Frequently-Asked Questions

The Centre for Performing and Visual Arts at Central Memorial High School
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visual arts

General FAQ

General FAQ

Q:  How is Central Memorial’s Performing and Visual Art Program different from other high school programs?

Every high school in the Calgary Board of Education offers strong and substantial fine arts opportunities for students. What makes us unique at Central is:

  • The level of depth and intensity in our performing and visual arts classes. Students enrolled in the PVA program are working and developing at an advanced level and are given the opportunity to excel and explore the arts with like-minded and talented students.
  • The number of students enrolled in the PVA program is now over 400, which contributes to a school culture that is supportive and encouraging for emerging artists.
  • Our unique timetable configuration allows students to participate in one PVA class per day for the duration of their high school career.
  • All PVA students are expected to complete the requirements for a Fine Arts Certificate from the Calgary Board of Education. This means all PVA students are enrolled in and expected to complete one or two additional grade 12 courses; Professional Development in the Arts 35 or Entrepreneurial Artist (Junior Achievement).
  • Unique opportunities, such as Advanced Placement Art, Advanced Placement Music Theory, musicianship courses, a conservatory approach to theatre arts, and Classical Ballet with a piano accompanist set us apart from other high schools.
  • Our facilities – we have two dance studios, three music classrooms, three art studios, and two drama spaces plus our theatre to offer more classes, and give more options to students enrolled at Central.
  • Our teachers are all specialized instructors in their field and offer unique and advanced programs in their area of expertise. They are accomplished professionals that are passionate about offering a full and challenging performing and visual art program to their students. See our Meet the Staff page for more information about our teachers.

Q:  Are a student’s core subjects impacted by the PVA program?

They are not affected. The timetabling ensures students complete a full academic program while specializing in a PVA area of choice.

Q:  Can I still take other option courses?

By choosing to be enrolled in the PVA program, students are committing two of three option times to be in their area of specialty. There is still room in the student’s timetable to request another option such as a CTS course, a general arts class (like dance or visual art) and/or languages.

Q:  Are all the Fine Arts Courses at Central for PVA students only?

No! We offer mainstream fine arts courses for any Central student.

Q:  Can I start the PVA program in Grade 11 or 12?

Ideally, students will benefit from our program if they begin in grade 10. The courses and timetables we have created are cumulative and build on the foundations learned during the grade 10 year. Students enrolled in Central’s PVA program are required to complete the CBE’s Fine Arts Certificate requirements, and late applicants may not be able to fulfill those due to timetabling and scheduling difficulties. Our program is built on a three-year model that helps to nourish and develop artistic growth through foundation and advanced classes. Students starting late may not benefit fully from the program. Any grade 11 or 12 student wishing to apply for PVA needs to go through the admission process as we ask our grade 9 applicants to do, and their applications will be looked at on a case-by-case basis.

Q:  Can I withdraw from the PVA Program if I’m not successful or I change my mind?

At the end of the school year, you may withdraw from the PVA Program but we do like to get feedback as to why you would make that choice. If you are part of Central Memorial’s boundary area, you may continue in Central’s general program. If you are an out-of-boundary student, continuing to attend Central Memorial will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Q:  Will I be withdrawn from the PVA program based on poor marks?

Students are expected to participate to the best of their ability and display commitment in all aspects of their discipline along with academic programs as taught through the Alberta Learning Program of Studies. PVA students are expected to maintain a minimum of 65% in their PVA specialty. If commitment to PVA is detrimental to a student’s grades in other subjects, we may need to ask you to withdraw. We are, first and foremost, a high school, and we do expect students to work to potential in all classes.

Q:  Can I apply to two different PVA disciplines?

Students are welcome to apply to two different PVA disciplines if they choose. You must audition for BOTH at separate times. Audition and Interview times will need to be juggled accordingly so as not to overlap.

Q:  Can I be enrolled in two different PVA Programs at once?

