Please note, the McCann instructors place each student carefully according to the skills they have mastered. Age is important to us however, we don’t place students based on age. We want our students to be challenged in an appropriate and positive way. If an instructor sees a student is excelling or struggling, they have the permission to request a student be moved to a more appropriate level.
Students do not move up a level every year. Sometimes it takes a few years in the same level to gain the technique needed to move up. As much as we love to put dancers with their friends, we recognize that every dancer is different and learns differently. We will place them in the most suitable class to help them flourish as a dancer.
Ballet Class Description
We have divided our ballet classes into seven levels each focusing on classical technique that is age appropriate for our dancers. All of our ballet classes are structured and planned ahead of time by our experienced teachers to make the most of the instructional time. Levels seven through four concentrate on teaching dancers the technical terms, correct body alignment, musicality, and more foundational ballet movements needed for later ballet instruction. Once our dancers enter level three through one, we expect them to have mastered the basis of ballet as we push them to build strength and learn more difficult movements. The top three levels not only focus on classical ballet but they also start to learn contemporary ballet. Contemporary ballet a style of dance that incorporates both ballet and modern into one. This is why it’s important that our dancers have a strong ballet background before entering these upper levels. Please note, levels one, two, and three have two ballet classes a week.
Level three classes start to do foot, ankle, and leg exercises that will prep them for pointe shoes. Pointe work will be considered at level two but only select dancers that are strong enough for pointe will receive their shoes. Dancers with a good pointe foundation will then be considered for level one which involves center pointe and also choreography for our recital. It is up to the instructor's discretion on which students are ready for level one. Again, ballet takes years to learn so we ask our dancers to be patient and work hard in order to achieve success.
At typical ballet class will begin with barre exercises that warm up all muscles of the body. There will be time for dancers to do center stretches to further warm up. The class will then participate in small jumps, turns, and combinations either in the center or across the floor. Later in the year and depending on the level, the instructor will use some class time to do choreography for our recital.
Modern Class Description **New for 2018-2019 Dance Year!**
Our modern classes are offered only to students who are also currently enrolled in the same level ballet class. While modern dance is often referred to as free-form, it does require a high level of technique, strength, and maturity. Our classes will focus on developing this technique through exercises and combinations. This grounded style of dance will incorporate a large amount of floor work and improvisation. We will also focus on using proper breathing technique. As dancers progress to the more advanced levels, they will be challenged to become more expressive with their dancing.
A typical modern class will start with exercises to warm up the whole body. Once warm, dancers will work on stretching and conditioning before moving to across the floor exercises. More advanced classes will also do short phrases across the floor. Classes will typically end with a center combination and a cool down. The end of class will also be used to work on choreography for the annual recital.
Jazz Class Descriptions
Our classical jazz classes are influenced by many jazz elements such as Broadway, street jazz, and commercial jazz. These classes focus on clean, strong lines of the body that promotes self-expression. It is suitable for all ages although we recommend some ballet training. “To excel in jazz, dancers need a strong background in ballet, as it encourages grace and balance.” (Treva Bedinghaus, 2017)
Learning jazz technique requires a lot of practice. Our six levels concentrate on core strengthening that enables dancers to move with more control. Levels six through four are our beginner levels that deal with learning the proper alignment and technique needed for more difficult movements. As dancers move up in levels, they will continue to be appropriately challenged while working more and more to perfect the skills learned. Our level one dancers need to be able to move quickly while maintaining proper technique and control of their bodies. All levels learn musicality as music is a big influence with this style and can be very different according to what the instructor chooses to do. Our jazz classes are high in energy and a lot of fun!
A typical jazz class will start with a warm up of isolations from head to toe. We do a lot of stretching that leads into crunches and push-ups. Dancers will then go across the floor to do kicks, turns and leaps. Class ends with small combinations in the center. The instructor will use some class time for choreography for our recital.
Tap Class Descriptions
Our tap classes are separated into 6 unique levels to best help our dancers build their sense of rhythm, timing, style, and most importantly, ankle strength. While we primarily teach rhythm tap, some teachers may also choose to introduce Broadway tap as well. Lesson plans are developed in advance and are adjusted based on students’ progress. Our beginner classes will focus on learning basic steps and developing coordination and rhythm through dance as well as games using various instruments and props. As dancers progress to the intermediate classes, they will focus on mastering rhythm and coordination while also focusing on style, musicality and weight transfer. Our advanced tappers will be pushed to quickly pick up choreography and execute it with clean sounds.
A typical tap class will begin with exercises to get the knees, ankles and feet warmed up. The class will then work on short combinations in the center as a group to focus on specific skills such as paradiddles or cramp rolls. Students will then work on traveling steps individually across the floor. The end of class will focus on learning combinations and experimenting with tap improv (intermediate and advanced classes only). The instructor will also use some class time to work on choreography for the annual recital.
Hip-Hop Class Descriptions
Our four hip hop levels are dedicated to teaching street dance styles that are influenced by current and popular movements and music. Level four is our beginner class where dancers learn the basic terms and movements. This class is a good foundation for later hip-hop classes. As dancers go through the levels they will continue to learn more movements that are fitting for their class and age. When hip-hop dancers reach level one it is expected that they have mastered most hip-hop technique and are ready to be challenged in a new way. At this level, choreography needs to be picked up quickly as it is a fast moving class. All levels of Hip-Hop learn some break-dancing technique. McCann’s hip-hop classes are a great way to dance to fun music and get down!
Maturity, confidence, and personality are important for this dance style which is why we don’t offer it until we feel a child is ready.
A typical hip-hop class will start with warm up including isolations and stretching. We then move into break-dancing which is followed by crunches, push-ups and planks. Next we do some footwork across the floor. To end class, we do combinations in the center. The instructor will use some class time to work on choreography for the recital.
Creative Movement Class Description
Our creative movement classes provide the opportunity for any dancer that is potty-trained to take their first dance class. Our dancers will learn some basic ballet steps and will focus on developing coordination and balance through play. In creative movement, dancers are encouraged to explore their own creative movement style with the use of props and games in a safe and positive environment.
Combo Class Description **New for 2018-2019 Dance Year!**
In our combo class, dancers will first learn basic steps, positions, and terminology for ballet. They will develop coordination and balance as well as improve flexibility through age and skill appropriate lessons. Dancers will also have their first opportunity to perform in the annual recital!
A typical combo class will start with a warm-up exercise and stretching then dancers will move to the center to work on technique. About 20 minutes into class, dancers will change from ballet slippers to tap shoes. In the second half of the class, dancers will learn basic tap steps as well as practice rhythms with various instruments and props. The end of class will be used to work on choreography for the recital.
Adult Class Description
Adult classes are offered to anyone 18 or older. Adult classes are designed to engage dancers of all skill levels. Classes will consist of warm up exercises, stretching, across the floor as well as learning fun combinations. Although our dancers are not required to perform in the recital, we highly encourage everyone to participate in this fun experience! Our adult classes are a great way to exercise and make some new friends. It is also convenient for parents who are already at the studio to pass the time!
NEW THIS YEAR!
McCann’s is now offering adult hip-hop! We are bringing back the family group dance for the recital. When rehearsal for the show starts, the instructor will invite you to bring your child(ren) (MSOD dancers) in to be a part of the family dance.