Girls learning, leading, succeeding
Upper School Classes

Performing Arts

Dana Hall believes that our students have a place in the performing arts as the next generation of tastemakers. Students at all levels have a chance to develop their artistic voices and skills in several fields, including theatre, music, and dance. The ensemble experience is a hallmark of the work our students do, as is an emphasis on creating new work as composers, directors, choreographers, and designers. Students are required to enroll in a one-half credit course in the performing arts and are strongly encouraged to explore many offerings to develop their expression and understanding of the relationship among the arts.
A student who is interested in pursuing further education in the performing arts is encouraged to take several levels of a discipline in order to deepen her expression and understanding of that discipline. Performance opportunities range from informal showings to performances open to the public. Some classes meet during the school day, while others are part of the after-school program. Alongside traditional performances like plays, musicals, music recitals, and dance concerts, Dana Hall’s performing arts program also features ensembles and productions like the Dance Repertory Group, Chamber Singers, Flute Choir, and Theatre New Work Showing. Performers tour abroad together, see professional Boston-area theatre together, perform in festivals and productions with other schools, and participate in national speech and music competitions.

Performing Arts Classes

List of 20 items.

  • Creating Character: An Acting and Costume Design Workshop

    Well-regarded acting techniques, such as Viewpoints movement and Linklater voice technique, are studied to help students become more confident, flexible, and creative thinkers and performers. While learning the principles of movement, voice, character, and scene study for an actor, students work on audition and polished performance pieces. The principles of costume design for the stage are also explored and experienced, from research, design concept, and sketching to hand-stitching techniques, alterations, and fittings. Themes and plays for the course alternate and cover a wide range of style and genre, prompting students to engage with diverse voices and movements in theatre, which in turn open windows to our world in both the past and the present. Students may enroll in this course over multiple years in order to collaborate with a new cohort of artists, develop a portfolio of costume designs, and perform for a variety of audiences.
  • To Hold the Mirror Up to Nature: An Acting, Directing, and Playwriting Workshop

    All students will develop and refine skills in acting, including scene study, voice, and movement. Training in Viewpoints composition will help students develop clear storytelling and divergent thinking skills, while Linklater voice helps students develop healthy and strong speaking technique. Students will work in ensembles on polished performance pieces; interested students will learn directing skills while in this workshop mode, including crafting a vision for a play, interpreting text with actors, communicating with designers, and communicating ideas clearly to an audience. Students interested in playwriting will have the opportunity to create new work within the structure of the course. Themes and plays for the course alternate and cover a wide range of style and genre, so students may enroll in this course over multiple years in order to develop a deeper knowledge of theatre histories and literature and gain experience as a leader and actor. There will be opportunities to engage with the Boston theatre community.
  • Technical Theatre

    Technology and artistic creativity combine in this course as we explore the challenges and rewards of designing sets, props, lighting, and live and recorded sound for the Upper School Fall Play, the Dance Concert, and the Upper School Musical. Following initial instruction in the skills involved, students become a member of the Tech Crew for two of the three major shows. The course is practical, offering opportunities for hands-on experience with professional equipment in the theatre, and with the building tools available in the scene shop. Students may enroll in this course over multiple years.
  • Fall Play

    The Fall Play is a theatrical production that varies in style from year to year. Students audition to be an actor in the production or sign up for a technical theatre position. Each production offers challenging roles for experienced performers and ensemble parts. Students learn about the process of making theatre as they create a performance for the school community and the public. Performances are open to the public.
  • Spring Musical/Dance

    The Spring Musical is produced in conjunction with area schools. Show selection aims to expose students to a range of musical and dance styles. Students audition to be an actor in the production or sign up for a technical theatre position. Each production offers challenging roles for experienced performers and ensemble parts. Students learn about the process of making theatre as they create a performance for the school community and the public. Performances are open to the public.
  • A History of Dance in the United States

