Performing Arts

Department: Performing Arts

The Arts come alive at Milken, enabling our students to explore their talents and harness their creative energies on the stage, in the studio and in the classroom. Our rich offerings in the arts arena give them abundant resources to hone their performance skills, deepen their power of critical analysis and bolster their self-confidence. As we encourage their passions, we take them on a journey of learning and self-discovery.

The Performing Arts Department at Milken awakens, develops, and celebrates every students’ inner musician, dancer, actor, comedian, theatre designer and stage technician. Students can choose to participate in our choirs, Koleinu, Kol Echad, and Milken Honeys, the orchestra program or our Jazz Ensemble, as well as audition to be part of our annual musicals, plays, or the Sketch Comedy Club, or join our Milken Dance Company.

Course Listings: Performing Arts

List of 12 items.

  • Acting

    In this Middle School course, students develop foundational acting skills and explore the rich history and culture of Jewish theatre. This fun and exciting class introduces the basics of how to perform improvised scenes for their fellow students. Students learn how to use “yes-and”, active listening, and scene partner support to create comedic improvised scenes. Students in this class are also given the opportunity to be a part of our Middle School improv troupe and the Middle School shows.
  • Acting I & II

    Students study basic acting, exploring the essential question: How do you step into another person’s shoes: their circumstances, beliefs, bodies, and dreams? Students use games, exercises, and improvisation to develop essential acting skills. Acting is also a wonderful way to gain confidence in speaking and performing before others. In Acting II, students apply their skills toward preparing a role for performance.  When taken together, Acting I & II fulfill Milken's arts requirement and is CSU/UC approved as a visual/ performing art.
  • Chamber Ensemble

    The Chamber Ensemble is an instrumental performance group that emphasizes classical repertoire, explores Jewish music, and includes varied ethnic and contemporary styles. Students connect selected pieces to Jewish history, culture, and values. The goal of class rehearsals is to deepen each student's musicianship by developing skills in phrasing, dynamics, ensemble playing and interpretation. To achieve these goals, students master the notes, intonation, and rhythms outside of class.
  • Dance

    This fun, exciting, and upbeat class is for those who love a combination of getting in some exercise while having a great time! Since dance is both artistic and athletic, this class will be dedicated to developing both technique and creativity. Students will learn basic dance vocabulary, create their own choreography, hone their performance skills, and develop their appreciation of dance. This course is open to dancers of all levels. There is also an after school dance team available to students.
  • Filmmaking

    Be your own Spielberg! Filmmaking introduces Middle School students to the world of the cinema. Students gain skills in screenwriting, outlining a story, pitching a story, staging, shooting, lighting, sound, and editing, while working on screenplays, storyboards, and short film projects. Training includes studies in film theory, genre, and camera operation. Students will take part in creating their own 5-15 minute short film by the end of the course in a collaborative, creative environment.
  • Intro to Instruments & Music Theory

    Students learn the fundamentals of music theory, and how to read music and play instruments. Students with limited or no prior instrument experience are welcome as well as students who already play piano but do not know how to read music. This course is recommended for students who wish to take AP Music Theory in the following year.
  • Jazz Band

    Students will experiment with beginning ensemble playing as well as improvisation. Students learn the technical and interpretative skills needed to play and perform in a jazz and jazz/rock context. They should have some instrumental experience and an instrument to practice on at home. The ensemble performs a variety of music in an environment that encourages personal instrumental development as well as ensemble technique and improvisation.
  • Jazz Ensemble

    Jazz Ensemble is for Upper School students interested in an ensemble that focuses on modern musical styles. Students learn to play jazz as well as some rock and pop music in an ensemble context. Focus is on pitch, blend, rhythm, and period-specific nuances that make the various genres and eras of jazz distinct. This class places an emphasis on improvisation: on students' individual instruments and within a group setting.
  • Jazz Lab Band

    This small group or ‘combo’ class focuses on individual artistic expression. This course stresses interpretation, nuance of arrangement and improvisation. This course is for advanced and interested students who wish to improve their individual skills and meets during the lishma period.
  • Kol Echad: Upper School Choir

    Kol Echad is Milken's premier vocal ensemble and sings primarily a cappella. Students celebrate contemporary, classical and Jewish vocal music through high-quality, meaningful performances. Students learn a variety of music; work collaboratively in small groups with sectional rehearsals; sing challenging, 4-8 part music; and are expected to be part-independent. Students connect selected pieces to Jewish history, culture, and values. Students serve as leaders and ambassadors in and around Milken's communities.
  • Koleinu: Vocal Ensemble (Middle School)

    In this Middle School class, students will explore their voices, learning the parts that make up their singing system, and will learn techniques for strong, healthy vocal production. Koleinu sings a variety of music in English, Hebrew, and other languages. This fun and exciting group has the opportunity to join with the upper school Kol Echad program for performances and mentorship, and participates in a National competition in the Spring.
  • Tech Theatre I & II

    Upper School students learn the arts of stagecraft, set design, set construction, sound and light operation, and show production. This class is an exciting, fun, and practical elective that teaches students to build scenery, hang and focus lighting instruments, set up sound playback and amplification, and prepare to participate in a live performance as a member of a production crew.  Students participate in the construction and installation of the scenery for all school productions. Students serve as members of a Tech Crew during live performances produced at Milken.

Not Just Acting, Creating!

The Arts Department Faculty

List of 7 members.

  • Photo of Lee Kasper

    Lee Kasper 

    Performing Arts Instructional Leader
  • Photo of Tina Berkett

    Tina Berkett 

    Dance Company Director
  • Photo of Brian Byrne

    Brian Byrne 

    Performing Arts Teacher
  • Photo of Sarah Figoten

    Sarah Figoten 

    Performing Arts Teacher
  • Photo of Ken Lasaine

    Ken Lasaine 

    Performing Arts Teacher
    310.440.3500 x3665
  • Photo of Jordan Martone

    Jordan Martone 

    Performing Arts Teacher
  • Photo of Sarah Shapiro

    Sarah Shapiro 

    Performing Arts Teacher

Connect With Us

At Milken Community School, we think education is more than what you know. Our School, founded on Jewish values, is about who our children can become and how they can help others become who they might be. Because the world our children will create tomorrow is born in the School we build today, our mission is to educate our children so they can surpass us.
Non-discrimination Policy: Milken Community School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or national and ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admission policies, financial aid, athletic, and other school-administered programs.