#CASfamily - Our May Newsletter
VIEW THE MAY NEWSLETTER IN YOUR BROWSER BY CLICKING HERE.
We're in full swing at CAS HQ! After a big start to the year, things aren't slowing down any time soon - our production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is well underway and our first round of external exams (drama) have been completed. We've got some exciting things coming up - our first community performance for 2018, our new choreography competition and our external ballet exams. A special welcome to all our new CAS families who have joined us recently. We love meeting new people and welcoming you into our classes, and we know there is a lot of information to take in so please feel free to ask if you're unsure about anything to do with our classes, events or annual production. I'm so proud of how hard our exam students have been working - it's a big commitment to prepare for an exam and both our drama and ballet students have really shown passion and determination. I hope you enjoy reading a little about our drama students' experiences below. I'm also excited that our adult classes continue to grow - we've got Zumba, pilates, acro and dance classes running on Mondays and Wednesdays. More on that soon, but send me an email if you're interested - I always love seeing CAS family members there! As always, please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. Oh and don't forget to follow us on facebook and instagram for lots of behind the scenes fun! - Claire (CAS Director)
FOR YOUR DIARY:
No classes Public Holiday Mon 11 June - students can attend a make up class on Wednesday if they wish. Email to organise.
St Kevins School Fete - 23 June
Choreography Competition - 3pm 23rd June at the studio
Ballet Exams - 27th June
CAS winter warmer week (pjs+hot choc!) - 2-6 July
Term two finishes Fri July 6
Term three starts Mon 23 July
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - 22nd September (rehearsal from 9am)
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: DRAMA
When it comes to drama classes, there’s more than meets the eye. Like any dance, music or fitness class, our drama classes always involve the same key elements - warm up, technique, group rehearsal, theory/history. Take a peek into any of our classes and you’ll see so much happening - theatresports, character development, rehearsal, production design, speech + projection skills, mime... we would be here all day if we tried to tell you everything they do!
For our exams (completed earlier this month, see more about that below!) we use the Trinity College London syllabus. We had three different exams - a solo speech and drama exam, a group devised exam and a solo diploma exam. The exams involved creating or learning a range of pieces, understanding theory and the creative process, some improvisation and being able to talk about their pieces (the message, value, challenges etc). It is a really challenging and rewarding process - each student was pushed to try something different and new, and they got really valuable feedback (as well as some amazing results!).
For our weekly classes, our teachers work so hard to draw from syllabus work, history, theory, emerging trends, improv and theatresports technique, and more to develop classes that are challenging and creative. Nothing shows how hard they work more than the amazing workbooks our drama teachers have lovingly produced for #CASmeetsWonka (check it out here). These help the students understand and engage in the many elements of the production process.
Here’s a bit of a look at what each class is working on at the moment:
Monday junior drama have been looking into individual characters and bringing out the essence of each one - learning lines, working on different voices and gestures, developing backstories, plotting relationships with other characters etc.
Our Wednesday class have been focusing this year on working as a team or a company - strong voices learning how to lead and incorporate ideas to develop those around them. Their term 1 recital piece was completely devised as a group, from plot to set to style, everyone’s ideas were tested and developed. This style of company work, negotiation, improv and development, is a skill needed to bring the Oompa Loompas to life and they are continuing to build that skill as they learn their lines, develop their characters and stage the large parts of scenes where they have no lines but are integral to the story.
Senior drama at the moment is all about Charlie! They’ve been making their way through the workbook, in particular learning about the plot points throughout and developing characters. As they are most of the leads, their focus currently is working through the script (some are memorising around 130 lines!!!) and playing around with staging and voices. Last lesson they tried to really delve into the Wonka world and gain an appreciation for the hard work that is chocolate making... so they “taste tested” some chocolate!
Our drama classes are a huge part of our annual production and we know they will be working so hard over the next two terms to put on the best show possible for us!
MEET THE FAMILY:
EMILY Grade 1 Solo Speech and Drama Exam
Ok you've just finished your exam. How do you feel?
