Academics

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Theater Arts

The curriculum is designed to offer focused and progressive training in the arts of theater and dance. Students learn effective skills in oral presentation, critical analysis, Acting/Scene Study, Directing, Musical Theater, Classical and Modern Dance forms and Choreography. Students also acquire knowledge in the history and cultural aspects of these disciplines as well as hands on practicum in all areas of theater production. The Conservatories of Theater, Dance, and Advanced Musical Theater take place during after school hours as part of the extended curriculum. Seniors are invited to engage in a senior project which reflects the culmination of their conservatory study. All courses address the five components required by the University of California: Artistic Perception, Creative Expression, Historical and Cultural Context, Aesthetic Valuing, and Connections and Applications.

  • Advanced Theater Production I (Conservatory of Theater)

    Fall Semester, Grades 9-12 
    In this class, students train in advanced acting techniques and ensemble-building, while learning about the technical aspects of theater through experiencing the production process. This is the performing company of the School which is responsible for the season of productions on both the main stage of the Carlson Family Theater and in the Black Box Theater. Students analyze texts, studying elements such as visual reality, cultural context, character preparation, and truth in communication. There is also a critical component designed to help them develop vocabulary for the analysis of theater and live performance through critique and class discussion, culminating in an essay reflecting on the production process. When possible, students engage in service learning outreach projects to bring the art of theater to the larger community. Prerequisite: Theater Workshop I and audition.
  • Advanced Theater Production II (Conservatory of Theater)

    Spring Semester, Grades 9-12
    In this class, students train in advanced acting techniques and ensemble-building, while learning about the technical aspects of theater through experiencing the production process. This is the performing company of the School which is responsible for the season of productions on both the main stage of the Carlson Family Theater and in the Black Box Theater. Students analyze texts, studying elements such as visual reality, cultural context, character preparation, and truth in communication. There is also a critical component designed to help them develop vocabulary for the analysis of theater and live performance through critique and class discussion, culminating in an essay reflecting on the production process. When possible, students engage in service learning outreach projects to bring the art of theater to the larger community. Prerequisite: Theater Workshop I and audition.
  • Choreography I

    One Semester Each, Grades 10 through 12
    These classes give students solid instruction and guidance in approaches to choreography, providing them with the skills and fundamentals to create their own works of art through dance. Students learn to work from a conceptual point of view, engaging music or sound as an integral part of their work’s landscape rather than as a background to a series of steps. They realize a piece of dance as an example of visual art that moves. Students also learn how to communicate their vision to other dancers and how to choreograph for people with various levels of expertise. They study the visual possibilities of movement and countermovement and how to move dancers in juxtaposition to each other and in regard to timing and the total effect of a work. Prerequisite: Membership in the Viewpoint Dance Company, or the completion of three semesters of dance study.
  • Choreography II

    One Semester Each, Grades 10 through 12
    These classes give students solid instruction and guidance in approaches to choreography, providing them with the skills and fundamentals to create their own works of art through dance. Students learn to work from a conceptual point of view, engaging music or sound as an integral part of their work’s landscape rather than as a background to a series of steps. They realize a piece of dance as an example of visual art that moves. Students also learn how to communicate their vision to other dancers and how to choreograph for people with various levels of expertise. They study the visual possibilities of movement and countermovement and how to move dancers in juxtaposition to each other and in regard to timing and the total effect of a work. Prerequisite: Membership in the Viewpoint Dance Company, or the completion of three semesters of dance study.
  • Classical Ballet I

    Full Year, Grades 9-12
    Students learn the basics of ballet at the barre and in the center. Barre work includes warm-up, placement, posture, port de bras, and stretching. Center work consists of exercises done at the barre but unsupported and Pilates exercises. Students in the ballet program study classical ballet as an art form and a rigorous traditional discipline, including the basics of classical ballet, both at the barre and through center exercises. Emphasis is placed on alignment, core strength, flexibility, quality of movement, history, and musicality. Students are required to participate in the dance assembly and the Spring Dance Concert. One semester of any class fulfills one trimester of P.E
  • Classical Ballet II

