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Theatre and Dance Sessions

The two theatre and dance areas of the Tennessee Arts Academy combine practical and creative elements to expand the teacher's ability to interpret curriculum in exciting new ways. Instructors from around the country use their expertise to help TAA participants enhance their skills and renew their enthusiasm for teaching. In addition to the theatre and dance sessions, all participants attend performances, musings, interludes, and special events, with plenty of time built in for networking and reflection.

Tennessee Arts Academy 2024 Theatre Core Classes
Elementary/Lower Middle Theatre
Focus Area: Arts Integration, Creative Drama and Movement
Arts Integration, Creative Drama, and Movement is the focus area for the K – 6 elementary/lower middle theatre sessions. Each day participants will take classes in three areas of study that are especially designed for classroom generalist teachers, librarians, special education, physical education and gifted teachers. Arts Integration will help facilitate the learning process in traditional subject areas. Creative drama will focus on improvisational and non-performance aspects of theatre. A final daily class in movement and dance will be offered. All elementary theatre participants will attend all three classes.

Daily Core Classes

Every day, participants will attend each of the classes listed below.
We Can Make a Dance About Anything: Teaching Movement with the DEL Model
Barry Blumenfeld
Participants in this workshop will learn how to create movement lessons based on any topic, using the Dance Education Laboratory (DEL) of the 92Y’s model for dance education. DEL is a professional development program for all educators and artists interested in developing their dance education curricula. No prior dance training is necessary to take this class.
Experts at Play: Tactics for Immersive Storytelling in the Classroom
Olivia Aston Bosworth
Children are the experts of curiosity and discovery. And yet adults all too quickly jump to directing their play. How can educators encourage their students to build new imaginary worlds without getting in the way? Discover Alliance Theatre's Bernhardt Theatre for the Very Young (TVY) and explore how teachers can apply engagement tactics from the theatre in their elementary classroom. Participants will learn about TVY, its development, immersive form, and adaptations for older grades. Applying the key interactive methods from their productions, educators will outline immediate actions to take in the classroom for inquisitive and imaginative creative drama.
Learning and Literacy Through Arts Integration
Lynn Hoare
Using arts in the classroom improves academic outcomes, increases student engagement, and encourages a sense of belonging. But how does one classroom teacher do it all? This workshop will explore a variety of arts-based strategies that can help to make the classroom a rich site of arts-integrated learning. Participants will experience active and embodied arts-based tools that motivate and engage learners while improving reading, writing, and comprehension across the curriculum.
Upper Middle/Secondary Theatre
The upper middle/secondary theatre sessions (7 – 12) include unique sessions each year in at least three of the following areas: acting, directing, improvisation, criticism, movement, playwriting and technical theatre. Instructors from around the country provide stimulating class sessions that reflect a mix of stage and performance techniques coupled with current trends and the latest research in arts education.

Daily Core Classes

Every day, participants will attend each of the classes listed below.
Directing for the Stage: Finding a Clear and Motivating Idea
Jonathan Bernstein

How does a director encourage everyone to do their most inspired work? And how does the director get an audience to lean in? This session will provide a hands-on approach to conjuring and communicating a dynamic vision that will invigorate both collaborators and theatre-goers. That vision should harness the most fearless, no-holds-barred, creative approach from each of your collaborators.

Shakespeare's Stagecraft: Crafting Compelling Scenes and Monologues
Tia James

This immersive workshop is designed to empower actors, teachers, lovers, and even haters of the Bard to explore and master the art of Shakespeare's scenes and monologues. In this course, participants will embark on a transformative journey, delving into Shakespeare’s rich characters, intricate dialogue, and powerful and fun soliloquies. Through the magic of ensemble, play, games, breath, voice, and text work, students will have the opportunity to hone their Shakespearean skills in a supportive and collaborative environment. The class will focus on As You Like It as its primary text.

Physical, Faster, Funnier
Ryan Kasprzak

Explore elements of physical comedy, clowning, and theatre dance in an environment where imagination and play support the practice of energized storytelling. Participants will work through topics such as human cartooning, partnering, and choreographic painting.

Please check back regularly for updates and information about the 2025 Tennessee Arts Academy.