Class Content

We approach dance from a concept-based perspective. Rather than focus on traditional techniques, we teach Modern dance through the elements of Space, Time, Body, Effort, Movement, and Form. Through this conceptual approach, students learn modern technique, improvisation, choreography, community, somatic awareness, and musical awareness. As other techniques and styles are introduced through special programs, we explore how they support the above areas of emphasis.

At Young Dance, we believe the studio is an environment where healthy risk taking, in all forms, is encouraged. Students develop skills in performing and perceiving through participation dancing, as well as watching, and supporting others in their class. This class environment values a commitment to self, to the group, and to lifelong exploration and learning. Dance technique is taught through concepts.

 

These concepts include:

  • Space: Place, Size, Level, Direction, Pathway, Focus

  • Time: Speed, Rhythm

  • Body: Parts, Shapes, Relationships, Balance

  • Effort: Energy, Weight, Flow

  • Movement: Locomotor, Nonlocomotor

  • Form: Recurring Theme, ABA, Abstract, Narrative

We explore these concepts through:

  • Understanding: Defining and exploring dance concepts and terms

  • Developing Skills: Refining skills and exploring technique through exploration and practice

  • Creating: Through improvisation and choreographing phrases and dances

  • Perceiving: Watching each other, professionals, and films

  • Evaluation: Expressing ourselves and making observations using language and concepts we’ve learned

  • Community: Working together, in pairs or groups, supporting each other, praising each other’s good work and strong efforts

Objectives

We believe that this approach to dance education deemphasizes learning steps and routines, and eliminates “right” and “wrong.” Rather than teaching students to be dancers, we strive to teach them to think like dancers. We believe that through concept-based creative movement and modern dance, we bring to the forefront the characteristics and skills that dance fosters, including: self-awareness, confidence, artistic and aesthetic appreciation, self-esteem, collaboration, a passion for lifelong learning, problem solving skills, critical thinking skills, community, perception, empathy, communication skills, initiative, independence, discipline, and a healthy lifestyle. All through free expression, we develop creativity, and most importantly, have fun!

Classes are structured to be multi-aged, and therefore attended for multiple years. This approach provides students the opportunity to be learners and leaders, two aspects of education that we deeply value at Young Dance. All of our classes are open to students of all skill levels and abilities; no previous experience is required. The experiential nature of learning at Young Dance enables students to learn at their own pace physically, while being intellectually and conceptually challenged at an age-appropriate level. Our class structure spans several ages, and are intended to be repeated as long as the age range is appropriate. If your dancer is new to Young Dance, please contact us at info@youngdance.org to discuss placement.

While we do offer specific, all abilities focused classes, we have had many differently-abled students thrive in a conventional dance class setting. If you are unsure which class will be the most rewarding for your dancer, please contact us to discuss the possibilities.

Overarching Goals

The focus of our program is modern dance. Classes at all levels address technique, improvisation, choreography, community, somatic awareness, and musical awareness. As other techniques and styles are introduced we explore how they support the above areas of emphasis. The classroom is an environment where healthy risk taking, in all forms, is encouraged. Students participate through dancing as well as watching, and supporting others in the group. The class environment values a commitment to self, to the group, and to Young Dance.

Descriptions

Dance Together, Ages 1-3 with caregiver (crawlers and walkers welcome)

In Dance Together, children and their caregivers discover the joys of movement through movement games, stories, and songs. These early classes introduce children to group learning environments, while using movement to develop strong bonds with their caregivers and cooperatively work with others in the class. Children also develop large and fine motor skills in classes that emphasize observation, exploration, manipulation, imitation, and repetition.

Creative Movement I, Ages 3-5 (Pre-K)

Creative Movement One offers dancers a space for exploration, improvisation, and expression through movement. Children continue to develop large and fine motor skills, as well as coordination, rhythm, teamwork, and listening skills. Songs and games are used to help the students understand their moving body, and to facilitate the learning of fundamental movement patterns.

At this age, classes are structured for students to learn experientially. Experiential learning, like a guided practice, is achieved through the teacher’s verbalization and the students’ execution. This practice allows for deeper learning, which connects mind and body, and enables the student to acquire dance skills without a “wrong or right” way of executing movement.

Creative Movement II, Ages 5-7 (Grades K-1)

Creative Movement II, for children ages 5-7, is a continuation of our Creative Movement One class, but no previous dance experience is required! Continuing to explore dance language through improvisation and creative movement games, students are also exposed to class structure, more complex routines, and acquire a deeper understanding of the overarching concepts on which Young Dance approaches all classes. These concepts are Space, Time, Body, Effort, Movement, and Form. With experiential learning and guided practice remaining at the core, students are also introduced to more traditional movements and terminology.

