Performing and Visual Arts
Quiet Contemplation is Optional
A positive outlet for creative expression, the performing and visual arts weave vital threads through the fabric of a holistic education at ISD.
When students participate in the arts, they develop awareness. With greater awareness comes improved comprehension — a useful ability to bring to any subject whether in the curriculum or outside of school.
By studying theory and practical skills to engage with the arts, learners reinforce their knowledge across all academic subjects. They develop their fine motor skills and their ability to work in teams. Students enhance their creativity and aesthetic awareness, sharpening their senses of sight, sound, and touch.
Students learn a variety of techniques in different mediums and then channel their creative energy through our dance, drama, music, and visual arts programmes.
The performing and visual arts are represented in the curriculum as subjects in the PYP (Primary Years Programme), MYP (Middle Years Programme), and DP (Diploma Programme) as well as through various CCP (Co-Curricular Programme) offerings in illustration and ceramics.
Grade 12 students crown their learning across two years in the Diploma Programme with the DP Art Exhibition. Students develop a project from a kernel of an idea to a finished, exhibited piece. It is also an opportunity to showcase their creations to the school and community. Work can include photography, painting, drawing, sculpture, projections, mixed media — almost anything our students can imagine!
Dance is a kinaesthetic learning activity. Students learn to express themselves by moving their body, drawing on internal rhythms and those of music and their environment. They develop the physical strength, coordination, and flexibility that dance requires. Teachers provide historical and cultural context in a variety of dance genres by way of performances and recordings. Opportunities to dance include events like UN Night and the Step It Up dance production, which students choreograph and perform.
Through drama, students discover themselves and their peers, using the body and voice as vehicles of expression. They develop transferrable skills like collaboration and improvising immediate solutions. Students are introduced to a range of dramatic concepts including impersonation, improv, role play, and skit. The Middle School and High School present several major theatre productions in the year. Students can participate as actors and actresses, stagehands, costume designers, and directors. In past years students have staged plays such as Neil Simon's The Good Doctor and the Tony-nominated Grease. Performances also happen less formally at school assemblies and award ceremonies, on Victory Day, and during lunchtime pop-ups.
We aim to generate in students an awareness of music as a form of expression. Music allows students to express themselves without words. At the same time, music is an important tool in language acquisition. Students practice listening, singing, playing instruments, composing, recording, and performing within group and individual settings. Live performances require that students work collaboratively, learning to read and connect with an audience, reflecting on their playing and that of their peers in real time. Students can participate in wind ensemble (woodwind, brass, and percussive instruments) and choir. They can learn to play instruments ranging from bass and electric guitar to piano and drums. At the yearly Battle of the Bands, student bands compete to see who rocks the hardest!
The visual arts give students the opportunity to understand and express their internal and external worlds. Among other intangibles, the visual arts bring joy and consolation. By engaging, committing, and persisting, students develop habits like risk-taking and trial and error to finish what they'd started. They learn the power of imagination and to respect different perspectives. Students are exposed to a range of forms, from collage to textiles, by male and female artists of varied background and nationality. Visits to galleries and artists' studios enhance students' learning. Students learn about and practice techniques in traditional and new media, from drawing and large installations to web design and photo editing.