Intensive Program

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The Intensive Program is offered to students interested in studying and knowing dance at a deeper than recreational level.  Study at this level includes a finer focus on technique, dance history, audition and performance skills, and career opportunities in dance, to name a few areas, as well as an opportunity for self expression through student choreography.  Students need not demonstrate giftedness for dance nor do they necessarily need to be planning a professional dance career.  Rather, a student should have a curiosity and a growing love and respect for the art form, an adventurous spirit, a desire and commitment to practice dance at a more intensive level than the casual student, and a joyful anticipation in discovering her or his own creative capabilities.
The Intensive Program is offered to students interested in studying and knowing dance at a deeper than recreational level.  Study at this level includes a finer focus on technique, dance history, audition and performance skills, and career opportunities in dance, to name a few areas, as well as an opportunity for self expression through student choreography.  Students need not demonstrate giftedness for dance nor do they necessarily need to be planning a professional dance career.  Rather, a student should have a curiosity and a growing love and respect for the art form, an adventurous spirit, a desire and commitment to practice dance at a more intensive level than the casual student, and a joyful anticipation in discovering her or his own creative capabilities.

The Intensive Program Model:


The Intensive Program is a ballet-based program in that strong ballet technique gives the student a solid foundation from which most dance forms can draw.  Proper technique is not everything in dance, but almost! And it is always where the dancer begins.  Technique is what a dancer carries along throughout her or his dance career, like the contents of a well-traveled suitcase, which will also hold the habits of missed lessons and poor training.  In all dance subjects, students should expect to stay at any particular level for up to 3 years and will advance after the material for that level is fully mastered.

At age 7 or 8, serious study of ballet can begin.  The Russian or Vaganova method is taught at the Piazza Dance Company.  It is a graded ballet method respected and taught throughout the world.  Students progress systematically from one grade level to the next at their individual pace.  At the Piazza Dance Company, written, oral, and performance tests, together with the instructor's knowledge of the student's abilities, attitude and attendance are tools used to place the student in the proper grade level for the following dance year.  Please see the Russian Method Ballet: Intensive program handout for an overview of the ballet curriculum and its minimum requirements for the Intensive Program.

Conditioning is now a part of all extended ballet classes at the Piazza Dance Company and helps the dancer to achieve and maintain strength as well as elongated and elastic muscles for the superior flexibility required of those seriously practicing the art.  The dancer must be strong yet lean, possessing a silhouette that distinguishes her or him from the bulked and muscle-bound frame of some athletes.  

The Intensive program is also grounded in two major American dance arts; jazz and tap.  Each has a long, rich history, which has given rise to a variety of solid teaching methods.   Our teachers utilize guidelines and syllabi compiled by Dance Masters of America, the oldest professional dance organization in America, in instructing students in tap and jazz.  Trends and styles in tap and jazz continue to evolve as well.   Piazza Dance Company instructors continue to study and "keep current" with dance as it evolves in the popular culture. Dance is a living art.  Those who continue to learn will continue to grow in the art.  This philosophy sets an appropriate example for the student as well.  A minimum of one class per week in tap and two classes per week in jazz are required for the Intensive Program.

Finally, the student is encouraged to explore and take class in as many auxiliary dance subjects as possible. These may be thought of as electives in the planning of the student's dance program.  Such subjects would include classes in modern dance, lyrical jazz, lyrical ballet, hip-hop, musical theater, or, ethnic dances such as Irish step or Polynesian.  Competition classes are another optional experience whereby the student will greatly expand her or his dance knowledge and skill, especially in the area of performance.  Please see the Audition handout for more information relating to competition classes at the Piazza Dance Company. (All competition students must be enrolled in the Intensive Program.)   Elective courses such as these and others enrich the student's dance experience in countless ways, helping her or him to mature in dance and develop a wider, worldlier perspective.