The Canterbury Dance Program, open to boys and girls, focuses on technical and artistic development in both ballet and modern dance. Along with dance technique classes, the program also seeks to develop the students’ creativity through composition and choreography.
The Dance Program has a number of components that all students study. These include:
Daily dance classes are divided between the ballet and modern styles of dance throughout the week. In these classes, students work on flexibility, proper body placement and alignment, barre and floor exercises, centre work, corner work and refinement of technical steps. Working to musical accompaniment, students also develop their musicality in connection with dance. The technique required of students becomes increasingly advanced and complex throughout the course of the program. Students also learn the appropriate dance terminology connected with the technical steps.
Students develop choreographic skills through the study of the basic elements of dance, composition exercises and the creation of individual and group choreographic works. Beginning with the basic elements of dance (e.g. body, space, time, energy, relationship), students experiment with combining these elements in sequences. Through improvisation, students use these elements to vary established patterns or to develop an idea or theme. Through performance and creation, students begin to develop an aesthetic consciousness and the ability to express themselves and effectively project their ideas to an audience.
A variety of performance opportunities in school and in the community provides students with experience in front of an audience. Dance students perform in class, in school assemblies, at other schools, and in community events and evening public performances. At the senior levels, the program offers students the opportunity to work in the Canterbury Dance Company. This Company is designed to allow students to explore choreography in greater depth, as well as offer opportunities to perform for public audiences, building on their technical abilities and sense of presentation. Being a part of The Company also teaches students how to produce a show, including stage and lighting design, marketing, business proposals and backstage organization.
DANCE HISTORY AND THEORY
Dance students learn various dance forms and their history, as well as the terminology connected with these forms. Guest dancers and choreographers are brought into the program regularly to expose students to a variety of ideas and dance genres.
Through attendance at professional dance performances, students are exposed to the dance styles of dance companies from Canada and around the world. They also learn how to critique and write performance reviews. Canterbury dancers learn about the healthy lifestyle, physical well-being and proper nutrition required for busy dancers. Grade 12 students also study basic anatomy and physiology to better understand how to effectively perform their art.