Due to the intense study and commitment required for one PVA program, it is difficult and challenging to complete two PVA programs during your high school career. Depending on academic course needs and schedules, participating in two PVA streams may be possible. Requests will be handled on an individual basis and should be discussed with teachers at the audition/interview.

Q:  Do I still get my regular courses, like Math, Science, Social and English? 

Yes! Of course, all required courses are available for you within the timetable. Central Memorial has strong core subject teachers and offers a wide range of levels in math, English, social studies and the sciences.

Band FAQ

Band Program FAQ

Q:  Are PVA music students required to take private lessons?

It is strongly recommended that PVA music students study privately with a professional instructor. This experience will facilitate strong foundational skills necessary in developing independence and confidence.

Q:  What time commitment is required to be a PVA music student?

Music students typically attend 1 – 3 morning or after school rehearsals per week. In addition, Jazz Ensembles and Vocal Jazz meet either before or after school two or three times per week and those programs are by audition only. Music students perform at several concerts and events and tour each year. Tours take place in the province, within Canada, or internationally.

Q:  When do PVA music students take Professional Development in the Arts 35?

All PVA Band students who choose to enroll in Musicianship will be expected to participate in Professional Development in the Arts 35. This self-directed course is a combination of teacher-directed assignments and activities combined with student-directed or on-line projects. Students will interview professional musicians, attend workshops and performances, develop a list of performance repertoire, study privately, develop a personal portfolio, and complete a final exit interview. This course is not scheduled into the timetable, but updates and teacher content will occur during musicianship classes and at designated appointment times.

Q:  Are all instrumental students considered PVA students?

Yes.

Choral FAQ

Choral Program FAQ

Q:  Are PVA music students required to take private lessons?

It is strongly recommended that PVA music students study privately with a professional instructor. This experience will facilitate strong foundational skills necessary in developing independence and confidence.

Q:  What time commitment is required to be a PVA music student?

Music students typically attend 1 – 3 morning or after school rehearsals per week. In addition, Jazz Ensembles and Vocal Jazz meet either before or after school two or three times per week and those programs are by audition only. Music students perform at several concerts and events and tour each year. Tours take place in the province, within Canada, or internationally.

Q:  When do PVA music students take Professional Development in the Arts 35?

All PVA Band students who choose to enroll in Musicianship will be expected to participate in Professional Development in the Arts 35. This self-directed course is a combination of teacher-directed assignments and activities combined with student-directed or on-line projects. Students will interview professional musicians, attend workshops and performances, develop a list of performance repertoire, study privately, develop a personal portfolio, and complete a final exit interview. This course is not scheduled into the timetable, but updates and teacher content will occur during musicianship classes and at designated appointment times.

Q:  Are all choral students considered PVA students?

No. Only those students who have successfully auditioned for the PVA Choral program are considered to be part of the PVA Program.

Q:  Are choir students allowed to audition for PVA musicals?

Beginning in the 2012-13 school year, PVA choral students will be allowed to audition for PVA musicals.

Q:  Are there opportunities for PVA choral students to perform solos?

Solos within choir pieces are selected through in-class auditions. In addition to these opportunities, all PVA students perform in a solo recital each spring.

Dance FAQ

Dance Program FAQ

Q:  What happens during the Interview/Audition Process?

There are two parts to the dance interview and audition process. The interview consists of a 10-minute conversation between our teachers and the PVA applicant accompanied by a parent/guardian. During that time, we look for passion and commitment to dance, as well as an understanding of what the demands of our program are and if you can meet them. It’s also beneficial for  students and parents to ask questions and determine if we are a good fit for them as well!

The second part of the process is the group audition. This process is meant to ensure that dancers have the skills needed for the PVA dance program. In September, students will be placed in appropriate classes based on previous dance history and skill acquisition.

Q:  If I only have dance experience in one or two styles, can I still participate in PVA Dance?

