Dance Program Prerequisite: All students must pass an audition to be admitted to the program, which is open to all high school grades The Dance Program is designed to nurture and develop highly trained, multi-dimensional, educated dancers. Students will study a variety of dance styles including modern, jazz, social, tap, contemporary and world dance in order to develop new skills and gain perspective on the vast scope of the world of dance. Weekly ballet classes offer training in alignment and classical technique. The creative personality and individual style of each dancer will be developed through improvisation and choreography workshops. Student knowledge of historical context, individual contributions, cultural dimensions, critical assessment, notation and other theoretical aspects of dance will be broadened using teacher presentation, video, field trips and student research. Performance and choreographic opportunities will include one major performance and smaller shows each year.
Including seven goal areas (in accordance with the California Content Standards for Dance), faculty will assess whether dancers demonstrate::
1) Focus: Dancers will learn to appreciate the role that mental and emotional focus plays in the development of technical proficiency and artistic performance.
2) Physical Readiness: By unitizing targeted activities, dancers will develop highly conditioned bodies, as well as the knowledge and skills, to improve their dancing.
3) Dynamic alignment: Dancers will learn to move with understanding of the dynamic skeletal postures necessary for movement efficiency, avoiding injury, and utilizing the established aesthetics of western concert dance.
4) Spacial Clarity: Dancers will learn how to move with an understanding of the physical space and parts of their body that is being identified and/or used (i.e. focal point, initiation and pathway of movement.
5) Musicality: Dancers will develop an understanding of the relationship between movement and rhythm.
6) Dynamic Energy: Dancers will learn about the inter-connectedness of time, space, weight and flow to create movement dynamics.
7) Artistry: Dancers will learn how to utilize the above six techniques, as well as personal intuition, to express artistry in their dance movements.
Students will also experience lessons in the following areas:
MSA Dance Foundations—Open to all NHS students by audition, this one period class introduces students to the fundamentals of dance.
MSA Intermediate Dance—Open to MSA students by audition, this two-period class continues to build on more advanced dance techniques
MSA Advanced Dance—Open to MSA students by audition, this two-period class hones advanced dance and choreography techniques and includes the Dance Honors Course available to students who choose to participate (see more information below).
Additional Areas of Study
Creative Expression: Learning to demonstrate comfort with improvisation and the use improv and study of choreographic principals in creating increasingly more sophisticated dances. Students will analyze and articulate their choices of movement and communicate the intent of their peers when learning each other’s dances. Students will learn about different notation systems and find or devise a system that works for them. Students will have the opportunity to show their compositions at formal and informal performances.
Historical and Cultural Context: Students will study the history of dance and the cultural diversity of dance, while learning various folk dances and ethnic dance styles. Students will analyze the impact these forms have on their native cultures and on contemporary dance in America.
Aesthetic Valuing: Students will analyze films, videos and live performances and through written analysis articulate the artistic and technical elements they find. Students will apply this understanding in analyzing and critiquing their own and each others’ works.
Connection, Relations, and Application: Students will record and analyze their progress via video recording, as well as learn anatomy and kinesthesiology to aid in understanding of human movement potential. Various professionals in the field dance will speak about life as a professional dancer, as well as teach guest lesson in their specialty areas of dance including tap, jazz, modern, hip hop, flamenco, belly dance, ballroom, etc.
Dance movement studies and academic studies will follow a progression for each grade level of participation, culminating with specialized preparation for students in their senior year to research admissions procedures for dance programs at universities, develop a dancer’s portfolio and website and investigate what it takes to go directly into the world of professional dance.
State Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards for California Public Schools will be followed throughout all four years of study.
Dance Honors Course
Students may choose to participate in the Dance Honors level course of study, which will provide additional course credit for enhanced level of study in each level of participation and follows State Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards for Honors level instruction. Honors students curriculum culminates in the senior year with an MSA Honor’s Dance Concert in which Honor students choreograph one group piece, as well as one solo piece for performance, as well as coordinate all facets of the performance – from program development to staging, lightly and publicity.
Spring Dance Concert
Student Choreography Showcase
MSA exhibitions and monthly Soirees
Big Band Dance
Participation in Honors Dance Concert (upper level)
Large group dance compositions; smaller specialty numbers, student choreography
Auxiliary Activities: Field Trips Anatomy, Physiology, Dance Kinesiology, Nutrition, Consumer Information, Collaboration with other MSA focus areas
One full year of PE credit is awarded with one year of MSA DANCE