Our Dance faculty at the Northwest School can bring out the dancer in everyone. You will engage your brain and body and learn how to express yourself through movement.
You’ll experience a range of dance styles through courses offered at various grade levels. Courses include Jazz, Theatre Dance, Line Dance & Lindy Hop, Latin Social Dance, Modern/Contemporary, Hip Hop and Commercial Dance. And you’ll also be able to earn some of your PE credits through enrollment in dance courses.
Dance Department Highlights
- Frequent visits from guest artists enrich students’ experiences.
- Students from all grades perform each trimester in the Dance Department Showcase.
Dance Course Catalog
Jump Into Dance
In this class, students JUMP into learning about the foundations of movement and the creative process! Students explore and apply new movement principles such as space, time, energy and flow, through creative play that plants the seeds of their artistic voices!
This course is offered in each trimester and is required for all 6th grade students.
Middle School Dance Ensemble
This two-trimester course emphasizes performance and community leadership. The course is designed to strengthen each participant’s dance and movement technique, choreographic skills, and artistry, and also building collaboration and ensemble skills while exploring a variety of contemporary movement forms. Strong commitment and dedication to the creative process are essential for this class. This is a great class for students who want to deepen their commitment to dance. No prerequisite.
Jazz dance includes influences from African and Latin dances as well as Swing and even ballet. In this course students learn the history of Jazz dance from its roots in African-American social dance to the Lindy Hop and theater dance. Students learn upbeat and energetic dances, such as the Shim Sham and the Charleston, as well as classic moves like Apple Jacks, Mess Around and Tacky Annie. Students also learn choreography so they can create their own dances as well. Dancer’s work as an ensemble and perform for the community.
Dance for Musical Theater
The dance scenes in a play or movie advance the plot, bring a period to life or reveal a character. In this class, students learn dances from various musicals that illustrate each of these purposes. Students also create some choreography of their own and perform for the community. Excellent training for actors. No prerequisite.
Commercial dance is associated with show business and pop culture. Commercial dance is about entertaining audiences and telling stories. This includes dances for television, commercials, music videos, movies, popular dance trends and more; this style requires versatility. Students learn dances with movements from Jazz, Modern, Hip Hop and Funk styles. They dive in and explore quick, sharp isolations and syncopated rhythms. they create long lines and crisp shapes with their bodies, as well as leaps, jumps and turns. Dancer’s work as an ensemble and perform for the community.
Creative Dance • Grades 9-12
Creative Dance offers the opportunity to explore and create movement through a variety of modern and contemporary dance approaches. Students discover new ways to express themselves creatively and physically. This course focuses on building a strong foundation in dance habits of mind, including focus, observation, awareness, and control of the body in space. In addition, students participate in engaging movement games and choreographic experiments to further develop their skills and creativity. By examining dance across cultures and time, students gain a deeper understanding of what has always moved people to dance. This class is ideal for beginners and those with a creative mindset who are interested in exploring new ways of moving and expressing themselves, often asking the question, “What happens if we…” Through individual and group projects, students have the opportunity to develop their own dances and experience performing. This course is great for beginners and creative thinkers! No prerequisites or previous dance experience required.
Line Dance & Lindy Hop • Grades 9-12
In Line Dance and Lindy Hop, students explore social dance structures, such as partner dances and folk dances, as well as the study of Somatic expression — how to use movement as a tool for self-expression and communication in the community. This course explores the history and culture of Africanist aesthetics and European influences on social dances, as well as the role of Jazz-era music. No prerequisites or previous dance experience required.
Latin Social Dance • Grades 11-12
This course explores Latin social dances, including partner dances, line dances, and party dances. Students learn the basics of merengue, bachata, salsa, and more. Merengue and bachata have roots in the Dominican Republic, while salsa is stems from Latin American popular music, blending predominantly Cuban rhythms with elements of jazz, rock, and soul music. Salsa originated in Cuba and became popular in New York and Miami in the 1950s-70s. These forms have evolved over time and are now danced passionately all over the world. This class delves into the history, cultural context, and evolution of each dance. The course covers the fundamental footwork, rhythm, and skills needed to dance socially and to perform choreography. Students will develop their "lead and follow" skills, as well as understand the concepts of frame and connection in partner dancing. By practicing salsa and other Latin dance styles, students improve their sense of rhythm, musicality, balance, coordination, endurance, and general body connectivity. No prerequisites or previous dance experience required.
Performing Dance Ensemble 1 / PDE-1 • Grades 9-12
In this intermediate dance class, students learn to create, rehearse, and perform in a joyful, collaborative environment with the goal of deepening their dance education. Throughout the course, students will have opportunities to broaden their horizons in movement and explore a variety of styles, with an emphasis on hip-hop and contemporary dance. PDE dancers will demonstrate their passion and dedication through their self-motivation, strong collaboration skills, and willingness to take on new challenges. As the most advanced dance ensemble in the school’s program, PDE dancers will act as role models, representing dance at school and community events. Dance experience required. Prerequisite: Audition or instructor approval.
Performing Dance Ensemble 2 / PDE-2 • Grades 9-12
In this advanced dance class, students learn to create, rehearse, and perform in a joyful, collaborative environment with the goal of deepening their dance education. Throughout the course, students will have opportunities to broaden their horizons in movement and explore a variety of styles, with an emphasis on hip-hop and contemporary dance. PDE dancers will demonstrate their passion and dedication through their self-motivation, strong collaboration skills, and willingness to take on new challenges. As the most advanced dance ensemble in the school’s program, PDE dancers will act as role models, representing dance at school and community events. Dance experience required. Prerequisite: Audition or approval of Instructor