A Standing Ovation for Corbett Prep Fine Arts Performances
Corbett Prep’s performing arts program builds confidence and life skills.
May 8, 2014 (TAMPA, Fla.) – Whether it was the magical Willy Wonka Junior, the emotional Fiddler on the Roof or a trio of funny and educational Upper Primary classroom plays, Corbett Prep treated student and adult audiences to multiple performances last month that all deserved standing ovations.
But the shows are about more than entertainment. The performing arts program provides valuable opportunities for the student actors, singers and dancers to work as a team, practice self-discipline, explore their creativity and develop presence and public speaking skills. They also give audiences of all ages a chance to support students as they challenge themselves on stage. Younger students look to older ones as role models as they demonstrate more finely honed techniques, and older students cheer on their younger peers to recognize their hard work.
Corbett Preparatory School of IDS understands that a robust visual and performing arts program is an integral part of the comprehensive curriculum. Every student has a chance to perform during the school year, including those as young as PreK3 who charmed their parents recently by acting out various characters found in a literature-rich program.
“Public speaking is the No. 1 fear of many adults,” said Todd LeBlanc, Corbett Prep drama teacher. “The fine arts program at Corbett Prep helps students overcome that fear in an exciting and joyful way at the very start of their school experience and carries it through to the end, creating confident leaders for the future!”
The complexity of the performances grows as the students mature. The PreK3 show included group songs, dances and music along with short memorized pieces each student recited on their own before an audience. The first- and second-grade “Brilliant Bugs,” “Cool Cats” and “Mighty Monkeys” presented more involved class plays on heroes, Australia and U.S. geography, respectively, that linked to topics they had studied in class.
Fourth and fifth graders in Warriors’ Pride Chorus filled two spectacular casts for multiple showings of Willy Wonka Jr. in front of their classmates and the community. The Middle School dealt with complicated material and choreography — including learning a challenging dance with bottles balanced on their heads — for the powerful Fiddler on the Roof.
Additional opportunities are provided in whole-school performances during the Winter and Spring Fine Arts shows as all ages perform songs, dance or musical theatre pieces they learned in specials classes or electives. The performing arts program builds communication and life skills that are useful in any profession, said Seth Travaglino, musical theatre teacher.
“Every one of our students can walk into a room with the ability to look someone in the eye, shake hands and be confident in who they are,” Travaglino said.
Students’ time in the audience is of equal importance to their time on stage. Learning to be an appreciative audience member strengthens Corbett Prep traditions and builds a school community of love and support. Music teacher Michael LeBlanc said it is important for eighth graders to return to see the younger classes perform, because it shows the older students how they remain a part of the traditions they established.
“We create this culture where everything builds on everything else,” Michael LeBlanc said.
The result is a school environment where it is safe for students to take risks and share their gifts.