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. Each year, the Dance Division performs in two full-length ballets set to live orchestras. The Dance Division also offers opportunities to study and perform contemporary dance.

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

Required Courses: Dance Majors

In this class, students will learn human anatomy, kinesiology as well as Pilates, Yoga, Functional Range Conditioning, and restorative tools to avoid and recover from injury. The students will study the principles of mechanics and anatomy in relation to human movement.

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.

A historical and important asset for all dancers, Character Dance teaches students about the styles and movements from a variety of different countries. Character dances are often seen in major full length story ballets such as Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, and Don Quixote and can often be performed as individual works themselves. Students will learn the style and ways of movement that represent a variety of different nationalities through dances such as the mazurka, polonaise and fandango.

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.

Curriculum Guidelines: Dance Majors

Placement auditions determine the student's class level for technique classes. Intermediate, Intermediate Advanced, and Advanced levels are offered to provide for each student's technical needs. A single grade is issued at the end of each semester under an umbrella course called Dance Performance & Technique, worth 2.5 credits.

Sample Academic Courses

  • Freshmen: Algebra I; Biology; English I; French I
  • Sophomores: Geometry; World History; English II; French II
  • Juniors: Algebra II; U.S. History; English III; Chemistry
  • Seniors: Precalculus; Ecology; English IV