Athletics Work Their Way into the Arts


Credit: Williston Instagram

Though you might think of art students sitting behind an easel, there’s more to the afternoon non-athletic programs than merely sitting.

Last year, the Arts Intensive Program would take a break from their work and exercise for 15 minutes. As for the Theater Program, in the recent strike of the fall play, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the cast would do the job of the Theater Technicians, which included the tasks of taking apart props, pulling lights, and using power tools.

Exercise in arts programs can be small things, or they can be more incidental to the activity, like the lifting of heavy objects required of a Theater Technician, or the fast, coordinated movements required of a dancer.

“Tech theater is an intersection of arts and teamwork,” said Charles Raffetto, Theater Production and Facilities Manager. “As an aspect of athletics, we move stuff, we build stuff, it’s inherently physical, what we do. It’s not like running bases or playing tennis, but everybody does have a role in a way that brings it into alignment with team sports.”

Colin Mann, the Williston Choir Director, as well as the director of Music Intensive during T1, incorporated physical activity by taking his students on “walks down the bike trail,” where they would be “immersed in nature” to help along with the creative process.

Mann described the physicality of music-making as “pretty rigorous.” It requires experience for a pianist to learn how to hold his or her wrist in proper posture, to keep fingers light and loose while the arm is firm and steady. Likewise, a vocalist must learn which muscles to contract and relax to form a good note.

So, from a few minutes of yoga, to stretches, to even something as small as cracking one’s knuckles, light exercise during a warm-up can make a musician perform better.

Melissa Brousseau, the Associate Director of Athletics, shined a light on the relationship between Williston arts and athletics.

“Williston requires an arts credit to graduate, so we have more arts in the academic day than the afternoon,” she said. “Traditionally, the afternoon was only sports, but in my 22 years, we’ve incorporated more options, including arts.”

While there are teams for a wide variety of sports, students interested in arts must choose between Theater, Tech Theater, and Arts Intensive. But as Brousseau stated, there is more opportunity in the academic day, because the arts, outside of clubs, originally were only taught during the day.