Fine and Performing Arts

Central to the philosophy of the Department of Fine and Performing Arts is the belief that artistic sensibility is a vital part of a well-rounded education. The department's courses are designed to nurture an appreciation for art in all its forms and to provide students with the opportunity to discover the joy that comes with creating and performing.

In this department, students explore the study and conscious production of sounds, colors, shapes, forms and movements, engaging human awareness within the specific arts of theater, dance, visual arts and music. While a few courses are devoted to art appreciation, most of the courses in this department focus on artistic creation, performance and exposure to different forms of expression. Special emphasis is placed on local and regional artistic traditions such as mosaics, music and ceramics.

Students are introduced to the formal study of the arts at King's Academy through three term-long courses. After attaining familiarity with the forms and techniques of artistic creation, students are able to pursue a variety of different artistic endeavors during their time at King's. In cases where students enter school with an already developed artistic ability, they may qualify for a higher-level course in the arts, or the introductory courses may be amended to meet their interests. These introductory courses recognize that students come to King's Academy with different backgrounds in the arts, and the school's program of instruction is therefore able to accommodate their experience and interests.

The school’s ambitious arts program is not limited to the classroom. Co-curricular opportunities abound, with performance groups, gallery exhibitions, concerts and theatrical presentations. Accordingly, there is co-curricular time set aside in the afternoons for artistic activity.

Students interested in private instruction in vocal and instrumental music are also able to arrange lessons through the department.

Courses in this department for 2016-2017:

Introduction to Performing Arts (IPA)

This course is designed to develop students' fundamental performance skills and to broaden as well as clarify the understanding of what encompasses “performance” and how the various arts, especially theater, dance and music, are related. Principles emphasized include observation, physical and vocal range, balance, memory, breath control, improvisation, imagination and spatial and time awareness. The course also explores fundamental topics such as rhythm, tempo and shape. Through experimentation with body and voice, reflection, composition and performance, students expand their toolkit as performers and deepen their understanding of how to define, create and appreciate performance. This course, which is a prerequisite to further theater or dance courses at King’s, prepares students to thoughtfully engage with the performing arts, whether as a performers, choreographers/directors, or audience members.
Course length: One term
All freshmen should take IPA if they want to take theater or dance courses

Theater I

This course is designed as a further introduction to the discipline of Theater. Primary topics include character development via a variety of physical and psychological acting techniques, exposure to theories of acting from well-known theater practitioners, a basic overview of theater history as appropriate, creative and dramatic play structures, and plenty of hands-on rehearsal time where students learn how to apply acting methods to their scene work in partners and groups. This course prepares students to move on to Theater II as well as to become involved in the school play productions during co-curricular time.
Course length: One term
Prerequisite: Successful completion of Introduction to Performing Arts (IPA) or audition/interview

Theater II

Theater II continues and builds upon the theatrical investigation that students began in Theater I. The course emphasizes specific phases in the timeline of theatrical history and different modes of acting styles, such as Naturalism, Melodrama, Acting for Film, Shakespearean Acting, Commedia dell’Arte, Political Theater, Theater of the Absurd, the contemporary Devised Theater movement, among other genres. Student interest is gauged to determine which of these topics are given the most focus. Students study at least one dramatic text in depth and continue to refine their acting technique via monologues and partner and group scenes. In addition to acting, students may have the option to direct scenes or write/compose their own short scene within the chosen genre.  Students may repeat this course if they wish to do so.
Course length: One term.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of Theater I or audition/interview

Advanced Theater Tutorial

This is an intensive course for students with considerable theater experience at King’s. The structure of the class is project-based, and students choose their area of emphasis, whether it is writing, directing, acting, or a different experimental combination. Students have considerable out-of-class work including research, readings and practical exercises. Students work towards a final culminating project that they are expected to share with the community, whether it is through an informal play-reading, a short performance, or a presentation about their artistic process.
Course length: One term
Prerequisite: Successful completion of Theater II and participation in at least one school play production

Advanced Improvisational Theater

This course is intended for students who have a serious interest and/or experience with improvisation and acting. It is inspired by a combination of American improvisational comedy made popular in the 20th and 21st century and community story-telling techniques such as Playback Theater. The course incorporates methods from famous teachers such as Viola Spolin and Augusto Boal to grow in our improvisation, acting and community-building skills. It may also look at contemporary improv troupes such as Second City or the televised series “Whose Line is it Anyway?” for inspiration. This is a yearlong course that meets once a week in the evening, with extra rehearsals scheduled as needed in preparation for performances. The course focuses on the widely accepted “rules of improv,” such as acceptance, collaboration, timing, patterns, and the freeing of the body, voice and thinking processes, leading ultimately to uninhibited thought and playfulness. Most classes will focus on practical exercises, warm-ups and group games of various levels of length and difficulty. There are also some out-of-class reading and research assignments to supplement knowledge development. Improvisation can be taken multiple years, but will only result in the fulfillment of one arts credit.
Course length: One year
Prerequisite: participation in at least one theater course at King’s, or participation in a school play, and/or audition or interview (requires the teacher’s recommendation)

