Williamsburg Charter High School’s Dance Department is a quickly evolving dance program featuring introductory classes for students new to dance and audition based classes for students with a dance background. We provide a welcoming learning environment for students to hone their technical skills and create movement inspired by their personal lives.
The dance curriculum was developed in alignment with the New York City Department of Education’s Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in the Arts: Dance, Grades PreK-12. It provides an overview of the five strands of the Dance Blueprint; Dance Making, Developing Dance Literacy, Making Connections, Working with Community and Cultural Resources, and Exploring Careers and Lifelong Learning. An emphasis on the Dance Making strand is scaffolded through the six modules to make this a physically experiential course in dance skills and techniques, improvisation, and choreography.
The dance curriculum allows students to meet a portion or the entire high school arts requirement depending on the instructional time. During the First Trimester, students begin by exploring how dance communicates meaning and connects to health and well-being. They understand themselves as dancers through learning how to take a dance class, then move on to sound body mechanics and how they apply to basic dance elements and principles. These are the foundations of dance styles and techniques. Students apply these principles to exploring their own expressive capabilities and communicating with others through the non-verbal medium of the dance art form guided by the dance instructor. Students further develop their technical and compositional skills integrating and synthesizing the movement concepts learned throughout the years to independently create and perform original work.
Throughout the curriculum, students will learn the origins and history of dance, and explore and perform a range of dance styles from among the following: Traditional Folkloric Dance, Social Dance, Classical Ballet, Historical Dance, Modern Dance, and Theatre Dance/Tap/Jazz. These genres will be taught within a framework of skills and composition building, and in historical and cultural context. Students will learn how to critique professional and student dance productions, reflect on and discuss dance’s connection to their lives and others’ cultures, identify particular dance careers, and work with dance professionals who visit the school and/or whose performances they attend. They will participate in a daily dance warm-up, learn about the skeletal, muscular and cardiovascular systems and their response to dance movements, and study the nutritional elements and their effects on short and long-term physical performance. A range of dance practices that promote fitness, stress management, emotional wellness, and prevention and treatment of dance injuries will be introduced. The curriculum will provide baseline dance content, knowledge and skills that allow the student to follow additional advanced dance coursework, and graduate with an Certificate of Advanced Achievement or Chancellor’s Endorsed in the Arts.