Dancers with a minimum of 3 years experience in one style that successfully complete the application process are welcome into the PVA Dance program. The program is designed to complement dancer’s previous training and introduce them to new genres.

Q: Does the PVA Dance program demand a lot of after-school time?

We understand that a majority of our students are committed and dedicated to dance studios all over the city. Due to this, our performance and after-school demands are limited to the rehearsals and performances needed to run our Dance Central show in March. As with all high school courses, students can expect regular homework assignments to be assigned to meet curriculum demands.

Q: How many dance classes does a dancer take in a day? How many dance classes/courses does a dancer complete in the PVA Dance Program?

Dancers participate in one dance class every day for each of their three years in the PVA Dance Program. Due to our enriched programming and the advanced level of our students, our dancers are able to navigate efficiently through a variety of dance curriculum. At the end of their three years, students will have covered the curriculum in the following courses: Dance 15, Ballet 15, Jazz Dance 25, Contemporary Dance 25, Ballet 25, Jazz Dance 35, Contemporary Dance 35, and Ballet 35. Students are required to enroll in Dance Composition 35 in either their grade 11 or grade 12 year, depending on their timetable.

Q: Can I still graduate with all my required courses for University acceptance if I go through the PVA program?

The PVA program is created to work with high school diploma demands, not in lieu of them. All core and mandatory courses are timetabled along with a daily PVA course. Every student will have a different course load depending on interest and ability level. Our guidance counselors and teachers work with our students to enroll them in the courses they choose.

Fashion FAQ

Fashion Program FAQ

Q:  Do I need training in fashion design to apply to Central’s PVA Fashion Design program?

No. Previous training is not required to apply to our fashion design program, but a portfolio that demonstrates your skills and abilities is. Please refer to our “how to apply” section for details and examples of what we look for in a portfolio.

Q:  Do I have to have a portfolio when I apply?

Yes. A portfolio is a collection of your work that will represent you and your artistic/fashion background. It will give us insight into your skill level, your potential, your creativity and your past experiences. Please refer to our “how to apply” section for more information regarding portfolio requirements.

Q:  If I specialize in figure illustration, do I still have to be able to sew?

Yes. Students in the PVA Fashion Design program will be expected to complete the pre-requisite fashion studies modules of introductory, intermediate and advanced Fashion classes. The curriculum in these courses does expect students to work within a broad range of materials and textile arts.

Q:  When do PVA Fashion Design students take Professional Development in the Arts 35?

PD35 is a five credit, self-directed course that does not run during the regular school day. Students will experience a combination of teacher-directed assignments and activities combined with student-directed or on-line projects. PD 35 sessions usually occur at lunch or after school for fashion design students and will involve the creation of a final grade 12 portfolio. Students will learn about careers in fashion design, illustration and marketing, attend workshops, meet local designers, participate in community fashion activities and complete all other course requirements outside the regular timetable. For PVA Fashion Design students, this course begins in grade 10 and finishes at the end of grade 12 with a final exit interview and portfolio celebration.

Media Arts FAQ

Media Arts FAQ

Q:  Do I need prior formal training to apply to Central’s PVA Media Design Arts program?

No. Previous training is not required to apply to our MDA program, but a portfolio that demonstrates your skills and abilities is. Please refer to our “how to apply” section for details and examples of what we look for in a portfolio.

Q:  Do I have to have a portfolio when I apply?

Yes. A portfolio is a collection of your work that will represent you and your artistic/technical background. It will give us insight into your skill level, your potential, your creativity and your past experiences. Please refer to our “how to apply” section for more information regarding portfolio requirements.

Q:  When do PVA MDA students take Professional Development in the Arts 35?

PD35 is a five credit, self-directed course that does not run during the regular school day. Students will experience a combination of teacher-directed assignments and activities combined with student-directed or on-line projects. PD 35 sessions usually occur outside of the regular school day for Media Design Arts students and will involve the creation of a final grade 12 portfolio. Students will learn about careers in communication and design, attend workshops, meet industry professionals, participate in community initiatives and complete all other course requirements outside the regular timetable. For PVA Media Design Arts students, this course begins in grade 10 and finishes at the end of grade 12 with a final exit interview and portfolio celebration.