Happy that it’s over, relaxed.
What was it like?
Not how I thought it would be - it was relaxing in a way. Fun, perfectly fine, and had less questions than you expected.
Can you tell us what the exam involved?
I had to prepare three pieces:
Veruca Salt monologue - the character was fun to act, loved her sassy personality.
Ghost story- I liked developing the hand gestures to help tell the story, it was funny.
“Worst Morning Ever” (mime) - the highlight was pretending to sit in a bowl of cereal!
What did you enjoy about preparing for the exam?
I liked the process of practicing - doing it slightly differently every time. Being able to act out someone else’s personality, in fact having 3 very different ones to act out, was really fun.
Would you do another Drama exam?
XIN, ALEX + XIAO
Grade 3 Group Devised Drama Exam
Ok you've just finished the exam. How do you feel?
We're pretty relieved! We felt nervous going in, didn’t know what to expect, but we felt comfortable once we started performing. It's a lot more fun as a team, you can trust each other and work together.
What have you learnt?
We learnt a lot of improv skills which was great. We had to learn how to keep on topic during the scene, and to always continue if you make a mistake!
Tell us about your piece:
Our piece had to be based on some source material so we used a photo of a dog wearing a cap (check it out here) and focused on putting human characteristics onto the dog. In our first scene a prison guard found talking dogs in the prison, the tone was kind of like a Garfield comic and had lots of jokes about dogs vs humans.
The second scene was set in a cafe with the dogs eating food that dogs can’t eat (think onions and chocolate) talking about escape methods.
For our third scene, the dogs tried to escape but are interrupted by the guard. There's lots of excuses and coverups and then a funny end twist!
What did the exam involve? We performed our piece then answered questions about the process of writing a group piece, rehearsing it and developing ideas and characters. The examiners recorded it which we didn't expect!
Diploma in Performance (Speech + Drama)
Ok you've just finished the exam. How do you feel?
Ok, relieved, happy with how I did, proud of the accomplishment.
Tell us about what the exam involved:
4 performance pieces:
2 theatre - Older (Shakespeare), Contemporary (Jasper Jones)
Lyric poem - Dover Beach - 1800s poem about humanity’s loss of faith
Prose - The Monkeys Paw - a gothic short story
Plus a 4 min impromptu talk (anything to do with theatre or the pieces) and Viva voce (improv, questions about context and meaning of each piece, questions about health and safety in the theatre, work on an unseen piece etc).
What have you learnt from the process? As first you don’t understand any of the theory or pieces, then as you go on and study each individual piece you learn to understand it and then love it. It certainly is a proccess.
How did you feel when doing the exam? Comfortable, well prepared - it was actually fun!
You had so many pieces to learn! Which was your favourite? Jasper Jones - I’m better at the serious ones than comic ones. I like the complex character building, I find it more challenging.
Three of our student teachers, Xiao, Meg and Holly have finished their level 1 DanceStep training and will now move up to level 2! Each of them has completed their theory, participated in practical training and completed around 30 hours of assistant teaching in classes in the studio. We are so proud of the leadership they've shown and how much they've grown - we've seen them build strong relationships with the students, develop their teaching skills like explaining and demonstrating activities, and show a love of encouraging all students to get involved and do their best. They are such an important part of the CAS family and we are so proud of how hard they are working - congratulations girls!
We are thrilled to be launching our student choreography competition this year - a concept that has been in the making for several years behind the scenes at CAS. One of the big focus areas of all our styles, in all age groups, is choreography - teaching our students to explore ideas and express thoughts through movement and music. We would love as many students as possible to share their creativity with us this year. As always, this will be a nurturing and positive event, a chance for students of all levels to have a go at making up a dance and performing it for an audience. Some prizes will be awarded for creativity, choreographic skills and performance skills. No students will be critiqued on their technique or dance ability. The comp will be held on Saturday 23 June (after our St Kevins performance!) and all are welcome to attend. Email us for more info or to get an entry form.