Dance & Theater
School Age Dance
Our School Age Dance program is for students Kindergarten through the 12th grade. The following classes are available:
Turns, Leaps, Progressions Musical Theater
In Kindergarten, students begin the study of pre-ballet. During grades 1-12, they study classical ballet through a graded syllabus that incorporates the Cecchetti, Vaganova, Royal Academy, and Balanchine methods. Students begin learning the basics of the ballet barre and centre work. As they progress, there are further expansions of barre techniques, increasingly difficult centre work, and intricate across the floor progressions. A great deal of time and focus is dedicated to musicality, balance, coordination, position of the arms, legs, and feet, and the use of proper French vocabulary.
Pre-Pointe and Pointe:
When a student is strong enough, they may begin the art of pointe work; which is the performance of ballet while wearing pointe shoes. In general, students must be at least 10 to 12 years old, have at least 4 or 5 years of ballet training, be enrolled in 1.5-2.5 hours of ballet per week, and have proper ankle, core, and back strength before pre-pointe classes can be considered. In addition, it is necessary for students to have a professional evaluation, by a qualified pointe teacher, before enrolling in pre-pointe and pointe classes. It should be noted that a child's stage of development, work ethic, turn out, strength, and height/weight ratio must be taken into account when considering pointe readiness. At Sonshine Academy, students are invited to take a pre-pointe class when it is appropriate for their stage of development and training. If you have questions, please contact the Director, Mrs. Michelle Knell.
At Sonshine Academy we use a graded tap syllabus, which is strongly influenced by the techniques of the Al Gilbert method. Tap classes are designed to develop rhythm, style and sound. Students will learn a variety of tap styles from Broadway to Rhythm tap. Exercises focus on building flexibility of the knees and ankles, coordination, and speed of movement. The class emphasis is on developing proper tap technique, producing clear tap sounds, and having fun. As students progress through each level, the curriculum will become increasingly more complex and intricate.
Sonshine Academy teaches both traditional and contempory styles of jazz. Class curriculum is based on ballet technique layered with various forms of jazz movement and includes a proper warm-up, stretches, isolations, across-the-floor progressions, and numerous combinations. As students progress through each level, the curriculum will become increasingly more intricate. Because jazz requires a sound knowledge of dance technique, it is offered to students who are 1st grade and older as long as they are also enrolled in a ballet class.
Contemporary Lyrical: Grades 3-12
Contemporary Lyrical classes are offered to intermediate and advanced level students who are also enrolled in a ballet and jazz class. This program draws on the fundamentals of ballet, jazz, and modern but also has evolved over the years to pull from every other style of dance, allowing the performer to express his or her own interpretation to the audience. Contemporary Lyrical is a beautiful form of artistic expression that is usually performed with the intent of interpreting the lyrics or mood of the music.
Hip Hop is offered to children who have an interest in more contemporary dance styles made popular by the music video industry. Hip-Hop is less technical in nature and does not require the student to be enrolled in a ballet class. This makes it an excellent choice for beginning level dancers with little or no classical training. Students will learn balance, strength, coordination, stage presence, and basic elements of "funk" and "urban" styles which include house, popping, locking, freezes, waving, and gliding.
Modern is a style of dance that, while largely based on ballet technique, is not confined to traditional ballet form or expression. Often, it combines other forms of movement such as African, American Indian, contemporary styles, and even dancer improvisation. In this class students will learn and experiment with interpretation, spatial awareness, rhythm, intention of movement, and awareness of body. Sonshine Academy focuses primarily on Lester Horton and Martha Graham modern techniques. This class is only open to upper level, advanced (gold, platinum) company students.
This class is a company level offering which allows students the opportunity to perform dances in which they portray characters from Broadway, Vaudeville, Hollywood classics, musical comedy, and the like. Special attention will be paid to song study, character development, entertainment quality, acting, and truth in performance. This is a strongly recommended class for the serious dancer.
This class will help dancers develop body awareness, proper stretching technique, and muscle strength in areas of need. Class exercises will be based on dancer friendly athletic conditioning such as; Zumba, Yoga, Pilates, calisthenics, bar fitness, and ballet/jazz technique. Education about the anatomy of the body and good nutrition may also be introduced. All dancers, especially those in a company, are encouraged to participate.
This Company level class focuses strictly on dance technique. Proper turns, body placement, pointed feet, higher kicks, better leaps, improved coordination, and faster footwork are all core components of this class. It will help dancers develop body awareness, proper stretching technique, and muscle strength in areas of need. Class exercises may be based on dancer friendly athletic conditioning such as; Zumba, Yoga, Pilates, calisthenics, bar fitness, and ballet/jazz technique, as extension and strength are essential to the success of a dancer. It is the perfect supplement for any ballet, jazz, or contemporary dancer.
Choreography 101: A practical experience focusing on the choreographer’s creative process. Emphasis will be placed on critical evaluation skills for dance, use of choreographic devices, use of improvisation for generating movement, and creating meaning through the use of time, space, energy/force, and weight. Students will collaborate to create and perform a choreographic work of art with the gentle guidance of a teacher/professional. Course objectives are to understand how to use music, rhythm, time, space, shape, costume, lighting, and other theatrical elements to clearly and effectively create a unified dance with a personal and identifiable artistic statement.