Dance, drama and music find one home


Jacob Strier, Copy Editor

The previously divided performing arts departments have been recently united into a single Department of Performing Arts (DoPA). A single performing arts department is the norm at many schools, and improves collaboration and communication. The idea for a joint department was proposed by Head of School Laura Danforth, according to DOPA chair Jennifer Carnevale. “It would be as if you had different departments for geometry and algebra, as opposed to having a math department,” Carnevale said on the incoherence of the pre-DOPA system.

Jessica Bogart, a drama teacher, echoed Carnevale’s logic for the merger. “If you are on stage doing a musical piece, you are acting; it’s all connected,” she said. Bogart, whose office was formerly located in the Green Room, described her old workspace as secluded. “It’s really interesting for the faculty to see each other every day, so naturally you start to share plans you have for curriculum,” Bogart said.

The new department is already gearing up to make changes in the fabric of performing arts at Masters. According to Carnevale, the DoPA faculty members’ individual classes could improve from having each other guest-teach a class or session. Carnevale said that Dobbs 16, the school’s most prominent a capella group, will benefit from learning about a new sound system from Amanda Labonte, a DoPA faculty member with a sound engineering background.

Music teacher and private lesson coordinator Curt Ebersole said that improved scheduling will enhance efficiency. With a single schedule, it will be easier to book locations for different classes and prevent spaces from becoming “overwrought,” according to Carnevale.

As with every transition, some changes had to be made. Carnevale said that her increased responsibilities as DoPA chair have forced her to give up teaching an eighth grade class, as well as advising Dohters, a campus singing group. In addition, Phoenix, the honorary drama society at Masters, has seen its funding cut from 2,000 dollars to 500 dollars per year, according to senior Laine Phillips, the group’s co-president.

Bogart views the collaborative spirit among the DoPA faculty as one of the advantages of a combined department. “The performing arts will not compete with one another, for space, for students, for time. We can really work as a team,” she said.