    Full Year, Grades 10-12
    Students continue to hone their basic ballet skills while increasing their knowledge of terminology and musicality. Combinations increase in difficulty, spotting in preparation for pirouettes is introduced, muscle strength is increased with more releves, longer adagios, and petite allegro. Students in the ballet program study classical ballet as an art form and a rigorous traditional discipline, including the basics of classical ballet, both at the barre and through center exercises. Emphasis is placed on alignment, core strength, flexibility, quality of movement, history, and musicality. Students are required to participate in the dance assembly and the Spring Dance Concert. One semester of any class fulfills one trimester of P.E.
  • Classical Ballet III

    Full year, Grades 11-12
    Students are expected to execute more complex combinations, be able to reverse combinations, and add beats to jumps. Students with proper foot and ankle strength may work sur le pointe. Students in the ballet program study classical ballet as an art form and a rigorous traditional discipline, including the basics of classical ballet, both at the barre and through center exercises. Emphasis is placed on alignment, core strength, flexibility, quality of movement, history, and musicality. Students are required to participate in the dance assembly and the Spring Dance Concert. One semester of any class fulfills one trimester of P.E.
  • Classical Ballet IV

    Full Year, Grade 12
    Students continue to work on strength, flexibility, quality of movement, and musicality. Students are expected to give barre and center exercises using the appropriate terminology and music. Students are expected to know the purpose of the exercises and what muscles are engaged. Students have the opportunity to learn classical and contemporary variations and the basics of partnering. Students in the ballet program study classical ballet as an art form and a rigorous traditional discipline, including the basics of classical ballet, both at the barre and through center exercises. Emphasis is placed on alignment, core strength, flexibility, quality of movement, history, and musicality. Students are required to participate in the dance assembly and the Spring Dance Concert. One semester of any class fulfills one trimester of P.E
  • Contemporary Dance I

    Full Year, Grades 9-12
    Students learn the basics of body placement and proper technique. Class includes a warm up, across the floor and basic phrases that connect movement together. Students learn to hear and count music. Vocabulary such as contract and release, phrasing, dynamics, and alignment is introduced. Contemporary is a very expressive style of dance that combines elements from various other genres of dance. Contemporary is a mixture of modern, jazz, lyrical, and classical ballet. Students are encouraged to develop a connection between mind and body through fluid movement. These classes allow students to tell a story through dance. The history of contemporary dance and the dancers who paved the way in this genre are discussed in depth. Students are required to participate in the dance assembly and the Spring Dance Concert. One semester of any class fulfills one trimester of P.E.
  • Contemporary Dance II

    Full Year, Grades 10-12
    Students continue to focus on proper alignment and technique. Combinations increase in difficulty and new steps are introduced. Students are asked to delve deeper into their storytelling and emotional connection to the steps. Students also explore the ideas of positive and negative space within choreography. Contemporary is a very expressive style of dance that combines elements from various other genres of dance. Contemporary is a mixture of modern, jazz, lyrical, and classical ballet. Students are encouraged to develop a connection between mind and body through fluid movement. These classes allow students to tell a story through dance. The history of contemporary dance and the dancers who paved the way in this genre are discussed in depth. Students are required to participate in the dance assembly and the Spring Dance Concert. One semester of any class fulfills one trimester of P.E.
  • Contemporary Dance III

    Full Year, Grades 11-12
    Students are expected to have an understanding of proper alignment and fluidity of movement. Combinations continue to become more difficult and challenge student to dance outside of their comfort zone. Students learn about the main factors that make up movement, which include weight, space, body, and time. Contemporary is a very expressive style of dance that combines elements from various other genres of dance. Contemporary is a mixture of modern, jazz, lyrical, and classical ballet. Students are encouraged to develop a connection between mind and body through fluid movement. These classes allow students to tell a story through dance. The history of contemporary dance and the dancers who paved the way in this genre are discussed in depth. Students are required to participate in the dance assembly and the Spring Dance Concert. One semester of any class fulfills one trimester of P.E.
  • Contemporary Dance IV

    Full Year, Grade 12
    Students continue to work on their technique and quality of movement. Students are encouraged to dive in and explore the genre through improvisation, strength, stamina, and choreography. This class pushes students in their storytelling and their connection to the movement and music. Contemporary is a very expressive style of dance that combines elements from various other genres of dance. Contemporary is a mixture of modern, jazz, lyrical, and classical ballet. Students are encouraged to develop a connection between mind and body through fluid movement. These classes allow students to tell a story through dance. The history of contemporary dance and the dancers who paved the way in this genre are discussed in depth. Students are required to participate in the dance assembly and the Spring Dance Concert. One semester of any class fulfills one trimester of P.E.
  • Directing I

