Dance at The Beacon School is a culturally diverse, multi-level, interdisciplinary program with pre-professional to professional training in various dance forms. We are committed to cultivating a creative, reflective and inclusive learning environment for students of all dance backgrounds and experiences. Through embodied practice, the dance department and students respect and honor traditions, while investigating and discovering new ways to understand dance.
Students' choreography work reflects historical content and cultural experiences through interdisciplinary methods. In order to transform our social world, contribute to the community beyond us and become dance ambassadors, students are encouraged to get comfortable being uncomfortable in learning the art of dance at Beacon. Focusing on telling stories about but not limited to bullying, racism in America, domestic violence, to paying tribute to climate change, Black Lives Matter and celebration of life, dance is a vehicle to empower all students at Beacon.
Today, the Beacon Dance Department offers three levels of performance and movement practice classes, two-three major annual performances, the Fresh Dance Ensemble, and other opportunities for students to study and participate in the field of dance and dance education. All dance courses meet four days a week with a full school year commitment. Beacon dance students create extraordinary work, perform at distinguished institutions, travel, teach younger students and work with an eclectic amount of guest teaching artists and choreographers. After graduation, they not only professionally train at top ranked dance schools in the country and pursue careers in the performing arts, but they also become well-rounded, advocates for important matters and exceptional human beings.
At the end of the spring semester, students participate in an audition class where they are placed in the correct level for Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced dance courses for the upcoming school year.
FRESH DANCE SEMINAR
This introduction to dance course explores Hip Hop Social Dances of the 1980’s and 1990’s era. By focusing on historical and cultural contexts and their importance to the dance world, students experience a wide range of approaches to technique, improvisation, and basic foundations of Hip Hop movement. Students examine how particular dance forms connect cultural, social and historical contexts while also identifying the aesthetic dimensions of this dance form. Students strengthen their body, self-identity, and sense of expression, independence, and leadership. By the end of this class, students are able to connect themselves to the history and artistic development of Hip Hop dance cultures and movement.
This entry-level dance course explores dance from historical, choreographic, performing, anatomical and educational perspectives. Students develop flexibility, strength, coordination, rhythm and basic dance vocabulary. Making connections between different cultures, Beginner Dance focuses on Self-Discovery, where students develop self-confidence engaging in the fundamentals of multiple movement practices including Hip Hop, West African and Latin Dance. Through research and practice, this course merges historic elements along with socio-economical, geographical, and political developments of varying traditions. Students learn to apply basic dance elements and concepts of time, space and energy to various social dances. The course ends with a final choreographic project that is informally performed in our dance studio.
This dance course explores different dance forms and how they are all connected, artistically, historically and culturally. Focusing on strengthening the body, students are exposed to various movement practices including but not limited to Modern-based Horton, House Dance, Contemporary and Breaking. Through research, application of dance vocabulary and choreography explorations, students develop works based on social issues in America and how they connect to their personal identity and social engagements. Continuing with the development of flexibility, strength, coordination, rhythm and artistic development, students discover their artistic voices in Intermediate Dance. The course ends with a final choreographic project and performance in our dance studio.
ADVANCED DANCE/BEACON DANCE COMPANY
Advanced Dance is a multi-disciplined course, which operates during the school day with after school commitments. In this repertory course, students’ choreographic works focuses on but not limited to social issues, identity, personal development and challenges. Advanced Dance students is also a touring company of dancers who not only performs for the Beacon community, but also throughout and outside New York City at pre-professional and professional events. All students have the opportunity to attend professional dance performances, dance residencies, work with guest choreographers, develop multiple techniques, choreograph and focus on interdisciplinary approaches within dance and the arts. Each year students participate in our community outreach efforts, where they are required to teach and perform for younger students in other schools along with other community efforts. As Advanced Dance/Beacon Dance Company is a traveling company, students have visited Philadelphia, Boston and Los Angeles for their annual dance education trip experience. All of these opportunities allow students in this course to understand the world of dance not only as a performer, but also as a choreographer, teacher, rehearsal director, arts administrator and more. Students learn what it takes to be in a professional dance setting for college and beyond.
Fresh Dance Ensemble
Freshman Dance Ensemble is a dance club that meets once or twice a week on Tuesdays for 90 minutes. Students are prepared to be part of Beacon’s Dance Program, where they learn various dance vocabulary and choreography including Contemporary, Hip Hop and Jazz and more. Students in FDE have the opportunity to work with Beacon Dance Company student choreographers and teaching assistants, where they also learn dance composition, improvisation and the necessary discipline to be part of Beacon’s Dance program. Fresh Dance Ensemble is a performance club, where they participate in Beacon Dance Company’s annual spring dance concert. FDE is a great introduction not only to Beacon’s Dance Program, but Beacon’s after school arts community.
Dance Makers Collaborative
DMC is an after school based opportunity that meets on a weekly basis for students in grades 10 through 12, that meets on Thursdays on a weekly basis. This after school club allows students to create, explore and refine choreographic movement for a performance setting. Students demonstrate an ability to fine their own artistic voice and work with peers in a collaborative effort. Through improvisational workshops, working with guest teachers and development in dance technique, students focus on building performance quality through choreographic works. This club also provides students with the opportunity to learn repertory from Beacon Dance Company choreographers and one guest choreographer. Students are required to perform in all school performances throughout the year.
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