Theater & Dance

The Theater & Dance Department believes that knowledge is best created through the transformation of experience. The department offers project-based experiences to expand the student’s mind, body and heart.

Using a combination of theoretical investigation and practical application, students of all levels explore classical and contemporary concepts. Through collaboration, students build working relationships with their peers and faculty. In classes and in performance, students are encouraged to take risks and cultivate strategies for overcoming failure. Students develop confidence and resilience, in part by giving and receiving regular feedback. Students are challenged to reach a level of mastery in one or more skill set by practicing, presenting, producing and performing. 

Theater & Dance Gallery

Course Offerings

Theater 9

This course allows students to experience many facets of theater including design, acting, directing and performance. Discussions, group activities and debates encourage students to think creatively while collaborating, problem-solving and presenting original ideas.

Theater History

Merging celebration, ritual and drama, theater is at heart a cultural performance. Students explore the concepts of honor, loyalty and revenge by studying the influential theatrical traditions of Ancient Greece, Elizabethan England and Tokugawa Japan. The class focuses on mythic powerhouses that highlight how madness and mayhem are intricately intertwined, ultimately leading to total destruction. Students read Euripides’ The Bacchae, Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus, Shakespeare’s Hamlet and the Japanese classic tale of Chushingura (also known as 47 Ronin or The Revenge of the 47 Samurai), some of the richest works in theatrical history. As well as reading plays in their written form, the class also examines the process and practice of performance, past and present. Students study how an actor or director’s interpretation affects performance by attending live theater and viewing film clips, as well as getting up on stage and embodying the texts.

Acting & Directing

Using techniques developed by Constantin Stanislavski, Uta Hagen, Jacques LeCoq (Neutral Mask), Michael Chekhov, David Mamet (The Atlantic Theater Co.) and Anne Bogart (Viewpoints), students experiment with a range of acting and directing tools, ultimately deciding what works best for them. Students will both act and direct in this class as well as to improve confidence and communication skills by developing a vocal and physical presence on stage.

Introduction to Design & Advanced Theater Design

In Introduction to Design, students expand their imaginations through a comprehensive overview of scenic, lighting, sound and prop design. Students build the curriculum, in coordination with their teacher, in collaborative discussions and hands-on activities based on individual interests. The class works to develop technical skills in model building, scenic painting and set/prop construction, all while honing an eye for compositional design.

Skills are further honed in Advanced Theater Design. Students are able to explore everything related to theater design from scenery, lighting, sound and painting, to puppetry and special effects. The class prepares students to find practical solutions to creative ideas and prepare a portfolio of finished work.

Yoga I & II

Yoga is a harmonizing practice that brings balance to body and mind through postures, breathwork, sun salutations, guided meditation and relaxation. Emphasis will be on understanding alignment principles of classic yoga poses and deepening each student’s awareness of self. Yoga I combines vinyasa, restorative yoga and an introduction to meditation to create a calming and revitalizing practice. Yoga II has a vigorous approach to yoga and includes advanced poses and sequences that are linked to the breath. Yoga II allows for variety, but almost always includes sun salutations. Each class has a different theme, allowing for inversions, restorative poses and alignment oriented postures.

Costume & Makeup Studio

In this class, students learn how to make skin peel and bleed from fake wounds or turn a classmate into a fantastical creature. A unique makeup look is conceptualized each semester and complemented with a costume look. Students learn how to employ makeup skills including sculpting, the creation of prosthetics and, during the costume unit, drawing. The culminating assignment is to read a play and create costume and makeup designs for several characters.  

Production Workshop

Each student in Production Workshop is assigned a “job,”  such as stage manager, assistant director, assistant costume designer or assistant set designer, and contributes in a meaningful way to the staging of the spring play, from conception to execution. Students team up with the Theater Department faculty in a truly collaborative process.

Senior Play Project

This course, open to twelfth graders only, is the culminating experience for theater students at CGPS. In Senior Play, students build upon the lessons learned in acting, directing and production classes to produce and direct one-act plays, a major time commitment. Students chosen as directors must consult the faculty beforehand and sign a contract of intent before the beginning of the course. This class is an opportunity for students to exercise their creative autonomy while, at the same time, working collaboratively with their classmates under time and budget pressure.


This class is open to all students who are interested in exploring movement as a way of creating physical art. Through structured, playful improvisations students will discover a wide range of movement possibilities. The class analyzes and celebrates each student’s unique way of moving and creating through a variety of physical exercises. Students explore different sources of inspiration such as images, poetry, current events and music to create a movement vocabulary that can be developed into choreography. Students create music sequences, both individually and in small groups, with the intention of presenting thought-provoking material in the annual dance concert. This class is ideal for artists, actors, musicians, dancers or anyone curious about how the body can express a variety of concepts.

Modern Dance I & II

Modern Dance encourages self-expression and freedom of movement. Students are led through a technical warm-up designed to open and strengthen the body. Students explore movement sequences, structured improvisations and spontaneous reaction to time, space and energy. Full phrases of movement strengthen each student’s understanding of the principles covered. This style of dance inspires imagination, independent thinking, intelligence and awareness. Modern Dance I encourages individuality, self-confidence and growth. In Modern Dance II, students are led through complex technical exercises designed to open and strengthen the body. Through structured improvisations, dancers discover new qualities of movement and broaden their range of motion. Intricate phrases of movement are taught and explored, challenging dancers both intellectually and physically.

department of Theater & Dance goals
  • Develop effective communication skills through collaborative problem-solving
  • Value the process of creating as much as to the achievement of success
  • Build a strong community, a safe place for personal growth and creative risks
  • Promote convergent and divergent thinking