While arts education has sadly been cut from some school curriculums, it is flourishing in others and is recognized for its significant developmental value in everything that schools should be nurturing. Research suggests that education in the arts improves general academic performance, comprehension and communication skills, social and emotional development, and cognitive ability.
For a school like Lakefield College School (LCS), which challenges and enables students to reach their full potential in mind, body and spirit, the cocurricular arts program plays a central role. For example, the confidence and creative stimulation developed through artistic dance and the dramatic arts in school serves students in whichever path they choose to pursue throughout their lives.
LCS develops and presents a dance showcase and two major drama productions each year in which students are heavily involved in all aspects. Any student may audition for the plays in fall and spring terms. Many acquire technical, production, or acting skills by being on stage or working behind the scenes. The most recent play, The Laramie Project, was a particular success with audiences for its thought-provoking and powerful subject matter and professional-calibre production. We’re also proud that it raised more than $1,000 for the Canadian Mental Health Association’s (CMHA) local chapter’s program, “Gender Journeys.”
Would your child be interested in participating in the next production? Although there are a tonne of reasons for getting involved in drama and dance at school, here are just three.
1. Developing Communication Skills Through Drama and Dance at Boarding School
Drama and dance are collaborative activities wherein people pool their collective creative energies to build something greater than the sum of their individual parts. They demand cooperation, concentration, and communication, involving complex group dynamics and team building exercises. It can be students’ first experience in trusting with humility the vision of a director or the opinions of other actors in order to achieve the best performance.
Participants in drama and dance performances connect with the audience, their peers and untapped elements of themselves while exploring unfamiliar cultures, disciplines and traditions. They learn to speak more eloquently and articulately, and communicate to an extent that moves audiences to laugh or cry. It involves memorization and comprehending elaborate scripts, as well as understanding and respecting the viewpoints of others, often from diverse backgrounds.
2. Learning and Expressing Creativity at an Independent High School
Role playing on stage enables students to express themselves in ways that can’t easily be accomplished in other aspects of life. Students learn to let themselves become immersed in the process, spontaneously improvising according to the actions of other actors or their own inspiration. Convincingly stepping into the skins of their characters requires imagination and empathy, as they learn to become more conscious of their actions and perceptions.
LCS students in drama and dance discover their own hidden talents
This ability to see the extraordinary in the ordinary enables students to learn how to be more creative, discovering talents they didn’t know they had. These are higher order thinking skills, a depth of critical understanding that furthers all types of academic achievement. Connecting more deeply to the world and exploring unfamiliar perspectives through drama or dance at boarding school helps unlock creative processes and new ways of seeing.
3. Drama and Dance at Boarding School Develops Confidence
Public speaking tends to be a much-feared activity but nevertheless an important skill to hone for future academic and professional success. Overcoming self-consciousness while still in high school instils a sense of confidence that can powerfully impact self-image and actualization.
While the pressure of performing before a large audience can go a long way in this regard, the entire process of auditioning and rehearsing improves a student’s confidence little by little. Being in the spotlight and subjected to constructive criticism in a supportive community like Lakefield whittles away at insecurities and lets students laugh at their own mistakes.
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