Through sound training and a progressive curriculum, the Dance programs’  systematic approach ensures increases in technical, artistic and intellectual scope. The ballet curriculum is based on long-established concepts and ideas taken from the Vaganova, Cecchetti, R.A.D., and Cuban Schools while the modern/contemporary exposes students to theoretical concepts that touches on principles based on the Graham, Horton, Limon, and Cunningham techniques.

Classical ballet and modern dance training is complemented with a diverse range of concert dance and dance-related forms such as Variation, Partnering and Pas De Deux, Historical Dance, Character, Methodology, Movement Improvisation, Movement Composition, African based styles, Jazz, Pilates and Anatomy, Dance History, Music for Dancers as well as Special Seminars in Nutrition, Health and Wellness, Yoga, Alexander Technique, Aspects of Production, Stretch & Strength and Cross Training.

Courses for All Grade Levels

Honors Ballet Technique

An intense course of study based upon long-established concepts and ideas taken from the Vaganova, Cecchetti, R.A.D. and Cuban schools. Students develop the physical and mental coordination, the refined sense of music and movement, and the muscular strength and flexibility necessary for a successful professional career in dance.

Honors Pointe Technique/Variation/Partnering/
Pas De Deux

One of the defining elements of classical ballet, Pointe Technique focuses on acquiring strength in order to create
lightness and elegance.

The B class students learn to dance on pointe with ease and elegance and to use basic vocabulary relative to various
positions of the body, arms, and head.

The A class students work toward gaining a solid understanding and control of the technique in order to perform demanding combinations with ease and intricate coordination.

Ballet Variation classes provide an opportunity for students to learn a variety of classical and contemporary solo works. Great attention is given to clean execution and transitions of movements, sense of style, and musicality. In addition to developing rehearsal skills, they will gain valuable insight into the performance process and will broaden their perspective on the history of each variation, deepening their engagement with the role.

In Partnering, using contact improvisation and weight sharing exercises, students will develop an understanding of where to find support on a partner’s body, how to make one’s body easiest to support, and how to invite cooperation in a lift or other moment of shared weight.

At the discretion of the faculty, students may be invited to attend Pas de Deux classes as an alternative of some Pointe Technique/Variation classes. Due to the potential for physical injury, only the most appropriately conditioned females can participate in these classes.

Honors Men’s Technique/Variation/Partnering/
Pas De Deux

In Men’s Technique class, students acquire strength, speed, elevation, and the power necessary for batteries, tours, and specialized grand allegro jumps.

Ballet Variation classes provide an opportunity for students to learn a variety of classical and contemporary solo works. Great attention is given to clean execution and transitions of movements, sense of style, and musicality. In addition to developing rehearsal skills, they will gain valuable insight into the performance process and will broaden their perspective on the history of each variation, deepening their engagement with the role.

In Partnering, using contact improvisation and weight sharing exercises, students will develop an understanding of where to find support on a partner’s body, how to make one’s body easiest to support, and how to invite cooperation in a lift or other moment of shared weight.

Literally the “step of two,” Pas de Deux classes are the culmination of a student’s training. Pas de Deux training begins with simple promenades, floor work, and basic pirouettes.

Eventually, and only when the partners have developed the strength and timing, they can partake in the aerial work such as overhead lifts, throws, and catches. Due to the potential for physical injury, only the strongest males and the most appropriately conditioned females can participate in these classes.

Honors Modern Dance/Modern Fundamentals/
Contemporary Dance Techniques

The Modern Dance/Modern Fundamentals/Contemporary Dance Technique class explores principles formulated by modern dance pioneers such as Jose Limon, Marta Graham, Lester Horton, and Merce Cunningham. The class introduces students to other styles of dance such as Jazz and Hip Hop, and to cultural-based dance forms such as African Dance. The class also addresses kinesthetic awareness, body alignment, centering and weight, quality of movement, dynamics, flow, and use of space. Incorporated into this class is also the study of contemporary music focusing on asymmetrical rhythms and phrasings.

Honors Repertoire

In Ballet Repertoire, students learn a diverse range of ballet styles from Classical to Romantic, Neoclassical, and Contemporary. In this class, students develop rehearsal skills and learn to adapt to a diverse range of choreography from already established to new, original works.

The Modern Repertoire students learn a diverse range of styles chosen from the modern or contemporary dance styles. In this class, students develop rehearsal skills and learn to adapt to a diverse range of original choreographic works.

