The curriculum at the Center for Performing and Fine Arts is uniquely designed by the professional staff of the Center; all curriculum components meet or exceed standards for the arts set by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, as well as national standards for Arts Education. All students develop a portfolio under the guidance of Performing and Fine Arts instructors. In addition to the core curriculum of this pre-professional arts education program, the Center for Performing and Fine Arts sponsors field trips, visiting artists, and Master Classes.

The Music department fosters musical development within each individual student. We seek to develop highly motivated musicians who want to pursue excellence and life-long learning, regardless of their decision to pursue music as a profession. The Music department at the Center for Performing and Fine Arts provides students with an academically rich music environment with opportunities for personal growth, musical interaction, and community service.

The rigorous training in the Music department includes vocal as well as instrumental music classes in small ensemble settings. Students are invited to take classes in vocal musicianship, technique and performance; piano keyboard; wind and brass instruments (clarinet, flute, oboe, sax, trumpet, etc.); string instruments (violin, viola, cello, etc.); acoustic guitar; digital music composition; and advanced (AP) music theory.

Students learn to utilize the principles of effective practice techniques, care of instruments, healthy development of vocal chords, and musicianship. All students learn to read music and enhance their sight-reading skills. Ear training is an important component to the multi-faceted curriculum. Theory is incorporated into all classes.

