Dance at ESA

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Dance, as an art form at ESA, provides an inclusive outlet for extensive technical development, personal expression and exploration, celebration of dance cultures, as well as individual achievement and transformation for all our students.

ESA offers dance majors intensive training in Ballet and Modern Dance; our aim is to develop technically strong and creative artists who are musically adept, self-disciplined, and who have an appreciation of the arts. Dancers study theory, anatomy and dance history to expand their understanding of the world of dance and their role in it.

ESA promotes and develops student voice through composition and community partnerships. Our dancers also have the opportunity to study other genres, featuring diverse dance artists from local and international dance communities. Through the curriculum and extra curricular activities, the ESA dance program promotes and models self-discipline, teamwork, creativity, exploration and risk-taking. The ESA dance department is committed to honouring, nurturing, and advancing dance through the lens of diversity, inclusion, and equal opportunity across all aspects of our programming.

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

  • 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 and in the professional community
  • 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

ATB 1O1 / ATM 1O1 BALLET/MODERN I
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.

ATC 1O1 HIP HOP: URBAN DANCE FORMS
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.

ATB 2O1 / ATM 2O1 BALLET / MODERN II
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.

ATJ 2O1 JAZZ ELECTIVE
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.

ATJ 3O1 ADVANCED JAZZ DANCE
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.

ATJ3M1 JAZZ ELECTIVE
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.

ATB 3M1 / ATM 3M1 BALLET / MODERN III
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.

ATB 4M1 / ATM 4M1 BALLET / MODERN IV
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?
Yes, we look for students who show good movement potential in the audition. We assess physical and artistic potential as well as experience in the audition.

My child has danced, but not ballet or modern. Should she/he audition?
Yes, some of our students have prior ballet training, but many have had only jazz, tap, acro, hip hop, Afro-Caribbean, Highland, Irish or other world dance forms.

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.

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