There are two sections to most DAS classes:
Training: Typically occurs from September to December. Students are taught exercises, steps, vocabulary, and overall technique. Sometimes short combinations are developed and practiced. Material is taught in a progressive fashion, but the commitment required is moderate. Student progress is experienced on an individual level with focus placed on training in a safe and consistent way.
Choreography: Typically occurs from January to May/June. Each class group is taught choreography for a final performance. The performance is completely optional – students are welcome to participate in group choreography without purchasing a costume or appearing on stage. Progress is experienced on a group level, requiring higher attendance commitment from each student. Skills are developed in spacing, timing, and synchronicity, which requires all members of the team.
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Extra Training Opportunities
Adult Ballet – Caelia Gardiner
Ballet is the foundation of the DAS program. We have multiple levels of adult ballet from Beginner to Advanced. These classes each have a unique syllabus created by Caelia to suit the needs of the dancers, which loosely follows the curriculum of the Royal Academy of Dance. During the Training portion of the season (Sep to Dec), students will learn barre, port de bras, turns, adage, and allegro exercises. The Choreography phase (Jan to Jun) places less focus on technical exercises, but draws on the training from the first part of the year. Ballet develops strength, balance, flexibility, stamina, stage presence, memory, and cognitive skills, and promotes emotional and artistic expression. It also creates a solid foundation for any other discipline, which makes it a fantastic starting point for your journey into the world of dance.
Adult Pointe – Caelia Gardiner
Pointe is the only subsection of ballet that is not included in the Adult Ballet classes. It requires its own course of strength and balance training and can be quite strenuous on the foot and ankle. Adults are welcome to train in pointe class regardless of their experience, but must be patient about progress – pointe shoes will only be purchased and practiced in once the teacher deems it safe. Besides the prospect of dancing on pointe, this class is a great opportunity to strengthen the knees and ankles, activate the core, and improve body alignment. This makes it a great complement to the ballet class, or a fantastic wellness class on its own.
Adult Tap – Christine Aaron-McEown
Tap is a vigorous and upbeat dance style based on rhythm and sound. The music is fun and the footwork is challenging. During the Exercises and Technique portion, vocabulary and steps are taught, and combinations are developed over the course of a few weeks. Ankle dexterity and weight placement are important parts of tap dancing and often feel quite different from other dance styles. Christine’s approach focuses on developing good habits and proper technique, so no one is left behind.
Adult Jazz – Christine Aaron-McEown
Jazz is the more powerful, fast-moving cousin of ballet. The technique developed through ballet training – balance, posture, control, alignment – is fundamental in jazz, but used differently. Jazz dancing incorporates many positions where the legs are parallel, rather than always turned out as in ballet, and the movements have more power and speed to them. Jumps and turns are prominent in jazz training, and dances are usually performed to music with a beat and a style. Not all jazz is the same, and Christine works to provide a wider experience of jazz choreo with strong foundations in technique. Jazz is a good complement to ballet as it helps to improve strength and flexibility, and another facet of performance.
* Students need at least 1 year of ballet training to begin jazz training.
* Enrollment in Jazz classes is up to sole discretion of the teacher.
Adult Lyrical – Christine Aaron-McEown
Lyrical tells a story. It has movement elements from jazz, ballet, modern, and contemporary. It is free expression with the body in an attempt to connect with the audience. The technical foundation again comes from ballet, but training in jazz as well is an asset. Ballet, jazz, and lyrical serve as a sort of “technical triad” – dancers who take all three receive an integrated but well-rounded dance training experience. Christine has beautiful lyrical choreography and plans the classes to train students in non-syllabus movement, while still using structured technique. Lyrical can be slow, fast, angry, sad, or loving, but it is always about the emotional and artistic expression of music through dance.
* Students need at least 1 year of ballet training to begin lyrical training.
* Enrollment in Lyrical classes is up to sole discretion of the teacher.
Adult Hip Hop – Christine Aaron-McEown
Hip hop is just plain fun! Hard-hitting and body-popping, hip hop dance comes from hip hop culture, but can be stylised in many different ways. We try not to take ourselves too seriously in our Adult Hip Hop class – it’s more about having fun and learning to move the body in different ways. While other dance training doesn’t explicitly help with hip hop movement, the more you understand how to isolate your movements, the easier it will be. Hip hop teaches us to let loose, get weird, and make noise. Christine’s hip hop is unique and exciting, and will be tailored to the group. Come have a blast sweating it out with us!
Pilates for Dancers – Maddi Rajchyba
Cross-training is extremely important for every dancer, and Pilates is one of the best cross-training activities out there! It focuses on natural movement patterns of the body: releasing tension, activating the deep core, and moving the way the body wants to move. It is a great way to both “work out” and relax and stretch the body. It develops intrinsic core strength, which is necessary not only for dance but all other physical activities. No dance experience is required to take part in this class, but priority is given to dancers currently training at Dance Alive.