Dancing to a Disney Tune

New Musical Theater class gets students moving

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     There is a new elective that has students singing and dancing every day of the week.

    Musical Theater is the brainchild of Band Director Liz Deavers and former Theatre teacher Lanny Warkentein.

    The class meets every day during third block and is taught by Theatre teacher Tyler Fleet and Choral Director Kristina Sheppard.

    “Musical Theatre is a class for our ID [Intellectual Disability] students where we explore the world of song, dance, and storytelling through movies and stage performances from Disney to Broadway,” Sheppard said.

    Sheppard kicks off the class with a variety of exercises for her students to complete.

    “She starts the class with warm-ups, songs, and builds the excitement and connection between the students and our material,” Fleet said. “I get them the second half of the class when we look at theatrical elements, like movement, costume, sets, effects and how they enhance the mood of the songs.”

    This class gets the students out of their seats and moving.

    “This is a fun class,” Fleet explained. “In all honesty, it gives you a midday break feel. There is not a ton of study and testing. It is purely about the love of musical theatre. Watching, acting, singing, and moving our bodies to some of the greatest stories ever told, but of course I enjoy all my students in all of my classes, but this one is really the highlight in my day.”

    Currently, the class is working on studying musicals.

    “We have started really focusing on the storylines of popular musicals and Disney movies, many of which have been adapted for the Broadway stage,” Sheppard said. “We look at different songs from various musicals that we are going to perform at the end of the semester, including selections from Grease, Frozen, Shrek the Musical, and many others!”

    Analyzing different musicals has helped students grasp the artistic concepts they display.

   “Using song and dance as physical manifestations of emotion helps the feelings and story become more clear than the use of language alone,” said Fleet. “Understanding helps build the connection between us [the audience] and the characters in a story.”

    A lot of the students are enjoying the class.

   “Everyone loves musicals, it’s kind of hard not to,” said Fleet. “On one level or another, musicals let us see the fun and free side of life. Sometimes they show us deep and or moving stories about the human experience where characters just willingly burst into song.”