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Dance Program

The Dance Department at JMW is modeled after a conservatory style dance education. Students study ballet and modern dance techniques, in addition to a variety of important academic dance subjects. Professional guest choreographers round out students’ education bringing experience in various dance styles and performance skills. Students will graduate ready to enter a college dance program.

Anatomy for the Moving Body

This course will give students a basic understanding of anatomy for dancers/movers as well as practical understanding of injury prevention and correction. Focus will be on proper dance technique applications for a career in performance or dance education.

Dance Composition
This course focuses on learning the basic tools of dance making and movement invention.  Each student will work to find his/her individual voice while finding solutions to various creative problem solving experiences provided by the teacher.   Since choreography demands inventiveness, judgement, and insight on the part of all participants, students will participate in the many stages of the creative process, as both creators and peer-mentors. Students will analyze and discuss choreography and works of art produced by professional working artists as well as effectively analyze the creative work of fellow classmates. At the completions of this course, students can expect to have fulfilled one validated portfolio piece, as well as a number of teacher created portfolio pieces.

Dance History
This course is a basic survey of dance history and dance appreciation. It will provide students with a solid background in dance history with a strong focus on the early forms of performing arts in America, early classical dance, and the founders of Modern dance. Students will view, read about, & reconstruct historic dance works & styles, research the roots of dance in America & Europe, and study and perform masterworks through the use of the American Dance Legacy Institutes Repertory EtudesTM packages.

FRESHMEN :: Dance Technique I 
Students will work on the genres of ballet and modern dance at the beginner level within their coursework. They will learn basic vocabulary while working on musicality, strength building, proper dance alignment, epaulement, and will begin to work on building kinesthetic awareness. Guest artists will be brought in to highlight and expand the students’ coursework. Students will also be introduced to the art of Dance Criticism through attending live performances and by viewing recordings of master works. AT the completion of this course, student will have completed a minimum on ONE portfolio piece.

SOPHOMORES :: Dance Technique II
This course is a continuation of Dance Technique I. Students will learn to apply proper dance alignment in both modern and ballet technique while developing move advanced skills in both genres. Ballet technique classes will have a strong focus on consistent use of epaulement, basic classical patterning skills, and strong footwork.   Some students may be placed on pointe at the discretion of the teacher. Modern technique classes with push students to develop a personal sense of phrasing while developing his/her own expression of personal voice. Guest artists will be brought in to highlight and expand the students’ coursework. Dance criticism work will continue but will be assessed on a higher, more analytical level in this course. (Prerequisite: Dance Technique I or Permission of instructor)

JUNIORS :: Dance Technique III
This course is a continuation of Dance Technique II.   Students will work on complex rhythmic patterns & build skills to help them remember & perform extended exercises and combinations.   Ballet technique will focus on the Cecchetti Positions of the Body and the Five Cecchetti Arabesques along with a strong push for advanced & consistent use of epaulement. Pointe work will be required for all female dancers at this level, and offered to males. In modern work focus on the use of the back, total kinesphere awareness, and full body movement/range of motion. At this level, Graham shouldering will also be introduced. In addition, Dance Pedagogy will be introduced. Guest artists will be brought in to highlight and expand the students’ coursework. The study of Dance Criticism will be polished and refined at this advanced level and student should be well on their way to fulfilling their portfolio requirements. (Prerequisite: Dance Technique II or Permission of instructor)

SENIORS :: Dance Technique IV
In this course students will continue to focus on the skills introduced in Dance Technique III with a concentration on becoming a well rounded and marketable dancer.   In addition to technique work dancers will be well prepared to use their four years of intensive dance study for real world applications. Coursework will focus on Dance Pedagogy as well as the art of standing out from the masses in a large scale audition or technique class. Students will develop their “dance personality” which will draw their audience to them. Guest artists will be brought in to highlight and expand the students’ coursework. Pointe Shoes will be required of all female dancers at this advanced level of technique work.   The study of Dance Criticism will be polished and refined at this advanced level and student should be fulfilling their portfolio requirements during the first term. Additional coursework will focus on the elements of concert production including funding, proposal & grant writing, costuming, auditioning and rehearsing dancers, as well as all of the technical & administrative aspects of the role of concert producers. At the end of the course student will demonstrate proficiency through a self-producing project called “Senior Night”. (Prerequisite: Dance Technique III or Permission of instructor)