Please feel free to contact us with any further questions.

Strings FAQ

Strings Program FAQ

Q:  Are PVA music students required to take private lessons?

It is strongly recommended that PVA music students study privately with a professional instructor. This experience will facilitate strong foundational skills necessary in developing independence and confidence.

Q:  What time commitment is required to be a PVA music student?

Music students typically attend 1 – 3 morning or after school rehearsals per week. In addition, Jazz Ensembles and Vocal Jazz meet either before or after school two or three times per week and those programs are by audition only. Music students perform at several concerts and events and tour each year. Tours take place in the province, within Canada, or internationally.

Q:  When do PVA music students take Professional Development in the Arts 35?

All PVA Band students who choose to enroll in Musicianship will be expected to participate in Professional Development in the Arts 35. This self-directed course is a combination of teacher-directed assignments and activities combined with student-directed or on-line projects. Students will interview professional musicians, attend workshops and performances, develop a list of performance repertoire, study privately, develop a personal portfolio, and complete a final exit interview. This course is not scheduled into the timetable, but updates and teacher content will occur during musicianship classes and at designated appointment times.

Q:  Are all instrumental students considered PVA students?

Yes.

Theatre Arts FAQ

Theatre Arts FAQ

Q:  Can I perform in a play or musical theatre production if I am A PVA student but not enrolled in PVA Theatre Arts?

All PVA Theatre Arts students are guaranteed a performing opportunity in one of our four annual productions. Ten spaces are made available to PVA students in other disciplines who wish to perform in a play or musical. If you are interested in getting involved in the technical aspect of our shows, participation outside of PVA Drama will be considered.

Q:  What after-school time commitments are required from PVA Theatre Arts students?

All PVA Theatre Arts students are involved in at least one major school production every school year. Production work requires commitment to an extended school schedule as all rehearsals are either before or after the regular school day, during some weekends, and performances are in the evenings. Students earn credits for their production work and attendance is mandatory.

Q:  Does attendance affect my mark?

Yes. Theatre Arts projects are primarily structured around group work thus requiring students to be committed to the program and in class every day. Theatre Arts classes are run during the regular timetable as well as after school and consistent attendance is required for each. All absences may affect student achievement and could compromise their enrolment in PVA Theatre Arts. All unexcused absences impact student achievement. In a given term, students who miss more than five (5) excused classes/rehearsals will also see their achievement impacted.

Q:  Can I participate in two PVA programs simultaneously, for example Choir and Theatre Arts?

Due to the intense study and commitment required for one PVA program, it is difficult and challenging to complete two PVA programs during your high school career. Depending on academic course needs and schedules, participating in two PVA streams may be possible. Requests will be handled on an individual basis and should be discussed with teachers at the audition/interview.

Q:  When do PVA Theatre Arts students take Professional Development in the Arts 35?

PD 35 is a five credit, self-directed course that does not run during the regular school day. Students will experience a combination of teacher-directed assignments and activities combined with student-directed or on-line projects. PD 35 sessions usually occur at lunch or after school for theatre arts students, and it involves the creation of a final grade 12 portfolio. Students will learn about drama related careers and will attend workshops and meet local artists. All course requirements for PD in the Arts 35 will be completed outside the regular timetable. For PVA Theatre Arts students, this course begins in grade 10 and finishes at the end of grade 12 with a final exit interview and portfolio celebration.

Q:  I am not good at either dancing or singing but I love to act. As part of the PVA Theatre Arts program, do I need to participate in vocal and dance instruction?

Our goal is to encourage young actors to develop a broad range of skills that include both singing and dancing. Instruction in these areas will be non-threatening and will provide a strong foundation for all students regardless of their previous experience or comfort level. In auditions, potential candidates do not need to be highly skilled at either singing or dancing.

