The Arts provide the tools that fuse the connection between intellect and emotion. Having a sense of self or an awareness of self is vital to a complete and successful education. The Arts at The Williams School seek to engage students in an individualized creative process. Within the academic curriculum of the Arts, students are assisted in developing the self-esteem, self-discipline, cooperative collaboration, and self-motivation necessary in everyday life. Students of various abilities and levels are given opportunities to translate ideas into action, to listen and to observe, to develop critical thinking and innovative problem solving skills, to learn to access information that will enrich their lives. This repertory of skills and experiences will enable students to identify life challenges and to achieve personal goals.
Theatre classes build upon developing physical and spatial awareness in Acting I courses to vocal training and directing in Acting II classes. The skill development is applied to improvisation, character development, and to periods and styles of the historical theatre. The Upper School theatre courses are open to grades 9–12 and are full credit courses. Acting A and Acting B are offered in alternating years. Both Acting I and II can be taken twice.
Upper School dance classes offer technical and creative work, concentrating on the development of strong physical skills and technical proficiency. Emphasis is also placed on expanding aesthetic sensitivity, developing confidence, and on having fun dancing both in the classroom and on stage. Study in related areas such as composition, improvisation, and repertory is also included. Video viewing, guest teachers, relaxation days, somatic lessons and assembly performances supplement classroom work. Classes are open to students in Grades 9-12. Students take the class that is appropriate for their ability, regardless of their grade level. Dance classes meet three times a rotation for the entire year. Dance courses fulfill Co-curricular requirements.
Music classes in the upper school are focused on building solid understanding of theoretical and compositional aspects, as well as developing aural skills of listening analysis and sight singing. Through reading and listening to music, as well as studying conceptual theory within music samples and works, students then utilize their theoretical understanding to compose and play their own music in music composition (advanced). In ensembles, students develop skills in technique, improvisation, sight-reading, and performance in musicianship, both individually and with an ensemble. Band and Jazz band are half credit courses that can be taken at the same time for a full credit, or separately for half, and a study hall.
Studio & Digital Art
In all the Studio Art courses, the focus is on building a strong foundation of technical skills in drawing, design, painting and sculpture. Along with class projects, students learn through art history lectures, demonstrations, and museum and gallery trips. Additionally, visiting artists host workshops each year to expose students to new art media. Throughout the year, students exhibit their artwork at Williams and at local art galleries such as the Mystic Art Association.