The performing arts of drama, music and dance have always been a dynamic component of the educational experience at 91st Street.
The heritage of Otto Kahn’s home and his support of the arts resonate throughout our buildings; how appropriate that the former home of the man considered to be the greatest arts patron of the 20th century provides the space for a program rich in arts education. Even with such a significant legacy, however, the performing arts curriculum at Sacred Heart has become more vibrant than ever before.
The Performing Arts offer students an opportunity for self-exploration, pursuit of excellence, and pride in their accomplishments in a public setting. Experts are discovering more and more evidence that the performing arts are essential to opening the mind to other disciplines, helping with spatial reasoning, learning about other cultures, and language processing and teamwork. Skills in dance, music, and drama develop poise, self confidence, empathy, ease in public presentation and physical coordination. Through performance, young people can discover abilities and resources within themselves that they never knew they had.
One factor that makes Sacred Heart’s performance curriculum especially effective is a superb faculty made up of accomplished artists in their chosen field who are active performers as well as educators. Here at 91stStreet we are able to work under the belief that performing arts education should be integrated into the school curriculum. As a result, Sacred Heart is one of the few schools with drama and music classes from Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade. Each child participates in at least two music and/or drama classes from Kindergarten to 9th grade, accompanied by a full complement of after school electives in those disciplines. In addition each student performs at least twice a year throughout Lower and Middle School, and girls can elect to be in full-scale musical and dramatic productions in Middle and Upper School. Add a chorus in each division as well as Bell Choir, Madrigal and Dance elective groups which perform both at school functions and at special events in the surrounding metro area and it’s clear that performing arts are thriving.
As a child I was in a superb youth theatre company in the north east of England. The director always had the highest expectations of our potential as young actors, and she created a very dynamic acting ensemble. Much as I always loved performing, I found my time there led to the desire to offer these transformative experiences to others. I teach drama because I want to share the sense of joy and liberation which I have gained though working in a loving, cooperative way with others to create something which is invariably greater than the sum of its parts. It always amazes me that so much freedom and self-discovery can occur in the paradoxical act of playingsomeone else."
Upper and Middle School Drama Teacher