Dance I

This course places its primary emphasis on creativity and introduces students to basic concepts of contemporary dance, while also encouraging each individual to develop a unique, individualized movement vocabulary. Through the study of technique and improvisation, students expand their physical range and expressive capabilities and heighten spatial awareness. They also investigate concepts such as momentum, spiraling, breathing, alignment, musicality and timing. Students ultimately learn to apply the various aspects of dance to the composition of original, cohesive and exciting public presentations.
Course length: One term

Dance II

Dance II continues to nurture each student’s original voice in dance, while examining other movement styles. Rather than mastering one specific dance style such as salsa, hip hop or ballet, students briefly examine elements from these styles, as well as others, to quickly analyze and adapt to each movement style or concept and to then incorporate them into their own technique. Other styles and concepts students may encounter during this course (depending on availability) are break dancing, dabkeh, acrobatics, African dance, Kabuki, swing, Feldenkrais technique, Alexander technique, yoga and Bartenieff fundamentals. Ultimately, the goal of this course is to develop a strong and flexible mind and body that the students can utilize to create innovative and original dance works.
Course length: One term
Prerequisite: Dance I or department consent

Advanced Dance Tutorial

Advanced Dance Tutorial is an advanced level course for experienced dance students. Students may repeat this course each term, and are encouraged to do so. The focus changes with each trimester – depending on student interest and guest artist availability. Concepts that may be examined include text and movement, animation and silent movies, dancing for the camera, guerilla dancing, contact improvisation and sight-specific choreography. In the past, students from this class have performed under the direction of such acclaimed choreographers as Elizabeth Johnson, Young Seung Lee, Yuko Mitsuishi and Yoshiko Chuma. They have also performed alongside artists from the United States, Japan and Palestine in the Amman Contemporary Dance Festival, one of the premiere dance festival in the region.
Course length: One term (one full year highly recommended)
Prerequisite: Entry into this course is based on department consent following an interview with the student

Arabic Folkloric Dance: Dabkeh

This is a year-long course that meets in the evenings. It focuses on rehearsing and performing staged dabkeh performances created by a local choreographer. The course can be taken for credit or non-credit. Students who take it for credit will explore the cultural history of dabkeh through reading, writing and studying videos, and will be assessed on the accuracy of the movements that they have learned.
Course length: One year

String Ensemble (I, II, III)

This course is open to both beginners and to students who have had previous instrumental experience. Each student may choose to specialize in one of the offered stringed instruments. The class aims to allow students to acquire skills to play the string instrument of their choice. In addition, students explore the required levels of music theory, ear training, music appreciation and music history relating to their specialized level. This course may be repeated as many times as the student wishes.

Course length: One term each (one full year highly recommended)
Prerequisite: Department consent

Evening Orchestra

Evening Orchestra is designed for instrumentalists with previous playing experience who aim to play in a larger ensemble. It focuses on developing individual playing skills in a group setting. Students learn the techniques of playing together, while focusing on listening skills and musical awareness. The course meets two evenings per week.
Course length: One year
Prerequisite: Successful completion of String Ensemble III or department consent

Chamber Singers

This course introduces students to vocal techniques that include posture, breathing and vocal production, along with ensemble techniques such as listening, voice blend and awareness of balance. These techniques develop students’ skills as ensemble singers and ultimately as soloists. Students are also exposed to different styles and genres of singing such as classical, Arabic, world, jazz and more.
Course length: One term (one full year highly recommended)
Prerequisite: Department consent

Chamber Music

This course is designed for instrumentalists with previous playing experience. Students are arranged in smaller chamber groups according to their playing level. The chamber curriculum consists of weekly coaching sessions and individual sessions. Each group will be assigned a faculty member. Emphasis is placed on group participation, rehearsal techniques, ensemble issues, intonation work and mastery of staple chamber repertoire.
Course length: One term (one full year highly recommended)
Prerequisite: Department consent

Evening Choir

Students registered for this course are asked to commit to classes twice a week for the entire year. During the evening class, students are introduced to a variety of musical learning activities such as reading, music appreciation and one-on-one vocal technical training sessions. The evening classes include an introduction to a variety of repertoire and styles of singing.
Course length: One year

