Courses | Chicago High School for the Arts


Dance Department Scope & Sequence

Ballet- 6 to 9 hours/week
Ballet Technique (Novice, A, B, C, D, F) 
Pointe (Beginning, Variations)
Men's Technique

Conditioning/Character- 0 to 3 hours/week
Body Conditioning (Novice)
Conditioning for Advanced Technique
Character Dance

Modern/Contemporary- 3 hours/week
Horton (Novice, A)
Graham (B)
Contemporary Jazz
Contemporary Modern

Repertoire- 3 hours/week
Senior Repertoire

Dance Development Courses- 3 hours/week
Dance Literature and Language (Freshman)
Dance Injury and Prevention (Sophomores)
Music for Dancers (Juniors) Fall Semester
Professional Development (Juniors) Spring Semester
Professional Development (Seniors) Fall Semester
Cardio Conditioning for Dancers (Seniors) Spring Semester 

Dance Department Course Descriptions

Classical Ballet Technique Novice

Ballet Technique Novice is an introductory course to the fundamentals of classical ballet. Students will develop basic vocabulary and understanding of proper alignment. Emphasis is placed on finding and utilizing the turn out muscles, articulating through the legs and feet and building strength and tone. Clarity of movement and music are stressed.

Classical Ballet Technique A

Ballet Technique A is a continuation and progression from the previous level, Novice Ballet. Students will further develop skills in classical ballet technique with emphasis on strengthening the body, increasing flexibility, and building upon movement vocabulary. Emphasis will focus on structural alignment, clarity of movement, musicality, and self-correction. Particular importance will be placed on developing classical line and connection of movement through the repetition of fundamental exercises and the introduction of enchainments. Students will be required to complete occasional journal assignments.

Classical Ballet Technique B

Classical Ballet Technique B is a continuation and progression of Ballet A. Students will begin to be introduced to more movement vocabulary and longer combinations. Emphasis will be on building endurance, building strength, and moving at quicker tempos. 

Classical Ballet Technique C

Classical Ballet Technique C is a continuation and progression of Ballet B. Students will develop and increase vocabulary while striving to improve strength, flexibility, and understanding of movement. Proper alignment, musicality, and clarity of execution are emphasized. 

Classical Ballet Technique D

Classical Ballet Technique D is a continuation and progression of the classical ballet technique taught in Ballet C. Students will develop a more advanced vocabulary, while continuing to focus on placement, flexibility, fluidity, adn quality of movement. Proper alignment will be stressed, with a  concentration on increasing joint mobility and ease. An emphasis will be placed on refining technical and performance skills, with longer movement enchainments. Ladies will be required to take class en pointe at least one time per week. 

Classical Ballet Technique F

Classical Ballet Technique F is the highest level of ballet technique at ChiArts and is a continuation and progression of Ballet D. It is assumed at this level that sutdents have acquired and practiced work covered in previous levels. Students will refine vocabulary while striving to increase strength, flexibiliyt, coordination, and artistry wihtin their movement. Proper alignment, musicality, and clarity of execution are emphasized. Students are expected to pick up movement quickly, dance with speed, accuracy, and definition, and exhibit control. At this level, corrections should be aplied and retained rapidly. Ladies will be required to take class en pointe at least two times per week. 

Beginning Pointe

Beginning Pointe I classes are given two times per week and focus on building strength, clarity, and pointe vocabulary. Students will be introduced to basic fundamental principles, including a variety of piques, relevés and pirouettes. Emphasis will be placed on proper alignment of feet and legs through strengthening the body, working correctly through the shoe, increasing flexibility for proper execution, and balance. 

Pointe Variations

Pointe Variations is a continuation and progression of skills learned in Beginning Pointe. Students will continue to work on strength and articulation with increasingly difficult steps. Emphasis will be placed on quality, clarity, and ease of movement. A series of pointe variations in a variety of styles and by different choreographers. 

Men's Technique

This course is designed specifically for male dancers and emphasizes developing additional strength and agility for classical ballet. Focal points include multiple pirouettes, increased elevation, increased vocabulary for jumps including specialized grand allegro, and traveling through space.

