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Performing Arts


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The Performing Arts track begins in grade 6 to grade 8 where students can take semester-long Beginner classes in Musical Theater, Handbells, 'Ukulele, or Choir. In grade 9 the students are given a yearlong Fundamentals of the Arts class which introduces them to the Davenport Music Building and the main-stage of the Gates Performing Arts Center, lead instructors Barbara Kopra and David Bauman, and foundational skills in dramatic and musical performance.


Students who continue to follow the Performing Arts track from grade 10 to graduation select from intermediate level classes in acting, musical theater, and instrumental ensemble, as well as an afternoon dance program. Advanced students form the core of our Fall musical and Spring drama as lead performers and instrumentalists.

The Performing Arts program features a fully functioning theatre, including a main-stage, costume room, and three soundproof rehearsal rooms.

Course Descriptions

Fundamentals of the Arts

1.0 credits
Fundamentals of the Arts is a special class for freshman only. This year long class introduces each student to the facilities, materials, and faculty of the Fine Arts Department at HPA. Students learn key skills and basic knowledge in four of six Fine Arts disciplines; 2-D (Painting/Drawing), 3-D (Ceramics/Sculpture), Backstage (Woodworking/Stagecraft), Performing Arts (Acting/Music), Digital Media (Filmmaking/Photography), Computer Coding (Programming/Problem Solving), and Mixed Media (Collage/Photography) so that they can then pursue more advanced level coursework in an area(s) of their choosing. There is no prerequisite for this course.

Performing Arts: Acting

0.5 credits

Acting is an intermediate Performing Arts class taught on stage in the Gates Performing Arts Center’s theater (GPAC). Students study various vocal, movement and acting techniques from Linklater, Alexander, Utah Hagen, and Meisner. Students will learn to successfully act in contemporary scenes and monologues, building freedom in movement, clarity in diction and vocal projection, and flexibility of imagination - with weekly critiques and feedback. Grading will be based on preparation, participation in class, as well as weekly PowerSchool Journal entries, including written reflections and video updates on the progress of their piece. The class will culminate with a performance of their best works on stage at GPAC. The prerequisite for this class is the successful completion of the Performing Arts Section of the Fundamentals of the Arts Class.

Performing Arts: Choir

0.5 credits

Choir is an intermediate Performing Arts class taught in the Davenport Music Building. Students will learn basic vocal techniques, including breath control, placement and connecting the different registers of their voice, as they study and perform various styles of choral literature. The class will then work as a group to learn to sing in three or four-part harmony as they perform a variety of classic songs. Grading will be based on participation in demonstrations during class, as well as weekly written reflections on Haiku. The class will feature performances in the HPA Chapel, with the end of the semester culminating in a concert presentation of their best works to be performed on the stage at Gates Performing Arts Center (GPAC). The prerequisite for this class is the successful completion of the Performing Arts Section of the Fundamentals of the Arts class

Performing Arts: Instrumental Ensemble

0.5 credits

Instrumental Ensemble: Piano and Advanced Instrumental is an Intermediate Performing Arts class taught during the fall semester, utilizing the 6 pianos located in Davenport Music Building and Gates Performing Arts Center. This two-pronged course will either provide students an opportunity to learn or increase their piano performance skills or give advanced instrumentalists an opportunity to improve individually and play in instrumental ensembles. All levels of ability in piano performance will be accepted, while instrumentalists must be proficient on their instrument. The course will be guided individual study, with the potential for piano duets and instrumental ensembles, facilitated by the instructor. Grading will be based upon the documentation of individual progress in performance. The class will culminate with a recital, featuring the accomplishments of the individuals. The prerequisite for this class is the successful completion of the Performing Arts Section of the Fundamentals of the Arts class.

Performing Arts: Musical Theater

0.5 credits

Musical Theater is an intermediate Performing Arts class taught on stage in the Gates Performing Arts Center’s theater (GPAC). Students will learn basic vocal techniques; including breath control, placement and connecting the different registers of their voice, as they study and perform fully staged ensembles from the literature of the American Musical Theater. Grading will be based on participation in rehearsals in class, as well as weekly PowerSchool Journal entries, including written reflections and video updates on the progress of their piece. The class will culminate with a concert presentation of their best works to be performed on stage at GPAC.

Performing Arts: Improv Comedy

0.5 credits

Improv Comedy is an intermediate Performing Arts class taught on stage in the Gates Performing Arts Center’s theater (GPAC). Students will learn the basic tenets of improvisation, based on the techniques and curriculum used by the Groundlings and Second City. These techniques will include building the art of listening to, and building off your improv partner, through the use of exercises and improv games. Grading will be based on participation in rehearsals in class, mastering of the rules of improv, as well as weekly PowerSchool Journal entries, including written reflections and video updates on the students’ immersion into the world of improv. The class will culminate with Improv Comedy Showcase on the stage at GPAC. The prerequisite for this class is the successful completion of the Performing Arts Section of the Fundamentals of the Arts Class. A-Period

Performing Arts: Acting for Camera

0.5 credits

Acting On Camera is a one-semester intermediate Performing Arts class taught in the camera studio backstage in the Gates Performing Arts Center’s theater (GPAC). Students will study acting through the lens of being a working TV and Film and Voice-Over Actor. Students will learn the business side of acting, from headshots, to auditions, to agents, while also learning the acting techniques behind commercial reads, voice-over character development, and sitcom and film auditions. Students will learn to prepare memorized pieces, and manage cold reads for delivery to a stationary camera, with students editing their best takes, and posting them on PowerSchool. Grading will be based on preparation, participation in class, as well as PowerSchool posting of student work; including written reflections and video updates on the progress of their piece. The class will culminate with a working portfolio, including a headshot, resume, and voice-over and acting reel of their best work. The prerequisite for this class is the successful completion of the Performing Arts Section of the Fundamentals of the Arts Class.

Writing for Performance

1.0 credits

Writing for Performance is a year long advanced arts class for Juniors and Seniors taught in the Gates Performing Arts Center. Students will write, direct, and act, in four episodes of an ongoing serial created by the writer/actors: to be performed on the GPAC stage. Class time will be spent pitching plot and character ideas, writing scripts, directing, and rehearsing scenes leading up to each of the performances. In addition, students will read two short contemporary plays aloud, both for inspiration and performance skills. Writing for Performance will reward students for balancing attention to the skills needed in all three core components of the course: Leadership and vision in directing, leadership in creative thinking and writing, and preparation for performing. PowerSchool posts, writing, acting, and class participation will make up a large percentage of student grades. As a final project, students will make a submission documenting their contributions to writing, directing, acting, and leadership during the semester

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