    In this course, students will explore various aspects of and experiences in dance in the United States through discussion, analysis, writing, and other academic projects. We will trace dances of early indigenous groups and enslaved Africans, as well as minstrelsy and the vaudeville era, and examine the ways in which these early traditions have influenced and are reflected in today’s culture, especially current practices in dance. The curriculum will also include an investigation of notable and diverse ballet, modern, post-modern, and diasporic dance throughout history, employing a critical lens of equity and inclusivity. Continuing to use this lens, we will deconstruct prevalent contemporary issues in dance around race, gender, and body image. Students will draw from text, film, and live performance throughout the year. This course meets during the academic day. (Open to students in grades 9-12. Full-year. ½ credit.)
  • Dance I

    This level is for students with minimal or no background in dance. This course emphasizes dance appreciation and fundamental skills building. Classes include barre exercises, warmups in the center, stretches, and cardiovascular exercises, as well as combinations across the floor. Each week, students in Dance I take one class in Ballet, Jazz, or Modern (see below), as well as at least one additional class in Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Tap, or Hip-Hop. Students enrolled in Dance I have the opportunity to perform in dance showings held in the fall and spring trimesters. Students may enroll in this course over multiple years.

    Offerings for Dance I, Dance II, or Dance III:
    Each class meets one day per week.
     
    Ballet I
    This is a technique class for students with little to no ballet background. Classes focus on beginner ballet technique as the foundation for all dance styles. Students in Ballet I are required to wear a leotard, pink tights, and ballet slippers. Long hair must be pulled securely into a bun.
     
    Ballet II
    This is a technique class for students with some ballet background. Classes focus on beginner/intermediate ballet technique as the foundation for all dance styles. Students in Ballet II are required to wear a leotard, pink tights, and ballet slippers. Long hair must be pulled securely into a bun.
     
    Ballet III
    This is a fast-moving, advanced technique class for students with a strong ballet background. Classes focus on advanced ballet technique, including adagio, petite allegro, grand allegro, and turns. Students in Ballet III are required to wear a leotard, pink tights, and ballet slippers. Long hair must be pulled securely into a bun. Students enrolled in Dance III are required to take at least one Ballet III class each week.
     
    Jazz I
    This class is designed for the dancer who has little to no dance background. Classes focus on beginner jazz technique. Students enrolled in Jazz I are required to wear a leotard and black footless or transition tights. Black jazz shoes may be worn. Hair must be pulled securely away from the face.
     
    Jazz II
    Jazz II is designed for the dancer who has some dance background. Classes focus on intermediate jazz technique. Students enrolled in Jazz II are required to wear a leotard and black footless or transition tights. Black jazz shoes may be worn. Hair must be pulled securely away from the face.
     
    Jazz III
    An advanced course, Jazz III is for the dancer with extensive jazz training. Emphasis is placed on strength, technique building, and jazz combinations in the center and across the floor. Students enrolled in Jazz III are required to wear a leotard and black footless or transition tights. Black jazz shoes may be worn. Hair must be pulled securely away from the face.
     
    Modern I
    Modern I is a beginner-level class designed for the dancer who has little to no dance background. Classes include elements of Graham and Horton techniques and some forms of post-modern movement. Students enrolled in Modern I are required to wear a leotard and black footless or transition tights. Hair must be pulled securely away from the face.
     
    Modern II
    Modern II is a beginner/intermediate-level class designed for the dancer who has some dance background. Classes include elements of Graham and Horton techniques and some forms of post-modern movement. Students enrolled in Modern II are required to wear a leotard and black footless or transition tights. Hair must be pulled securely away from the face.
     
    Modern III
    Modern III offers a creative dance experience to the advanced dancer. Classes include elements of Graham and Horton techniques and some forms of post-modern movement. Students enrolled in Modern III are required to wear a leotard and black footless or transition tights. Hair must be pulled securely away from the face.
     
    Beginning Hip-Hop
    This class, for the dancer with little or no Hip-Hop experience, offers a second or third class option per week. Emphasis is placed on strength, conditioning, and beginner Hip-Hop choreography. Students enrolled in Beginning Hip-Hop should wear supportive sneakers and comfortable dance attire that allows them to stretch.
     
