S.T.E.P. into a Higher level - Placement at Dance Arts

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At Dance Arts we have classes for everybody and EVERY BODY. This means we have classes for all ages, levels, and all are welcome! Once dancers find their passion and love for dance, they want to know, “What’s Next?”.

The next step is to work towards progressing into one of our accelerated S.T.E.P. Classes. Style, Technique, Evaluation and Placement are the foundation of these upper level classes. You can progress thought our levels by mastering skills from our syllabus, finding comfort with performance, while focusing on the JOY of dance.

At first glance, it may seem difficult or impossible to assign a level to dance development. After all, the arts are subjective, and each dancer interprets each dance differently. Ultimately, however, graded dance levels are doable—in fact, they’re essential for dancers at all levels.

 The primary reason for graded levels is for the safety of dancers. Dancers must master each level before it is safe to proceed to the next, as new techniques and movements build upon each other. Dancers who don’t master essential skills in one level before moving to the next may not only struggle to keep up and lose confidence, they also face a greater risk of injury.

That’s why it is average for a dancer to remain at the same level for a couple years. It is exceptional when this happens sooner. Progress through Jazz at Dance Arts happens faster with over 9 levels, whereas Hip Hop and Ballet only have 6. Dancers advance as they develop strength and demonstrate correct technique to show physical and mental mastery of each dance level.

 As with any discipline, dancers will progress at their own individual rates. Some skills will come easier for some than others, and some skills will come more easily to an individual dancer at some times than others, depending upon their physical development. Every dancer is different and will achieve various levels at different times. Remember, dance takes patience and every class is an opportunity to grow, regardless of the level or who else is in the classroom.

We have been working with our mentors at More Than Just Great Dancing and faculty member Lauren Serrano, who has a Masters in Dance Education to develop a year-round program for goal-setting, skills testing, teacher engagement, and evaluations with recommendations for summer training.  These methods are carefully designed to match the dancer’s physical development and the difficulty of each level.

When we get to our Pre-Placement session in the fall, we are looking at the culmination of a year of hard work. By looking at all dancers during these intensive two weeks, we are able to set benchmarks for each level while managing class size from the highest levels down. We hire over a dozen teachers to aid in the process that have over two centuries of dance experience. We take great care in considering dancers skills, behavior, and performance.

We believe dancers must demonstrate mastery before progression, and will not promote dancers before they are ready, however we will work with your child to build necessary skills to progress, whether that is through private instruction or a more rigorous schedule of training. When dancers demonstrate the readiness to grow at a faster pace, while still needing to nurture the basics, we offer optional concurrent enrollment in a higher level. Plus we have a 50% discount off the higher level class when we offer concurrent enrollment.

Placement is final, but we call upon teachers to re-assess their students in December to see if there is any potential for advancement. The office will notify you if your child has been selected for a promotion or concurrent enrollment.

The best way for your dancer to advance in dance? Show up. Good attendance is often the number one factor in advancement. Consistency in training is vital for placement so it is not recommended to take long breaks from dance over summer. Mostly, it’s also important to trust your dance teachers. Instructors are trained to evaluate and understand each dancer’s physical development and help them work through challenges so they can excel and grow in our program.

 The most important thing for dancers (and parents) to do is to remember that all things come with time and to always enjoy the dance along the way.