 

Sophomore Level Courses

Historical Dance and Character

Historical Dances can be found in many classical ballets of the 16th through the 19th centuries. This course focuses on the study of such historical dances as the Allemande, Sarabanda, Romanesco, Minuet, Gavotte, and the Waltz.

Character dance is a stylized representation of traditional folk or National Dance, mostly from European countries, found in Classical Ballet. This course includes the study of Russian, Ukranian, Moldavian, Polish, Hungarian, Spanish, Oriental, and Gypsy dances.

Methodology

The Methodology course includes the study of terminology of Classical Ballet movements and their correct execution. Students will learn to choreograph class combinations using proper rhythm, meter, and phrasing.

Ballet Coaching/Stretch & Strength

This Ballet Coaching class helps students gain a greater and deeper understanding of the physicality and artistry involved in ballet technique class. Students work slowly and carefully on concepts such as aplomb/stance, body alignment, and correct skeletal and muscular application to acquire greater strength and flexibility. Additionally, through careful and informed practice of cardiovascular conditioning and strength and stretch exercises, students will enhance and supplement their overall fitness and help prevent dance-related injuries.

Pilates

This Pilates-based program emphasizes mat work and the use of small apparatus. Course work will include introduction to the foundational principles, alignment basics, breath work, muscular awareness, the mat work exercises themselves, and the practical application of those exercises.

Dance History

Dance History gives the student an overview of the historical and cultural influences that shaped Western Concert Dance. It will explore the development of ballet as well as forces that were influential in the development of modern dance in America.

Special Seminars

This course emphasizes a concentrated examination of diverse dance-related subject matter to broaden the student’s experience and knowledge. Sophomores: Nutrition, Health and Wellness, and Aspects of Production

 

Junior Level Courses

Improvisation/Composition

Through various structured movement improvisation exercises, students will develop spontaneous movements and exploration skills and gain a broader, freer, and more natural sense of movement. Students will then use problem solving techniques to explore the various facets of dance making.

Career Preparation

In Career Preparation, students will be introduced to methods of researching careers in dance. This will include colleges, schools, conservatories, companies, trainee programs, and summer intensives, as well as related financial aid and scholarship opportunities. We will examine various dance degrees and their practical uses, as well as a variety of dance-related career alternatives. Student reflection papers outlining their goals and aspirations will help define future paths of action. Additionally, students will examine the fundamentals of portfolio preparation and college application/registration.

Music for Dancers: A Dancer’s Working Guide to Music

Music for Dancers serves as an overview of music’s essential elements, historical periods, composers, and compositions to offer the dance student a greater understanding of the art form and create a more well-rounded and balanced artist.

Music for Dancers is a year-long course designed to provide SCGSAH dancers a background in music fundamentals. Through lessons in theory, composition, history, and technology, students develop a more thorough understanding of music necessary for the working dancer. Music for Dancers is an interactive course allowing students hands-on experience playing and interpreting rhythm, melody, and harmony while reinforcing connections to previously studied dance curriculum. At the end of the fall term, students will draw upon their full range of skills to deliver a live presentation/performance.

Pilates and Anatomy for Dancers 

This Pilates and Anatomy class emphasizes mat work and the use of small apparatus. Course work will include a continuation from sophomore Pilates of the mat work exercises themselves at an advancing level and their practical application, as well as anatomical and movement analysis of the work. Additional emphasis is given to application of the work in dance and its benefit for injury prevention and care. Coursework includes the exploration of the practical applications of anatomy in dance through area-specific strength and flexibility exercises, body awareness practice, and alignment/placement correction work. The course works in conjunction with Pilates, Grade Level 11.

Special Seminars

This course emphasizes a concentrated examination of diverse dance-related subject matter to broaden the student’s experience and knowledge.  Juniors: Yoga, Stretch & Strength, Alexandre Technique, and Aspects of Production.

 

Senior Level Course

Audition Preparation/Senior Showcase

This class prepares students for successful auditions at both the college and the professional levels. Company audition and college application preparation is addressed through individual consultation, personal research, and through coaching of class work material as well as solo performance work. Seniors will also prepare, with the supervision of the faculty, a studio performance showcasing the various dance-related fields such as dancer, choreographer, costumer, producer, presenter, dance writer, and dance videographer.

 

For a complete listing of Governor's School courses, view the 2018-19 Course Selection Guide.