Performing Arts at Holy Trinity Academy involves students in the three disciplines: Dance, Music and Drama. Dance and Drama are offered as alternate half-termly units of one lesson per week whereas students receive a lesson of music per week throughout the year. We are committed to developing creating and performance skills in all our young people, whilst also encouraging them to be self -analytical, through observing and listening to their own and others’ work.
In Dance, Throughout Key Stage 3, boys and girls work together in learning basic movement components in a safe studio environment. Professional dance works are used throughout the course, as stimuli for choreographing their own solo and group pieces. The themes of these works become increasingly complex throughout the key stage and students are expected to respond in greater depth as they become more experienced. Contact work, physical theatre and a range of dance genres are taught and subsequently used as part of student choreography. By the end of the key stage we expect that students will have gained the necessary skills and knowledge to go on to GCSE.
In drama, improvisation skills are practised throughout the key stage, with devising and script writing becoming a more significant aspect of students’ learning as they progress. In year 7 we begin by focusing on the expressive nature of drama, to include expression, gesture and movement as well as the spoken word. It is important that students learn that drama is a visual as well as a spoken art. The second unit of work is based upon Oliver and the third is a Shakespeare unit, where we perform from a number of plays, to include Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
In year 8, we begin the year with a project which deals with a troubled teenager, whilst responding to various dramatic devices such as hot seating, forum theatre and teacher in role. This is when students begin to gain experience in staging the work they create and in practicing stage craft. We move onto a unit about Rosa Parkes and Martin Luther King, exploring human rights. Finally, in year 8, we work with two plays in the studio; Face by Benjamin Zephania and Chatroom by Enda Walsh, both of which deal with different aspects of bullying. Having looked extensively at the theme, students then create short films about bullying, which are judged in an end of year film festival.
Both Dance and Drama are offered as separate GCSE subjects following the AQA Examination Board specification. These courses begin in year 9 and are examined in year 11, by which time students have had extensive experience in performing, devising, choreography and in written work, in preparation for the examination. The weighting in both subjects is 60% practical and 40% written.
Dance is currently offered at A Level, also through following the AQA specification. It is not necessary for students to have taken GCSE Dance in order to study at A Level however, some dance performance experience is necessary in order for students to begin studying at this level. Again, there is a strong academic side to the subject at Advanced Level, requiring the study of professional dance works, choreographers and performers. The academic study is very much linked to the practical assignments.
Extra- curricular activity is fundamental to all that we do in the Performance subjects here at HTA. There are Dance, Drama and Music clubs and, each year there is a major production, as well as smaller events. To date, we have produced three musicals, Little Shop of Horrors, The Wizard of Oz and Disco Inferno. This year our Musical Theatre Society will perform in Songs from the Shows, singing, dancing and acting extracts from a variety of musicals. We strongly believe that any success in extra-curricular work feeds back into and enhances lessons within the curriculum. It provides our talented students with a platform for performance, to demonstrate their many skills, be they in Music, Dance or Drama, with many of them being skilled in all three disciplines.