Thornton Academy News

  • Arts
Featured Faculty: Emma Campbellā€“Arts/Dance

Ms. Campbell is the director of TA’s dance program. She spends her days teaching dance, through technical expression, performance styles, repertory development, history, and appreciation. After the school day ends, she runs rehearsals for a variety of both on- or off-campus performances. She is an alumna of TA, and earned her BA from Bates after graduation, and her Masters from Savannah College of Art and Design. She is also the daughter of fellow TA faculty members Dave Arenstam (English) and Terri Arenstam (chemistry)!

Featured Faculty Q&A

What is the best thing about teaching at TA? What is the most challenging?
I love dance and the performing arts, so when the opportunity to teach at TA came about it was a no brainer! The best thing about teaching at TA is when Mrs. Murray lets me play the tambourine in her pit band. The second best thing about teaching is the relationship we cultivate with our students. Developing a bond based on a shared common experience creates a space where students can freely express themselves and that is truly magical. Honestly the most challenging aspect of teaching is time—I wish I had more time in class with the kids!

What is your favorite teaching memory? 
My first instinct was to write about taking kids to Boston, or NYC, but to be honest, some of my best memories on campus are the final moments of a three hour rehearsal, where everyone is exhausted and sweat permeates the space. As the rehearsal is wrapping up, I ask the performers to run the piece 'one last time' and the group collectively overrides their exhaustion to give it their all. Not only does this moment solidify all the hard work they have undergone, but it teaches kids that they can be tough, they can persevere, and that hard work pays off. What is more gratifying than that?

What do you hope for your students? 
I want my students to live a life that is full of joy, authenticity, and altruism. Our world is becoming increasingly more complex to navigate, and I want to help kids see the truth and beauty in it. Arts education is so critical in the development of well rounded, compassionate, and vested adults. I want students to take dance so that they will appreciate art and their world for the rest of their lives.  

What do you hope for the future of TA? 
My hope for the future of TA is that we as an institution continue paving the way for arts education in Maine. The visual and performing arts teachers at TA are some of the brightest, hardest working, and most creative people I know. I know that whatever the future holds, TA will continue to be recognized for its greatness and continue to provide an exceptional educational experience for all kids!

Thank you for all that you do for your students,
and for ensuring the arts are alive at TA!