express emotion through the body and readying themselves for the Pingry stage!Prefer dancing on a stage to the studio? Involvement in the Upper School winter musical offers students a chance to delve more deeply into dance and movement as a soloist and/or a member of a small or large group ensemble.
As part of their drama unit, Grade 6 students enjoy traditional circle dance, contra dance, dance rhythms, and creative dance as a way to develop both self-awareness and awareness of others. For Form I students who take Drama 7, a short introduction to dance explores the fun of simple partnering, leading and following, as well as moving with a group and choreographing movements to music.
Prefer the dance studio to the playing field? Students in Forms I and II may take dance/yoga as an alternative to interscholastic sports during the winter season, a musical movement class that employs creative movement games, Afro-Cuban dance and salsa, Vinyasa yoga, relaxation, and mindful awareness.Dream of seeing your name in lights? Why not explore dance in musical theater by auditioning for the Middle School musical, an annual spring production.
The Pingry theater experience is a collaborative one; the contributions of scenic artists, together with the costume, lighting, and sound designers, help to create the worlds that the actors inhabit. In technical theater, students work with our professional scenic artist to construct and paint a set and receive training in lighting and sound. Wonder who’s in the control booth during a performance? Likely a familiar face—each production involves students’ technical contributions!