Performing Arts


Students read plays and attend performances before learning playwriting techniques, including basic story structure, plot and character development, mood and setting, and conflict and resolution. Students then write original one-act plays or plays based on existing stories. Finally, working with an actor/ director, students produce and perform their plays for the school.

A professional storyteller works with students, telling stories from around the world and teaching the art of storytelling. This program develops students' speaking and listening skills, while building their self-esteem and multicultural awareness. It also prepares students for citywide storytelling contests.

Students learn the craft of acting, gain improvisational skills, and participate in theater games, while working with a professional actor. Students then create their own scenes, improvisations, and theater games to perform for other classes in the school.

Students read, study, and interpret the works of Shakespeare, from Romeo and Juliet to Macbeth. Working with a Shakespearean actor, students perform scenes or whole plays, either for an assembly program or for a video recording.
Students examine recorded performances, read plays, and listen to musical theater pieces from and about different periods of American history. The program includes works such as The Devil and Daniel Webster, 1776, West Side Story, Death of a Salesman, South Pacific, and Fences. Students write original pieces, which they perform for an audience.

Junior and senior high school students from ten schools work with professional playwrights and directors on a comprehensive theater program that focuses on playwriting, play production, and theater appreciation. Students write ten-minute plays and then perform them on a professional stage. They also learn first- hand from industry professionals, including playwrights, actors, directors, and behind-the- scenes production crew members. Limited Availability.

A professional mime teaches this silent art, and then uses mime techniques to motivate students to write and interpret literature. This unusual form of communication builds students' confidence while improving their writing skills.

Students learn the history and elements of this unique art form by watching and performing classic works of musical theater. By examining the dialogue, lyrics, choreography, and set design of musicals, students will learn how theater entertains, informs, and communicates important cultural themes and issues.

Students will write and perform their own original musicals.

A LEAP theater artist introduces students to the basics of technical theater, including lighting, sound, projections and set design. Students learn the technical skills needed to utilize the school’s computerized theater equipment so that they can turn an empty stage into a work of art. Students also design and create scale models based on an existing or original play.

LEAP’s August Wilson program introduces students to the life and work of renowned playwright August Wilson. Working with a LEAP theater profession- al, students study plays from his Century Cycle, a dramatic chronicle of the 20th century African-American experience. They examine important social issues and historical events, study several of Wilson’s plays, and learn acting and performance techniques. Each student selects a monologue to perform and has the opportunity to compete in a school, city, and national competition. Prizes include scholarships at Point Park University, cash, and August Wilson’s Century Cycle Collection.

With the guidance of a professional costume designer, students create costumes for original or existing plays. After studying the history of costume design and the materials used to create costumes, students draw their own designs and create costumes using inexpensive, everyday materials.    

Students learn to focus, cooperate with others, and follow directions, while learning about and creating music. A LEAP professional works with students and teachers, forming music ensembles, simulating orchestras, and building simple instruments. This program ends with a performance.

Students learn to read music, play instruments, create simple compositions, and perform with other students. Various styles of music from diverse cultures provide a rich multicultural experience. LEAP provides recorders or percussion instruments. Schools are responsible for providing other instruments.

Students listen to music—from marching bands and orchestras to ritual percussion circles—while learning about percussion instruments, and their role in different styles of music. Students then create musical instruments, and experiment with beat and rhythm. Finally, students compose their own music and perform as a percussion ensemble for an audience. This program aligns with the national STEAM initiatives.
Students in grades 4–12 listen to guitar music, and then learn to play guitar using basic notation, chords, and fingering. The program culminates in a performance. Schools must supply the guitars.

Students in grades 4–12 learn about the basic elements of playing keyboard, including grand staff, measures, bars, beat, rhythm, sharps and flats, notation, and fingering. Working with a LEAP musician, students learn to play simple songs from sheet music and perform for other classes using school pianos or key- boards.

Students are introduced to simple music theory and then master the basics of playing the recorder, including fingering, pitch, scales, and tempo, as they learn to read music. This program ends with a performance. LEAP provides recorders for residencies of ten or more days.

Beginning violin students learn the basics, such as note positioning, before moving on to reading music and playing short pieces. Advanced students improve their technique and develop expressive playing qualities. The LEAP violin instructor tailors each session to the students' proficiency levels and includes different technical and musical elements depending on students' needs. Schools must provide the violins.

Students learn to read music, sing in two-part harmony, compose simple songs, and perform for an audience. Music from diverse cultures is included to provide a rich multicultural experience. This program can be integrated into many curriculum areas including social studies, literacy, and mathematics.

