Conservatory Overview

The Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists was established to provide opportunities for creative writing, dance, theatre, music, and visual art students not available in traditional high schools either public or private.

The overall goal is to provide authentic training in dance, theatre and music utilizing the conservatory model.  To accomplish this, three hours each day are devoted to conservatory style training, all arts teachers are professional performing artists and professional training and performance spaces are used to the extent possible.

SPCPA’s arts training…

  • educates and trains future practitioners of the arts
  • stimulates and sustains interest in dance, music, and theatre as a source of truth and insight into the human condition
  • constructs a creative environment where artistic risks may be safely taken and where creators take responsibility for their vision
  • encourages students to use their physical, sensory and intellectual potential to explore ideas and raise questions
  • promotes individual discovery within the collaborative spirit of the performing arts

A Conservatory is:

—–Rigorous. The bar is high and students are expected to approach their work purposefully and with passion.

—–Disciplined. Conservatory training is daily ritual. We commit to the work even on the days we don’t feel like it.

—–Authentic. Students receive training from artists who are presently working professionally, bringing practical and current training ‘from the field’ into the classroom.

—–Focused. Conservatory-style training is, in fact, intensely focused. As such, students choose a major and take all of their arts courses within their chosen discipline.

—–Technique-based. Learning skills is the primary daily activity.

—–Leveled. Students track with other students working at a similar technical level. Students move through levels based on faculty recommendations.

—–Prescribed. Students don’t choose their arts classes. The professionals know which courses students need to take in order to be fully prepared upon graduation. Additionally, when given the opportunity to choose, students often tend to select classes within their comfort zone. It is the responsibility of the conservatory to push students toward areas calling for growth.

—–Pre-professional. Students learn the skills and techniques necessary to eventually work as professional actors, dancers, singers and musicians. However, SPCPA works just as well for students who have no intention of becoming a performing artist (as long as they are engaged in the daily training). The performing arts have many lessons to offer outside of the learned technique.

—–Pre-college. SPCPA encourages interested students to transition to college conservatory training programs before considering a career in the performing arts. Students who choose the college conservatory path will find the transition to be a smooth one.

—–Classical. Students study the roots of things in order to understand how to move their art forms into the future. They investigate the work of Mozart, Shakespeare, Sondheim and Verdi. They research ballet history and traditional West African dance, and they come to understand the lineage of each aesthetic.

—–Contemporary. Students are given supporting opportunities to apply classical and foundational training to modern material: cutting-edge compositions, creative collaborations, new plays and new choreographed work. Conservatory education is, after all, preparing the next generation of artists!

Links to Arts Departments