Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School
|Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School|
|Melbourne, VIC, Australia|
|Type||Performing Arts School|
|Founder||Lenton Parr and Jack Pitt|
|Affiliations||Australian Ballet School
National Institute of Circus Arts
University of Melbourne
Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School (VCASS), is a state government selective school in Victoria, Australia; a leading school and trainer of talented young dancers, musicians, or visual artists. Located in Southbank, within the Melbourne Arts Precinct, VCASS teaches students from Year 7 to 12. It has an enrolment of approximately 350 students.
Students are accepted after annual auditions. All students share academic subjects, but follow either a specialised music, dance or visual arts training program for half the day. The school also provides academic classes to secondary students from other institutions including the Australian Ballet School, Tennis Australia, National Institute of Circus Arts, Diving Victoria and Gymnastics Victoria.
Instigated by the former tertiary institution Victorian College of the Arts (VCA), as a separate and complementary institution, VCASS was founded in 1978 by Lenton Parr and Jack Pitt (as the Victorian College of the Arts Technical School - VCATS). This was the same year that the tertiary VCA commenced its dance faculty, and VCATS was conceived as a preparatory school for the tertiary dance and music courses. In 1981 the name was changed to VCASS. For most of its history VCASS shared its campus and buildings with the tertiary VCA at 234 St Kilda Road, but in June 2009 moved to new purpose built premises at 57 Miles Street, Southbank. The former VCA is now The Faculty of the VCA and Music of The University of Melbourne, which retains ties to the Secondary School through a Memorandum of Understanding.
In 2013 the school added a Visual Arts specialist program for Year 11 to 12 students, running in parallel with the dance and music programs.
The Dance curriculum is based on ballet technique, with classes in jazz, tap, modern styles, and other forms. It also incorporates fitness training and Gyrotonics. The Music curriculum is based on the Kodaly method of musicianship training, with a core emphasis on solo and ensemble performance. Music students focus on classical or jazz repertoire, and are tutored by professional musicians and educators from the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, University of Melbourne, Monash University, the jazz community and other areas. The Academic curriculum leads into studies and exams for the Victorian Certificate of Education.
VCASS has a calendar of concerts and dance performances throughout each year, the largest of these are the annual "Melbourne Recital Centre Concert" held at the Melbourne Recital Centre, and a dance season which has previously been held at the Malthouse Theatre and the Comedy Theatre, Melbourne. In 2010 the school returned to the Malthouse and regards this as its home theatre.
International Exchange Program
VCASS has developed an International Exchange Program which annually sends a few students to study in Europe or Asia. The schools currently involved are Chetham's School of Music in Manchester, UK, the Lycée Racine in Paris, France, and the School of the Arts, Singapore. A new exchange program may commence with a German dance school in 2013. Past exchanges have also included the Boston Arts Academy, USA, and the Dance School of Scotland in Glasgow, UK.
|1977–1985||Founding Principal, Jack Pitt|
|1993||Acting Principal: Alistair Gunn|
In 2009 Colin Simpson won the 'Outstanding School Leadership Award' in the annual Victorian Education Excellence Awards.
Some well known alumni from VCASS include:
- Natalie Gauci, vocalist
- Aaron Choulai, jazz pianist and composer
- Marshall McGuire, harpist
- Teresa Blake, cellist, actor
- Miki Tsunoda, violinist, soloist
- Rob Burke, saxophonist
- John Arcaro, percussionist with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
- Rebecca Chambers, 1995 Young Australian of the Year
- Simon Fordham, violinist
- Patrick Savage, film composer and former principal first violin with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
- Annabel Knight, Sydney Dance Company
- Rachel Rawlins, Principal Artist with the Australian Ballet
- Tristan Message, Senior Artist with the Australian Ballet
- Rarmian Newton, one of the boys who played the title role in Australia's production of Billy Elliot the Musical. The school hosted Billy Elliot Productions while it was in Melbourne.
- Australian Ballet School[dead link]
- "Media Release: Curtain Up On Re-Staging Of Arts Secondary School". Legislation.vic.gov.au. 2006-08-14. Retrieved 2010-02-04.
- "In a class of their own — National — theage.com.au". Fddp.theage.com.au. 2005-05-08. Retrieved 2010-02-04.
- "2009 Outstanding School Leadership Award Winner — Victorian Education Excellence Awards — Department of Education and Early Childhood Development". Education.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 2010-02-04.
- "Melbourne singer claims Idol crown — TV & Radio — Entertainment — theage.com.au". Theage.com.au. 2007-11-26. Retrieved 2010-02-04.
- "Aaron Choulai — Move Records". Move.com.au. Retrieved 2010-02-04.
- http://www.vcass.vic.edu.au/alumni/hall-of-fame/ Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School : Hall of Fame