    Intermediate/Advanced Hip-Hop
    This fast-paced Hip-Hop class, for students with previous dance experience, offers a second or third class option per week. Emphasis is placed on strength, conditioning, and intermediate/advanced Hip-Hop choreography. Students in Intermediate/Advanced Hip-Hop should wear supportive sneakers and comfortable dance attire that allows them to stretch.
     
    Beginning Tap
    This class, for the dancer with little or no tap experience, offers students a second or third dance class per week. Beginning Tap introduces students to technique and vocabulary. Students enrolled in Beginning Tap are required to wear tap shoes and comfortable dance attire that allows them to stretch.
     
    Intermediate/Advanced Tap
    This class, for the dancer with extensive tap experience, offers students a second or third dance class per week. Emphasis is placed on intermediate/advanced technique and vocabulary. Students enrolled in Intermediate/Advanced Tap are required to wear tap shoes and comfortable dance attire that allows them to stretch.
  • Dance II

    This level is for the intermediate dancer who has some dance background. Classes include barre exercises, warmups in the center, stretches, and cardiovascular exercises, as well as combinations across the floor. Each week, students in Dance II take one class in Ballet, Jazz, or Modern (see below), as well as at least one additional class in Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Tap, or Hip-Hop. Students may enroll in this course over multiple years.

    Offerings for Dance I, Dance II, or Dance III:
    Each class meets one day per week.
     
    Ballet I
    This is a technique class for students with little to no ballet background. Classes focus on beginner ballet technique as the foundation for all dance styles. Students in Ballet I are required to wear a leotard, pink tights, and ballet slippers. Long hair must be pulled securely into a bun.
     
    Ballet II
    This is a technique class for students with some ballet background. Classes focus on beginner/intermediate ballet technique as the foundation for all dance styles. Students in Ballet II are required to wear a leotard, pink tights, and ballet slippers. Long hair must be pulled securely into a bun.
     
    Ballet III
    This is a fast-moving, advanced technique class for students with a strong ballet background. Classes focus on advanced ballet technique, including adagio, petite allegro, grand allegro, and turns. Students in Ballet III are required to wear a leotard, pink tights, and ballet slippers. Long hair must be pulled securely into a bun. Students enrolled in Dance III are required to take at least one Ballet III class each week.
     
    Jazz I
    This class is designed for the dancer who has little to no dance background. Classes focus on beginner jazz technique. Students enrolled in Jazz I are required to wear a leotard and black footless or transition tights. Black jazz shoes may be worn. Hair must be pulled securely away from the face.
     
    Jazz II
    Jazz II is designed for the dancer who has some dance background. Classes focus on intermediate jazz technique. Students enrolled in Jazz II are required to wear a leotard and black footless or transition tights. Black jazz shoes may be worn. Hair must be pulled securely away from the face.
     
    Jazz III
    An advanced course, Jazz III is for the dancer with extensive jazz training. Emphasis is placed on strength, technique building, and jazz combinations in the center and across the floor. Students enrolled in Jazz III are required to wear a leotard and black footless or transition tights. Black jazz shoes may be worn. Hair must be pulled securely away from the face.
     
    Modern I
    Modern I is a beginner-level class designed for the dancer who has little to no dance background. Classes include elements of Graham and Horton techniques and some forms of post-modern movement. Students enrolled in Modern I are required to wear a leotard and black footless or transition tights. Hair must be pulled securely away from the face.
     
    Modern II
    Modern II is a beginner/intermediate-level class designed for the dancer who has some dance background. Classes include elements of Graham and Horton techniques and some forms of post-modern movement. Students enrolled in Modern II are required to wear a leotard and black footless or transition tights. Hair must be pulled securely away from the face.
     
    Modern III
    Modern III offers a creative dance experience to the advanced dancer. Classes include elements of Graham and Horton techniques and some forms of post-modern movement. Students enrolled in Modern III are required to wear a leotard and black footless or transition tights. Hair must be pulled securely away from the face.
     
