By Illi ’24
As a child, I took part in dance classes for many years. Eventually, I didn’t have enough time as I began doing many other activities. Due to this, when I heard Harvard-Westlake has a dance program, I was eager to join it! I have been in the Harvard-Westlake dance program every semester that I have attended Harvard-Westlake, and every year is so much fun. No matter your dance abilities, there is a class in this program that is perfect for you. I’ve only attended dance class at the upper school for a few weeks, so I will tell you all about the dance classes at the middle school!
The head of the middle school dance department is Mr. Schenck. He makes sure that we have lots of time to get to know each other, both with dance style and as people. This way, we can work even better together. He is very caring and understanding towards his students, and will do anything he can to better your learning experience. He also makes sure that we have a chance to learn about the histories of different styles of dance, and that we know the origins of the moves we are learning. This way, we not only learn lots of fascinating information, but we can fully appreciate the dances we learn and what shaped them into what they are.
The first level of dance at the middle school is “Introduction to Dance”. In this class, we learn the basics of dance. We learn about the basics of jazz, hip hop, ballet, modern, and contemporary dance styles. This class is mostly for people who have not attended a dance before, and consists of the very basics of dance. We learn combos, across-the-floor combos, and have a few chances to choreograph our own pieces.
The second level of dance at the middle school is “Contemporary Dance Workshop I”, also known as CDW1. CDW1 builds on the knowledge acquired in Introduction to Dance. We learn more difficult combos, and have more chances to choreograph our own pieces.
The third level of dance at the middle school is “Contemporary Dance Workshop II”, also known as CDW2. CDW2 builds on our knowledge from CDW1 and Introduction to Dance. In this class, we learn challenging combos, and have many chances to choreograph our own pieces.
The fourth, and most intense, level of dance at the middle school is Dance Production. Dance Production is a much larger commitment than the other Harvard-Westlake dance classes. Dance Production has practice during school, after school, and on weekends for many weeks during the school year. In this class, we choreograph pieces to be performed on stage during the Dance Production Show in March. These dances follow a theme, and tell a story.
I hope you consider joining the Harvard-Westlake dance program!