Studying Dance at High School level, is a brave and satisfying journey. Through three core intercorrelating components, Performance, Composition and Appreciation, students learn a combination of the skills required in these areas that enable them to create and perform movement as well as learn to analyse and appreciate its meaning.
Under the umbrella of Performance, we put a focus on developing technical dance skills, understanding anatomy and an introduction to body maintenance. Students engage in weekly technique classes focusing on the development of foot and core control, floor work and travelling and off-centre skills in a range of styles. As our students deepen their technical skills in Dance, aspects of performance quality and stagecraft are practiced; this ultimately encourages them to learn how to use their bodies as an artistic expression through the language of Dance.
A class piece is developed in these practical classes throughout the year, which is then performed at the annual End of Year Dance Showcase at NIDA in Term 4. This exercise aims to prepare students with the endurance, strength and coordination required to eventually present a 3-minute solo dance once they reach HSC level. From a theoretical point of view, students are introduced to somatotypes and understanding individual body types as well as how this influences personal capabilities and limitations when dancing.
To support this new knowledge, students study the bones and joints of the body, types of training and injury prevention in performance theory lessons. In Composition classes, the focus is on increasing creativity and confidence in students’ personal choreographic style. Students learn to create compositions based on a chosen intention and develop skills of personalisation and abstraction to transform literal concepts into the artform of Dance. Students also learn to structure their movement using motif and form, organising their ideas into a readable art form.
The Appreciation component of the course is centred around analysing the meaning of dance. Students study the work of professional choreographers from a range of styles and backgrounds. They engage in seminars and workshops with professional lecturers and learn to interpret and appreciate Dance Works as well as consider a choreographer's choreographic style, background and training. There is also a focus on essay writing in this component of the course.
Dance is a truly unique and rewarding subject to experience in the Senior School at Reddam House. Studying Dance at this level not only teaches students to become a stronger dancer and more expressive artist, but equips an individual with skills that assist decision-making and problem-solving. Students learn how to collaborate with teachers and peers, expanding their knowledge and increasing their potential. They become efficient in time management, learning to meet deadlines and how to plan for the creative process.
Throughout all aspects of the course, students are given regular opportunities to reflect on and evaluate their own work as well as how to set goals for future performances. All of these are characteristics easily translate to every other subject on the school timetable, preparing students for a full and rewarding school experience.