Laughter filled the BASIS Independent McLean Theatre during three rousing performances of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. For months, 22 students in grades 6 through 9 rehearsed after school to learn their lines, perfect their blocking, and nail their comedic timing. The students studied iambic pentameter, analyzed their character's arc, and worked on character motivations to perfect their craft.
Enjoy photos from the performance below.
Given our program's reputation of academic excellence, it is all too easy for familes to think of us as "that school for kids who are good at math and science".
It couldn't be further from the truth. BASIS Independent students are artists, musicians, linguists, skateboarders, athletes, dancers and more. They all just happen to be part of a well-rounded, accelerated learning environment.
Not only do we value all disciplines equally, but as a program rooted in the liberal arts, we teach the full spectrum of liberal arts with the fervor and depth seen in an advanced math or science class.
Did you know that our students take performing arts beginning in PreK? As a mandatory part of our curriculum from PreK- grade 4, students are given the option to dive even deeper in to the performing arts with a daily elective option starting in 6th grade.
Take a look for yourself! Back in December, our sister school in Brooklyn published a spotlight on their flourishing performing arts program. They invited two of their performing arts teachers, Ms. Annie Crowley and Ms. Elizabeth Simmons to help bring to life their comprehensive performing arts program:
What is the purpose of the drama program at BASIS Independent?
Ms. Crowley (AC): Our drama program aims to foster artistic and emotional development in our students. Skills are honed in physical and verbal communication, creative interpretation, imaginative play, and abstract thought. For me, the most important aspect of what we do is in the cultivation of empathy and global curiosity by learning to see ourselves in the lives and experiences of others. Here at BASIS Independent, the drama program works in conjunction with the other fine arts disciplines as a creative and emotional outlet for students while also posing exciting academic challenges.
Ms. Simmons (ES): We build skills that are useful both on and off the stage! An experiential curriculum starts with the "Tools in the Actors Toolbox", the Voice, Body, Imagination, Concentration, Collaboration. Students build on these skills creating scenes, original plays, and one acts.
How is it different than at other schools?
(ES): Practically speaking, we both came to BASIS Independent with backgrounds in professional theatre (as actors, directors, and dramaturges) in addition to our work as arts educators, giving us both a wide range of resources and experiences from which to draw. We both have a background in Devising Theatre, which means that the stories and plays on stage incorporate students' own ideas and experiences. This helps create a richer experience where everyone is engaged!
(AC): The primary difference that I see in our drama program is our broad, multi-pronged scope. Beginning in Kindergarten all the way into the high school years, drama is a present and integral aspect of the curriculum. As we are able to extend over so many grade levels, we are really able to craft a rich and comprehensive program, exposing students to aspects of the field where we would most likely not have the chance with a leaner schedule. As a teacher, it feels wonderful to have such support and confidence from BASIS Independent in the purpose and value of our subject. I feel so lucky here!
Inspired by the blissful feeling of uncovering connections, our blog Eureka! McLean is about sharing moments that capture the essence of what it is to be a BASIS Independent student, teacher, administrator, or family.