By Isabel Sinnott
Since there aren’t in person events, there can’t be dance or theatre performances, and art can’t be displayed in the hallways or shown in exhibits for people to look at. Music classes as well have struggled, as playing in ensembles is not possible in the same way in this virtual world.
Dance has continued to work similarly to in person school in that combinations are still taught during class. However, sophomore Jessica Owens said that, “It’s hard to understand the combinations because some people’s camera’s mirror. We learned a whole dance and I was doing everything opposite; using my right hand when I was supposed to be using my left.”
Instead of being able to learn the combinations in the studio with other dancers, they need to have their cameras on at their homes and learn through Google Meet. This is difficult for a number of reasons; following along with an instructor through a screen for dance is far more difficult than following in person, and not all students may have the space required to move, or the equipment that would be provided in a dance studio that is needed to be able to effectively participate in class.
Regarding a performance, Owens said that, “We are currently trying to figure out a way we can have a virtual concert. I am excited to see how our concert turns out.” They have also spent time learning about famous dancers and the history of dance, something that they didn’t use to do during in person school.
Art is another class that has had some difficulty now that there is no in person school. Ms. Rosenbaum, the art teacher, said that, “The biggest hurdle is not being able to assist them when they need one-on-one help drawing or painting or creating something. Normally, I would be able to show them more hands-on and it’s really hard to explain things virtually sometimes.” Where art would normally have in person art shows, or have student’s work hung up for others to see, she has started using the Canvas page to highlight student’s achievements.
Unlike the dance classes, art classes have had the same format digitally as they did in person– Ms. Rosenbaum stated that “I always have a Drill or Warm-up for students to complete as they enter the virtual classroom, then we go straight into classwork.” Ms. Rosenbaum also stated that a benefit of digital learning was that having everything on the internet made it easy to document and access the artwork and provided a great resource to the students.
The Theatre Department was not able to produce a fall play this year, but instead produced two other shows; the 24 hour play from the members of ITS, and a performance from the Dramastics group. The 24 hour play was released on Youtube, with the link on the Hammond Theatre website, and consisted of four student written productions, all unique in style and theme. They were written, acted and directed all by members of ITS, and then edited together and shared with the public. The Hammond Dramastics group had its first performance on December 9th, and was a fun and entertaining improv show performed by the 11 members, led by Danielle Gilbert.
As teachers and students alike learn more and become even more comfortable with digital learning, the methods of working with the fine arts in an online world will also continue to develop. Hopefully, there will be more performances from the dance and theatre departments, and art exhibitions from students in art classes will be able to be shown so that the student’s hard work can be recognized.