Music Appreciation: From Folk Tunes to iTunes

This course is offered in the winter term of each academic year and focuses on a different topic each class. Topics range from folk tunes, jazz, minimalism, rock ’n’ roll, opera, Broadway, hip hop, electronic dance music, techno, world music and iTunes. Students may repeat this course each year.
Course length: One term

Music Theory

Music Theory introduces the students to the fundamentals of music theory, compositional techniques and simple harmonization. The course is coupled with an ear-training module that complements student understanding of the theoretical work.
Course length: One term

AP Music Theory

This course is recommended for students who want to build on their knowledge of music through the study of basic musicianship skills, notation skills, compositional skills, score analysis skills, and performance skills. Students who wish to take AP Music Theory should have basic performance skills on voice or an instrument. The goal of this course is “to develop a student’s ability to recognize, understand, and describe the basic materials and processes of music that are heard or presented in a score.” Students develop these skills through aural training of listening to, performing, and writing music as well as written work such as score analysis and composition exercises. A successful student in AP Music Theory will be able to “read, notate, write, sing, and listen to music” with an analytical ear and be able to describe structural, harmonic, and melodic functions of a piece.
Course length: One year
Prerequisite: Music Theory, String Ensemble/Chamber/Orchestra, or department consent

Introduction to Studio Art (ISA)

The ISA course is divided into two parts: ISA I and ISA II. ISA I introduces students to the building blocks of visual language such as line, shape, color, value and texture, while ISA II builds on this knowledge pairing it with guiding principles enabling students to produce successful pieces of artwork through three visual art disciplines: Drawing and Painting, 2D Design and 3D Design.  Emphasis is placed on improving technical skill, craftsmanship, creative problem-solving and critical thinking. ISA I and ISA II are designed to acquaint students with all three visual art disciplines offered by the Department of Fine and Performing Arts before committing to a single visual art stream, therefore allowing students to make an informed decision.
Course length (for students enrolled prior to 2014-2015): One term
Course length (for students enrolled in 2014-2015 or after): Two terms

Drawing and Painting I

This course aims to introduce students to the philosophy, language and techniques of drawing with a brief introduction to painting. Students learn how to technically translate 3D objects to 2D representations using dry and wet media such as pencil, charcoal and colored pencils, watercolor and ink. Drawings mainly revolve around the still life model, and students start with basic geometric shapes and build their way to organic objects. Through these exercises students gain an understanding of composition, proportion, value, and form. In addition to technical classes, students learn how to articulate and elaborate on their work by holding peer discussions about the role of drawing in history and its impact in a contemporary context. 
Course length: One term
Prerequisite: Introduction to Studio Art (ISA) or department consent

Drawing and Painting II

This course expands on artistic language, drawing techniques and principles that were introduced in Drawing and Painting I. Drawing and Painting II expands on wet media to include acrylic, oil and watercolors, with a focus on achieving an accurate and lively statement of values and color. Students learn various techniques of each media that are applied to still life organic objects, landscape and figurative studies. Exercises are designed to master the techniques of each medium. This allows students an extended period of time to complete their projects, resulting in truer representation and likeness. Students are also introduced to abstract concepts and ways of interpretation in Drawing and Painting II.  
Course length: One term
Prerequisite: Drawing and Painting I or department consent

Advanced Drawing and Painting (personal project)

This course is based on the AP Studio Art portfolio model of a sustained investigation of a visual or conceptual problem. Students work within their own proposed theme to produce five pieces in the media of their choice that address drawing issues. Advanced Drawing and Painting is for students who are interested in further developing their technical and conceptual artistic skills but have no desire to submit an AP Studio Art portfolio. Students enrolled in this course are expected to possess strong technical skills allowing them to dedicate more time to concepts and research. Students are expected to exhibit their work in the annual art show.
Course length: One term
Prerequisite: Drawing and Painting II or department consent

Design I

In Design I, which focuses on graphic communication, students discover the impact of graphic design in the larger context of culture and society and gain critical and analytical skills needed to disseminate ideas and norms of our visual culture. Students cover design fundamental topics such as image-making, typography, identity, branding and editorial and publication design. They begin to explore ways of visual communication through digital media such as photography and Adobe Creative Suite. Emphasis is placed on learning the digital software before moving on to Design II. Students graduate from Design I with a diverse portfolio of digital work and a strong understanding of how the power of design influences and shapes human behavior.
Course length: One term
Prerequisite: Introduction to Studio Art (ISA and ISA II) or department consent