    Full Year, Grades 10-12
    Directing I trains students in the art, craft, and skills of directing for the stage. Students learn to analyze scripts structurally and thematically in order to discover their personal vision and manifest it visually and theatrically. Students work with actors from the Theater Workshops to stage scenes, do stage composition studies, and eventually short plays. Students also explore how to “make” theater in the 21st century by adapting non-script sources to the stage including poetry, prose, and original works. Class is held in a workshop setting with discussion, critique, and re-working, culminating in a final presentation of scenes. Work in this class embraces both classical and contemporary pieces from a multicultural perspective. Prerequisite: Theater Workshop I.
  • Musical Theater I

    Full Year, Grades 9-12
    The purpose of this class is to introduce students to the history, craft, and performance of musical theater as a specialized American genre. Students gain a social perspective of the significance of this genre as it relates to historical movements, and they attain practicum though a variety of scenes and songs in solo work, duets, and production numbers. They also learn the basics of movement and ensemble choreography. A particular focus is determined for the semester and students perform works in progress as part of the Lunch Time Theater program.
  • Tap I

    Full Year, Grades 9-12
    Students begin to develop a basic tap vocabulary. This is accomplished through a warm up in the center and across the floor work. Students spend time on getting comfortable with tap progressions that mainly focus on shuffles and flaps. This program is designed to help students develop rhythm, variety of style, and sound. Students are trained in both Broadway and Rhythm tap. They learn a multitude of exercises that help them develop strength and flexibility in their ankles, speed of movement, and overall coordination. This program emphasizes proper technique, articulation of sounds, and combination work. As students progress, their vocabulary increases and their movement becomes more complex and intricate. The history of tap and the dancers who paved the way in this genre are discussed. Students are required to participate in the dance assembly and the Spring Dance Concert. One semester of any class fulfills one trimester of P.E.
  • Tap II

    Full Year, Grades 10-12
    Students continue to work on their basic tap skills while increasing their vocabulary and musicality. Combinations become more difficult and new steps are introduced. This class includes Perry Diddles, Back to Broadways, single time step, and cramp rolls. This program is designed to help students develop rhythm, variety of style, and sound. Students are trained in both Broadway and Rhythm tap. They learn a multitude of exercises that help them develop strength and flexibility in their ankles, speed of movement, and overall coordination. This program emphasizes proper technique, articulation of sounds, and combination work. As students progress, their vocabulary increases and their movement becomes more complex and intricate. The history of tap and the dancers who paved the way in this genre are discussed. Students are required to participate in the dance assembly and the Spring Dance Concert. One semester of any class fulfills one trimester of P.E.
  • Tap III

    Full Year, Grades 11-12
    Students have a developed vocabulary and begin to focus on the quality of movement and shading of their sounds. This class also challenges the student’s memory and ability to retain full routines. We introduce more advanced steps that include riffs, draw backs, shuffle grab offs, double and triple time steps, and turning cramp rolls. This program is designed to help students develop rhythm, variety of style, and sound. Students are trained in both Broadway and Rhythm tap. They learn a multitude of exercises that help them develop strength and flexibility in their ankles, speed of movement, and overall coordination. This program emphasizes proper technique, articulation of sounds, and combination work. As students progress, their vocabulary increases and their movement becomes more complex and intricate. The history of tap and the dancers who paved the way in this genre are discussed. Students are required to participate in the dance assembly and the Spring Dance Concert. One semester of any class fulfills one trimester of P.E.
  • Tap IV

    Full Year, Grade 12
    Students are considered to be at an advanced level in this class. Ankle strength and flexibility is developed and students are pushed to do difficult combinations that involve weight control and advanced musicality. Students work on intricate progressions at a fast tempo. Additional vocabulary includes syncopated pull-backs, trenches, wings, and toe stands. This program is designed to help students develop rhythm, variety of style, and sound. Students are trained in both Broadway and Rhythm tap. They learn a multitude of exercises that help them develop strength and flexibility in their ankles, speed of movement, and overall coordination. This program emphasizes proper technique, articulation of sounds, and combination work. As students progress, their vocabulary increases and their movement becomes more complex and intricate. The history of tap and the dancers who paved the way in this genre are discussed. Students are required to participate in the dance assembly and the Spring Dance Concert. One semester of any class fulfills one trimester of P.E.
  • Theater Workshop I

