Dance at ESA


ESA offers dance majors intensive training in Ballet and Modern Dance with the opportunity to study Jazz in grades 10 and 11.  Throughout the program dancers develop their skills in technique classes and explore their creativity in composition classes.  Dancers study theory, anatomy and dance history to expand their understanding of the world of dance and their role in it. Regular guest artists and choreographers are an integral part of the program.

All  dance majors are invited to participate in two major performances:  Choreographic Workshop showcases student choreographed work as well as teacher directed class pieces, and our major production, An Evening of Dance, features all of our classes as well as our dance company.

Click here to see a slide show of ALICE – An Evening of Dance 2016-17

Through the curriculum and extra curricular activities, the ESA dance program promotes and models self-discipline, teamwork, creativity, exploration and risk-taking.

The courses in this section have been developed:

  • to give students who demonstrate aptitude in dance, drama, film, music, music theatre or the visual arts an opportunity to develop such talent as part of their education
  • to equip students to evaluate and handle the fundamental discipline in their elected arts field
  • to develop in artistically-inclined students the ability to understand and use their arts specialty as a living language
  • to prepare students for continued study in the arts at the post-secondary level
  • to help students develop the necessary skills to become proficient performers and artists

The Dance department also offers elective dance courses in Hip-hop and Jazz Dance. These courses are open to all ESA students regardless of their  arts major.

Course Descriptions

In dance, the medium of expression is movement and the instrument is the human body. These introductory courses in ballet and modern dance are designed to give students a fundamental knowledge of: dance technique, the science of movement, the elements of composition, the historical and cultural significance of the art form, and the contribution dance can make to physical and emotional well-being.

This course in dance is designed to give students the opportunity to explore urban dance forms such as Hip Hop, House, Funk, Jazz Pop, Salsa, and other styles of dance that are part of popular dance culture. This course will allow students to gain a basic knowledge of dance technique, an introduction to the science of movement, the elements of dance, demonstrate an understanding of safe practices, and identify the function and significance of dance within the global community. This course is open to any BODY interested in movement and requires no prior dance training.

These courses focus on more complex movement skills and emphasize the relationship between technique and artistry. Students: explore various approaches to composition, learn to analyze dance and to polish work for performance, learn the specialized vocabulary of dance criticism, and continue to explore the science and history of dance.

This course requires students to develop their dance skills in jazz and learn the theoretical basis for communicating through movement. Student learning includes: creating dance, scientific and safety principles, the historical development of dance, the development of an aesthetic approach to dance by participating in dance class, rehearsals and performances, and the specialized vocabulary of dance criticism.

Advanced Jazz Dance is a new dance course for senior students. This course builds the fundamentals of jazz dance covered in ATJ 2O1. It is open to students who have taken ANY grade 10 dance course or those with departmental permission to take this course.

This course focuses on more complex skills in jazz and emphasizes the relationship between technique and artistry. Student learning includes: compositions for small groups, performance skills and the cultural significance of jazz dance in North America and internationally.

These courses emphasize the development of artistry through the acquisition of increasingly complex technical skills. Student learning includes: compositions for small groups, performance and stagecraft skills, the benefits of good nutrition and good health, and the history of dance and its cultural significance both in Canada and abroad.

Fourth year dance emphasizes the development of technical proficiency and the creation and presentation of complex compositions. Students will: assume leadership roles in class and in rehearsal, will acquire increasingly difficult technical skills and will demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the science of dance, the relationship of dance to a healthy lifestyle, and the historical and cultural significance of dance in Canada and around the world.

Frequently Asked Questions

My child has lots of training. Will she/he be bored?
We are usually able to offer two grade 9 classes which allows us to create small classes where each student is able to work at his/her level of technique.

My child has never danced before. Does she/he have a chance?
Some students who have never danced may show good potential in the audition, especially if they have done other forms of physical activity such as gymnastics or skating. We are assessing physical and artistic potential as well as experience in the audition.

My child has danced, but not ballet or modern. Should she/he audition?
Some of our students have prior ballet training, but many have had only jazz, tap, acro, Highland, Irish, etc.

My child has done RAD, but I understand that you teach Cecchetti. Is this going to be a problem for my child?
Many of our students come from RAD schools. The main differences are in style and the names of the steps. The basic techniques are the same and should not conflict with what is being taught in their studios. We do not teach exclusively Cecchetti syllabus, nor do we put students forward for Cecchetti examinations; it is simply the tool we use to teach our students.

Do you teach pointe work?
No, we are not able to do pointe because of the limited time we have for technique class.

How much dancing will my child do in a day?
In grade 9, students have one dance class each day, alternating between ballet and modern dance.