Students and teachers select a theme, poem, or piece of literature as an inspiration to begin writing their own songs. Working with a professional songwriter, students learn about melody, arrangement, meter, rhythm, and lyrics and then com- pose and write original songs. This program ends with a musical performance.

Students learn history by studying popular songs from the colonial era to the present day including Native American chants, Revolutionary War ballads, Civil War songs, Southern blues, Jazz, and Broadway hits. Students learn how composers such as Ives, Joplin, Copland, Armstrong, and Cage influenced and reflected the changing world around them. This program can focus on a specific era or provide an overview of American history.

A professional musician introduces students to the music of many cultures, and teaches them to create and play related musical instruments. Students perform for other classes in the school.

A professional musician works with graduating students on their choral music and graduation performance. The school selects the music they want students to perform. A LEAP musician plays on graduation day.

A LEAP dancer guides young students through a series of kinesthetic exercises to develop gross motor skills, enhance coordination, improve flexibility, and strengthen muscles. Students improve literacy skills by dancing out stories and develop math skills by creating rhythms, patterns, and shapes. Additionally, they improve their abilities to cooperate and follow directions.

Students interpret pieces of literature, poetry, or original writings through dance and then perform for other students in the school. Visits to dance performances can be included in this program.

Students develop a multicultural awareness by exploring and performing folk and court dances from around the world. A professional dancer introduces specific dance skills and techniques to students, and then they perform their selected dances.

A professional dancer introduces students to the rhythms of life in Latin America. Students learn rumba, salsa, cha cha, meringue, samba, and tango as they dance their way through the history and traditions of Latin America.

Students experience African culture through the movements of African dance. They learn about African life and customs and how those values are expressed in dances, such as harvest, warrior, and wedding dances. Ultimately, students will understand that the arts are not separate from daily life in Africa, but are a reflection of life which reinforces the community and traditions.

Working with a professional choreographer, students create a dance theater piece based on flamenco dance movements. Students read plays, analyze character and mood, and create original flamenco dances that express the conflicts and emotions of the original play. Throughout, students learn about the history of this dramatic dance form and its role in modern Hispanic cultures.
Students examine ballets from The Nutcracker Suite to West Side Story, learn basic steps and techniques, and then choreograph and perform ballets for their peers and parents. Visits to dance performances can be incorporated into this program.

Students study modern dance and dance choreographers, from Merce Cunningham to Alvin Ailey, by viewing videos or by attending live performances. Students choreograph their own dances and perform them for other students and parents.

Students learn the cultural and social importance of urban dance forms from across the United States. A LEAP dancer teaches students a range of styles such as locking, popping, hip-hop, breaking, and house. After considering these movements in their historic and geographic contexts, students create their own hip- hop and street dances, and perform them for other students in the school.

Students study the history of jazz dance and learn jazz steps and techniques. Working with a professional dancer, students choreograph and perform their dances for the school community. This program incorporates math skills and concepts.
A professional dancer works with multiple classes in multiple dance styles to produce a student dance festival for holiday performances, Cinco de Mayo, spring carnivals, graduation performances, or any other event. Dance styles and programs are tailored to the needs and cultural interests of your school.

A professional dancer, with a background in Afro- Brazilian dance, teaches students community empowerment through self-defense/dance. Students learn to sing Brazilian songs, play Brazilian instruments, and develop physical discipline.

Basic yoga techniques help student dancers and athletes become more conscious of their bodies and develop the coordination and discipline they need to perform. A LEAP yoga instructor teaches students about health and well-being, and shows them how to stretch, strengthen muscle groups, and use breathing and concentration exercises to reduce stress, increase focus, and sharpen memory.
A professional artist introduces students to art forms and artists from around the world, such as North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Africa, East Asia, and South Asia. Some examples of art forms/ artists studied include Frida Kahlo's portraiture to Sergei Prokofiev's scores, and from Katsushika Hokusai's woodblock prints to Ladysmith Black Mambazo's powerful songs. Students learn the music, dance, theater, and/or arts and crafts of a particular region. They then create their own performances or art based on the culture or art form. All programs are integrated into the social studies, ELA, and arts curricula.

Stories and activities from 12 countries help students better understand the cultural attitudes and perspectives of different peoples. This hands-on, inter- disciplinary curriculum includes visual arts, drama, and music, as well as slide lectures, games, and mapping activities. This program increases students' reading, writing, social studies, and science skills. This program aligns with the national STEAM initiatives. This 10-day program comes with a set of books containing up to thirty student anthologies, a teacher's guide, and two CD-ROMs, which that include student handouts, art examples, maps, slide images, and more.