  • Introduction of how a dance class works; routines of a dance class

  • Basic movement and skills, learned through the concepts of Space, Time, Body, Effort, Movement, and Form, such as stop/start, two sidedness, gallops, turns, jumps, and shapes

  • Repetition, accumulation, and sequence

  • Giving form to imagination

  • Musicality and rhythm– recognition and transfer to whole body

  • “Language” of dance is introduced (slide, shape, leap, skip, hop, etc.)

  • Technical elements: Turns, leaps/jumps, movement quality/dynamics, moving across the floor

  • Introduction of how a dance class works; routines of a dance class

  • Giving form to imagination through repetition and sequence

  • Musicality, and rhythm – recognition and transfer to whole body

  • “Language” of dance is expanded

Level One, Ages 7-9 (grades 2-4)

Recommended for children grades 2-4, Level One introduces students to Modern Dance, through improvisation and technique. During explorations of Space, Time, Body, Effort, Movement, and Form, students develop listening skills, problem solving skills, perception and evaluation skills, and teamwork through large and small group activities. Students also spend time improvising and developing their own choreography (individually and in small groups), expanding their creativity and further connecting their mind and body. No previous experience necessary.

  • Further Introduction to and understanding of how of a dance class

  • Memorization of a sequence (independently and in groups)

  • Embodied repetition– through imitation, as well as guided practice

  • Talk through “language” a phrase, while exploring the concepts inherent in an exercise

  • Challenge students to fulfill movement consistently

  • Say what you see/Embody what you saw– connecting the body and mind through exercises in perception, evaluation, and interpretation

Boys Get Movin’, Ages 7-10

This exciting full bodied-movement class just for boys explores a roller coaster ride of movement fun! Come swing, roll, jump, express, create, and sweat while learning the freedom and enjoyment of dance, Ages 7-10 yrs. No previous dance experience necessary.

Same focus of Level One with the following areas of emphasis:

  • Engage Boys in dance

  • Boys relating to other boys in a social setting

  • Explore a range of energy

Level Two, Ages 9-11

Level Two is a continuation of Level One with more emphasis is placed on developing skills and exploring concepts through technique, improvisation, and student-developed choreography.

Level Three, Ages 11-14

In Level Three, students explore modern dance concepts of Space, Time, Body, Effort, Movement, and Form, but with a strong emphasis on working together. Developing teamwork and collaborative skills at this age helps support students as they make transitions in the many facets of their lives. It transfers to academics, where their leadership and teamwork skills are also put to use and challenged more, while providing an open, trusting, and safe environment to connect with peers creatively. Confidence grows while intermediate technique is developed through guided practice, energetic phrase work, and improvisation. Leadership skills, teamwork, and critical thinking skills are challenged through student group choreography, deep and thoughtfully facilitated discussions, and through exercises intended to expand the dancers’ abilities to perceive, evaluate, and interpret movement. We approach this class asking the question How do we create something together? This class is open to dancers of any experience level.

  • Exploring dance concepts

  • Refining technique

  • Challenging ourselves physically, conceptually, and intellectually

  • Risk-taking, using full energy

  • Emphasis on teamwork, leadership, confidence

Levels Two and Three

Content:

  • Place

  • Pathway

  • Level

  • Speed

  • Body Parts (Isolation)

  • Relationships

  • Balance

  • Energy

  • Weight

  • Choreographic elements (Form)

  • Intermediate locomotor Skills

  • Non-locomotor skills

  • Modern Technique

  • Kinesphere

  • Yoga stretches

  • Stamina, strength, coordination

  • Improvisation

  • Individual & group choreography

Objectives:

  • Confidence

  • Self-awareness

  • Understanding class format

  • Teamwork/community building

  • Coordination

  • Isolation

  • Spatial awareness

  • Communication

  • Body-Mind Connection

  • Basics of technique

  • Independence

  • Initiative

  • Problem-solving

  • Memorization

Level Four, Ages 14-18

In Level Four, high school students continue to explore elements of teamwork and leadership discussed in Level Three with the addition of greater emphasis on exploring the self and articulating self-expression. Students continue to study the concepts of Space, Time, Body, Effort, Movement, and Form with technical rigor and deep creativity. Confidence and self-awareness are key themes, along with empathy, embodiment, and energetic expression.

  • Expectation of technical rigor

  • Additional artistic exploration and depth

  • Emphasis on strong work ethic, empathy, self-awareness, and self-expression, respect, communication, leadership and teamwork, listening skills, problem-solving and more.

  • Dancers are asked to think of themselves as artists, and encouraged to explore the art in class and independently

  • Conversations about possible futures in dance—includes visits from alumni, teachers, artists

  • On occasion, other dance styles and cultures are studied with visiting teachers