The dynamic and innovative arts program at CDS - encompassing fine and performing arts classes at all grade levels - embodies two critical aspects of the school’s mission: the education of the whole child and the recognition that each child is a unique learner. Through their pursuit of these subjects - whether they are learning basic rhythms at age 6 or music composition at age 10 or blocking techniques for the stage at age 14 - our students embrace creative expression.
After their foundational years in the Early Childhood and Lower School divisions, our Middle School (Grades 4 & 5) students move on to trimester-length courses in Art, Drama, and Music. These interactive courses hone previously learned skills and concepts while simultaneously building a foundation for future study. In 2016-17, Middle School students are also taking trimester courses in Movement as well as Percussion, the latter of which focuses primarily on the djembe (a West African goblet drum).
Once students enter their Upper School, they have an opportunity to tailor their course of study in the area of fine and performing arts to meet their individual interests and passions. Students may take semester-length electives in digital arts, fine arts, yearbook, advanced music, and advanced theater arts. As classes are small studio or ensemble settings, all students benefit from peer critique and differentiated instruction. Class instruction focuses on process and the refinement of technical, aesthetic, and performance skills. Recent offerings include: Introduction to Drawing & Painting, Introduction to Photography, Western Theater, Vocal & Ensemble Music, and Yearbook & Pop Art.
CDS takes great pride in showcasing the artistic endeavors of our students, displaying work in our gallery and around campus, sharing music at all-school assemblies, and presenting to our families at special celebratory events.
Our new theater space - due to open in the fall of 2016 - is allowing us to expand our offerings in a variety of performing arts programs, including the introduction of The CDS Stage, a new after-school enrichment class featuring a troupe of actors in fifth through eighth grades who present two productions each year: a fall drama and a spring musical. Also in its first year at CDS is our Upper School Dance program, a twice-weekly alternative to Physical Education that allows students to learn movement games, dance techniques, and experiments in how to choreograph. This course features sections on classical ballet, jazz, hip hop, modern and partner dancing like swing and square dancing.