Our three-year Professional Training Program (PTP) is a full-time, post-secondary program that provides education and training in contemporary dance.
The program provides a broad curriculum, a solid foundation of knowledge about contemporary dance, physical and intellectual instruction in the art form, extensive performing experience, and an environment for learning that prepares students for a professional career.
Our programming includes:
A cornerstone of our approach is strong technical training in a number of related and mutually supportive dance disciplines, which enable dancers to develop a high level of skill and versatility and to realize each individual’s physical potential. Our focus on the imaginative and creative elements of each individual, as well as the quality and interpretation of their movement, contributes to the development of each dancer’s full expressiveness.
- Dance technique, using sound anatomical practices in a variety of styles to encourage strength, stamina, flexibility, clarity, versatility, articulation, musicality, use of space, use of weight, dynamics, and phrasing
- Special workshops/master classes, in selected dance, art, and health related disciplines, given by visiting artists and guest speakers
- Body Work, including cardio/conditioning for strength, power, and flexibility, movement clinics to address particular technical or performance concerns, and small group coaching sessions
- Anatomy, to give the dancer an understanding of functional anatomy, strategies for injury prevention, and principles of muscle and exercise physiology
CREATION AND IMPROVISATION
Dancers examine new and emerging areas of thought and practice in the exploration of creation and improvisation. Classes stimulate creative thinking through research, physical practice, observation, analysis, discussion, and documentation. Students begin to define their artistic point of view, defend their values, expand their critical thinking, and develop a rigorous creative practice.
- Creative Process, with a focus on cultivating the ability to take creative risks, and facilitating the journey through the choreographic process from conception through creation and rehearsal to performance
- Improvisation, to allow the student to discover movement and sound that comes from their own impulses, to develop sensitivity, listening, tools for expression, and choreographic skills
- Contact Improvisation 1, to explore gravity and momentum in order to support and utilize body weight in motion; a valuable tool for dancers approaching partnering work
- Contact Improvisation 2 and 3, to explore multi-level movement, escalating opportunities for momentum through anchoring, flying, gravity, and breath
- Source Work, to explore impulses and images through structured improvisations
CONTEXTUAL AND PROFESSIONAL STUDIES
- Dance History, to help students understand the legacy of the art form and the context for their training
- Art Theory and History, to explore ways of looking at art, and to understand a variety of artistic disciplines and their influence and inspiration for dance artists
- Dance Adventures, in which visiting and resident artists are invited to speak informally with the entire student body about their background, work, philosophy, and career
- Pedagogy 2, to develop the unique skills required for teaching creative movement to young children
- Pedagogy 3, to develop the skills needed to teach contemporary dance at beginner and elementary levels, including participation in practicum teaching sessions
- Career Paths, to provide students with confidence, the relevant writing and organizational skills, and an understanding of the profession
INTERPRETATION AND PERFORMANCE
In rehearsal and in performance, dancers are immersed in the act of creation, re-creation, and interpretation. They experience different choreographic processes, learn valuable performance and production skills, and are prepared to become the most versatile of instruments as professional dancers.
- Repertory, to work with professional choreographers, to enhance performance and interpretive skills, and to build to exciting and challenging performances during each semester
- Bouffon, to explore elements of burlesque, commedia dell’arte, farce, and satire and to empower dancers with a sense of boldness in performance presence
- Music, to develop skills in rhythm, vocal production, and listening
- Elements of Production, to give the dancer an overview of the fundamentals of the theatre, including working on actual productions in various capacities
Students have opportunities to perform special commissions or remounts of work by acclaimed Canadian choreographers; works by Christopher House from the repertory of Toronto Dance Theatre; works by talented emerging contemporary creators; and classic dances by significant international choreographers.
The School presents a series of performances in our home theatre, including winter and spring programs that involve the entire student body and a third year show for graduating students in a distinctive program of solos, duets, and small ensemble repertory.
Third year students present their own choreographic work as a culmination of the Creative Process course, designed to guide them through the choreographic process, from conception through creation and rehearsal, and finally to performance. More informal student-run Coffee House performances regularly present original student choreography.