Here at Yorba Linda High School students have five opportunities to dance. Ms. Maes the head of the dance department offers 2 beginning classes,1 intermediate class, 1 advanced class, and a zero period for Dance Company. Ms. Maes is a California State University of Fullerton alumni and has a bachelor of arts in dance, a bachelor of science in kinesiology, and a master’s curriculum theory in education. Ms. Maes was inspired to further her dance career thanks to her instructor, who “not only taught [her] technique, but promoted a healthy lifestyle, and sophistication.”
All dance classes have five units they focus on: jazz, ballet, musical theater, hip hop, and choreography. Each unit starts with an introduction of the history, terminology, and important figures, which is at the end of the unit tested during a written exam. In addition, the students also learn at least one routine if not more for every genre, and later perform the learned routines in front of their peers. During performance exams students are graded on their knowledge of the steps, technique, effort, and individual improvement.
To put their knowledge to use, the students have the option to perform a dance of their chosen genre and music to showcase at Dance Company’s show in May. Advanced dance, is also invited to perform in the December show, also put on by Dance Company.
Ms. Maes encourages her students to diversify themselves, by implementing an annual dance critique, that implies they will visit a show and write a report on what they saw, the level of technique and performance, this is meant to help our dancers grow and see others perform.
The dance program is exceptional at making connections for those dancers who are looking to dance in the future. Ms. Maes organizes for universities, such as CSUF and Chapman University to come to YLHS and teach Master Classes, perform dances, and hold private auditions for our students.
Ms. Maes hopes that in the future the dance program will continue to expand. She expects to have six dance periods with one being a choreography based class. She would also like colleges to teach and perform once a month. Ms. Maes’ greatest hope for YLHS, is for it to acquire a building specifically for dance equipped with mirrors, Barres, speakers, and a dance floor.
Overall, the main goals of the class are to be able to execute proper body alignment, understand and demonstrate dance vocabulary and history, gain flexibility, coordination, strength, and endurance, practice a physically active lifestyle, and perform.