Deerfield’s comprehensive dance program provides training in modern, jazz, ballet, pointe, hip-hop, and contemporary dance techniques as well as instruction in the craft of choreography and improvisation. Classes are tailored to meet the needs of all experience levels from complete beginners to pre-professional dancers. There are opportunities to perform in and choreograph for dance concerts that are presented each of our three trimesters.
Dance is offered as both an academic and co-curricular option at Deerfield. All students may study dance during the academic day either as a credit or pass/fail option on a term-by-term basis in order to accommodate the requirements of their academic schedules. Introduction to Dance is offered fall term, and participants may continue into Dance I in the winter and spring terms. The intermediate and advanced dance ensembles are both full year commitments with many exciting opportunities to work with professional choreographers and to participate in a variety of technique classes. Students in the academic ensembles also create dances collaboratively for a Student Choreography Showcase in the winter term. The co-curricular dance program is offered all three terms, and students may participate on a term-by-term basis or all year.
Opportunities within Deerfield’s dance program are supplemented by an extensive series of performances and master classes by such outstanding dance companies as Alvin Ailey, Momix, Ballet Chicago and David Parsons. Additionally, each year the works of distinguished guest choreographers are commissioned for dancers in the program. There is also a ballet coaching program that provides private and semi-private instruction for dancers of all experience levels.
Deerfield Academy supports a vibrant music program consisting of a variety of instrumental and vocal ensembles. In a typical year more than two hundred students are involved in music. Our three main ensemble classes (Chorus, Winds/Bands/Jazz, and Chamber Music) meet during the class day, allowing students the freedom to pursue other co-curricular interests such as athletics or community service without diminishing their involvement in music. All of these ensembles perform several times a year, and students can enroll in them either as a regular class, or as an additional (sixth) course on a pass-fail basis.
Our Winds/Bands/Jazz class for woodwind, brass, percussion, rock, and jazz players offers a variety of ensemble performance opportunities, including a large concert band, saxophone and clarinet ensembles, jazz combos, percussion groups, and rock bands. In our Chamber Music class, for string players and more accomplished pianists and wind players, students perform masterworks of Classical and Romantic literature such as quartets and quintets by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Dvorak, Borodin, and Ravel. Our Chorus class embraces several vocal ensembles including the Academy Chorus, the select Madrigal Choir, and the 60-voice Deerfield Choral Society. These groups allow singers of all levels to perform in a variety of musical styles and settings, while also cultivating a healthy and expressive vocal technique and developing their music literacy and aural skills.
With an adjunct faculty of over twenty applied music teachers, Deerfield offers private instruction on all ensemble instruments as well as piano, organ, guitar, voice, and bagpipes. Our most dedicated student musicians can apply to participate in our Music Service co-curricular program, which allows them solo and ensemble practice time in the afternoons while providing opportunities to share their talents through performances and presentations at nearby nursing homes, schools, churches, and charity events.
Deerfield is proud of its exciting, active theater program. In a typical year, more than 100 students participate as actors and technicians and more than 4000 patrons attend these presentations in the Academy’s Black Box Theatre. Recent productions include: The Elephant Man, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), Columbinus, Little Mary Sunshine, The Crucible, Arsenic and Old Lace, Amadeus, Scapin, Dancing at Lughnasa, Equus, Steel Magnolias, and The Laramie Project. Since 2002 Deerfield has been selected three times to represent the United States in the American High School Theatre Festival at the world-renowned Edinburgh International Fringe Festival in Scotland. One critic wrote, “I have been coming to the Fringe for 25 years now and have never seen a finer performance from a more talented and energetic group of teens from America. They are hilarious and witty, and I highly recommend you check out this fine performance of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
Our state of the art facilities allow unlimited creative and artistic outlets. We also offer a variety of popular courses: Introduction to Performing Arts, Beginning and Advanced Acting, Directing, and a variety of Tutorials for specialized study such as Gotta Move, Gotta Act. Student written and directed productions are strongly encouraged, and new students are always welcome as performers and technicians. No previous experience is ever required in order to work on any production, other than a desire to work hard and have some fun. Since rehearsals are conducted in the afternoon, students may choose to participate in theater in lieu of community service or athletics.
In addition to our student productions, we have had several guest artists in residence who have attended classes and presented workshops and individual performances. These artists have included the Alvin Ailey Dance Company, the National Theatre of the Deaf, the cast of The Buddy Holly Story, the David Parsons Dance Company and the multi-talented English director/scholar, Jonathan Miller.
There is considerable interest among the Deerfield community for theater and the performing arts. We have a lot of good fun and there is an active place for anyone wishing to participate—no one sits on the bench!