Despite unusual circumstances, the arts at Naugatuck Valley Community College are thriving this fall. NVCC is offering many learning opportunities in the arts, for online, distance learning. Students may expect to broaden their horizons, hone their skills, and practice their artistic passion – all from the comfort and safety of their homes.
Gil Harel, Ph.D., Professor of Music, heads the NVCC music department. He noted that the College is offering a broad spectrum of courses this fall. "It's very exciting. Students may take private lessons on a variety of instruments - including piano, winds, percussion, and voice – with experienced performers who are well-versed in online pedagogy. There are ensemble offerings, including jazz and concert band, as well as courses in Western European music history and even a course on World Music. While the ensembles meet synchronously, the history courses allow students to do the work on their own time. We are working the course offerings to accommodate even the busiest schedules."
Professor Harel compared the course offerings to the standard course offerings that were available before the pandemic. "Students are able to do all the things college music students regularly do, for example, enhance their notation-reading skills, study privately with top-notch instructors, learn to analyze and compose, improvise, and appreciate repertoire. The online modality offers many advantages to our students, and we are excited for them to tap into the deep reservoir of opportunity at NVCC"
The Theater Department is celebrating 50 years of theater at NVCC. Although classes have been moved online, the celebration and the show(s) must go on! The Department has a robust schedule of online celebrations all year long, including readings from plays previously produced at the college, readings of new plays, readings of student's plays, virtual scene sharing, as well as several full productions streaming live directly into your homes.
The plays, under the direction of Professor Sasha Brätt, are an opportunity for students taking THR 121 (Plays in Production) to take on starring roles! Like all theaters across the world, this class challenges students, faculty and staff to come together through the arts, even when social distancing and pandemic protocols are in place. Additionally, this fall, students may study the rich and vibrant history of theater, as well as develop their acting skills from their homes, in Intro to Theatre and Acting classes!
NVCC also offers courses in the discipline of dance. The courses range from classical ballet to Jazz (from both an Afro-Caribbean/American and a Broadway and Film perspective) to modern dance and contemporary performance, as well as the History and Appreciation of World Dance.
At NVCC students choreograph their own dance pieces for the end of semester dance showcase. Additionally, students may participate in synchronously taught classes in Pilates and yoga. They have the opportunity to learn about the mechanics of dance and human physiology through Kinesiology for Dancers (DAN 175), a course that also offers credit towards the Scientific Reasoning general education prerequisite. All dance courses at NVCC are accredited to apply towards an Associate Arts degree with a Dance concentration, as well as a 24-credit Dance Certificate, and most dance courses are approved by the Board of Education to apply for Dance Teacher Certification in the state of Connecticut.
This Fall 2020 the Dance Department is hosting a virtual dance showcase the first week of December, with performances by students, faculty, and local dance artists.
Finally, a bright and wide array of art classes are offered for asynchronous study. Professor Amanda Lebel, department chair for the arts at NVCC, teaches classes in drawing and two-dimensional design. Other offerings include opportunities to study painting, ceramics, three-dimensional design, and art history. As these classes are taught asynchronously, students may complete their work on their own time. This format allows for the accommodation of those with intricate work schedules, family responsibilities, and other factors that may otherwise limit their ability to participate. This is a fantastic opportunity to hone skills, create a portfolio and learn how to document work while getting personal feedback from your classmates and instructor.
All classes discuss how to safely work at home. The ceramics class has opportunities to drop off works which may be fired in the kiln at NVCC. While it may seem like a challenge to learn these hands-on skills at home, the Visual Art Program sees it as a valuable opportunity for students to learn how to make their work outside of a formal studio environment which prepares them to be life-long artists.
The circumstances that have led to the proliferation of online course offerings across the world are of course unfortunate. However, the NVCC arts department faculty remains undeterred and as optimistic as ever. “We are committed to doing all we can to do what’s best for our students, no matter the circumstances”, says Harel.
Fall Classes at NVCC began on August 26. There is still time to register for late start classes which begin on September 9. www.nv.edu/latestart