Why We Offer Dance in Middle School

Laurel Moore Zahrobsky ’90, Director of Terpsichord and Dance Instructor
The GPS middle school curriculum in the Fine and Performing Arts is really unique. Each girl is given many opportunities to experience all genres of art if she so chooses. This allows her to make an informed decision as she enters high school in 9th grade. Because of her middle school experiences, she can decide which disciplines she wants to investigate further.

In middle school dance, we move the student through an age-appropriate curriculum seamlessly. In sixth grade, we explore creative movement through dance elements and they begin choreographing the very first day. After their first performance, they begin to learn modern techniques and how to hone the skills that embellish their choreography. In seventh grade, each dancer learns about where modern dance began and the leaders in the dance world who shared their skills with others to form their own branded techniques. The dancers learn how these people influence them in the studio today and why that is important. They also create dance studies each semester. In eighth grade, dancers are given four very different genres of dance. We begin with what they know (modern), move into ballet, jazz and finally dance on film. In each genre they are asked to be curious, collaborate with peers, choreograph, and increase their skill level but above all try their best and have fun!

Middle school is a time of change and growth. In the dance studios, we create a safe space where that growth doesn't always have to be neat and tidy. We encourage the dancers to take risks and explore. I believe it gives them the confidence to try the same style of learning outside of the studio, as well. Movement is so important for humans to experience and when you combine that movement with real-life skills such as collaboration, analysis, time management, and creativity you are given a chance to learn how to excel as a member of any community. I'm very thankful that GPS recognizes the importance of our dance curriculum and encourages girls to explore and grow through movement.