Areas Of Study

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Academic Curriculum

Science ClassThe Arts Academy’s curriculum  enables all students to work toward achieving up to and beyond the State academic standards and the National arts standards upon completion of the programs.

Arts Academy academic courses are geared toward the artistic sensibilities  of aspiring artists. These classes count toward the state’s high school graduation  requirements  in the areas of English, Mathematics,  Science, Physical Education, Health, Social Studies, World Language and the Arts. The curriculum  is academically  rigorous and commitment  to serious study is expected of all students in all courses. It is imperative for an artist to be an educated citizen of the world. Therefore, it is vital that students and parents/guardians understand  that their choice is not arts or academics;  it must be arts and academics.

Students completing the programs at the Arts Academy should leave as a viable candidate for a college program as well as create and replicate, on his/her own, that which he/she has been taught and to prepare and perform any work while understanding the context in which that work occurs as an artist.

Please refer to the Program of Studies below for more detailed information.

program of studies

Arts Curriculum

Arts Academy arts courses expose studentsto the work in a variety of genres, both to refine their abilities and to provide practical experience in a range of possible careers.

Areas of focus include: ​
 Creative Writing / Dance / Instrumental and Vocal Music / Musical Theater / Theater  /
Theater Design & Production / Visual Arts


Creative Writing/Media Arts

CW WorkshoppingThe Creative Writing/Media Arts curriculum is composed of several components, designed to work together in order to provide students with a breadth and depth of artistic and intellectual experience. Each component offers courses in graduated levels, from beginner through advanced:

  • Workshop-based courses – The main focus is vision and revision, the creation of student work and learning how to perceive, offer, receive and integrate constructive criticism in order to move beyond the first drafts to find and refine the writer’s vision.
  • Literature-based courses are designed to stretch student skills through the exploration of texts in relation to historical and contemporary context, which could include economics, politics, culture, sociology, etc., and close reading in order to understand, identify and experiment with artistic technique.
  • Interdisciplinary courses expand the student’s range of possibility, and gives students the opportunity to merge their words with visual art, music and performance. Creative thinking is essential for writers to move beyond their perceived boundaries.
  • Digital Media courses give students the opportunity to learn the skills needed to create media projects and artwork for commercial uses. An additional mission of this program is to help students nurture their talents and learn how to use a variety of arts to discover, define, and refine their artistic voice through digital media.

For more information contact Rafael Osés, Creative Writing/Media Arts Department Chair at (860) 757-6300 ext. 3516

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Dance ClassThe mission of the Dance department is to create a climate of professionalism which encourages all students to expand their technical knowledge and creative abilities as dancers; to create an environment which supports effort, hard work and risk taking so that each student confidently uses their talents to reach their full and unique potential and to foster respect for the art form and for the diversity and passions of the individuals within it.  

Rigorous daily technique classes are designed to develop versatile and knowledgeable dancers. Students study Ballet, Modern, Dance History, Dance Improvisation, Dance Composition, Conditioning, Repertory (Ballet or Modern) and Dance Skills. Elective class offerings include Contemporary, Pointe and Jazz.   

Students follow the curriculum prescribed by the Dance Department. Class assignments are made by the department chair and are based on age and intellectual, physical and technical development. Spending one year in any level does not guarantee a move up to the next level the following year.   

One Year: A student who attends one year will take: Ballet, Modern, Conditioning, Dance Topics, and an elective within the department.  

Two Years: A student who attends two years will take, in addition to the requirements of one year: Ballet, Modern, Dance Composition 1, Dance Skills and an elective within the department.  

Three Years: A student who attends three years will take, in addition to the requirements of two years: increasingly advanced levels of Ballet and Modern, and Dance Composition 2, Dance History and an elective within the department.

 Four Years: A student who attends four years will take, in addition to the requirements of three years: increasingly advanced levels of Ballet and Modern, Ballet Repertory OR Modern Repertory and Senior Composition/Production.