Q:  Do I need drama training/experience to apply to Central’s PVA Theatre Arts program?

Yes and no. We find that students, successful in PVA Theatre Arts are passionate, keen to develop skills, are willing to take risks, and are committed to their work. If you have these characteristics but lack experience, more than likely you will learn quickly and find success. That being said, many of our students come to Central with a background in theatre. Extra effort may be required for you to attain skills previously mastered by more experienced peers.

Q:  Can I do Tech Theatre and perform in a main stage PVA performance?

The Technical Theatre course schedule includes all rehearsals and performances as well as occasional classes after school. These hours combine to meet the requirements of this 125-hour/5-credit course. Due to the extensive time commitment, every Technical Theatre student has the opportunity to negotiate scheduling conflicts. Each conflict will be considered on an individual basis. In special circumstances, there may be opportunities for students to establish an alternative schedule to meet a 75-hour/3-credit course requirement. This would allow PVA Theatre Arts students to perform during one semester and be enrolled in Technical Theatre for the other. These situations must be discussed and approved in September.

Visual Arts FAQ

Visual Art Program FAQs

Q:  Do I need art training to apply to Central’s PVA Art program? 

No. Previous training is not required to apply to our visual arts program, but a portfolio that demonstrates your skills and abilities is. Please see our “how to apply” section for details and examples of what we look for in a portfolio.

Q:  Do I have to have a portfolio when I apply?

Yes. A portfolio is a collection of your work that will represent you and your artistic background. It will give us insight into your skill level, your potential, your creativity, and your past experiences. Please refer to the “how to apply – art” page for more information regarding portfolio requirements.

Q:  What is Advanced Placement (AP) Studio Art?

Advanced Placement courses are considered College Level courses and require students to meet or exceed standards set by the College Board. For Studio Art, this means that students work towards the creation of a college-level portfolio that gets sent away to New York for judging at the end of their grade 12 year. If an acceptable standard is reached, AP Art students will be granted Post-Secondary Credits for their work in grade 12. (For example, Alberta College of Art and Design may choose to credit you for AP and allow you to “skip” an introductory drawing course.) Not all Colleges and Universities will grant you course credit for AP, as their specific degree requirements vary. Please check with your university or college for more information.

Q:  When do I take AP Art?

Advanced Placement requirements overlap the regular and advanced techniques art program. AP Studio Art is offered at the same time as PVA Art 30 and PVA Art 35. It demands dedication and more studio time than the regular program, and students wishing to complete this College Level course will work with their teacher(s) individually to ensure they can meet and or exceed requirements.

Q:  When do PVA Art students take Professional Development in the Arts 35?

PD 35 is a five credit, self-directed course that does not run during the regular school day. Students will experience a combination of teacher-directed assignments and activities combined with student-directed or on-line projects. PD 35 sessions usually occur at lunch or after school for visual art students, and it involves the creation of a final grade 12 portfolio. Students will learn about careers in visual art, attend workshops, meet local artists, participate in community art activities, and complete all other course requirements outside the regular timetable. For PVA Art students, this course begins in grade 10 and finishes at the end of grade 12 with a final exit interview and portfolio celebration.

Q:  If I specialize in sculpture, do I still have to paint or draw?

Students in the PVA Art program are required to complete the foundation courses of Art 10, 20, and 30. The curriculum in these courses does expect students to work within a broad range of materials and media. During Art 15, 25, and 35, students will specialize into their area of preference, either painting, drawing, or, sculpture. AP Art will also require you to specialize into either 2-D or 3-D streams.

Please feel free to contact us with any further questions.

CENTRAL MEMORIAL
HIGH SCHOOL

5111 - 21st Street SW
Calgary, Alberta, Canada T3E 1R9
Phone: 403-243-8880
Fax: 403-777-7059

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