Music Course Offerings

Middle School

Vocal Development provides training for the student as both an individual and an ensemble singer. Students study proper vocal technique, including breathing and vowel placement, as well as music reading skills. Additionally, students are introduced to the concepts of stage presence, performance practice, concert etiquette, and audition technique. Vocal repertoire includes a variety of genres, time periods, and cultures. Students work on intonation, vocal blend and balance, and how to follow a conductor. Students develop their understanding of emotional and personal connection to music as it relates to performance. The class continually builds on music reading skills, focusing on rhythmic, melodic, and intervallic sight reading and ear training development. Choral repertoire from a variety of time periods is studied, including music in foreign languages. Enrollment in this class requires participation in two outside rehearsals and concerts per school year.
Students in Piano keyboard class develop strong technical keyboard skills as well as broad musical knowledge. The course covers how to perform on the piano, interpret musical notation, how to define and use musical terms, to discuss the various stylistic periods of musical history and understand how to practice effectively. This course offers a wide range of musical topics, and it is expected that the students will develop musicianship in the art of piano playing through technique exercises, sight reading, harmonization and repertoire appropriate to level. With our small class sizes combined with a concentrated focus, we are able to work closely with students who possess a wide range experience.
Guitar Skills and Technique teaches students how to perform and read music on the guitar. The course requires students to learn basic music theory and composition in relation to the guitar. Various styles of music are studied, including rock, jazz, classical guitar and blues. An introduction to improvisation is included during the course. Students are required to perform in the winter and spring instrumental music concerts.
Students in Applied Wind Instruments begin or continue formal study of a wind instrument from either the woodwind or brass family. Students build a strong base of knowledge in mechanics and maintenance, proper tone production and articulation, technical vocabulary (major scales, arpeggios), music reading skills, ensemble playing techniques, and proper music practice etiquette. Students also explore music theory and improvisation by arranging and composing their own music, using traditional and electronic mediums. Students master content knowledge by performing alone and in small ensembles during class, by completing assigned assessment activities, and by performing publicly in our Instrumental Music concerts in both the winter and spring.
Students in Applied String Instruments begin or continue formal study of a bowed string instrument (violin, viola, cello, string bass). Students study proper tone production and articulation, technical vocabulary (major scales and arpeggios), music reading skills, ensemble playing techniques, and proper music practice etiquette. Students also explore music theory and improvisation by arranging and composing their own music, using traditional and electronic mediums. Students master content knowledge by performing alone and in small ensembles during class, by completing assigned assessment activities, and by performing publicly in our Instrumental Music concerts in both the winter and spring.
Students continue formal study of a either bowed string instrument (violin, viola, cello, string bass) or wind instrument (woodwind or brass). Students will work to develop and enhance proper tone production and articulation, extended range (shifting or upper octave work), technical vocabulary (major and minor scales and arpeggios), beginning to advanced music reading skills, beginning to advanced ensemble playing techniques, proper use of vibrato, and proper music practice etiquette. Students also explore music theory and improvisation by arranging and composing their own music, using traditional and electronic mediums. Students master content knowledge by performing alone and in small ensembles during class, by completing assigned assessment activities, and by performing publicly in Instrumental Music concerts in both the winter and spring.
All middle school students are required to take a year-long survey course called Integrated Arts. The goal of the Integrated Arts curriculum is to highlight the truly collaborative and relational nature of art, and the influence of different cultures and historical periods. Each year we focus on a specific geographical region, cultural heritage, historical period, or significant art movement. In small groups, students cycle through a rotation of Art, Dance, Music, and Theatre. Within each rotation (discipline), students will experience approximately eight different hour-long lessons. Visiting artists, field trips, and guest lectures supplement the curriculum. The second half of the year is devoted to preparation for a culminating, interactive performance that incorporates each of the four disciplines. In the past we have studied African culture, the arts of Asia, South American culture, the Ballet Russes, the School of Paris and the Avant-Garde movement, the Italian Renaissance, the American 1920s and 1930s, Native American culture, German Romanticism, the British Isles, trailblazing women in the arts and Pennsylvania Artists. We have also showcased culminating presentations such as the party scene from Romeo and Juliet, an American revue featuring artists of the 20th Century, an original Native American ceremony featuring retelling of some of the great tribal myths, the iconic Existentialist play, Waiting for Godot, and a lively museum tour through Great Britain, signature female performances, living art and street performances.
Students in Digital Studio Voice classes engage in an individualized course of study in vocal music performance, all done online from any location in the Commonwealth. The course covers vocal music of all styles including classical, Broadway, jazz, and pop. Students are required to practice on their own regularly as they learn effective practice techniques. Students utilize currently available technology to record performances for assessment by the music faculty. The course is designed to allow students to work on their own through the available course material, which includes exercises, performing repertoire, music theory, ear training, and music composition. Students are required to meet in an online class chat with the instructors a minimum of four times per marking period. They also have the option of participating in on-site residency programs, including participation in our Winter and Spring Vocal Music concerts.
Students in CPFA Remote Access Music are engaging in an individualized course of study in music performance. Students will be required to practice on their own regularly and will learn effective practice techniques. Students will utilize currently available technology to record performances for assessment by the CPFA music staff. The course is designed to allow students to work at their own pace through the available course material, which will include exercises, performing repertoire, music theory, and music composition. Students are required to meet in an online class chat with the instructors a minimum of four times per marking period. Guitar, piano and band/orchestral instruments are offered in the remote access music program. Participation in concerts and recitals are not required but encouraged.
High School
This vocal music course highlights proper vocal technique as it relates to ensemble and solo singing, with a focus on music reading and aural training. Students will acquire rhythmic and melodic sight singing and dictation skills, as well as an understanding of melodic intervals. Key concepts such as intonation, vocal blend and balance, and how to follow a conductor are explored. Students develop an appreciation for their emotional and personal connection to music as it relates to performance. Vocal repertoire from a variety of genres, time periods, and cultures is studied, including music in foreign languages. Enrollment in this class requires participation in two outside rehearsals and concerts (winter and spring) per school year. Students have the opportunity to perform individually, in small groups (duets, trios, quartets), and as a full ensemble. Through these varying opportunities, students learn proper concert/performance etiquette as well as how to sing freely and expressively in a formal concert setting.
At the honors level, vocal students further refine their vocal technique and performance skills. Students will develop rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic sight singing and dictation skills, as well as a keen understanding of intervals by quality. Honors students serve as section leaders and will learn to lead vocal warm-ups as well as conduct pieces. Vocal repertoire from a variety of genres, time periods, and cultures is studied, including music in foreign languages. Students will gain greater appreciation for their emotional and personal connection to music as it relates to performance. Students have the opportunity to perform individually, in small groups (duets, trios, quartets), and as a full ensemble. Enrollment in the honors level requires proficiency with vocal technique, sight singing skills, and general music theory knowledge as determined by the music faculty.
This vocal music course highlights proper vocal technique as it relates to ensemble and solo singing by treble voices, with a focus on music reading and aural training. Students will acquire rhythmic and melodic sight singing and dictation skills, as well as an understanding of melodic intervals. Key concepts such as intonation, vocal blend and balance, and how to follow a conductor are explored. Students develop an appreciation for their emotional and personal connection to music as it relates to performance. Vocal repertoire from a variety of genres, time periods, and cultures is studied, including music in foreign languages. Enrollment in this class requires some previous vocal training, as well as participation in two outside rehearsals and concerts (winter and spring) per school year. Students have the opportunity to perform individually, in small groups (duets, trios, quartets), and as a full ensemble. Through these varying opportunities, students will refine their concert/performance etiquette and their ability to sing freely and expressively in a formal concert setting.
At the honors level, vocal students further refine their vocal technique and performance skills. Students will develop rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic sight singing and dictation skills, as well as a keen understanding of intervals by quality. Honors students serve as section leaders and will learn to lead vocal warm-ups as well as conduct pieces. Vocal repertoire from a variety of genres, time periods, and cultures is studied, including music in foreign languages. Students will gain greater appreciation for their emotional and personal connection to music as it relates to performance. Students have the opportunity to perform individually, in small groups (duets, trios, quartets), and as a full ensemble. Enrollment in the honors level requires proficiency with vocal technique, sight singing skills, and general music theory knowledge as determined by the music faculty.
Students learn and/or refine how to perform fluently on the piano. Students also learn to interpret basic musical notation, define and use fundamental musical terms, discuss the various stylistic periods of musical history and understand how to practice effectively. This course offers a wide-ranging base of knowledge, and it is expected that the students develop musicianship in the art of piano playing through technique exercises, sight reading, harmonization and repertoire appropriate to level.
In honors piano musicianship and performance classes, students are expected to perform fluently on the piano, perform music from different stylistic periods, sight read at various levels of difficulty, perform major and minor scales at four octaves, read out of a fake book and be able to transpose music without an external source for help (such as Finale, Sibelius, or NoteFlight). Students are expected to learn how to accompany other instruments on the piano (such as accompanying vocal classes) and continue to develop a large repertoire from which to select from for study at the college or university level. Honors piano students compose using music skills and techniques covered in all classes as well as refining technical skills 4 octaves (at 108 BPM). Enrollment in the honors curriculum requires a demonstrated proficiency in basic music theory and use of a metronome for optimal rhythmic accuracy.
This course is the first in the series for the high school guitar program at the Center for Performing and Fine Arts. The course teaches students how to perform and read music on the guitar, as well as requiring the student to learn basic music theory and composition in relation to the guitar. Various styles of music are studied including rock, jazz, classical guitar and blues. The Alfred “Essentials of Jazz Theory” is used to teach students. An introduction to improvisation is included during the course. Students are required to perform in the winter and spring recitals.
Jazz Guitar Performance and Theory is the second level of guitar offered in the high school program. This course concentrates on reading and performing guitar music, mostly in the Jazz idiom. Students learn how to read jazz standards, including a comprehensive study of chord theory, construction and performance, as well as intensive melody reading and improvisation techniques. Students learn how to perform various styles of Jazz including Swing, Latin, Ballads, etc. Comprehensive analysis of the lead sheet is included throughout the program.
The objective of this course, the third in the series, is to create a highly accomplished guitarist who can perform almost any music given on the guitar, as well as have a strong development in their ability to listen more effectively, preparing them for any collegiate music program or course they may take. One-on-one sessions are held with the teacher where recordings are made of the student and teacher performing the assigned standard every week. The teacher and student analyze the student’s performance and discuss issues with the student’s playing and solutions to apply during future sessions. The student is given a CD with these recordings at the end of the year.
Students continue formal study of a bowed string (violin, viola, cello, string bass), woodwind, or brass instrument. Students continue their study of proper tone production and articulation, extended range (shifting or upper octave work), technical vocabulary (major and minor scales and arpeggios), intermediate to advanced music reading skills, intermediate to advanced ensemble playing techniques, proper use of vibrato, and proper music practice etiquette. Students also explore music theory and improvisation by arranging and composing their own music using traditional and electronic mediums. Students master content knowledge by performing alone and in small ensembles during class, by completing assigned assessment activities, and by performing publicly in our Instrumental Music concerts in both the winter and spring.
Students will either continue formal study of a bowed string instrument (violin, viola, cello, string bass), wind instrument (woodwind or brass), or percussion (concert snare, mallet percussion). Students will begin or continue their study of proper tone production and articulation, extended range (shifting or upper octave work), technical vocabulary (major and minor scales and arpeggios, PAS rudiments), beginning to advanced music reading skills, beginning to advanced ensemble playing techniques, proper use of vibrato, and proper music practice etiquette. Students will also explore music theory and improvisation by arranging and composing their own music using traditional and electronic mediums. Students will master content knowledge by performing alone and in small ensembles during class, by completing assigned assessment activities, and by performing publicly in our Instrumental Music concerts in both the winter and spring. In addition, Honors Chamber Orchestra students will complete two (2) honors projects per school year consisting of their choice of a solo or small ensemble performance (either live or recorded), a written arrangement for one or more instruments, an original composition for one or more instruments, or any combination of written musical work with performance.
Digital Music Composition is the study of music using technology as a tool to capture, manipulate, edit, record and reproduce music. Students taking this course do not have to be able to read music notation or have any extensive performing background, but need to be willing to learn to use computer software and be willing to learn how to compose their own original musical sounds and work with partners. Students learn about rhythm, pitch, melody, harmony, form, and expression by completing solo and team projects utilizing MixCraft, our school website, and other computer software and web-based tools. Students also learn the basics of music studio production, including recording, editing, mixing, mastering, and distribution.
Honors Digital Music Composition is the study of music using technology as a tool to capture, manipulate, edit, record and reproduce music. Honors students are required to complete a year of Digital Music Composition before being accepted into the honors curriculum. Honors students typically bring their own devices with their preferred digital audio workstation software and create their own course of study, specializing in an area of electronic music that they are interested in pursuing. Honors students are required to produce a body of work each marking period culminating in a portfolio, EP, or other collection of audio/visual works.
This course is designed for students who plan on entering the collegiate level as music majors. Students in this course must have either studied music theory or have demonstrated an adept ability to read and write musical notation. Dictation, solfege syllables in major and minor keys and composition are incorporated into the curriculum. In addition, students learn how to use a tuning fork and present to the class on a given problematic issue in the study of music theory. The student must have, at minimum, basic keyboard skills in order to be successful at this level. The AP Exam is not mandatory but strongly encouraged to earn college credit.
Students in Digital Studio Voice classes engage in an individualized course of study in vocal music performance, all done online from any location in the Commonwealth. The course covers vocal music of all styles including classical, Broadway, jazz, and pop. Students are required to practice on their own regularly as they learn effective practice techniques. Students utilize currently available technology to record performances for assessment by the music faculty. The course is designed to allow students to work on their own through the available course material, which includes exercises, performing repertoire, music theory, ear training, and music composition. Students are required to meet in an online class chat with the instructors a minimum of four times per marking period. They also have the option of participating in on-site residency programs, including participation in our Winter and Spring Vocal Music concerts.
Students in Digital Studio Instrumental and Piano Music classes engage in an individualized course of study in instrumental music performance, all done online from any location in the Commonwealth. Students are required to practice on their own regularly as they learn effective practice techniques. Students utilize currently available technology to record performances for assessment by the music faculty. The course is designed to allow students to work on their own through the available course material, which includes exercises, performing repertoire, music theory, ear training, and music composition. Students are required to meet in an online class chat with the instructors a minimum of four times per marking period. They also have the option of participating in on-site residency programs, including participation in Winter and Spring Instrumental Music concerts.

