Dance Core Curriculum

The Dance Division offers a pre-professional ballet-based program. Intensive daily class work and rehearsals lead to fully produced dance productions, "in studio" performances, and interdepartmental concerts. At least once a year, the Dance Division performs with the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra in a full-length classical ballet. 

For information on graduation requirements and academic curriculum, please visit Academy Academics.

The ballet curriculum is designed to help dancers create a strong pedagogical foundation that may be adapted to any style and technique. With focus on discipline, technical development, and artistic expression, dancers work on building a solid base that is appropriate toward their skill-sets and potential.

The pointe curriculum is designed to build the strength and technique necessary to properly execute ballet and ballet-based movement on pointe. Focusing on how to stand on pointe correctly, use of the legs and feet and an appropriate and challenging vocabulary, students gain strength, technique and the cohesive fluidity required to execute classical ballet movement.

The curriculum for Male Dance Technique is designed as a supplement to ballet technique and focuses on specific information for the male dancer: virtuoso technique, jumps, turns, and building the strength necessary to properly execute vocabulary of today. Emphasis is placed on implementation, coordination and a disciplined work ethic.

The Pas de Deux curriculum is designed to help dancers learn the art and skill of partnering. Use of the hands for men, finding core support, balance and use of weight for coordinated movement quality are addressed. Students acquire partnering technique with the ability to work cohesively for maximum artistic and technical results.

The contemporary curriculum is designed to incorporate movement and vocabulary from established and relevant resources into a dancer's training and development. Use of weight, space, music and dynamics are addressed in an explorative and disciplined environment. Composition, the ability to create and the use of movement and motivation is explored. Creativity and discussion is encouraged in a focused and challenging atmosphere.

Dance Repertoire develops professional approaches to learning choreography, be it for the sole purpose of study or rehearsals and performances. Whether working in the corps de ballet or as a soloist, dancers are exposed to a variety of choreographers, repertoire and music which are determined by the Interlochen dance faculty in accordance with the students' skill sets, strengths and foreseeable appropriate challenges. The process of learning and potentially performing dance repertoire helps students develop technical skills, artistry and a broader understanding and appreciation toward a full spectrum of dance repertoire.

This pilates-based conditioning class offers knowledge for gaining and maintaining overall body fitness and injury prevention. It teaches safe performance of movement and exercise in a progressive approach and offers an opportunity to improve or maintain a high level of fitness through the application of conditioning principles. This class offers a basic understanding of the concepts of alignment, centering, breathing, stabilization, mobilization, and balance. Non-impact, whole-body conditioning mat exercises based on the work of fitness pioneer Joseph Pilates are designed to develop body awareness, improve posture, and enhance muscle recruitment. The mat work increases core strength, builds muscle tone, and improves coordination, balance, and flexibility. The mat can be modified to various fitness levels so that each student will work at the appropriate level.

In this course, students will learn how to properly execute stylized movement to reflect traditional folk or national dance of different ethnic groups and their traditions, and how it emphasizes uniqueness and originality of their regions. This course is designed to prepare students to perform stylized folklore dances in classical ballets.

Choreographic Composition is designed to help foster individual expression through creation. Students will learn methodologies of composition and develop movement studies as individuals and in groups. The class encourages students to build movement phrases that both challenge and gratify their bodies, allowing them to find freedom and enjoyment in their creativity, while enticing thoughtful choices to be made.

Sample Dance Curriculum for a 4-Year Student

Core Dance Classes for Dance Majors

Classical Technique / DAN201-202
Pointe / DAN203-204
Male Dance Technique / DAN205-206
Pas de Deux  / DAN207-208
Contemporary Technique / DAN209-210
Dance Repertoire / DAN213-214
Pilates and Dance Conditioning / DAN301
Character Dance / DAN313-316
Choreographic Composition / DAN317

Intermediate, Intermediate Advanced, and Advanced levels are offered to provide for each student's technical needs. Placement auditions determine the student's class level for technique classes.

Sample Academic Courses
Year 1: Algebra I; Biology; English I; French I
Year 2: Geometry; World History; English II; French II
Year 3: Algebra II; U.S. History; English III; Chemistry
Year 4: Precalculus; Ecology; English IV

Read more about Academics

Updated for course catalogue 2021-22.