    Beginning Hip-Hop
    This class, for the dancer with little or no Hip-Hop experience, offers a second or third class option per week. Emphasis is placed on strength, conditioning, and beginner Hip-Hop choreography. Students enrolled in Beginning Hip-Hop should wear supportive sneakers and comfortable dance attire that allows them to stretch.
     
    Intermediate/Advanced Hip-Hop
    This fast-paced Hip-Hop class, for students with previous dance experience, offers a second or third class option per week. Emphasis is placed on strength, conditioning, and intermediate/advanced Hip-Hop choreography. Students in Intermediate/Advanced Hip-Hop should wear supportive sneakers and comfortable dance attire that allows them to stretch.
     
    Beginning Tap
    This class, for the dancer with little or no tap experience, offers students a second or third dance class per week. Beginning Tap introduces students to technique and vocabulary. Students enrolled in Beginning Tap are required to wear tap shoes and comfortable dance attire that allows them to stretch.
     
    Intermediate/Advanced Tap
    This class, for the dancer with extensive tap experience, offers students a second or third dance class per week. Emphasis is placed on intermediate/advanced technique and vocabulary. Students enrolled in Intermediate/Advanced Tap are required to wear tap shoes and comfortable dance attire that allows them to stretch.
  • Dance III

    This level provides fast-moving, advanced classes for students with a strong dance background. Classes include barre exercises, warmups in the center, stretches, and cardiovascular exercises, as well as combinations across the floor. Each week, students in Dance III take a class in Ballet, as well as at least one additional class in Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Tap, or Hip-Hop (see below). Dance III students are also invited, but not required, to participate in Dance Repertory Group, and all have the opportunity to perform in informal and formal dance showings throughout the school year. To enrich the dance experience, guest artists are occasionally invited to teach master classes in various dance styles. Students may enroll in this course over multiple years.

    Offerings for Dance I, Dance II, or Dance III:
    Each class meets one day per week.
     
    Ballet I
    This is a technique class for students with little to no ballet background. Classes focus on beginner ballet technique as the foundation for all dance styles. Students in Ballet I are required to wear a leotard, pink tights, and ballet slippers. Long hair must be pulled securely into a bun.
     
    Ballet II
    This is a technique class for students with some ballet background. Classes focus on beginner/intermediate ballet technique as the foundation for all dance styles. Students in Ballet II are required to wear a leotard, pink tights, and ballet slippers. Long hair must be pulled securely into a bun.
     
    Ballet III
    This is a fast-moving, advanced technique class for students with a strong ballet background. Classes focus on advanced ballet technique, including adagio, petite allegro, grand allegro, and turns. Students in Ballet III are required to wear a leotard, pink tights, and ballet slippers. Long hair must be pulled securely into a bun. Students enrolled in Dance III are required to take at least one Ballet III class each week.
     
    Jazz I
    This class is designed for the dancer who has little to no dance background. Classes focus on beginner jazz technique. Students enrolled in Jazz I are required to wear a leotard and black footless or transition tights. Black jazz shoes may be worn. Hair must be pulled securely away from the face.
     
    Jazz II
    Jazz II is designed for the dancer who has some dance background. Classes focus on intermediate jazz technique. Students enrolled in Jazz II are required to wear a leotard and black footless or transition tights. Black jazz shoes may be worn. Hair must be pulled securely away from the face.
     
    Jazz III
    An advanced course, Jazz III is for the dancer with extensive jazz training. Emphasis is placed on strength, technique building, and jazz combinations in the center and across the floor. Students enrolled in Jazz III are required to wear a leotard and black footless or transition tights. Black jazz shoes may be worn. Hair must be pulled securely away from the face.
     
    Modern I
    Modern I is a beginner-level class designed for the dancer who has little to no dance background. Classes include elements of Graham and Horton techniques and some forms of post-modern movement. Students enrolled in Modern I are required to wear a leotard and black footless or transition tights. Hair must be pulled securely away from the face.
     
    Modern II
    Modern II is a beginner/intermediate-level class designed for the dancer who has some dance background. Classes include elements of Graham and Horton techniques and some forms of post-modern movement. Students enrolled in Modern II are required to wear a leotard and black footless or transition tights. Hair must be pulled securely away from the face.
     