The Dance program at the Center for Performing and Fine Arts combines rigorous dance training with a sound approach to dance education that not only focuses on “how” to dance, but also the role dance plays in our lives. Experienced and novice dancers are provided with the opportunity to study many dance forms including, but not limited to: ballet, tap, jazz, modern, and musical theatre. A sound relationship between kinesiology, dance history, technical training and the creative and aesthetic activities inherent in dance training are present in each course. Courses are offered with a keen awareness of developmentally appropriate material in relation to the physiological and social/emotional development of the students.

The objective of the Dance program is to educate students with a strong foundation in dance and artistry that will allow students to move with confidence and creativity in their chosen fields and everyday lives. The Dance department values:

  • Dance as a source of artistry, education, and expression
  • Consistent and sequential instruction that is paramount to successful technique
  • The creative process inherent in dance that is present in other disciplines
  • Connections between dance and other subjects help students develop the ability to navigate change in their lives and society
  • Professionalism, work ethic, creative expression and problem-solving

Dance Course Offerings

Middle School
All Ballet Technique classes focus on safe and healthy practices such as finding proper turn-out, evaluating natural alignment, and understanding correct vocabulary and progression. An emphasis on anatomical terminology, as well as principles of kinesiology specific to dance, is integral to successful training. Ballet at the Center for Performing and Fine Arts largely follows the terminology and structure of the Russian Vaganova Syllabus, although similarities and differences to French and Italian schools are presented. In addition to technique, students will study ballet history, noteworthy choreographers and dancers, classical ballets and current ballet trends through class lessons and assignments.

Ballet Technique
Ballet Technique is designed for students who are new to ballet at the Center for Performing and Fine Arts. This course introduces students to the elementary positions of classical ballet through barre and center exercises.

Intermediate Ballet Technique
Intermediate Ballet Technique is a continuing course for students to develop their technique through longer, more complex barre and center exercises. Students will focus on musicality, body positions, advanced vocabulary and kinesiology.

Advanced Ballet Technique
Advanced Ballet Technique is a course designed for students who have a proficient understanding of ballet technique. Students are expected to execute all parts of a ballet class at an advanced level including adagio, pirouettes, petite allegro and grande allegro combinations. Students should be able to reverse combinations with ease, perform multiple pirouettes and beat petite allegro combinations. In Advanced Ballet Technique, students will be expected to use correct ballet terminology and body positions.

Classes are taught with careful attention to developing physical skills, speed and clarity of sounds, strength and coordination, patterns of movement, and learning and understanding music terms in relation to tap dance. Students will put fundamentals to work by learning intricate rhythms, syncopation and combinations specific to the different styles of tap. Historical information about tap and its influential performers are included in all Tap classes.

Tap Technique
Tap Technique introduces students to Tap Dance at the Center for Performing and Fine Arts. Students will learn the eight basic movements from which all tap steps are derived. Through teacher prepared combinations and creative exercises, students will learn tap terminology and develop rhythm and coordination through basic tap exercises and choreography.

Intermediate Tap Technique and Structures
Intermediate Tap Technique and Structures builds upon the eight basic tap movements. Through teacher prepared combinations and creative exercises, students learn advanced rhythmic patterns and terminology, foot articulation, and correct posture needed to be successful in tap class.

Advanced Tap Technique and Structures
Advanced Tap Technique and Structures is a course designed for students who have a proficient understanding of tap technique and terminology. This course introduces music theory for tap dancers, advanced rhythms, and challenging choreography that builds off of the eight basic tap steps. In this course, students will explore a variety of Tap styles such as Broadway and Rhythm Tap as well develop skills needed for improvisation. Through teacher prepared combinations, students will learn proper use of the foot and posture needed to be successful in tap class.

Intermediate Dance Technique and Artistry
Students in Intermediate Dance Technique and Artistry embark upon an exciting study of moving as a community, moving as an individual, moving for creative self-expression and exploring locomotor, non-locomotor movements and the elements of dance. The goal of this course is to provide students with the knowledge, strength, flexibility and dance experience to move forward with confidence in any dance class and to experience the sheer joy of movement.

Advanced Dance Technique and Artistry
Advanced Dance, Technique and Artistry explores two of the main components of dancing, the how and the why. The technique part of class prepares young bodies for safe and correct dance practices in any dance form while the artistry part of class provides students with opportunities to explore their own artistry, through creative exercises, improvisation and collaborative work. The course begins with creative community work and develops into a modern dance technique class where students will study influential modern dance artists and elements of modern dance.

