To teach classical ballet in its purest form as a solid foundation for dancers to excel in the dance field. The dancer then has the ability to adapt to other dance idioms. The dance program at the School for Creative and Performing Arts is a pre-professional training program dedicated to preparing students for careers in dance or in dance related fields, or to pursue higher education. As in all theatrical dance programs, the basis of training is classical ballet.
The program’s objectives are:
- To have a staff of former professional dancers dedicated to instilling a solid foundational in dance as an art form in our students.
- To challenge our dancers to meet rigorous training standards.
- To offer ballet technique, pointe, Pas de Deux, variations, Pilates, related seminars and repertoire.
- To expand curriculum to include contemporary idioms as dancers progress.
- To stimulate our dancers to achieve individual bests in a caring and nurturing environment.
Admission to the SCPA Dance Department is by audition only.
Teaching Ballet is an art form that is built on repetition of specific exercises designed to mold and shape a dancer’s muscular system to perform the required movements. This system has proven to be tried and true over the past several centuries. Today a ballet class is supplemented by cross training in Pilates, Yoga, Bowflex, swimming and specifically designed weight training, but the basic ballet class continues with the same structure from beginners through the advanced and professional levels. A dancer can travel anywhere in the world and visit any ballet school or professional company and take a ballet class. They will know what structure to expect and what expectations will be put upon them. They will even understand the language because all ballet steps are named in French. This is a universal system designed to give a dancer a solid foundation to allow success in the dance world.
Therefore, our Curriculum is begun at the beginning level as steps and exercises are introduced. These same steps and exercises are repeated (with a variation in the patterns) throughout a dancer’s life. Each level perfects the movements to develop better placement and line, more flexibility and greater extensions, more intricate jumps and higher elevation, greater degrees of turnout, better articulation of feet, a heightened kinesthetic fluidity, more accurate musicality, better focus and ability to perform the steps accurately.
We supplement each level with stretching and age appropriate Bowflex, Pilates and Yoga, and theraband work to increase strength and flexibility and to help prevent injury.
As dancers develop technically, they pass through the following levels:
- Fundamentals 1
- Fundamentals 2
- Fundamentals 3
- Technique 1
- Technique 2
A dancer may be in the same level for more than one year. Students in Style must be in Dance Ensemble.
The department is made up of 70% females and 30% males, and usually has a diverse ethnic make-up of approximately 60% ethnic to 40% Caucasian. Students come to SCPA from all socio-economic backgrounds.
Cultural Heritage and Social Aspects:
The student is exposed to dance as it relates to dance history: detailing the art of ballet from the courts of King Louis the XIV to Contemporary times. Technical and
artistic aspects are addressed as well as dance in the context of ethnic dance, modern dance, jazz and contemporary movement. Classical ballet repertoire is taught, neo-classical Balanchine works are explored, and contemporary movement is taught. Students will identify and learn from community resources, people, books, videos and dance companies. These groups will enrich the dancers’ context of culture and history.
Intended Learning Outcomes
- The student will know how to spell and will be able to recognize the French terms used in ballet.
- The student will have knowledge of basic choreographic principals, processes, and structure of dance.
- The student will be able to distinguish the basic ballet principals, and structure of the ballet class.
Student has knowledge to identify:
- Leading and following
- The student will be able to identify significant artists and artistic works in dance representing various periods, cultures, and social and political influences.
- Ability to learn, retain and execute class content.
- The student will be able to physically demonstrate the skills required for the ballet barre and center from beginning level through pre-professional levels. Increasing technical accuracy is required to advance through the levels.
- The student will demonstrate the ability to work cooperatively in small groups during their rehearsal period for Springfest and daily during dance class.
- The student will be able to execute various loco-motor forms with directional changes such as straight , curve, zigzagged, turning and twisting.
- The student will be able to form and perform in various geometrical patterns.
- Classical Ballet: Warren
- Scientific Keys Volume I: The Key Muscles of Hatha Yoga Ray Long MD FRCSC
- Scientific Keys Volume II: The Key Poses of Hatha Yoga Ray Long MD FRCSC
- Dance Anatomy and Kinesiology: Clippenger
- Dance Anatomy: J. Haas
- History of Dance: Kassing
- The Nutcracker
- Ballet videos
- Youtube videos
The students will learn to conduct themselves in a professionally disciplined manner: applying corrections, concepts and ideas with a positive attitude and working diligently towards achieving desired goals.