Horton Technique Novice

At the Novice level, students are introduced to the basics of the Horton Technique. Focal points include spinal articulation, line, energy, shape and rhythm. Alignment and correct form are studied along with the movement vocabulary of the Horton Technique.

Horton Technique A

Students are introduced to intermediate level studies, fortifications and preludes from the Horton Technique. Focal points include contraction and release, movement dynamics, coordination and clarity of movement and more subtle musicality.

Graham Technique B

This class is designed for the students to learn the fundamental principles, practices, aesthetics and vocabulary of the Martha Graham modern dance technique. The technique is a system of movement based on the principles of contraction, release and spiral. Graham technique heightens awareness of the body and its relationship to space by stressing the use of weight in movement patterns. Emphasis will also be on clarity of movement, musicality and developing the students' own sense of artistry. This class will help students build physical strength, teach them to move from the center and further their understanding of alignment, giving them the strong foundation needed to train as a well versed dancer.

Contemporary Modern

Contemporary Modern provides an opportunity for students to further explore and challenge themselves artistically, technically, and creatively. Choreography and class components become increasingly complex and different movement qualities are used to give students experience in contemporary work. Focus is given to the quality and intention of the movement and the course will emphasize detailed work. This course is designed to complement previous training ot produce a well-rounded dancer. 

Contemporary Jazz

Students will be introduced to the fundamentals of jazz dance and how the jazz movement vocabulary is used in contemporary choreography. Focus will be on dynamics, improvisation, and developing personal artistry. 

Body Conditioning

Body Conditioning is designed to help students build the strength, endurance and flexibility needed for dance. Emphasis is placed on alignment and correct usage of the body. Students will develop awareness of different muscle groups and work towards utilizing them effectively and efficiently. 

Conditioning for Advanced Technique

Conditioning for Advanced Technique provides students with another avenue to develop and tone their bodies to meet the demands of a pre-professional dance training. Like Body Conditioning, this course focuses on building strength, endurance and flexibility.

Spanish Dance

This one semester course introduces students to three styles of Spanish music and dance: classical, folkloric, and flamenco. Focus will be on learning the history, rhythms, and nuances of these styles. 

Character Dance

This one-semester course introduces students to a variety of balletic folk dances inspired by traditional dances from various countries. Students will be introduced to a range of musical and dance structures and sequences. Focus will be on style, rhythm, and changing spatial formations. 

Senior Repertoire

This senior level class is focused on preparing students for teh professional performing environment. Students will work with choreographers in solo, duet, and group work that both increase their technical execution of performance work and also enhance their artistic performance of the choreography. Students will prepare for auditions, rehearse choreography, and learn basic tools for dance composition. 

Dance Literature and Language

This course is an opportunity for students to explore the world of dance through a different means of study. In Dance Literature and Language, students will delve further into vocabulary and terminology, examine historical correlations and contexts for dance, and research the development of the art form throughout time, both nationally and globally.

Dance Injury and Prevention 

This course focuses on preparing dancers to care for and maintain healthy bodies during their dance training. Students will examine anatomy as it relates to dance and develop an awareness of proper alignment and usage of the body. Injury prevention and identification methods along with strategies to balance the physical demands of dance will be studied.

Professional Development

This course will focus on the development of a dancer's professional career. Topics of study include preparation for auditions, resumes, headshots, and performance. Students may also research dance companies and employment opportunities, both nationally and internationally. This course is designed to expose students to additional components necessary to pursue a professional career as well as alternative careers in the field of dance. Professional Development meets for two semesters.

Music Theory for Dancers 

Music Theory for Dancers introduces students to music fundamentals. Focus is placed on how these concepts relate to dance and performance. Students may explore structure, rhythm, notation, form and other elements of music. This course meets for one semester.

Cardio Conditioning for Dancers

This course is designed to help danceres learn how to strengthen and maintain their overall fitness. Students will learn the basics of exercise physoloyg, learn the benefits of aerobic exercise on the body and how that relates to dance. Students will participate in exercise classes that are designed to increase cardiovascular fitness. This class meets for one semester.