Jazz Dance is a course that provides students with the opportunity to develop and strengthen dance technique while enjoying the energy, excitement and structure of a jazz class. Jazz Dance explores a variety of different styles, from the historical origins of jazz and its influences to currently emerging dance trends. Connections are made between the improvisational aspect of jazz music and jazz dancing. Students work on strength training, alignment, flexibility, rhythm integration, classic and modern jazz styles and performance technique. Jazz Dance students have the opportunity to create movement and hone their skills as creative artists and performers.
All middle school students are required to take a year-long survey course called Integrated Arts. The goal of the Integrated Arts curriculum is to highlight the truly collaborative and relational nature of art, and the influence of different cultures and historical periods. Each year we focus on a specific geographical region, cultural heritage, historical period, or significant art movement. In small groups, students cycle through a rotation of Art, Dance, Music, and Theatre. Within each rotation (discipline), students will experience approximately eight different hour-long lessons. Visiting artists, field trips, and guest lectures supplement the curriculum. The second half of the year is devoted to preparation for a culminating, interactive performance that incorporates each of the four disciplines. In the past we have studied African culture, the arts of Asia, South American culture, the Ballet Russes, the School of Paris and the Avant-Garde movement, the Italian Renaissance, the American 1920s and 1930s, Native American culture, German Romanticism, the British Isles, trailblazing women in the arts and Pennsylvania Artists. We have also showcased culminating presentations such as the party scene from Romeo and Juliet, an American revue featuring artists of the 20th Century, an original Native American ceremony featuring retelling of some of the great tribal myths, the iconic Existentialist play, Waiting for Godot, and a lively museum tour through Great Britain, signature female performances, living art and street performances.
Digital Studio Dance Appreciation is an online course designed for students who desire to learn about dance as an art form and mode of expression. Students read, write, observe, create and analyze movement in this course. Topics covered are: The Elements of Dance, The History of Dance, Ballet, Modern, Jazz and Tap Vocabulary and Current Trends in the Dance World. Students are invited to attend the Center for Performing and Fine Arts Dance Department Field Trips and Performances. Assessment is based on written assignments, quizzes, chat participation, and critical and aesthetic analysis of dance performances.
High School
This course is designed for students who are new to dance. The goal of the course is to introduce students to the foundations of basic dance movements. Students will be introduced to basic body mechanics, alignment, rhythm and locomotor skills. Students will participate in a daily dance warm-up, learn basic dance steps as well as traveling combinations and choreography in the dance styles of Ballet, Jazz, Modern and Tap. These dance styles will be taught within a framework of skills and composition building, as well as learning about historical beginnings of each genre and current trends. This course will focus on giving students a solid foundation in dance, baseline dance content, knowledge and skills that prepare for further study in dance at CPFA.
The foundation of modern dance lies within the inspiration and the theory supporting the movement. Movement theories such as fall and recovery, contract and release, gravity as force, as developed by modern dance pioneers such as Doris Humphrey, Martha Graham, and Jose Limon, are explored through a modern dance technique class. Modern dance technique is presented with an awareness of historical and societal significance, influences of the founders of modern dance, as well as teacher and student ways of moving. Students become well-versed in modern dance terminology through physical experience, intellectual discussions, creative work, and written documentation. Movement analysis terminology developed by Rudolf Laban prepares students for viewing, creating, and discussing dance.
Honors Advanced Modern Dance is a course designed for students who have a proficient understanding of Modern dance terminology and technique. Honors Advanced students are expected to understand and be able to execute movement theories such as fall and recovery, contract and release, breath, parallel head-tail connection, and expression, developed by modern dance pioneers. Students will be challenged to perform the movement theories in longer more complex exercises and choreography. Students will research and learn about the history of modern dance, influential choreographers and performers as well as current modern dance trends. Specific styles or technique of modern dance may vary each year depending on the instructor; however students are expected to have an understanding of the different modern dance techniques. Students will learn skills needed for improvisation as well as create movement to hone their skills as creative artists and performers.
Intermediate Ballet Technique is a continuing course for students who have prior knowledge and experience in Ballet Technique. Ballet at the Center for Performing and Fine Arts focuses on safe and healthy practices such as finding proper turn-out, evaluating natural alignment, and understanding correct vocabulary and progression. Ballet terminology and structure primarily follows the Russian Vaganova Syllabus, although similarities and differences to French and Italian schools are presented. In Intermediate Ballet Technique and History, students will develop their technique through longer, more complex barre and center exercises. Students will focus on musicality, body positions, advanced vocabulary and kinesiology. In addition to technique, students will study ballet history, noteworthy choreographers and dancers, classical ballets and current ballet trends through class lessons and assignments.
Honors Advanced Ballet Technique and History is a course designed for students who have a proficient understanding of ballet technique. Students are expected to execute all parts of a ballet class at an advanced level including adagio, pirouettes, petite allegro and grande allegro combinations. Students should be able to reverse combinations with ease, perform multiple pirouettes and beat petite allegro combinations. In the Advanced Ballet Technique and History class, students should understand and use correct ballet terminology and body positions. Ballet at the Center for Performing and Fine Arts largely follows the terminology and structure of the Russian Vaganova Syllabus, although similarities and differences to French and Italian schools are presented. Ballet technique focuses on safe and healthy practices such as finding proper turn-out, evaluating natural alignment, and understanding correct vocabulary and progression. An emphasis on anatomical terminology, as well as principles of kinesiology specific to dance, is integral to successful training. In addition to technique, students will study ballet history, noteworthy choreographers and dancers, classical ballets and current ballet trends through class lessons and assignments.
Intermediate Tap is a course designed for students who have prior knowledge and experience in Tap Technique. The course builds upon the eight basic tap movements from which all tap steps are derived. Through teacher prepared combinations and creative exercises, students will learn advanced rhythmic patterns and terminology, foot articulation, and correct posture needed to be successful in tap class. Students will explore a variety of Tap styles such as Broadway and Rhythm Tap as well as develop skills needed for improvisation. In addition to technique, students will study historical information about tap dance, influential performers and be introduced to music theory for tap dance.
Honors Advanced Tap is a course designed for students who have mastered basic tap sounds. The students’ focus is on perfecting technique and speed to create more complicated rhythms and combinations. Students are expected to put fundamentals to work by learning intricate rhythms and more advanced tap combinations specific to the different styles of tap. Through teacher prepared combinations, students will continue to develop skills needed for speed, clarity of sounds, improvisation and the use of counterpoint. Students will research and learn about the history of tap and its influential performers as well as current tap trends. Classes are taught with careful attention to developing physical skills, strength and coordination, patterns of movement and learning and understanding music terms in relation to tap dance. Honors Advanced students are expected to create movement and hone their skills as creative artists and performers.
Intermediate Technique and Jazz is a course designed for students who have prior knowledge and experience in dance. The course provides students with the opportunity to develop and strengthen their technique while enjoying the energy, excitement and structure of a Jazz dance class. Students will explore a variety of jazz dance styles with a focus on historical origins of jazz as well as influences of currently emerging dance styles. Connections are made between the improvisational aspect of jazz music and jazz dancing. Through teacher prepared exercises and choreography, students will develop strength, coordination, flexibility and proper alignment needed to be successful to perform jazz technique. Students are presented with many opportunities to create movement and hone their skills as creative artists.
Honors Advanced Jazz Technique is a course designed for students who have a proficient understanding of jazz dance terminology and technique. This course provides students with the opportunity to develop and strengthen dance technique, movement accents and performance qualities while enjoying the energy, excitement and structure of a jazz class. Students work on strength training, alignment, flexibility, rhythm integration, classic and modern jazz styles and choreography. Honors Advanced students should be able to reverse combinations with ease, perform multiple pirouettes, execute power in jumps, and perform quick, complex choreography. Students will research and learn about the history of jazz dance and its influential performers as well as emerging dance styles. Students are expected to learn and understand different jazz styles and improvisation as well as create movement to hone their skills as creative artists and performers.
Digital Studio Dance Appreciation is an online course designed for students who desire to learn about dance as an art form and mode of expression. Students read, write, observe, create and analyze movement in this course. Topics covered are: The Elements of Dance, The History of Dance, Ballet, Modern, Jazz and Tap Vocabulary and Current Trends in the Dance World. Students are invited to attend the Center for Performing and Fine Arts Dance Department Field Trips and Performances. Assessment is based on written assignments, quizzes, chat participation, and critical and aesthetic analysis of dance performances.

