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Dance at ESA

Dance, as an art form at Etobicoke School of the Arts (ESA), provides an inclusive outlet for extensive technical development, personal expression and exploration, celebration of dance cultures, as well as individual achievement and artistic transformation for all our students who are dedicated and passionate about dance.

ESA offers dance majors intensive technical 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. Our program also includes studies in wellness, anatomy, dance production and composition, as well as dance history in order to expand students’ understanding of the world of dance and their role in it.

ESA promotes and develops the student voice through composition and community partnerships. Our dancers also have the opportunity to study other dance genres such as urban dance styles, jazz, and world dance forms by working with diverse dance artists from local and international dance communities. 

Through the curriculum and extracurricular activities, the ESA dance program offers dancers performance opportunities and showcases students’ choreography, in a supportive environment that promotes modelling self-discipline, teamwork, creativity, and exploration.

The ESA dance department is committed to honouring, nurturing, and advancing dance through a 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.

  • 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

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.

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.


If you have any questions please contact Heather Saum, ACL of Dance, at