Children’s Creative Dance Program

Junior Creative Contemporary and Choreography Lab, Connected, 2012

Who can take dance classes in our after-school program?
Classes are open to all students, aged 3-17, who live in a county, town, city, or community nearby, within driving distance of Sweet Briar College. http://www.sbc.edu

What is our program about?
Our youth dance classes teach dance on a developmental model. Students learn dance skills appropriate to what children in their age group can and should do. All classes involve the students in movement exploration, dramatic expression, and encourage creativity. Students perform choreography that they have invented (with the help of the teacher) in the end of year recital, held in the Dance Studio Theater in the Babcock Performing Arts Center.

How is this different?
The emphasis on developing a balance between skill and creativity for students who take the class is unique in the region. The Sweet Briar College undergraduate dance program places a strong emphasis on creativity, and the youth classes continue that goal. The community youth dance class teachers are Sweet Briar College dance majors who have excelled while student teaching. All teachers have training both in technique and in choreography.

Creative movement 4-5, 2012

Why approach dance instruction this way?
Dance is an art form. The arts teach both structure and form, as well as content and understanding of ideas. And because dance is expressive as well as sculptural, rhythmic, and disciplined, it teaches empathy toward others at the same time that it creates
self respect in the mover. Fundamental to human rights is the right to freely express thoughts, ideas, and feelings. Self expression, through choreography that is created and performed by the young students themselves, guided by qualified teachers, is a fundamental right for young people. Rather than simply copy the teacher’s movements, the young students have input. That involvement makes them care about what they are dancing. Dance taught this way helps to build up self esteem because the students have the responsibility not only to rehearse and to dance well for a recital, they have ownership of the content and message of their dance! They learn to work with others cooperatively in small groups in class. This approach provides a fun and well organized way of working together that creates flexible and creative minds, strong bodies, and increases respect for self and for others.

How do I register my child?
Each community youth dance class size is capped at 10. Registration is on a first come, first served basis. To register or for more information contact Betty Skeen, Assistant Professor of Dance, at bskeen@sbc.edu.

2023 - 2024 Class Schedule

Wednesday 4:15 - 5:00 p.m.

Creative Movement, Ages 3-4 (Upper Studio)

A high-energy “get the wiggles out” class that engages students in imaginative and developmentally appropriate dance explorations. One might expect to find students in the class practicing hopping, rolling, leaping, floating like feathers, melting like ice, or moving as slowly and carefully as a giant Galápagos Tortoise!

Creative Movement, Ages 5-6 (Upper Studio)

A high-energy class that engages students in imaginative and developmentally appropriate dance explorations. One will find students in this class mastering foundational locomotor movements like hopping, jumping, leaping, and skipping, creating and repeating more sophisticated movement patterns, engaging in cooperative movement games, and practicing performance and audience member etiquette.

Thursday 4:15 - 5:30 p.m.

Junior Creative Contemporary Technique & Choreography Lab (ages 7-11, Lower Studio)

The first portion of each class will follow a traditional modern/contemporary dance class sequence. Students will begin class with a warm-up based on Ann Green Gilbert’s BrainDance which focuses on breath, waking up the surface of the body with tactile input, core-distal patterns, head-tail connection, upper-lower body division and connection, independent body sides, cross lateral sequencing, visual focus, and readying the vestibular system. After warm-up, students will engage in technical phrase work, improvisational exercises, and choreographic challenges. Each class will introduce different choreographic and movement concepts that exist within the five elements of dance: Body, Action, Space, Time, Energy. The class will include teacher-directed exercises as well as student-directed activities.

Thursday 5:15 - 6:15 p.m.

Senior Creative Contemporary Technique & Choreography Lab (ages 12+, Upper Studio)

The first portion of each class will follow a traditional modern/contemporary dance class sequence. Students will begin class with a warm-up based on Ann Green Gilbert’s BrainDance which focuses on breath, waking up the surface of the body with tactile input, core-distal patterns, head-tail connection, upper-lower body division and connection, independent body sides, cross lateral sequencing, visual focus, and readying the vestibular system. After warm-up, students will engage in technical phrase work, improvisational exercises, and choreographic challenges. Each class will introduce different choreographic and movement concepts that exist within the five elements of dance: Body, Action, Space, Time, Energy. The class will include teacher-directed exercises as well as student-directed activities.

ALL CLASSES FOLLOW THE SWEET BRIAR ACADEMIC CALENDAR. NO CLASSES WILL BE HELD ON HOLIDAYS NOTED ON THE ACADEMIC CALENDAR. 

Sessions & TUITION

Fall session classes begin September 13th, 2023 and will conclude for winter break on December 14th.

Spring session classes will begin on January 17th and conclude on on April 10th. 

The spring performance will be held in the Upper Dance Studio on April 12th at 7:00 p.m.

The fee for each session is $90 per student. 

 

Please email Betty Skeen, Assistant Professor of Dance, at bskeen@sbc.edu for registration or with any questions.

 
Meet the teachers!

Creative Movement, 3-4Hi, I'm Ceili Allder and I'm a sophomore from ... Creative Movement, 3-4
Hi, I'm Ceili Allder and I'm a sophomore from Caldwell, WV. I study dance and biology here at SBC and I have a particular fondness for contemporary dance and creative movement!

 

 

Creative Movement 3-4Eleanor Yeatts is a Sophomore studying Dance and Politi... Creative Movement 3-4
Eleanor Yeatts is a Sophomore studying Dance and Political Science at Sweet Briar College. Her movement background includes extensive training in Gymnastics, as well as training in contemporary dance styles.

Senior Creative Contemporary Technique + Choreography LabMaria McCoy is a Ju... Senior Creative Contemporary Technique + Choreography Lab
Maria McCoy is a Junior studying Dance and Philosophy at Sweet Briar College. Born in Mexico, she has a movement background that includes traditional Mexican folk, ballet, and contemporary dance styles. She is a three-time world champion in the competitive dance arena!

Creative Movement 5-6Sharon Okoro is a Junior studying Dance at Sweet Briar College. She has a movement b... Creative Movement 5-6
Sharon Okoro is a Junior studying Dance at Sweet Briar College. She has a movement background in South Asian and contemporary styles of dance. A fun fact about Sharon is that she already speaks 11 languages and continues to love learning new ones!

Creative Movement 5-6 & Junior Creative Contemporary Technique + Choreography LabLi... Creative Movement 5-6 & Junior Creative Contemporary Technique + Choreography Lab
Lilly Higginbotham is a Junior studying Biology and Dance at Sweet Briar College. Her dance background includes extensive training in Ballet, including pre-professional training at the prestigious Kirov Academy of Washington D.C.