Why is dance important?
First and foremost, dance is important because it’s fun! Our teachers are dancers themselves and share their passion with their students. Additionally, the National Dance Education Organization says that dance trains a better combination of flexibility, strength, endurance, and coordination than most other physical pursuits. But beyond that, educators are increasingly recognizing the importance of the arts on cognitive development. Creative and aesthetic pursuits like dance have been repeatedly linked to improved physical, mental, and social well being, as well as academic achievement. More than ever, dance and the arts are being recognized as essential pieces of a complete education by leading teachers, administrators, and educational philosophers.
Ballet for Teens
Ballet is a cornerstone of most formal dance instruction, and teaches the strength, balance, flexibility, coordination, and movement skills which are the foundation from everything from Hip Hop to Salsa. But whether you’re just starting out at Ballet or you’ve been practicing since you were little, whether you want to pursue a career as a dancer or just want to learn what all the fuss is about, Dance Magazine says the teen years are key. “It takes about 12 years to produce a company-ready [professional] dancer,” says Damara Bennett, director of the School of Oregon Ballet Theatre, and the teen years account for the majority of that training. But that shouldn’t discourage newcomers from trying Ballet, even newcomers with professional dance aspirations. Patience and a willingness to learn from the beginning are very important. No matter who you are, though, the desire to have fun through dance is key!
Jazz for Teens
Thanks to shows like Dancing with the Stars, interest in Jazz dancing is peaking right now. Jazz combines some of the rigors of Ballet training with more free-form expressionism, making it not only an exciting and accessible form to watch and dance, but also an essential to any student with an interest in musical theater or show choir. Jazz is a uniquely American style which reflects the diversity of the United States’ immigrant heritage. Both the music and the dance style mix strong African heritage with European influences. It’s also a wide-ranging style of dance, and can encompass everything from the Charleston and swing to more modern dance steps. Jazz is a great way to learn to move in a variety of ways to many different types of music, both for the serious dancer and newcomers just looking to have fun learning some steps.
Hip Hop for Teens
Hip Hop is one of the most popular dance forms today, and many modern songs in pop music, rock, rap, and R&B are based on elements of Hip Hop. Hip Hop encourages kids to move their entire body and get comfortable within their own skin, both physically and socially. It’s a free-form, improvisational style that is fun for anybody to learn, and can also be important to the serious dance student, especially students interested in modern dance.
Tap for Teens
If your child is caught between taking dance classes or music lessons, Tap might be the answer. Tap is the most musical and rhythmically precise of all the styles of dance we teach. Tap develops complex motor skills, coordination, a sense of rhythm, and cardiovascular strength, all of which are important developmentally whether your child wants to become a dancer or not. The American Council on Exercise says Tap is a great activity for both the young and old because it easily modulates to any fitness level, meaning it’s easy to learn the basics, but also easy to progress. There’s also a strong connection between the rhythmic musicality that is core to Tap dance and improved mathematical understanding. Our classes range from new dancers to established Tap dancers with professional aspirations, and Tap routines vary widely from the classical to the contemporary!
Why Take Adult Dance Classes?
Maybe you danced growing up and just want to get back in the studio. Maybe you’ve never stopped, and want to keep improving your skills. Maybe you’ve never set foot in a dance studio in your life but have decided now is the time to learn what dance is all about. Our adult dance classes span the lot.
Ballet for Adults
Ballet is a cornerstone of most formal dance instruction, and teaches the strength, balance, flexibility, coordination, and movement skills which are the foundation from everything from Hip Hop to Salsa. Proficiency at Ballet takes years of practice, so if you’re just starting, patience and a willingness to learn from the beginning are key, but the rewards can be huge. Ballerina and fitness expert Mary Helen Bowers, who worked with actress Natalie Portman to prepare for her starring role in Black Swan, says dance is a great way to maintain fitness, in many ways better than popular alternatives like yoga. “In yoga,” she says, “you hold the positions, whereas in dance, you’re constantly moving, extending, reaching through the legs and arms, which helps build long, lean muscles as opposed to shorter, tighter ones.”
Jazz for Adults
If you’ve been watching Dancing with the Stars or So You Think You Can Dance and thought it looked like fun, Jazz dance classes might be the place to start. Jazz combines attention to technique with more free-form expressionism, making it an exciting, accessible, and versatile form to watch and dance. If you had fun with musical theater or show choir in high school or college, one of our more advanced adult classes might be the perfect place for you to jump back into it.
Hip Hop for Adults
Hip Hop is one of the most popular dance forms today, and many modern songs in pop music, rock, rap, and R&B are based on elements of Hip Hop. Feeling out of place at the dance club? Hip Hop classes are a great way to learn how to move to a beat and fit in on the dance floor. Hip Hop is a free-form, improvisational style that is fun for anybody to learn, and is also an essential component of modern dance.
Tap for Adults
The American Council on Exercise says Tap is a great activity for both the young and old because it easily modulates to any fitness level, meaning it’s easy to learn the basics, but also easy to progress. Tap routines vary widely from the classical to the contemporary, and Tap lessons are a great way to keep your body healthy and get comfortable moving in rhythm.
Why choose a particular style of dance?
The National Dance Education Organization lists the following as reasons to learn standardized dance forms:
- Provide a scaffold outlining the breadth and scope of learning and teaching dance as an art upon which to design curricula and course syllabi. Standards are a guide, not a directive nor a curriculum. They offer constructive support, suggesting areas of curriculum but not defining it. Standards allow each district or school to develop an approach most suited to local or individual values.
- Serve as a springboard for creativity for the learning and teaching of dance making: improvisation, choreography, and composition. Standards suggest avenues of creative exploration in the arts-making processes of Performing, Creating, Responding to, and interconnecting dance learning to knowledge of other disciplines and life skills.
- Define age-appropriate expectations and levels of achievement in the art of dance. Standards inform individual schools of dance and school districts what students should know and be able to do in the art of dance at certain benchmark levels when taught by a highly qualified dance teacher in a graduated curriculum.
None of that means students can’t learn more than one style (many of our students do, and we think that’s great!) or create their own styles out of elements of others, but when learning to dance, it’s helpful to have an established standard to learn from.