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The Drama Department

The Drama studio specializes in magic. It is where Something is created from Nothing. Nothing but dreams, ideas, love, and thousands of years of ritual.

The magicians, the actors, will make you laugh, and cry, and shake with anger as they hone their craft. Their tools are the spoken word, their bodies, and whatever their hearts house. They weave the tales that matter. The skills to acquire on the Drama agenda are rich and plentiful: classical and contemporary theatre, mask, clown, mime, stage combat, film acting, collectives, Greek tragedy, absurdism, children’s theatre, comedy, monologues and full-scale musicals, to name a few. Surely you’ve heard the rumours about the gorillas that burst into the Math and English classes, dragging their knuckles and picking their nits. That was a first year acting class discovering the power of commitment. Actors know how to have fun.

The talented and dedicated students and teachers rehearse until the wee hours of the morning, because the job at hand is exceedingly important. The job is to communicate, on a very human level, and it is a job that is becoming more and more important in this vortex of technology. Tell me the story about the power-thirsty Macbeth, or the lost Vladimir, or the raging Medea and remind me that it is feeling that unites us all, and always has, and that that is our gift.

By early evening, on performance night in the Drama studio, an entire universe unfolds. Stories of passionate lovers in their final kiss, broken families, feuds, crimes, and moments of bliss and understanding… By midnight, with the audience gone home and the risers struck, the dust settles on the studio carpet and the walls glisten with the residue of laughter and tears…the evening recorded only on the hearts of the audience.

Such is the world of the Drama studio.

Stephanie Moore

The Dance Department

Dance at CHS is one of a kind. It offers a wide range of physical and mental exercises. It forces dancers to make mind and body move together to create magnificent pieces of art. The ballet portion of the program is a combination of all the different academic ballet styles. It has an open and free feeling, while it still maintains a somewhat strict environment. The Modern portion of the Dance programme offers dancers a look at the history and evolution of movements. It gives dancers a greater appreciation of the founders of modern dance, such as Martha Graham.

Our Dance programme was originally founded by Mme Gosselin and Mme Demers, although this program is currently held together by Mme. St Louis and Mme. Gosselin. These women teach at all grade levels and at all dance levels. They help students to discover the true feeling of the step and give them freedom to grow. Also, one can't forget about Mr. Bellefleur, ( Belleflower) who often teaches the single credit course, and shares his passion for the art freely. Mme. Bellehumour is a supply teacher and choreographer for the students at all levels. Dance students, on top of their exam work, work towards an end of the year show which is put together by the OAC students and danced by grades 10,11, and 12. This is what all Dance students look forward to in their graduating year.

" If you wake up every morning and all you can think about doing is dancing.....then dance!"
-Karen Kane

Trisha Allison

The Vocal Music Department

I was lucky enough to be able to attend Canterbury and be in the Vocal Music program. I was in the second year of the whole Arts program’s inception. We were among the first to experience the ideas, and be witness to, the enthusiasm of our teachers who were all young and keen to teach us. I was a member of Arts Canterbury from 1984 until I graduated from the program in 1988. It truly was an exceptional and character-building time. In the Vocal Music program we worked with many different genres of music, including classical, folk, pop, opera, and my personal love, musical theatre. We were encouraged to try new things and work on aspects of our voices that we had previously thought were beyond our skills and ability. It was more than a lesson in musical knowledge; it was a life lesson in challenging yourself and testing your limits.

During my years in the vocal program we sang everywhere and anywhere. We did concerts at school, on the CBC, at the National Art Gallery, in malls, in musical festivals and even traveled to Germany (a trip repeated for other groups of music students a few years later). We collaborated with other arts students on many different projects. While I was in the program and for many years after graduation, I took part in many different programs, classes and courses in the arts. My time at Canterbury is still the most positive learning experience and environment I have ever been a part of. The training and life skills I learned there are the ones I still most often use today.

Shannon Doern

The Literary Arts Department

I was a student in the Literary Arts program at Canterbury from 1993-1997, and as predictable as this might sound, I can hardly begin to express the positive impact it’s had on my life. Canterbury is definitely not your average high school.

By the time I was 18, I had been published in two major Canadian literary magazines. At 19, I had an article in Chatelaine, and was hired by IBM to do contract writing. At 20, I began publishing in the Toronto Star, and at 21, I’m attending a post graduate program in book and magazine publishing, running an e-zine for teen girls, and am a contributing author for a book to be published by Harper Collins. Not only did the Literary program teach me to write publishable material, it also taught me to edit and to act as a writing coach myself.

I really believe that anybody who makes the claim that ‘writing can’t be taught’ should be introduced to Michael Fitzpatrick and Jane Moore, the founders, teachers, and energy behind the Literary Arts program. From the initial advice of ‘show don’t tell,’ to the hard -learned truth that nobody ever writes a perfect first draft (it doesn’t matter if you’re a high school kid, or if you’re Alice Munro herself), there is not a single thing I know about writing that I didn’t learn from them. They showed a genuine concern for our development as writers, as well as for our general well-being. In many senses, Michael and Jane act as personal editors for every student who passes through the program. They are part teachers, part critics, part cheerleaders, and part hand holders in the creative process.

Aside from its expert teachers, what makes Canterbury most valuable as a place for young artists is the school environment itself. Having drama, music, visual arts, writing and dance students all under the same roof allows for some unique opportunities for interaction between the arts. My graduating class was able to do song-writing with the music students, and see some of our scripts produced by the drama department, for example. In this way, we didn’t only learn from our teachers, but also from each other.

But perhaps even more importantly, the Canterbury I remember was a place where artistic students felt that they belonged. It was a place where creative thinking was fostered and celebrated; where you were more, or at least just as likely to gain your peers’ approval by writing a really good sonnet, or doing an excellent scene study, as you were by being a star player on the basketball team. It was a place where people respected you for who you were and for what you did... not for the labels on your clothes or for who your friends were - and sadly, from what I've been told, there's nothing quite so rare in the average high school.

Anna Humphrey



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