The unique and multi-layered Theatre curriculum has been designed to offer a graduated, comprehensive training program for actors, writers, theatre technicians, producers, and directors.

We begin with rigorous training in the technical aspects of acting – stage movement, voice and physicality, character study and motivation, emotional range, and the tools of effective communication. Self-expression is a keystone of human existence, and theatrical training enables individuals to communicate effectively in any setting – from a stage to a boardroom. As students hone their technical skills, our pre-professional training allows them to build and expand their individual repertoires, to develop pieces that are fascinatingly complex yet show a broad range of ability, and to explore relational acting as well as the tools of improvisation and experimental theatre.

Students will work on serious audition preparation, including assembling a portfolio body of work and acting resumes. We work very diligently to help place students in highly reputable acting conservatories, university programs, and colleges.

Students study different styles and methods of acting that have been developed from the earliest Greek plays through the major acting schools of the latter 20th century and beyond. Students also explore contemporary trends as they consider the future of theatre as an art form.

The theatre department produces five main stage shows a year – two in middle school, and three in high school. Special acting and musical theatre performances throughout the year round out the program. The final production each year is an original murder mystery comedy, written specifically for theatre students to incorporate the quirks and accomplishments of their engaging personalities. Each murder mystery comedy is set in a different decade or era of history.

Theatre Course Offerings

Middle School
This course teaches the fundamentals of play analysis, self-expression, stage movement, physical freedom, voice and speech. Relaxation, focus, and imagination exercises are an integral part of developing the skill of the actor. The course explores structured dramatic activities, as they hone improvisational and character development skills. Students are introduced to contemporary as well as classical dramatic pieces. As actors advance, they work on developing the actor’s primary instrument – his or her body, voice and emotional range. Students in the course work with specific theatrical pieces (monologues, one-act plays, contemporary scenes, structured improvisation, selections from published plays, and original pieces) to develop acting skills and an intimate knowledge of the world of theatre.
This course is a study of American Musical Theatre, spanning from classical through contemporary pieces. Students are exposed to a variety of musical theatre styles as well as prominent composers, lyricists, performers and choreographers that have shaped this theatrical milieu. Students study musical theatre decade by decade, participating in various exercises and activities which coordinate with unit of study. Students perform individually, with partners and in an ensemble setting to expand their grasp on character creation, stage presence and song interpretation. Students also learn the components of undertaking a musical production. Students learn the skills needed to present themselves in an audition situation as they experience the rehearsal process to the fullest.
All middle school students are required to take a year-long survey course called Integrated Arts. The goal of the Integrated Arts curriculum is to highlight the truly collaborative and relational nature of art, and the influence of different cultures and historical periods. Each year we focus on a specific geographical region, cultural heritage, historical period, or significant art movement. In small groups, students cycle through a rotation of Art, Dance, Music, and Theatre. Within each rotation (discipline), students will experience approximately eight different hour-long lessons. Visiting artists, field trips, and guest lectures supplement the curriculum. The second half of the year is devoted to preparation for a culminating, interactive performance that incorporates each of the four disciplines. In the past we have studied African culture, the arts of Asia, South American culture, the Ballet Russes, the School of Paris and the Avant-Garde movement, the Italian Renaissance, the American 1920s and 1930s, Native American culture, German Romanticism, the British Isles, trailblazing women in the arts and Pennsylvania Artists. We have also showcased culminating presentations such as the party scene from Romeo and Juliet, an American revue featuring artists of the 20th Century, an original Native American ceremony featuring retelling of some of the great tribal myths, the iconic Existentialist play, Waiting for Godot, and a lively museum tour through Great Britain, signature female performances, living art and street performances.
High School
Actors’ Workshop is a class for intermediate to advanced actors that continues the exploration of play, process, preparation, and performance. Using the techniques of Michael Chekhov, Sanford Meisner, Anne Bogart, and many other pioneering practitioners and artists, students will develop the psycho-physical tools to bring their best selves to the work of a theatre artist. Students in this class will engage in various physical exercises conceived to awaken the body to the sensations of a character existing in an imaginary world. Students will refine their powers of concentration with diligent and specific rehearsal and research of a character’s world. Students will condition their imaginations by making choices that create and sustain their inherent artistry. Having taken this class, students will understand that the work of an artist is devoted, disciplined, sustained, and most of all, joyous.
This course enhances the student’s study of acting through in-depth acting exercises, play analysis, and scenework. Students are assigned specific acting exercises primarily from acclaimed theatre artists Uta Hagen and Mel Shapiro. Students work on scenes and monologues from classical and contemporary works throughout the year. These scenes are analyzed, improvised, rehearsed, and performed in class under the tutelage of the instructor. The primary goal of the course is to give students a reliable imagination-based acting technique that they can use in rehearsal and performance. This technique enables them to analyze the world of the story, use their imaginations to connect to the given circumstances, and play honestly with their scene partners. Focus is also placed on characterization, vocal dexterity, and physical freedom. Students whose work is deemed satisfactory by the instructor will perform in the fall and spring acting showcases. This is course is for the serious acting student who is committed to improving their craft.
This course enhances the student’s study of acting through in-depth scenework. Students will be assigned a multitude of scenes and monologues from classical and contemporary works throughout the year. These scenes will be analyzed, improvised, rehearsed, and performed in class under the tutelage of the instructor. The primary goal of the course is to give students a reliable imagination-based acting technique that they can use in rehearsal and performance. This technique will enable them to analyze the world of the story, use their imaginations to connect to the given circumstances, and play honestly with their scene partners. Focus will also be placed on characterization, vocal dexterity, and physical freedom. Students whose work is deemed satisfactory by the instructor will perform in the fall and spring acting showcases. This is an advanced course for the serious acting student who is committed to improving their craft.
This course is intended for the advanced acting student that wishes to incorporate supplemental readings, writing assignments, and research presentations with the core Acting Intensive course load. Honors students are assigned a multitude of challenging scenes and monologues from classical and contemporary works throughout the year. These scenes will be analyzed, improvised, rehearsed, and performed in class under the tutelage of the instructor.

In this course, students will:

  • Practice reliable imagination-based acting technique that can be used in rehearsal and performance.
  • Delve deeply into relevant acting methodologies and texts.
  • Improve research and text-analysis abilities.
  • Be exposed to a wider array of historically important plays and productions.

Students whose scene work is deemed satisfactory by the instructor will perform in the fall and spring acting showcases. An interview with the teacher is needed for consideration of admittance into this course. Admission is at the discretion of the teacher.

This course introduces and explores the fundamental principles of acting for the camera. The emphasis of this course is on acting technique while developing a comprehensive understanding of the film-making process.

Major topics addressed in this course:

  • On-camera scene-study
  • On-camera acting techniques
  • Audition techniques for film and television
  • Business administration concepts for the actor
  • Vocabulary and jobs associated with on-camera work

The course culminates in a collaborative project with the film production class allowing acting students to have their work filmed and showcased on a big screen at the end of the year. Students are able to use these scenes for their acting reels. This is an advanced course for the serious acting student who is committed to expanding their skill set and improving their craft.

This course is intended for the advanced acting student that wishes to incorporate supplemental film study, reading assignments, and research presentations to the Acting for the Camera core coursework. The course introduces and explores the fundamental principles of acting for the camera. The emphasis of this course is on acting technique while developing a comprehensive understanding of the filmmaking process.

