The Middle School (grades 6 though 8) includes a mandatory survey course called Integrated Arts. The goal of the Integrated Arts curriculum is to highlight the truly collaborative and relational nature of art in the context of a particular culture. Each student cycles through a rotation of art, music, dance, and theatre for the entire year. Each year we focus on a specific geographic country, heritage, or a particular art movement – we look at their culture, the various art forms, and historical highlights.
In the past we have covered African culture, the arts of Asia and South America, the Ballets Russes, the School of Paris and the Avant-Garde movement, the Italian Renaissance, the American 1920s and 1930s, and Native American culture.
Our middle school Integrated Arts theme for the 2012-2013 school year is the history and culture of Germany. In Dance, students will explore the rich tradition of folk dance as well as the evolution of Modern Dance, much of which originated in German culture. Folk dances are typically energetic and interactive, providing social interaction between participants. Students will study the work of modern dance creators such as Pina Bausch and Mary Wigman., as well as the German influences on the work of American modern dance pioneers Doris Humphrey, Charles Weidman, and Hanya Holm. In Music we will be exploring composition and arranging through some of the great German composers including Beethoven, Handel, Pachelbel, Strauss, Schumann, and more. Students will experience 'mock interviews' with each other through the eyes of a composer/musician who is seeking employment; this concept is derived from Johann Sebastian Bach's personal experience as a composer in early Germany, where composers were not allowed to simply quit a job before obtaining permission from their current employer. In Fine Arts, students will study the works of such German/Swiss masters as Paul Klee. The influential German Expressionist art movement will be explored, as well as the German influence on American Art. In Theatre, students will spend the first part of the year exploring German Romanticism, using Goethe’s Faust, and the focus on a universal oneness, the beauty of the natural world, and a moving artistic experience for actor and audience. Later, students will explore the concept of Epic Theatre through the eyes of pioneer Berthold Brecht. The Integrated Arts rotation will kick off with a presentation by PALCS German teacher Ms. Liz Gilbert, who has recently returned from a language and cultural immersion study in Germany. The year will culminate in an Oktoberfest-style fair and artistic presentation.