For more information contact Alexa Melonopoulos Fleury, Dance Department Chair at; 860-757-6338

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Instrumental and Vocal Music

JazzThe goal of the Music Department is for each student to develop to their highest potential as a musician including:

  1. Performance skills on their chosen instrument or voice, inlcuding tone quality, intonation, technical mastery, and interpretation
  2. Music literacy, including reading and writing music and understanding all common musical indications and symbols
  3. Aural skills, including musical memory, concentration, sight-singing and transcription
  4. Awareness and appreiation of music history, the music of other cultures, and music's connection to other arts and academic disciplines

For more information contact Gene Bozzi, Music Department Chair at;
(860) 757-6337

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Musical Theater

GHAA West Side StoryThe Musical Theater Concentration's primary objective is to help students develop skills in the three areas of dance, acting and voice. Students will begin with the basics in all three disciplines (e.g., ballet and body fundamentals, vocal techniques and sight reading, fundamental acting techniques and monologues) and progress to intermediate and advanced levels. Training will also include audition strategies and experience. The curriculum content is based on a chronological and historical sequence of the development of the musical theater in America.

For more information contact Stacie Beard, Musical Theater Department Chair at; (860) 757-3521

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GHAA Bernalda Alba

We believe that every person has a compelling story to tell. The purpose of the GHAA Theater Department is to empower students to use the narrative tools of Theater to tell their own stories, and to develop in them the sense of empathy and compassion which will enable them to tell the stories of others with truthfulness and respect. We approach Theater Training from an Ensemble perspective, where students can learn the skills of collaborative problem solving. We ask them to seek insight in the diverse experiences of their peers and to discover the ways in which Theater speaks to something essential in all of us.

  • The Theater Department offers a cumulative curriculum which is aimed at training the Actor’s mind, body and voice as an instrument for performance.
  • Acting experience is not necessary—an interest in Theater and a desire to learn about it are indispensable.
  • All incoming students are placed in a developmentally appropriate Ensemble that will stay together for all of their Core Theatre classes. As a group, they will learn to work together to solve artistic problems collaboratively and to draw insight from the diverse experience of their peers.
  • By the time they are seniors, the best students will be competitive at the best college theater programs.


Every year in Theater, Students will take courses in:
* Acting     * Movement     * Vocal production    

    First Year Students  - additionally take courses in Textual Analysis. Freshmen will also take courses in Clowning, Improvisation and Technical Theater.

    Second Year Students - additionally take courses in Shakespeare, Suzuki Technique, Jazz Dance, and Physical Theater.

    Third Year Students  - additionally take courses in Commedia dell’Arte, Puppetry, Theatre History and Classical Scene Study.

    Fourth Year Students - additionally take courses in Stage Combat and Monologues/Audition Technique.

    Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors - may choose from Elective Courses which include Directing, Playwriting, Acting for the Camera, Improv, Yoga, Tap Dance, Docudrama, and Accents & Dialects.

    For more information contact Brian Jennings, Theater Department Chair at; (860) 757-3512

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    Theater Design and Production

    Audio BoardThe Theater Design and Production major is intended for individuals with a sincere desire to explore any aspect of theater design and production; areas covered in classes include drawing, sound, lighting, carpentry, costume design and construction, set design, art history, textual analysis, technical production and stage management. Students get instruction and hands on experience in all these areas; as seniors, they can choose an area of focus, and often are able to design and construct one aspect of a Black Box production.

    For more information contact Jim Keller, Theater Design & Production Department Chair at; (860) 757-6336

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    Visual Arts

    visual arts classroomThe Visual Arts Department teaches the fundamentals of art in a variety of disciplines, including painting, drawing, printmaking, photography and sculpture and the Art of the Book. We teach and stress visual thinking and creative problem solving. We emphasize observational drawing skills for college portfolio preparation as well as experimental work in all media.

    Through our Art History program, we provide a context for the students’ work. Through gallery and museum tours and visiting artists, we introduce the students to the work of artists - both past and present. Students in their individual classes are asked to research and report on an artist of their choice. We encourage collaborative work both within the department and throughout the school.

    We encourage and support students in risk-taking as they move through the curriculum. We prepare them for independent study projects and require that in their fourth year they take Senior Studio, which allows them to develop an independent project and culminates in a Senior Art Show. Seniors are asked to donate a piece of artwork for our permanent collection. We display student artwork in the school, throughout the community, nationally and internationally.

    For more information contact Natasha Miles, Visual Arts Department Chair at; (860) 757-6341

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