Drama & Dance: your questions answered

Clemmie and Lizzie, our Dance and Drama Seniors, tell you how Drama and Dance work at Downe House.

25 September 2020

Drama and Dance are an incredible way to get involved in life at Downe House. They give you a chance to be creative and work together with your friends to produce beautiful pieces of artistry. There’s no better way to explore your imaginations, challenge yourself and just have fun!

1) What extra-curricular dance lessons are there?

Downe House offers a huge variety of different dance lessons such as ballet, contemporary, modern, tap and hip hop. These lessons are all taught by qualified teachers, who are experts in their field. You can join the classes at any level with beginner to advanced classes. If you choose, you can take part in graded exams in ISTD and RAD to improve your dancing skills, however there are also recreational classes that are just for fun. We also have a Downe House Dance Company, which creates really challenging and exciting pieces of dance.

2) What is House Drama?

House Drama is one of the main inter-House competitions during the year. The Lower Sixth girls in each House work together to produce a 20-minute dramatic performance with their boarding house during the first half of the Michaelmas term. Girls in the Upper School Houses have the opportunity to audition for parts. Together, with the whole House (including Lower School), they perform their pieces in front of the School community and are judged by an external adjudicator! The performances are always fun and exciting and it’s a great way to bond with all the girls within the House and show your talent.

3) Are there Dance shows?

Yes! At Downe House there are normally two dance shows every year. The largest is the summer Dance Showcase, which includes all girls who attend weekly dance lessons. Throughout the year, each class works on a dance to be featured in the Founder’s Weekend Dance Showcase where girls perform group pieces, duets and solos! The Dance Company and Dance Academy also work together to create a smaller Dance Show, which tells a story. Most recently was the Hunger Games show where the girls told the artistic narrative through dance.

4) What other performance opportunities are there?

One of the best parts of the Drama and Dance department is how many shows are on offer each year! There are lots to choose from, including small straight plays and huge musicals. There are also opportunities for you to write and direct your own plays. Every year there is the chance to audition for and perform in performances – the most exciting is probably the Founder’s Weekend musical in the Summer term. Previously we have had productions such as Aladdin, Billy Elliot, Jane Eyre, Treasure Island and Daisy Pulls it off!

5) How many Drama lessons will I have per week?

In Remove (Year 7) and Lower Fourth (Year 8), Drama lessons are compulsory, and you have one lesson per week. In Upper Fourth, you have the choice of continuing Drama as a creative subject. You can study Drama at GCSE and A Level.

If you want to expand your skills further, you also can take extra lessons – Speech and Drama, Musical Theatre or Communication Skills – in a group or as a solo, as well as many other exciting opportunities. You will study Dance as part of your PE lessons and there is the option to take Dance as a games option in the Upper School.

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