Dance at Marin School of the Arts

Dance Trio 2017
Adv. Dance _img9917
MSA Dance_Int. Level


The MSA Dance Program is designed to nurture and develop highly trained, multi-dimensional, educated dancers. By studying a variety of dance styles including modern, ballet, jazz, social, tap, contemporary and various world dance dancers will 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.

Course Offerings:

Foundation Dance—Open to all NHS students by audition, this one period class builds on the fundamentals of dance.

Intermediate Dance—Open to MSA students by audition, this two-period class build on more advanced dance techniques and introduces students to choreography composition.

Advanced Dance—Open to MSA students by audition, this two-period class hones advanced dance and choreography techniques. A Dance Honors Course is available to students who choose to participate (more information below).

Festivals—Intermediate and Advanced Dance classes will participate in Bay Area educational dance festivals, which include an opportunity to work with dancers in similar programs, as well as provide additional performances with a wider audience potential. Past festivals have included Vision Series (at the Cowell Theatre in San Francisco) and the Bay Area High School Dance Festival.

Weekly ballet classes hone strong techniques.

Additional Areas of Study

Creative Expression: Dancers become comfortable with improvisation and choreographic principals in creating increasingly sophisticated dance works. They will analyze and articulate their movement choices and communicate with peers when learning each other’s dances. Choreography notation systems will also be taught; dancers will develop a notation system that works for them.

Historical and Cultural Context: The study of dance history and the cultural diversity of dance is paired with opportunities to learning various folk and ethnic dance styles. Students will analyze the impact these forms have on native cultures and on contemporary dance in America.

Aesthetic Valuing: Students will analyze films, videos and live performances to evaluate the artistic and technical elements they observe. This understanding in analyzing and critiquing will be applied to their own and each others’ works.

Connection, Relations, and Application: Students will record and analyze their progress, as well as learn anatomy and kinesthesiology to aid in understanding of movement potential. Dance professionals will speak about life as a professional dancer, as well as teach lessons in their specialty areas of dance including tap, jazz, modern, hip hop, flamenco, belly dance, ballroom, etc.

Dance studies will follow a progression for each grade level, culminating with senior year students researching university admissions procedures for dance majors, developing a dancer’s portfolio and website and investigating what it takes to go directly into the professional dance.

Dance Honors Course

Students may choose to participate in the Dance Honors course, which provides additional course credit for its enhanced level of study. 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.

Dancers perform at the 2018 MSA Showcase gala.

Performance Opportunities

Spring Dance Concert

Student Choreography Showcase

MSA exhibitions and monthly Soirees

Big Band Dance

Community Events

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