Fluidity, Balance, Flexibility, Rhythm, and Spatial Awareness
The Sewickley Academy Performing Arts program strives to develop the creative potential in each student, a process that is both intellectual and experiential. A rich, varied experience in the arts is essential to educating the whole child, and students are encouraged to explore these opportunities as they engage and master skills in visual arts, music, dance, and theater.
Students in Pre-K and Kindergarten explore dance through creative movement classes where they develop gross motor skills, balance, and coordination. Students learn that dance is for every body and expression through dance is a unique and celebrated experience. Through movement explorations, students respond and replicate movement in their own bodies, develop spatial awareness as they move in general and personal space, and develop body patterning by practicing same-side and cross-body movements. Ultimately, dance class at the Early Childhood level engages students in creative problem-solving and instills joy of movement.
Students in Grade 1 are introduced to choreography, where they develop rhythm and gain an understanding of how dance can be done as a sequence of steps. Through creative movement practices, students explore locomotor and non-locomotor movements by experimenting with the elements of dance: body, action, space, time, and energy. By the end of their Grade 1 year, students develop a foundation for their dance technique and build strength, flexibility, and stamina.
Students in Grade 2 continue to explore choreography through creative play and are introduced to how to use choreographic devices to solve movement problems. Students develop empathy as they learn that dance is an expression of emotion, culture, and individuality. Students will be introduced to dance fundamentals where they will begin to build their movement technique.
Students in Grade 3 are introduced to dance terminology and are able to identify the characteristics of specific genres, styles, or cultures of dance. Students continue to explore movement problems by experimenting with a variety of stimuli individually and in small groups. Students will begin to gain an awareness of their bodies in space and in relation to other dancers.
Students in Grade 4 explore more complex choreography and experiment with tempo, dynamics, and energy. Students will continue strengthening their fundamental dance skills and begin to understand movement quality and artistry. Students will begin to appreciate dance as an art form and make connections between genres of dance and the culture they originated from.
The Grade 5 fully-staged musical play is the culmination of the Lower School Dance and Music program and an interdisciplinary project of the Dance, Music, and Theater Departments, in which every Grade 5 student participates. Through this experience, students learn to recall and execute a series of dance steps, adapt their movement from the studio to the stage, and develop safe movement practices that promote strength, flexibility, endurance, and injury prevention.
Dance is offered as an elective course for students in Grades 6-8. Middle School dance courses inspire students to create, perform, respond, and connect through movement studies. Students will physically engage with movement in each class through dance technique practices, solving movement problems, and sharing movement ideas. Acknowledging that dance is a personal journey, much of the coursework is driven by the student’s individual movement goals, empowering students to self-identify through dance and take ownership of their growth.
Dance courses in the Senior School are designed for beginner to advanced dancers, and present an opportunity for students with an interest in dance to further develop fundamental skills, techniques, and artistry. Students are encouraged to begin their journey with Intro to Dance, before proceeding to other courses. The Intro to Dance course will prepare students with the foundational skills needed to succeed in future courses throughout their dance education at Sewickley Academy. All dance courses will cover various genres of dance to meet the needs of the students enrolled, including Musical Theater, Jazz, Contemporary, Modern, and Ballet. Each course includes warm‐ups, vocabulary, and progressively challenging combinations that empower students with the tools needed to develop their own artistic voice.
The Academy believes that dance is an important part of a child’s education. Fluidity, balance, flexibility, rhythm, and spatial awareness complement and support the musicality of the individual.