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Arts in the Middle School

The Middle School arts program is designed to gently bridge a student's transition from total involvement in all arts areas to more focused and demanding involvement in those areas of personal strength and interest.

  • The middle school program is viewed as essential to the success of the PreK-12 curriculum.
  • At the sixth grade level students are involved in a rotational wheel curriculum one period a day. Part of this curriculum includes intensive instruction in visual arts and drama. In the afternoon sixth graders choose between involvement in band or chorus. Sixth graders, like their lower school counterparts, experience instruction in a variety of arts areas, but instruction becomes more focused and frequent.
  • In the seventh and eighth grades students choose the arts courses in which they have particular interest. Electives are offered in all five areas taught in the upper school (band, chorus, dance, drama, and visual arts) and can be either semester or year-long courses. Though there is no arts requirement for seventh and eighth graders, the arts courses in the middle school are highly subscribed.
  • The success of the upper school arts program is due in large part to the success of the middle school program; students who choose to participate voluntarily in the arts at this level are the ones who most frequently continue that involvement throughout their high school careers.

  • It is fascinating to see students that perhaps have not taken art before, suddenly find a hidden talent that they did not know they had. That is the Bolles experience and why all things are possible at Bolles.

Chorus

The Middle School Chorus is an integral part of the fine and performing arts program at the Bolles School. Enrollment in this program provides outstanding opportunities within the arts.

The many performance highlights of the program include:
  • In master classes with the Yale University a cappella group, The Baker’s Dozen
  • With Dr. Hugh Floyd, Director of Choral Activities at Furman University
  • With Broadway actor Kevin Covert of the musical "Newsies"
  • Concerts at the Bartram Campus with internationally known Celtic musicians Andy O’Beirne, Andy Stewart and Brendan Nolan.
  • Singing the National Anthem for Jacksonville Naturalization Ceremonies and at Everbank Field
  • In the Jacksonville Honors Chorus each January
  • In the national Singabration Festival
  • Two on-campus concerts each year

Dance

  • The Middle School Dance Program at The Bolles School was launched in 1993.
  • Course curriculum includes ballet, modern, contemporary, jazz, tap, hip-hop, musical theatre, African, injury prevention and treatment, kinesiology, dance history, composition and choreography.
  • There are three levels in the middle school, with placement in the higher levels being determined by a faculty evaluation process.
  • Both male and female students enroll in dance classes, and work to enhance their coordination, strength, flexibility and have a great time.
  • All dancers participate in the Spring Dance Concert each spring, as well as the Senior/Student Choreography Concert, featuring student, and in particular, senior choreographers.
  • There is a performing group, Bolles Repertory Dance Theatre, with participants admitted by auditions. These dedicated dancers commit to rehearsals two days a week throughout the year. The company has performed at the National High School Dance Festival and numerous regional and community venues.
  • An exciting component of the dance program at Bolles is the regular incorporation of guest artists. These visiting artists work with the dance company to set numbers and teach master classes. A few of our guest artists through the years include:
    • Matthew Rushing from the Alvin Ailey Company
    • Mia Michaels
    • Brice Mousset
    • Jowalla Zollar from Urban Bush Women
    • Donlin Forman from the Martha Graham Company
    • Derek Mitchel from So You Think You Can Dance
    • Renowned tap dancer Arthur Duncan

Drama

Our Middle School Drama program gives students the opportunities to further enhance their enjoyment of acting with several class offerings. All 6th grade students have the opportunity to try out the stage for six weeks during the year as a part of our enrichment program. Students in 7th and 8th grade may enroll in Drama I and Drama II to study different acting styles and learn about the craft of the stage. Often our upper level middle school drama students create a travelling production. The program is enhanced by our biennial extracurricular musicals. "Honk," "Cinderella," "Seussical" and "The Lion King" are just a few of the excellent productions that have graced the stage in the state-of-the-art Betsy Lovett Arts Center.

Instrumental Music

Bolles middle school band members have been recognized for their achievements in events such as the Independent Schools Solo and Ensemble Music Festival, among others.

Visual Arts

Students work in various media within the visual arts, with works displayed in campus shows throughout the school year, highlighted by the Bartram Campus Spring Art Show in Murchison-Lane Gallery.