Legacy of the Course's Content
Based on the historical background of dance, the student will have ability and knowledge of ballet syllabus based on a national standard, as well as the understanding and execution of modern dance. The student can carry on their training of dance at a number of colleges that have accredited dance programs. The student can audition for dance companies, musical productions, and other professional venues.
- Identifying and demonstrating movement elements and skills in performing dance.
- Understanding choreographic principles, processes, and structures.
- Applying dance as a way to create and communicate meaning.
- Applying and demonstrating critical and creative thinking skills in dance.
- Demonstrating and understanding dance in various cultures and historical periods.
- Making connections between dance and healthful living.
- Making connections between dance and other disciplines.
- Making connections between the dance student and the professional dancer.
Formal Canons of the Arts Area:
- The dancer has the ability to execute the ballet barre and center increasing the technical level of accuracy as they progress through the dance levels from exposure to the advanced level.
- The dancer demonstrates appropriate skeletal alignment, body-part articulation, strength, flexibility, agility, and coordination in loco motor and non-loco motor/axial movements.
- The dancer can identify and demonstrate longer and more complex steps and patterns from multiple dance styles/traditions.
- Dance history
- Injury Prevention
- Injury Rehabilitation
- Healthy Eating Habits
- Performance Psychology
- Audition Skills
- Resume Writing/Portfolio development
- Anatomy for a dancer
Respect is the guiding principle we expect our students to live by.
- Be on time for class.
- Be dressed properly for class.
- Only water is permitted in the studio.
- No gum chewing
- Listen to instruction and do your best work.
- Interaction amongst students in class is prohibited.
- Those not in Ensemble are to attend Dance Ensemble performances.
- Follow performance procedures and theater etiquette.
- DANCE and enjoy your gift, WORK hard with your talent.
Questions students should ask themselves daily:
- Did I stay consistent with attendance for class?
- Did I dress appropriately for class each day?
- Did I keep a positive demeanor during the class?
- Did I take corrections and apply them to daily practice?
- Did I attend the required school dance performance each semester?
- Did I complete all written assignments?
- Did I prepare mentally and physically for daily class and rehearsals?
- Must audition for various roles.
- Non-ensemble members must have a 2.25 GPA and no D’s or F’s.
- Dance ensemble members must have a 2.5 GPA and no D’s or F’s.
Assessments for Grading:
Daily grading: 40% :
- Attendance: Taking class every day is an exercise in discipline. Attendance contributes to technical improvement leading to mastery of a dancer’s skills. Missing 10 or more classes, excused or unexcused, will be grounds for failure for the ¼. A student not participating in class (either for injury or illness)will be given an assignment by the teacher to be done during the class. Being on time for class is a requirement. Being tardy three times will lower your grade by 1 letter grade.
- Dress: Ladies are required to wear black leotards, pink tights and pink ballet or pointe shoes. Their hair must be in a clean neat bun at the back of their head. Gentlemen must wear black tights, black ballet shoes, and a white, black or grey (‘beaters’) tank top. Three no dresses in a quarter will lower your grade by one letter grade. Three improper dresses (no shoes, wrong tights or leotard, hair not up, etc.) will equal one no dress.
- Attitude and effort: A dancer must strive to do their best every class. They must be open to new things and willing to give it their all. Pushing yourself every day requires a lot of physical and mental effort and unless you have a good attitude it is hard to give the effort necessary for success.
- Assignments: Assignments will be given to the students at various times by their assigned classroom teacher.
- Attendance at Performances: All dance majors must attend the 3 main Dance Ensemble performances each year: the Black Box, the Nutcracker and the full length Spring ballet.
- Performance: All dance majors must audition for Nutcracker and perform in the Dance Department Springfest.
- Illness/Injury: All students who are absent more than three days in one quarter must present a doctor’s note. Assignments may be given to students for not participating in class
Technical Improvement 60%:
- Students are graded on individual progress and improvement on the principles of dance designated in the ten Proficiency categories. In classes that have more than one teacher the teachers grades are averaged for a grade
These Boards evaluate the principles of dance as an art form. Boards are a bi-annual assessment that takes place at the end of each semester. Boards evaluate the principles of dance as an art form. (Refer to pg.) They measure technical ability and performance qualities. At least 2 of the dance faculty adjudicate the Boards and their scores are averaged. Failure to pass Proficiency Boards will put a student on probation. If a student fails Boards two out of three consecutive times they will be asked to leave the department. (This is a school wide policy.) If a dancer misses Boards they must have a Doctor’s note explaining why they were absent. A student that missed Boards due to being removed for discipline reasons will not be permitted to make them up and will receive a Failure.