Major topics addressed in this course:

  • Film history through supplemental readings, film screenings, and research presentations
  • On-camera scene-study
  • On-camera acting techniques
  • Audition techniques for film and television
  • Business administration concepts for the actor
  • The vocabulary and jobs associated with on-camera work

The course culminates in a collaborative project with the film production class allowing acting students to have their work filmed and showcased on a big screen at the end of the year. Students will be able to use these scenes for their acting reels. This is an advanced course for the serious acting student who is committed to expanding their skill set and improving their craft. An interview with the teacher is needed for consideration for admittance into this course. Admission is at the discretion of the teacher.

This course is a comprehensive study of American musical theatre through the lens of renowned composers and lyricists Students are exposed to a variety of musical theatre styles through composers, lyricists, performers and choreographers that have shaped this popular genre. For the first half of the year, students focus on musical theatre from an historical viewpoint while performing individually, with partners and in an ensemble setting to expand their grasp on character creation, stage presence and song interpretation. The second half of the year culminates in a cabaret-style performance where students showcase their development as singing actors.
Honors Musical Theatre is a class for musical theatre students who have demonstrated high levels of aptitude and hard work in the art form. This class will focus on the wide-ranging canon of musical theatre, from its beginnings in British Operetta, to its most recent developments. Students will spend significant time in open feedback sessions, where each student will be able to apply feedback given to other students to their own work. Each student will be asked to sing a total of six songs throughout the course of the school year, differing in styles, historical context, and characteristics. The class will culminate in an end of year, college style, “Jury” performance, where each student will be adjudicated by several professionals in the field in preparation for a future career in musical theatre performance.
This course examines the video/filmmaking process using single camera theory, lighting, audio, and editing techniques. Students explore the principles, theory, and mechanics of digital film and video editing using Apple computers. The emphasis is on digital editing techniques, cinematography, shot composition, audio recording, and titling. The class is designed for those interested in entering the field of film and television production by expanding their knowledge base of the industry, and giving motivated students the opportunity to develop their skills.
This course introduces students to principles and vocabulary of acting and theatre appreciation. In the first half of the year, theatre appreciation focuses on theatre as an art form. This is a concise introduction to theatre literacy, the arts within the art, and styles, genres, and “ism’s”. In the second half of the year the course focuses on acting. Students build skills in text-analysis, belief building, and play. Students work on numerous acting exercises, monologues, and mock auditions.

The Fine Arts curriculum is designed to provide students with a strong foundation in traditional skill-building and technique, as well as the means by which to think visually and respond to art. Students are introduced to a wide variety of media, styles and techniques, as well as the key principles of design and composition. Advanced level students build upon this foundation and are encouraged to develop their personal expression through conceptual exploration and experimentation.

Fine Arts classes offer an exciting immersion into the world of art. Class sizes remain small in order to facilitate individual attention. Instructors spend the majority of their studio time moving from student to student, offering advice, posing questions, demonstrating techniques and showcasing relevant artists for inspiration. Demonstrations, critiques, discussions, gallery and museum visits, slide lectures and guest critics all contribute to the development of the student as an artist. Students acquire a comprehensive understanding of both the elements that compose artworks and the ideas that make them meaningful. The sketchbook is a key component to each of our courses, where students explore and expand on ideas, reflect on personal experiences and analyze works by inspired artists. These books document the students’ growth, thought processes, and experimentation.

Periodically throughout the year, we mount professionally curated exhibitions of student work.

Fine Arts Course Offerings

Middle School
This course blends the imaginative and technical aspects of art and two-dimensional design. Designed for students who are learning to draw realistically, this course is an exploration of drawing and painting from observation, as well as an exploration of print-making and mixed media. The class focuses on composition, proportion, value, color and form. Styles and techniques of a variety of artists are analyzed to demonstrate how both real life settings and the imagination can be sources for creating expressive works. The principles of art and design are applied to planning and executing works of art. Throughout this course, students have the opportunity to work in a broad variety of media, explore personal ideas, develop technique, and respond to artwork using a critical method of analysis. Each student is required to maintain a sketchbook, recording their ideas, exercises and research.
This course introduces students to working and thinking in 3-D. This hands-on class includes a variety of traditional sculpture materials such as wood, wire, clay and fabric, as well as contemporary media and found objects. Students learn different sculptural techniques including; carving, papier-mâché, sewing, wire and assemblage. Students are encouraged to use their problem-solving skills to produce thoughtful, original and imaginative work. The class looks at a number of sculptors, both historical and contemporary. Students begin to build their art vocabulary, develop the ability to think critically, and speak about art in an informative manner during group critiques. Each student is required to maintain a sketchbook, recording their ideas, exercises and research for each assignment.
This course introduces students to working with clay, understanding its different characteristics and many possibilities. This hands-on class covers multiple hand-building techniques including; coiling, slab building and modeling. Students use these techniques to create original sculptural forms using both observation and imagination. Clay provides the vehicle for endless exploration. The class looks at a number of ceramic artists, both historical and contemporary. Students begin to develop the vocabulary of art and clay. In class critiques promote thinking critically and speaking about art in an informative manner. Each student is required to maintain a sketchbook, recording their ideas, exercises and research for each assignment.
All middle school students are required to take a year-long survey course called Integrated Arts. The goal of the Integrated Arts curriculum is to highlight the truly collaborative and relational nature of art, and the influence of different cultures and historical periods. Each year we focus on a specific geographical region, cultural heritage, historical period, or significant art movement. In small groups, students cycle through a rotation of Art, Dance, Music, and Theatre. Within each rotation (discipline), students will experience approximately eight different hour-long lessons. Visiting artists, field trips, and guest lectures supplement the curriculum. The second half of the year is devoted to preparation for a culminating, interactive performance that incorporates each of the four disciplines. In the past we have studied African culture, the arts of Asia, South American culture, the Ballet Russes, the School of Paris and the Avant-Garde movement, the Italian Renaissance, the American 1920s and 1930s, Native American culture, German Romanticism, the British Isles, trailblazing women in the arts and Pennsylvania Artists. We have also showcased culminating presentations such as the party scene from Romeo and Juliet, an American revue featuring artists of the 20th Century, an original Native American ceremony featuring retelling of some of the great tribal myths, the iconic Existentialist play, Waiting for Godot, and a lively museum tour through Great Britain, signature female performances, living art and street performances.
This course is designed for remote access students who want to develop their drawing skills while at home, within a defined structure that involves teacher critique and feedback. The course stresses the technical aspects of drawing from observation, studying a variety of subjects and exploring a variety of media. Students are encouraged to set up an “in home studio”, which should consist of a desk or drawing table dedicated to immersing themselves into the use of 2-D art materials for the school year. A sketchbook, drawing pencils, paint and paper will be provided by PALCS/CPFA via a mailed package. The class focuses on composition, proportion, value, color and creative mark-making. The styles and techniques of a variety of artists are analyzed to demonstrate how both real life settings and the imagination can be sources for creating expressive works. The principles of art and design are reviewed and applied in planning and resolving work on a continual basis. Throughout this course, students have the opportunity to work in a broad variety of media, explore personal ideas, develop technique, and respond to artwork using a critical method of analysis. Students use their sketchbooks as a testing ground for drawings, media experiments, thoughts and ideas and written reflections.
High School
This course will be especially interesting to students who already enjoy working two dimensionally, or students who are new to drawing and want to learn essential skills. The students will explore the elements and principles of design and composition through hands-on exercises in drawing, painting collage and printmaking media, as well as illustration. Both traditional and non-traditional approaches to visual art are considered, including still life, portraiture, landscape and abstraction. Instruction in drawing from life is emphasized to help students capture proportion value and form. Students are introduced to a number of influential artists and periods of art history, as well as a variety of art materials and techniques throughout the course of the year. Illustration explores the elements of visual narrative, including composition, continuity, mood and characterization through traditional and experimental subjects and techniques. Students create original works of art with an emphasis on visual storytelling and design. A basic understanding of perspective as a means of organizing space and defining a point of view is encouraged. A variety of media are introduced to help students discover a natural and personal direction in their work. Beginning with exercises in the fundamentals of drawing, accurate proportion and contour line students use these skills in expressing personal ideas, characters and stories. Anatomy and studies of the skull as well as self-portraiture are included. Students also explore a water color, pen and ink and mixed media.
Prerequisite: 90% or higher in Drawing, Painting and Illustration

