Dance Classes at SunDance

SunDance is a one-of-a-kind summer dance intensive combining Limón modern technique and Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) ballet training. But that’s not all dancers at our program learn about! Keep reading to brush up on the history and defining characteristics of some of SunDance's featured technique classes: RAD ballet, Progressing Ballet Technique, Character, Limón Modern, and Jazz.

Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) is a UK-based examination board specializing in dance education and training, with an emphasis on classical ballet. This vocabulary of ballet first began in 1920 as the Association of Teachers of Operatic Dancing of Great Britain. It was born out of a meeting of leading dance professionals. The Association launched its first syllabus in the same year and held its first exams in 1921. The aim of RAD is to promote and develop excellence in dance and the syllabus is studied all over the world generating dancers and teachers that have gone on to work with the most prestigious dance companies.

Conditioning the body to use proper muscles and not to over work others when dancing is the goal of Progressing Ballet Technique (PBT). PBT was developed by Marie Walton-Mahon for students to understand the depth of training muscle memory in achieving their personal best in classical ballet. Teachers in PBT have found outstanding success in the use of muscle memory to improve students understanding of core stability, weight placement and alignment. Safe dance training is key to a dancer’s success and that is what PBT aims to provide. When the correct alignment is in place and the right muscles working, dancers are better able to succeed and prevent injury.

Character dance is a specific subdivision of classical dance. It is the stylized representation of a traditional folk or national dance and uses movements and music which have been adapted for the theatre. Character dance is integral to much of the classical ballet repertoire. It is taught as a part of the RAD syllabus. This technique is beneficial to our program at SunDance because it deals with specificity, character development, and musicality.

WHAT TO WEAR

Program A:

- Solid coloured bodysuit, pink tights, pink ballet shoes (females)

- Solid white or black tee shirt, black tights, white or black ballet shoes (males)

- Pointe shoes (females in ballet concentration only)

Program B:

- Solid coloured bodysuit, pink tights, pink ballet shoes (females)

- Solid white or black tee shirt, black tights, white or black ballet shoes (males)

- Castanets

- Character shoes

- Character skirt (females)

- Pointe shoes (females)

Program C:

- Solid coloured bodysuit, pink tights, pink ballet shoes (females)

- Solid white or black tee shirt, black tights, white or black ballet shoes (males)

- Character shoes

- Character skirt (females)

While many of the art forms that enhance our daily lives have existed for centuries, modern dance is a development of the 20th century, created purposefully to reject the rigid conventions of ballet. Where ballet fought to defy gravity and remain an ethereal dance form, modern dancers played with gravity either giving into it or resisting it. They also chose to dance in bare feet and wear loose, flowing clothing.

Some modern dance pioneers of note are Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman are noted for creating American modern dance. Humphrey also developed the Humphrey-Weidman technique based in movement qualities such as breath, opposition, succession, fall and recovery, sharp accents and sustained flow. The intention was to demonstrate human emotions in a less stylized manner than ballet, and to incorporate in their work the natural movement patterns of the body and its relation to gravity. Modern dance continued to evolve as students of the second generation went on to found their own companies such as Paul Taylor, Merce Cunningham, and José Limón.

Limón Technique is especially informative to learn as a dancer from a young age because it gets one very in touch with one’s body. Ideas such as fall and recovery, rebound, weight, suspension, succession and isolation are explored in the Humphrey-Weidman technique, all of which were transferred into Limón’s choreography and creation process. Including this technique in the SunDance training helps to cultivate dynamic and intelligent movement in young dancers with a strong focus on safe technical practice, expression, and performance qualities.

WHAT TO WEAR

All Dancers (Programs A, B, C):

- Solid coloured bodysuit, pink or black footless tights, bare feet (females)

- Solid coloured tee shirt, black footless tights, bare feet (males)

Jazz dance and its unique technique and style originated from the dancing of African Americans that were brought to America as slaves. Jazz dance at its core has an element of improvisation and groove. Specific styles of Jazz dance have been coined by choreographers such as Bob Fosse, Jack Cole and Katherine Dunham. Accompanied by jazz music is when jazz dance is at its truest form. Over time the steps and movements became more polished and transitioned from street dance to more theatrical dance performed on stage. These choreographers we influenced by ballet and modern dance and required highly trained dancers to perform. This changed the culture of Jazz dance and made it accessible to people all over the world.

WHAT TO WEAR

Programs B & C Only:

- Solid coloured bodysuit, solid coloured footless tights, jazz shoes (females)

- Solid coloured tee shirt, solid coloured tights, jazz shoes (males)

SunDance is a three-week long summer dance intensive taking place at Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre’ s studios in Toronto, Canada. In partnership with the Royal Academy of Dance, world renowned teachers bring an expert level of training in Limón modern and RAD Ballet technique to dancers ages 8-19. All participants are accepted through a selective audition process in the spring.

www.theschoolofccdt.ca/sundance

Photos from SunDance 2016 taken by Drew Berry

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(416) 924-5657 | development@ccdt.org

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