    Full Year, Grades 9-12
    This introductory course provides training for students in the art and craft of acting and theater-making. Using a variety of physical exercises, games, and improvisation, students concentrate on physical, emotional, and spatial awareness as a foundation for all other work in the theater. Beginning with simple “open scenes,” dramatic texts from various genres are eventually used for scene study, introducing students to the underlying structural components of dramatic writing to aid in character development and compositional strategies. We support an artistic approach to all practical applications and the exploration of aesthetic principles, encouraging students to find their unique voice and vision. Students also learn what it means to make theater through a compositional component where they create a short original work. All class work is discussed in an open forum in order to develop a vocabulary for talking about acting and theater as an art form. Students may perform works in progress through the Lunch Time Theater program.
  • Theater Workshop II

    Full Year, Grades 10-12
    Building upon the foundational skills taught in Theater Workshop I, students are introduced to more complex physical and kinesthetic exercises based on Viewpoint’s training and Linklater-based vocal work. Scene work and compositional assignments are more challenging, and students are taught to be discerning editors of their own work. Portions of this course are thematic in focus and presentation, and may include specific units such as Shakespearean Tragedy, commedia dell arte, or in-depth study of a single playwright or period. Students may also write and perform original works, and continue to sharpen their critical skills and vocabulary through class discussion and short writing assignments. When possible, a service learning component is offered to engage students in community outreach through performances and workshops. Prerequisite: Theater Workshop I.
  • Theater Workshop III

    Full Year, Grades 11-12
    This course continues to refine the actor’s instrument through physical training and vocal work, while introducing an increased focus on the rehearsal process. Projects are of much longer duration in order to explore the effect of time on deepening the performer’s understanding and connection with material. Non-traditional modalities of playwriting, composition and performance are explored, and may include works of writers such as Samuel Beckett and Gertrude Stein, and genres such as documentary theater and literary adaptation. Students work on three to four projects throughout the entire year, which may range from extended scene work to short one-act plays and/or original compositions. All class projects are presented to the public at the end of each semester. Prerequisites: Theater Workshops I and II.
  • Theater Workshop IV

    Full Year, Grade 12
    While this course continues physical and vocal training, the primary focus is on creating senior projects for public presentation in the spring semester. All projects are student-driven, and aim to manifest each student’s unique voice and vision. This class may work in collaboration with the Directing or other Theater Workshop classes in order to realize the projects. Prerequisites: Theater Workshops I, II, and either Theater Workshop III or Directing I.
  • Viewpoint Dance Company

    Full Year, Grades 10-12
    The Viewpoint Dance Company (formerly Conservatory of Dance) is for advanced dancers who wish to train in several genres of dance, expand their performance skills, and continue to grow their artistic expression. Students study ballet, contemporary, tap, and hip-hop. Students may have the opportunity to choreograph for the Spring Dance Concert. This class meets twice per week after school with additional rehearsals before performances. Students are required to participate in the dance assembly and the Spring Dance Concert. Admission is by audition and permission of the instructors. One semester of this class fulfills one trimester of P.E. May be repeated for credit.
  • Advanced Public Speaking

    One Semester, Grades 11 and 12 
    This course is for advanced speech students. The class includes the techniques of storytelling, interpretive reading, and the delivery of memorized monologues. Admission is by permission of the instructor.
  • Public Speaking

    One Semester, Grades 9-12
    This course teaches the discipline and skills necessary for speaking effectively to an audience. The instructor emphasizes organization and research of materials. Students learn about various kinds of speeches and their delivery. These include speeches to inform, to persuade, and to entertain (narrative speaking and oral interpretation). Students participate in speech making, group discussions, debates, and parliamentary sessions. They also learn the related skills of critical listening and the analysis of the audience’s nature.

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An Independent Coeducational School From Kindergarten Through Twelfth Grade

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23620 Mulholland Highway
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