October has come to a close and with it we wrap up the first quarter of the school year. Time sure flies when you are having fun. With the school year being virtual this year, we couldn't gather for our annual School Halloween Festivities, but we hope to be able to gather in person for Halloween 2021. Our classes are working on a wide range of curriculum, but all share the common goal now of preparing work for our 2020 Virtual Winter Showcase, where Advanced Arts students show off their artwork, culinary creations, and perform!
Let's check in with each class and see what they've been up to...
Animation & Sequential Arts
In October Animation & Sequential Arts decided to continue the annual artistic tradition of Inktober. Inktober is an annual month long celebration of ink based art in October. Each day a new Inktober artistic prompt is shared, and artists create and share illustrations based off the prompt of the day. This year the class decided it would be fun to create their own prompts, and renamed the event: "ANIMATION & SEQUENTIAL ARTOBER." Students created prompts of their own such as Wings, Trap, Eyes, Falling, Ice Scream, and more! Students even had weekend prompts to complete. Over the month all students improved greatly in their line art, shading methods, compositions, and understanding of contrast.
The class also dove deep into learning the methods of traditional figure drawing, and capped the month off by participating in our annual Multi-Day Figure Drawing Workshop. This workshop is a tradition three years in the making collaboratively created and executed by our teachers Alex Goldin, Matt Bozik, and Emily Steffen. Even though the workshop was virtual this year, it still utilized live models and brought Drawing & Painting and Animation & Sequential Arts students through "Figure Drawing Boot-camp."
October has been crammed full of information, and students are hitting it out of the park! Appropriate for the season, we’ve been learning about what makes a song sound “spooky”. Every student transcribed a song in a major key, and used our knowledge of our three minor scales to put the song in it’s parallel minor! It was awesome to hear each other’s work in class. We also did our first 4 part compositions; writing music with a Soprano, Alto, Tenor, and Bass line. After working in groups to write our choral compositions, we made our own AUDIO RECORDING of each song, featuring the 2020 AP Music Theory Choir! The final result was amazing! Can’t wait to try a more advanced version in November!
This month we worked on setting the table, learning about mise en place and our culinary students learned how to set themselves up for success in the kitchen. We also focused on a variety of careers in culinary arts. Just as the quarter ended, we also started delving into recipe reading... and we tested out some chocolate chip cookie making! After almost one full quarter of not cooking, we are so close, we can basically taste it! Next week, we will be combining forces with Green City Market and getting started on our showcase work!
Modern Rock Band
We started the month of October by going over some theory concepts such as melody and intervals. The students really enjoyed working on the intervals part of these lectures and they even asked us if we could do extra interval practice. In the latter part of this month we really focused on practicing our parts for the recording that we are putting together. Right now, we are assembling a virtual recording of ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl’ by Jet. This is a really fun song that the students loved to sing and play! While the students were working on learning this song, we did numerous workshops with them on how to practice, how to sing with proper technique as well as how to use recording equipment. Our project so far sounds really good! We can’t wait to share it with everyone once it’s ready!
Creative Arts & Ceramics
This month in photography has been super creatively active, when we assigned the creative self portrait assignment it gave the students an opportunity to explore to create innovative portraits as them as the subject. Yet again our students took this project in completely different ways and surprised us with the many conceptual and personal themes that they wanted to explore. Though some students were hesitant at first and didn't know how to feel about the project, after reassurance from us to really express themselves however they want. They really took to this photo assignment and by the results that we have seen in critique, they had a lot of fun doing it. The themes that they explored Halloween (creepy/scary), displacement, and lost. So many different topics they covered in this one assignment it was so much fun to see the rest of the class unpack their peers' work and give the feedback to continue their artistic journey.
Drawing & Painting
Students worked on a series of self portraits! We began, as a class, by drawing a bunch blind contour drawings. When the students were warmed up, we had them do a pair of portraits- The first, done as proportionally correct and as representational as possible. The second, to be done expressively, in the style and medium of their choosing. Here, for example is the work of student Victoria Mak.
From there, the students critiqued each other's work. The portraits were viewed in pairs, comparing the representation work to the stylized work. It was amazing to see the difference in each, and the range of styles brought to this program by our students!
In a virtual classroom where learning under quarantine is becoming the norm, AAP dancers have learned to study and celebrate dance as an art form by taking advantage of the world of dance around them. Connecting the dance idioms of Spanish, Musical Theatre, Latin Jazz, Ballet and Modern has widened their perspectives and their opportunities.
This month, dance students attended a master class sponsored by AMDA College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts (NY/LA). Nationally acclaimed performer, Chryssie Whitehead-Disbrow, created the master class for our dancers and taught them original choreography from, “A Chorus Line”, where Whitehead-Disbrow had played Cassie on Broadway.
Right after she graduated from high school, Whitehead-Disbrow was hired as a dancer with Radio City Rockettes, in New York City. With a career spanning over 20 years working in both Los Angeles and New York, she acted in over 13 television shows (Grey’s Anatomy, etc.) and films. Most notably she was known for a sweet romantic comedy with Raven Simone, “Revenge of the Bridesmaids”, and made Broadway debut in the revival of, “A CHORUS LINE.” Theatre roles include: Lola in DAMN YANKEES, Cassie in A CHORUS LINE, Kathy in COMPANY, and Bombalurina, in CATS.
Chryssie leads a creative, artistic life teaching across the globe and presently online, with her performing arts educational company, www.BroadwayArtsCommunity.com, which she co-founded with her best friend, Alexis Carra. She has directed and/or choreographed productions of CHICAGO, INTO THE WOODS, SHREK, GREASE and BEAUTY & THE BEAST. You can see her acting on the big screen next Christmas, in a small role in Steven Spielberg’s remake of, “WEST SIDE STORY!”
The next master class was given by University of Illinois’ professor Anna Sapozhnikov. She taught students theatrical choreography from the musical, “Chicago.” Sapozhnikov is a teacher, choreographer and performer with roots based in the Chicago. Students asked pertinent questions about university life, hybrid learning and expectations.
The master class assisted the dance students, who are currently working on their technique, artistry, and musicality, while celebrating their individual choreographic voices in preparation for this year’s AAP Winter Showcase. Aside from physically demanding virtual rehearsals and learning choreography, students are keeping a positive attitude and looking forward to this year’s virtual premiere.
This month the students are learning how to tell a story and how to get to the emotional center of the story. Students wrote a personal story that had meaning for them and then they interviewed each other using that story as a jumping off point for that story. They are now learning how to edit those stories using photos and other related objects to fully realize the theme and the meaning behind the stories. Students are also learning how to improve their critiquing skills by watching clips and talking about why they are meaningful for them.
We started our Art & Activism unit by connecting our conversations about what we learned from listening to A Raisin in the Sun and life and career of Lorraine Hansberry. Each ensemble member has also chosen a monologue from A Raisin in the Sun to add to our repertoire. Check out some shots from us performing our monologues below. Since so much of our world is still very virtual, we also spent time practicing how to slate for an audition/perform our monologues “on camera.” We’re learning how to shift our visual focus and dive into our given circumstances. As we know the change of season is happening, each ensemble member also shared a song that brings them joy and explained what qualities in each song contributed to lifting our spirits. We were fortunate enough to watch the Goodman Theatre’s production of Death of Salesman by Arther Miller. UP NEXT: Animal Farm by George Orwell and Intro to Playwriting!
Come back next MONTH for more updates from our Advanced Arts Classrooms!