Based on the acclaimed "Brain-Compatible" and Concept-Based dance curriculum originated by Anne Green Gilbert.
Warm-ups include rhyming dance exercises, ballet-oriented stretches and listening activities using varied movements. Dancers will explore weekly concepts individually through a creative problem-solving approach, sometimes with props to aid the exploration. Children learn to copy each other’s shapes and mirror moving shapes. Dancers will work on skills such as leap, gallop, hop, skip, run, slide, twist, bend, stretch, swing, turn and more as well as try skills already mastered in new ways (exploring levels, directions, speed, etc). Students will begin to learn short movement combinations and incorporate this learning into simple folk dances. A variety of music is used to enhance creative expression and improvisation in choreography.
Classical ballet emphasizes strength, flexibility, alignment and musicality. Barre work begins at this level; dancers should enjoy the focus and attention that this portion of class time work requires. After having the previous experience of the brain-compatible curriculum in Creative Dance, students can more easily integrate the language of ballet with their own movement vocabulary. Warm-ups include folk dances to encourage sequencing and learning choreography as well as improvisational whole body movement followed by stretches and strengthening floor work for greater foot and ankle articulation and stronger abdominal and back muscles to prepare for barre and center. The ballet vocabulary is introduced gradually to allow students to master the technical aspects of the fundamentals of the material. We will continue to revisit movement concepts from Creative Dance and layer them into our ballet technique.
Our ballet classes are primarily based on the Vaganova method, which is a ballet technique and training system devised by the Russian dancer and pedagogue Agrippina Vaganova (1879-1951). Fusing elements of traditional French technique from the romantic era, with the athleticism and virtuosity of the Italian school, the method is designed to work the body as a whole, with total involvement of the body in every movement, and equal attention paid to the upper body as well as the legs and feet. Due to its strictly codified training system, the Vaganova method is widely considered to be injury-free, if taught correctly. For comparative purposes, we will study various aspects of other systems in ballet such as Bournonville, Cecchetti and Balanchine techniques. Our dancers will be carefully assessed throughout their training to place them into the class level that will give them the best balance between new technical challenges and reinforcement of fundamental skills. Dancers will be assessed individually for readiness for pointe work as well.
Repertory, Variations and Enrichment:
This specialized class is designed to challenge our dancers to learn excerpts from classical and contemporary ballets. As we learn these solo and group works, our dancers will have the opportunity to improve their performance quality, learn new movement vocabulary and dig deeply into the rich history of ballet. Enrichment work will include conditioning, alignment, pantomime and more…
Beginning Ballet (Teen/Adult):
This class is intended for teens and adults inspired to learn the art of ballet, and for students who may have studied ballet previously, but are interested in rebuilding their technique after time away from study. New vocabulary and steps will be broken down for understanding, we will build combinations gradually and students will be given corrections and guidance to build proper technique.
Modern Dance Curriculum:
Our modern program is based on codified movement techniques from 20th Century dance artists such as Martha Graham, José Limón, Lester Horton and Merce Cunningham. Class work consists of an extensive warm up including floor work and short movement combinations, creative work such as improvisation and concept-based explorations, center work, movement phrases and choreography.
For our young Modern dancers we begin with an introduction to the vocabulary along with an exploration of general movement concepts through improvisational and creative dance activities. Students have the opportunity to create their own movement and collaborate with fellow dancers in class as they also build their technique, strength and flexibility.
As dancers progress in our Modern dance program, they develop increased understanding of the codified techniques mentioned above. Dancers will learn more complex movement combinations, and explore further into the history and aesthetics of the techniques. We will continue to incorporate improvisational activities, moving toward shared-weight and contact improvisation as the dancers build their strength and confidence. Through all of our Modern classes, the dancers are also exposed to a wide variety of musical styles and meters, which inspires and challenges them as they work through their study of modern dance.
This class is for young dance artists interested in learning about the choreographic process through use of structured improvisational work and through explorations of movement concepts. Dancers will collaborate with each other and explore solo work as well to build fluency in using improvisational explorations to set their own choreography. We will practice improvisations with and without contact as the dancers develop their dance problem-solving skills. Dancers with varied levels of technical experience are welcome to join this class. We will study various choreographic styles and dance genres as well as spend time viewing and discussing the work of well-known dance artists through time. Opportunities to present work are available at various times during the school year.
Our tap program is geared toward teaching the fundamentals of tap dance to dancers from age 5 to adult. In our tap classes, students will be introduced to Broadway Tap-the more musical theatre-oriented style of tap dance, which incorporates more upper body involvement. Rhythm tap will also be explored-a tap aesthetic more about the use of the taps as percussive “instruments” and with less involvement of a choreographed upper body. Through our tap program, dancers will gain skills in musicality, speed, balance, strength, and coordination of their upper and lower body. They will also learn about the development of tap dance and its history along with its amazing artists through time.
Our Jazz curriculum is an exploration of movement inspired by musical theatre, a study of the work of Jazz pioneers like Jack Cole, Matt Mattox, Bob Fosse, Gus Giordano and others, and also lessons about how this movement vocabulary relates to other dance forms. In Jazz dance, we find dynamic rhythms, syncopation, expression of the human condition and an emphasis on individuality within the technique. Jazz is a dance style that has evolved over time and has been influenced and fed by African Dance, ballet, modern dance, show dance, theatre dance and social dance...it is a wonderful blend of mind and body founded on a firm technical base.