    Modern III
    Modern III offers a creative dance experience to the advanced dancer. Classes include elements of Graham and Horton techniques and some forms of post-modern movement. Students enrolled in Modern III are required to wear a leotard and black footless or transition tights. Hair must be pulled securely away from the face.
     
    Beginning Hip-Hop
    This class, for the dancer with little or no Hip-Hop experience, offers a second or third class option per week. Emphasis is placed on strength, conditioning, and beginner Hip-Hop choreography. Students enrolled in Beginning Hip-Hop should wear supportive sneakers and comfortable dance attire that allows them to stretch.
     
    Intermediate/Advanced Hip-Hop
    This fast-paced Hip-Hop class, for students with previous dance experience, offers a second or third class option per week. Emphasis is placed on strength, conditioning, and intermediate/advanced Hip-Hop choreography. Students in Intermediate/Advanced Hip-Hop should wear supportive sneakers and comfortable dance attire that allows them to stretch.
     
    Beginning Tap
    This class, for the dancer with little or no tap experience, offers students a second or third dance class per week. Beginning Tap introduces students to technique and vocabulary. Students enrolled in Beginning Tap are required to wear tap shoes and comfortable dance attire that allows them to stretch.
     
    Intermediate/Advanced Tap
    This class, for the dancer with extensive tap experience, offers students a second or third dance class per week. Emphasis is placed on intermediate/advanced technique and vocabulary. Students enrolled in Intermediate/Advanced Tap are required to wear tap shoes and comfortable dance attire that allows them to stretch.
  • Dance Repertory Group

    An audition-based choreography, rehearsal, and performance course, this ensemble for advanced dancers focuses on performance skills, compositional tools with which to develop choreography, and the production of informal and formal concerts. Students in this course occasionally have the opportunity to perform in pieces created by guest choreographers. Dance Repertory Group students must be enrolled in Dance III. Students may enroll in this course over multiple years.
  • Chorus

    The Upper School Chorus is a large ensemble that sings a wide variety of musical styles consisting of classical, musical theatre, spirituals, contemporary popular music, and music from different cultures in various languages. Members of the Chorus do not need prior musical experience; the Chorus consists of students of varying musical abilities from beginner to advanced. Students are taught the basic principles of singing, including proper breathing and posture, and they receive training in reading music, sight-singing, and solfège. Students sing unison, two-, three-, and four-part music, both accompanied and a cappella. Class is held during the academic day, but there are opportunities for performances at convocations and concerts throughout the school year. Attendance at many of these events, and the rehearsals leading up to them, is required. Students may enroll in this course over multiple years.
  • Chamber Singers

    Chamber Singers is open by audition to students who possess fine vocal and musicianship abilities and are committed to high performance standards. The group performs a challenging repertoire from a variety of styles ranging from classical to modern. Students strengthen musicianship skills through a variety of exercises intended to develop healthy vocal technique and abilities in improvisation, singing alone and in ensemble, sight-reading tonal and rhythm patterns, and singing melodies at sight. Emphasis is on strong vocal technique and creating expression through music. This group performs frequently at convocations, choral concerts, and other special school functions, including performances with the Chorus and with choirs from other schools. Attendance at many of these events, and the rehearsals leading up to them, is required. Group size is limited to 15-18 singers. Students may enroll in this course over multiple years.
  • Songwriters’ Experience

    In this course, students explore the world of creative songwriting and composition.  There is no need for prior experience with music. Students learn about lyric writing, music history, and music theory as it pertains to composition. Students create their own works through the use of computers, electric keyboards, and music software. By year’s end, students make a CD featuring the work they composed in the course.
  • Women in Music

    Women in Music is an investigation into and a celebration of women’s musical activities in a variety of capacities and musical traditions. This course will cover not only women composers, but also women performers, women patrons, and the depiction of women in the marketing and consumption of music. We will survey a variety of music styles, from medieval chants to current popular music. The course will conclude with a student-chosen project involving either songwriting, performing, or an oral presentation highlighting an aspect of women in music.
  • Chamber Ensembles