This honors course continues to explore the elements and principles of design and composition, through hands on exercises in drawing, paintings, printmaking and mixed media. Both traditional and nontraditional approaches to visual art are considered, including non figurative art in pure color and form. Instruction in drawing from life will also be emphasized to help students to capture proportion, value, and form. These developing skills will be used to create both real and imaginary drawings and paintings, which depict students own style and personal direction. Honors students will be encouraged to incorporate their own style and concepts into the existing assignments so as to grow as an independent thinker. Honors students will also be challenged to imbue their work with higher technical skill and advancing mastery of materials. Students will be introduced to a number of artists throughout art history as well as a variety of art materials and techniques throughout the course of the year. Honors students will implement a higher level of investigation of art history via two written reports on their favorite artists from various assigned art movements.

Note: This is an advanced, invitation-only class for high school juniors and seniors.

This portfolio preparation course is designed for students who are seriously interested in the practical experience of art and wish to develop mastery in the concept, composition, and execution of their ideas. Students in this class focus on creating artwork for a portfolio that reflects the skill-level and quality that art schools are looking for in their prospective students. In building the portfolio, students explore a variety of concepts, techniques, and approaches designed to help them demonstrate their abilities as well as their versatility with techniques, problem-solving, and ideation. Students also develop a body of work that investigates an idea of personal interest to them. Students are expected to consider a variety of traditional and unconventional subjects, ranging from landscape and the body to text and self-generated topics. Students will work in regards to the National Advanced Placement standards. Understanding these guidelines will prepare students for the option to take the AP Test. Toward the end of the year, students have the opportunity to organize an exhibition of their work in a special PALCS/CPFA or public gallery, showcasing a unified theme within a personally driven body of work.

This course is taught as a survey of sculptural techniques and media. It is designed to expand the student’s understanding of three-dimensional art forms. Students experience traditional methods such as carving, relief and construction. Emphasis is placed on looking at the work in-the-round. Creativity and craftsmanship are both important factors for the completion of successful artwork. Students also work with conceptual ideas and non-traditional materials including found objects and assemblage. They learn to think three-dimensionally and develop a vocabulary for properly discussing art. They are introduced to a long tradition of sculptors from the distant past to the present. They do research to further their understanding of contemporary sculptors and share their knowledge with their classmates during group critiques. Each student is required to maintain a sketchbook, recording their ideas, exercises and research for each assignment.
Prerequisite: 90% or higher in Sculpture

In this honors class students will take a more in depth approach to the expansion of their knowledge in the visual arts with the manipulation of different mediums. This course is designed to teach advanced sculpting skills including carving, relief, and construction. Students will use all former learned art knowledge from CPFA Sculpture 1 and apply them to their advanced pieces. Honors students will be given the opportunity to make more executive decisions with their projects in the creative design and development process. Students will have the opportunity to explore the properties of various mediums, learn to think three-dimensionally and develop a vocabulary for properly discussing art. They will be introduced to a long tradition of sculptors from the distant past to the present. They will do research to further their understanding of contemporary sculptors and share their knowledge with their classmates during group critiques. The goal of the sculpture courses is development of personal artistic and creative expression.

In this course, students will:

  • Understand the materials used and their process.
  • Control skills and techniques necessary for working with various mediums.
  • Demonstrate craftsmanship, successful creation and completion of assignments.
  • Learn to organize and schedule your term’s work so that you make the most of time in the studio.
  • Find direction in developing projects by researching art history and artists.
  • Create and use a journal to help maintain ideas for work and aid in the critiquing process.
Prerequisite: Sculpture

Building on the foundation of Sculpture, this class delves more deeply into sculptural techniques and media. The pieces are larger and more involved. The goal is to expand the students’ knowledge of three-dimensional art forms and challenge their creative approaches to it. Students are strongly encouraged to bring their own unique approach to each undertaking. Students engage in multiple traditional sculptural methods such as carving, assemblage and construction. Students are also introduced to Installation Art through group collaborations and individual works. Emphasis is placed on creativity, structure and craftsmanship. The class works both observationally and conceptually. Students learn to think three-dimensionally and to speak critically of artwork. They are introduced to a long tradition of sculptors from the distant past to the present. They reference art historical information and research to further their understanding of contemporary sculptors. They share their knowledge with their classmates during group critiques and presentations. Each student is required to maintain a sketchbook, recording their ideas, exercises and research for each assignment.

This course introduces students to working with clay and understanding its different characteristics and many possibilities. This hands-on class covers multiple hand-building techniques including; coiling, slab building and modeling. Students use these techniques to create original sculptural forms using both observation and imagination. Students are encouraged to use their problem solving skills to produce thoughtful, meaningful and imaginative work. The class looks at a number of ceramic artists both historical and contemporary. Students learn the vocabulary of art and clay. In class critiques and presentations promote thinking critically and speaking about art in an informative manner. Each student is required to maintain a sketchbook, recording their ideas, exercises and research for each assignment.
Prerequisite: 90% or higher in Ceramics

In this honors level class students will take a more in depth approach to the expansion of their knowledge in the visual arts with the manipulation of clay as the medium. This course is designed to teach advanced pottery skills including hand building techniques and the potter’s wheel. Students will use all former learned knowledge from Ceramics 1 and apply that to their advanced pieces of work. Honors students will be given the opportunity to make more executive decisions with their projects in the creative design and development process. Students will have the opportunity to explore the properties of this medium by creating both functional and decorative ware. Each student will experience the basic hand building methods, the basics of the throwing wheel, various surface decoration techniques, glazing techniques, and firing. The goal of the ceramics courses is development of personal artistic and creative expression.

