MCDC Program For Young Dancers:
The curriculum is designed to carry a child from the earliest movement experience through pre-professional level work, with a focus on developing self-confidence and a lifelong appreciation for dance and other art forms.
Courses are offered in ballet, pointe, modern, jazz, hip hop and tap, allowing students to pursue the various genres of dance in a cross-curricular atmosphere. Students will learn the physical components of dance as well as historical and cultural concepts as they relate to the art form.
The annual spring concert culminates the spring semester of courses. The concert provides students the opportunity to broaden their pre-professional dance experience by performing on the College’s state-of-the-art Baker Theatre stage.
Creative Movement provides the young dancer with an introduction to movement and rhythmic concepts through a wide variety of learning activities. Students will develop pre-ballet skills as well as large and fine motor skills within a supportive environment that encourages group interaction.
Beginning Ballet is the first level of ballet training that introduces students to the foundations of ballet, with both group and individual attention. There is a strong emphasis on early ballet technique, including barre work, flexibility and strengthening exercise and center combinations.
Intermediate Ballet reinforces and builds upon beginning ballet concepts and skills, introducing choreographic variations and focusing on developing a strong knowledge of terminology. Students will begin to explore different styles of ballet and how they influence technical, choreographic and performance aspects of the art form.
Accelerated Intermediate Ballet is designed to accommodate students with a very strong interest in learning the art of ballet in its complexity. The course will constantly challenge students to blend the harmony of strong technique and artistic ballet quality with emphasis on ballet history past and present. Class structure will be focus on epaulement, alignment and more complex chorographic skills.
Advanced Ballet is for the experienced ballet dancer. This level continues mastery of increasingly complex movements and combinations. The proficiency of style and performance skills is refined. Students will learn variations from various ballets in this level, and have the opportunity to work on choreographic works. Students will also have the opportunity to work en pointe in this class.
Pointe is designed for more technically proficient dancers who wish to take their ballet technique to the next level. Because of the challenging nature of pointe work, students must demonstrate a thorough understanding of proper body alignment and clean ballet technique. Student safety is a top priority for all teachers and staff at MCDC; students must be 12 years of age or older and have director’s approval to take Pointe.
Beginning Jazz introduces the basic skills of jazz dance with emphasis on general body technique and development. Students will learn the structure of a jazz class, which includes center floor warm-up and technique, moving across the floor work and choreography.
Intermediate Jazz reinforces and builds upon beginning jazz technique. This class will be faster paced and will expect students to have an understanding of basic jazz dance. This class will also begin to explore different styles of jazz dance including hip hop, funk, Broadway and musical theatre.
Advanced Jazz is for the experienced jazz dancer. Students will develop strength, flexibility and coordination with strong cardio-focused warm-up and across-the-floor work, emphasizing leaps, turns and dynamic movement combinations. The class will incorporate a variety of styles and choreography ranging from the traditional to the contemporary, while honing students’ individual performance skills.
Beginning/Intermediate Modern introduces students to concepts of time, space and energy as tools for movement. The foundations of modern technique will be explored, including kinesthetic approaches to direction, momentum, gravity and weight shift. Students will develop a strong awareness of their bodies while building strength and flexibility. Choreographic principles and the historical background of modern dance will be introduced, as well as improvisational skills.
Advanced Modern is for the experienced student in one or more forms of dance. The class will focus on developing individual style while honing strong performance skills. Concepts of weight shift, partnering, tension/release and balance/off-balance will be investigated. A broad range of musical styles will be used to build students’ ability to work with rhythmic complexities. Students will explore improvisational techniques and experience different disciplines within modern dance, including Graham, Horton and Cunningham.
Beginning Tap introduces students to the foundations of tap dance, focusing on rhythmic principles and developing a terminology for the technique. Students will develop a strong sense of musicality while being introduced to the basic elements of tap. Different styles of tap will be explored, including musical theatre, jazztap, and classical tap.
Intermediate Tap builds upon the basics taught in Beginning Tap and explores more complex rhythms, steps and combinations. Students will learn the history of American tap dancing while developing strong tap and musical skills. Emphasis will be placed on concepts of articulation, tempo, beat and variation.
The Performance Company is a two-hour class for MCDC students who are already registered for technique classes, and who are interested in learning more about the performance side of dance. The Company is a full-year commitment and also includes outside classes and performances. This includes an annual trip and class in NYC along with performances at Parkland High School and Mayfair. Company requirements include: registration each semester in at least one MCDC ballet class and attendance at two Muhlenberg College dance performances (Thursday, Nov. 14, and Thursday, Feb. 6). Tickets will be provided for Performance Company dancers. Company work includes warm-up, dance repertory and newly choreographed material, rehearsals, and being a part of the more "grand scale" performance pieces in our Spring Performance. The Company is for ages 10 and older with director approval.