The following principles of dance are required for the Proficiencies at the pass level or above.
- Articulation of feet
- Kinesthetic sense
- Execution of specific steps in the ballet syllabus
Career Technical Program
The high school division of SCPA is a Career Technical school. This program is Arts and Communication and includes career pathways leading to technical careers in Media Arts, Performing Arts and Visual Design and Imaging. It is a collaborative effort of secondary and post secondary educators along with business professionals to foster the successful development of students to a career choice. This program will provide broad knowledge, insight and understanding of business processes, academic attainment, and workplace readiness within depth of knowledge and expertise in a career specialty. A career Tech Program will ensure that our students are well prepared for the workforce of tomorrow in a competitive global environment. Today’s marketplace requires specialized skills in a broader context in an ever-changing economy.
There are additional Practicum requirements for each high school student to comply with the Career Technical Program. The Career Technical teachers will designate these requirements.
Projects; Performances; Certificates; Competitions
This is a yearly performance mandatory for all of the dancer majors. Each class level performs a short piece. Failure to be in this performance will lower student’s 4th quarter grade by one letter grade. Missing Springfest will only be excused for the following reasons:
- Personal injury with a Doctor’s note.
- Personal illness with a parent note.
- Death in the family with a parent note.
Graduation Performance Certificate:
Those students who have met the following requirements in their Junior and Senior years will be awarded a special Performance Certificate at graduation.
- Must be in Tech 2 or Style 1 in their senior year.
- Must have maintained a minimum average of B in all dance classes junior and senior years.
- Must be accepted as members of Dance Ensemble for a minimum of their junior and senior years.
- Must have participated in at least the Dance Department preliminaries for Corbetts in their junior year.
- Must have completed their Senior Capstone Project.
- Must not miss an excessive amount of school (more than 10 days per quarter) or fall below a “C” average in any subject during junior and senior years.
Corbett –Mayerson competition:
This is a competition open to all majors at SCPA. It is a Dance Department policy that all junior dance majors prepare for the department preliminaries. It is required that two solo pieces, approved by the dance department staff, are prepared not to exceed 6 minutes total. These pieces should be from department repertoire and be in contrasting styles and emotional quality. You may choose ballet, jazz, or contemporary pieces. The department preliminaries are held in February. For this you must prepare your own pieces. You may consult staff for appropriateness, but you must learn them and rehearse them on your own. If you are chosen to move on the school preliminaries in April you will then be coached by the dance department staff. This second stage is adjudicated by staff members of SCPA. If you are chosen to go on to the finals in May you will be coached by the department staff. For the finals judges are invited from the professional art community in Tri-State area.
Senior Capstone Project:
- High School Portfolio: To include pictures of all ballets the dancer participated in. Reflections on all performances. History of all ballets their composers and choreographers. Reflections and dancers statements on Corbetts and Senior choreography and Senior teaching.
- Senior teaching completion.
- Senior Choreography completion.
- Senior Boards: Must present one solo choreographed by the dancer and one
- solo from Dance Ensemble repertoire.
Evaluation of course of study
- Intended learning outcomes vs. actual learning outcomes
- How successful were the students in meeting the objectives put forth in the intended learning outcomes?
- Were the intended learning outcomes the same as the actual learning outcomes?
- How can the instructor create meaningful flexibility in the unit lesson plans
- So that the actual learning outcomes are the same as the intended learning outcomes?
- Standards for the course and instructor:
- Has the instructor meet all of the standards?
- How successful were the students in meeting these standards?
- How can the instructor meet meaningful flexibility within his/her teaching methodology to insure that all the standards stated are met?
- Did the course impact a significant change in the psychomotor skills of the student?
- Did the content and development of the course over the year change the way the instructor presented and prepared the instruction?
- Did the students’ participation in the course impact their parents’ awareness of the commitment and expectations for their child in the arts