In this course, students will:

  • Understand the materials used and their process.
  • Control skills and techniques necessary for working with clay.
  • Demonstrate craftsmanship, successful creation and completion of assignments.
  • Learn to organize and schedule term work to make the most of time in the studio.
  • Find direction in developing projects by researching art history and artists.
  • Create and use a sketchbook to help maintain ideas for work and aid in the critiquing process.
This is an introductory course in traditional black & white printing and processing film. Emphasis will be placed on the photographic image as a means of expression and the use of the camera to explore the visual world. Students will shoot, process film, and print their photographs in the darkroom. The history of photography will be discussed, including: image research, reading and writing. Students need to supply their own 35mm film manual camera. Digital photography will be also be explored including the use of a DSLR and digital printing. A sketchbook will be a necessary item for the student to purchase and will be an integral part of student learning re: brainstorming, planning, class notes, research and critical reflection. A paper portfolio is recommended. The use of the class PC laptop to upload digital shooting assignments for grading and editing is a significant part of classroom organization and creativity, as well as the learning of Adobe Photoshop editing software, Mac computers and ink-jet printers. A USB stick (aka flash drive) is necessary to bring to class each day. Additional supplies for film and paper require a $40 lab fee.
Prerequisite: 90% or higher in Photography. Prior completion of Drawing and Painting is suggested.

This honors photography class is a continuation of the level 1 CPFA Photography course. Students will work with the traditional “analog” black & white printing and processing of film. Digital photography will continue to be explored including the use of a DSLR and advanced digital printing. Each shooting assignment will be modified to challenge these returning photo students to higher level technical skills and conceptual challenges. Emphasis will continue to be placed on the photographic image as a means of expression and the use of the camera to explore the visual world. Students will shoot, process film, and print their photographs in the darkroom. The history of photography will be discussed, including: image research, reading and writing. Students need to supply their own 35mm film manual camera and DSLR. A sketchbook will be a necessary item for the student to purchase and will be an integral part of student learning. A paper portfolio is recommended. The use of the class PC laptop to upload digital shooting assignments for grading and editing is a critical part of classroom organization and creativity, as well as the learning of Adobe Photoshop editing software, Mac computers and ink-jet printers. Honors students will advance their ability to discuss and write about their own and classmates work with more sophisticated art and technical terminology. A USB stick (aka flash drive) is necessary to bring to class each day. Additional supplies of film and paper require a $40 lab fee.

Prerequisite: Honors Photography

This course is an “Advanced Placement” photography class in alignment with National AP standards. Advanced darkroom techniques will be explored, incorporating different film, papers and chemistry. An equally significant emphasis is placed on digital cameras and working with Adobe Photoshop software. Students also explore and experiment with various “alternative” photographic processes, such as hand-applied photo emulsions and Polaroid films. A key component of the class is working with studio lighting for portraiture and still life images. The sketchbook is an integral part of the class, including: technical handouts and guides, written personal reflection, critical analysis, and photographer/artist reviews and historical research. Assignment themes focus on self-exploration as well as social issues concerning the students. Each school year students attend a field trip to relevant and inspirational art exhibits to museums, such as the MOMA, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the International Center of Photography, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Holocaust Museum, and the Brandywine River Museum of Art. AP students act as photojournalists and are responsible for all photographs of CPFA dance, music, theatre and fine arts events to edit and be published in the annual CPFA yearbook. Students will finish this course with a digital and printed portfolio that will help to ensure their entry and viability into art colleges and the photography job market. A manual film 35mm is required for each student to own and bring to class. Students should have their own DSLR digital cameras as well. Students must bring a USB stick to class each day. Additional supplies for film and paper require a $40 lab fee.

This course is an introduction to graphic design. In this course, we will cover design thinking, typography, color theory/psychology, elements of art and principles of design, silkscreen printing, and creating a digital portfolio. Students will be introduced to the industry standard digital tools used by today’s professional graphic designers in a Mac-based lab – Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Wacom Tablets, and more. Students incorporate other mediums of art such as sketching, drawing, painting and photography to make digital compositions. This course prepares students for the advanced graphic design courses at the high school level or an entry graphic design course at the college level, depending on their growth. Successful completion of this course fulfills the required technology credit for students.
Prerequisite: 90% or higher in Graphic Design or approval from the teacher

This course is an honors level course focused on advanced application and research of graphic design. In this course, we will cover design thinking, typography, color theory/psychology, elements of art and principles of design, silkscreen printing, and creating a digital portfolio. Students will build on their knowledge of the industry standard digital tools used by today’s professional graphic designers in a Mac-based lab – Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Wacom Tablets, and more. Students incorporate other mediums of art such as sketching, drawing, painting and photography to make digital compositions. This course prepares students for AP graphic design or an entry graphic design course at the college level, depending on their growth. Successful completion of this course fulfills the required technology credit for students.

Prerequisite: Honors Graphic Design

This “Advanced Placement” course is a pre-professional immersion into the world of graphic design. Assignments adhere to the National AP lesson standards, which help prepare students to submit work and take the optional AP Test. The lessons build on students’ previous knowledge to push the students into a higher standard of quality and craftsmanship. Students focus on conceptual thinking, creative problem solving, research, experimentation, collaboration, and technical skills, all while working with real clients. Students design and print all of the CPFA theatre production posters, and create posters, logos and designs for local, national and international design competitions. Students are the designers who work in conjunction with the yearbook editors and staff photographers’, creating detailed design spreads for the annual published CPFA yearbook. Students will leave this course with a digital and printed portfolio of diverse artwork showing the many skills that would make them a valuable member of any design team.

This course is designed for remote access students who want to develop their drawing skills while at home, within a defined structure that involves teacher critique and feedback. The course stresses the technical aspects of drawing from observation, studying a variety of subjects and exploring a variety of media. The class focuses on composition, proportion, value, color and creative mark-making. The styles and techniques of a variety of artists are analyzed to demonstrate how both real life settings and the imagination can be sources for creating expressive works. The principles of art and design are reviewed and applied in planning and resolving work on a continual basis. Throughout this course, students have the opportunity to work in a broad variety of media, explore personal ideas, develop technique, and respond to artwork using a critical method of analysis. Students use their sketchbooks as a testing ground for drawings, media experiments, thoughts and ideas and written reflections.
The overall objective of this digital studio course is to gain more familiarity with a digital camera, and to create fine art photographic images. Emphasis is placed on the photographic image as a means of personal expression and the use of the camera to explore the visual world. Students learn about the features of a DSLR (digital single lens reflex camera. This includes an understanding of shutter, aperture and using the DSLR camera in manual mode. If the student does not have a DSLR, a digital point & shoot can be substituted. The course covers important composition and design elements & principles that are applied to all shooting assignments. Assignment themes focus on self-exploration as well as social issues of interest to students. The history of photography is discussed, including image research, reading, and writing. Some students experiment with Adobe Photoshop or similar photo editing software. Students post their own work, view the work of classmates, and do written research and reflection on a photo blog. A USB stick/ flash drive is required as a back-up for storing photo digital files.

Additional Courses

Students enrolled in the Center for Performing and Fine Arts may also take any available course from the PA Leadership Charter School. The complete list of our curriculum can either be viewed on the Academics page of our site, or via complete course catalog .pdf download.
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Graduation Requirements

To graduate from the PA Leadership Charter School, high school students participating in the Center for Performing and Fine Arts must complete standard PALCS graduation requirements. High-achieving students will likely surpass these credit requirements. The PALCS guidance department will work individually with students to ensure a solid academic portfolio, catered to student career goals.

Graduation Requirements

Next Steps

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