Design II

Design II builds on the knowledge obtained in Design I while adding another dimension of critical and analytical thinking. While still building on digital craftsmanship and technique, Design II teaches students how utilize this visual discipline to comment on the global socio-economic, cultural, environmental and technological changes that face our world today. Using contextual framing to introduce these changes, students are encouraged to explore their own personal responses and have their creative solutions act as a transformative force that answer such challenges. Students are expected to incorporate a large amount of research in their work, to engage in critiques in front of a jury and their peers, and to be literate in Adobe Creative Suite. Assessments in Design II are not solely based on the final product but the creative journey as a whole.
Course length: One term
Prerequisite: Design I or department consent

Advanced 2-D Design (personal project)

Based on the AP Studio Art portfolio model of a sustained investigation of a visual or conceptual problem, Advanced 2-D Design students work within their own proposed theme to produce a portfolio in the media of their choice that address two-dimensional design issues. Advanced 2-D Design is for students who are interested in further developing their technical and conceptual artistic skills but have no desire to submit an AP Studio Art portfolio. Students enrolled in this course are expected to possess strong technical skills allowing them to dedicate more time to concepts and research. They are expected to exhibit their work in the annual art show.
Course length: One term
Prerequisite: Design II or department consent

Ceramics I

Ceramics I is intended to develop basic skills in the creation of 3D forms and pottery from clay. This course teaches students the basics of hand-building techniques. Pinching, coil building, additive sculpture, slab building and combinations of these are also introduced. Students are encouraged to use various decorative techniques, in addition to learning how to glaze. Research is an integral part of this course as students are expected to find their own voice through implementing their own ideas and to create four to five pieces of ceramics.
Course length: One term
Prerequisite: Introduction to Studio Art (ISA) or department consent

Ceramics II

This course focuses on the use of the wheel. Students learn to throw the basic forms: cylinders, bowls, plates and bottles. They work with surface treatments including paint, textures, colored slips and glazes, and non-firing stains. Throughout the course, works of ceramics from various historical periods are presented and discussed and students learn more about art aesthetics and appreciation.
Course length: One term
Prerequisite: Ceramics I or department consent

Sculpture I

Sculpture I is an overview of basic skills used to create three-dimensional works of art. With an emphasis on studio production, this course is designed to develop higher-level thinking, art-related technical skills, art criticism, art history and aesthetics.
Course length: One term 
Prerequisite: Introduction to Studio Art (ISA) or department consent

Sculpture II

This course introduces students to 3-D design principles such as form, structure, volume, visual balance, surface treatment, texture, composition, movement and scale. Students are exposed to a variety of materials and techniques – as well as tools – with which to sculpt. A visual vocabulary is developed through an understanding of the creative process, personal aesthetic and conceptual intent.
Course length: One term
Prerequisite: Sculpture I or department consent

Advanced 3-D Design (personal project)

Based on the AP Studio Art portfolio model of a sustained investigation of a visual or conceptual problem, Advanced 3-D Design students work within their own proposed theme to produce five pieces in the media of their choice that address three-dimensional design issues. Advanced 3-D Design is for students who are interested in further developing their technical and conceptual artistic skills but have no desire to submit an AP Studio Art portfolio. Students enrolled in this course are expected to possess strong technical skills allowing them to dedicate more time to concepts and research. Students are expected to exhibit their work in the annual art show.
Course length: One term
Prerequisite: Ceramics II, Sculpture II or department consent

AP Studio Art: Drawing

AP Studio Art: Drawing is a rigorous but rewarding process, in which students work towards submitting a 24-piece portfolio in the drawing discipline for AP recognition. This full-year course is designed for students who have advanced talent and interest in visual art and who are particularly interested in traditional media such as drawing and painting. The course is intended to encourage students to address a broad interpretation of drawing issues such as line quality, light and shade, rendering of form, composition, surface manipulation, the illusion of depth and mark making. Students are expected to exhibit their work in the annual art showcase.
Course length: One year (students have the option of taking this AP over two years)
Prerequisite: Drawing and Painting II or department consent

AP Studio Art: 2-D Design

AP Studio Art: 2-D design is a rigorous but rewarding process, in which students work towards submitting a 24-piece portfolio for AP recognition. This full-year course is intended to address two-dimensional (2-D) design issues that involve purposeful creative decision-making. Students are expected to complete a portfolio that demonstrates their mastery of 2-D design elements and principles through any two-dimensional medium or process, including, but not limited to, digital imaging, photography, collage, fabric design, illustration and printmaking. Students are expected to exhibit their work in the annual art showcase.
Course length: One year (students have the option of taking this AP over two years)
Prerequisite: Design II or department consent

Last updated
March 21, 2016