    Chamber Ensembles are open to all students who have a minimum of three years of study on their instrument. All chamber music students must also receive weekly private instruction for their instrument. Chamber Ensemble Groups learn and perform works in a variety of styles, flexibly arranged to accommodate different playing levels and instrumentation. Groups are led by music faculty members, and students may participate as a pre-formed ensemble (duo, trio, or quartet) or are placed in an appropriate group dependent upon performance level and instrument. Groups meet once per week at the Dana Hall School of Music. All chamber groups are expected to rehearse on their own a minimum of one time per week for at least 60 minutes. As a course requirement, chamber ensembles perform together at least one time per academic year, and there are several performance opportunities throughout the year from which to choose. Students may enroll in this course over multiple years.
  • Flute Choir

    Flute Choir is open by audition to students who are accomplished in flute and committed to high performance standards. Members of Flute Choir must also receive private instruction in flute in addition to the class. The ensemble meets Thursdays from 5:15 – 6 p.m. The group performs repertoire that spans from baroque to modern music. There are several performance opportunities throughout the year and participation in at least three performances is required. Students may enroll in this course over multiple years.
  • Jazz Combo

    Jazz Combo is a small group class that welcomes instrumentalists and vocalists with a minimum of three years of music study in either classical, jazz, or rock. Students are placed in small groups (duo, trio, or quartet) and meet weekly with the jazz instructor. The class teaches the basics of improvisation and ensemble performance. Members must also receive weekly private instruction for their instrument or voice. Jazz Combo members are required to participate in at least one performance per year. Students may enroll in this course over multiple years.
  • Rock Band

    Rock Band welcomes instrumentalists and vocalists with a minimum of one year of music study in either classical, jazz, or rock. Students are placed in small groups (duo, trio, or quartet) and meet weekly with the instructor. The class teaches ensemble performance, rock repertoire, rhythm, and musicianship. Rock Band members must also receive weekly private instruction for their instrument or voice. Rock Band members are required to participate in at least one performance per year. Students may enroll in this course over multiple years.
  • Music Theory and Composition

    Classes in music theory and composition are open to all students with a minimum of one year of instrumental or vocal studies. Students may study privately or are grouped in classes according to level (beginner, intermediate, or advanced). Students may enroll in this course over multiple years.
  • Private Music Lessons

    Dana Hall students, regardless of previous music experience, may enroll in private music lessons through the Dana Hall School of Music. Instruction is offered in voice, including classical, jazz/pop, and musical theatre, and on a wide variety of instruments, including piano, violin, viola, cello, double bass, guitar, drums, flute, clarinet, trumpet, French horn, oboe, saxophone, trombone, harp, electric guitar, electric bass, and erhu. Private music lessons take place once per week at the Dana Hall School of Music. Dana Hall music faculty members are professional musicians and educators drawn from the Boston area, and they tailor private lessons to address the learning style and goals of each student from the beginner to the advanced student aspiring to a career in music. Numerous performance opportunities and faculty and guest artist recitals are available to students throughout the year. Students may enroll in music instruction over multiple years.

Upper School Classes

FACULTY

List of 4 members.

  • Photo of Mikaela Bradley

    Mikaela Bradley 

    Dance Instructor/10th Grade Class Dean
    781-489-1911
  • Photo of David Coleman

    David Coleman 

    Director of Choral Music
    781-489-1733
  • Photo of Devon Fitchett

    Devon Fitchett 

    Department Head/Director of Dance
    781-489-1910
  • Photo of Daniel Morris

    Daniel Morris 

    Director of Theatre
    781-489-1734

List of 3 items.

  • Area Studies Symposium

    Favorite Assignment
  • Blue Key Club

    Favorite Activity
  • Middle Eastern Studies

    Favorite Class

List of 1 items.

  • Caroline

    "Middle Eastern Studies has been my favorite Dana Hall class because both the teacher and the discussions always kept me engaged and excited to learn more."
    -Caroline