Dance Major Handbook

WELCOME


I'm  glad that you have chosen to be a dance major here at LoMA. The Dance Department offers ballet, modern/post-modern, jazz, contemporary, hip hop, social/cultural dance and improvisation technique, choreography, production, dance history, and body science. If you wish to have intensive professional preparation for a career in performance and/or choreography there will be a numerous opportunities presented to train outside of LoMA in conjunction with your curriculum.


This handbook is one of several that can provide answers to the questions most people have about LoMA Dance Program. I also encourage you to ask questions.  If Ms. Pope doesn't know the answer, sheʼll try to find someone who does. Also, other students are usually glad to help; donʼt be afraid to ask the seniors! We hope you will get to know the a majority of other dance students, too. We are fortunate to have 3 levels of dance and a dance company here at LoMA. Most of the the seniors will be looking for dancers for choreography projects this will be a great way to build relationships. A few of them may also teach selected at company rehearsals and workshops.


DANCE TECHNIQUE CLASSES


Although LoMA offers  Dance during the academic school day, All Dance Majors are required to attend scheduled rehearsals and performances after school hours. All hours earned will be logged and recorded and can be used as to meet extra-curricular hours needed to graduate. Students are responsible for logging hours. A dance rehearsal log sheet will be provided each marking period and due on the last day of each marking period. Mandatory rehearsals will be factored in the grading policy.


Evaluation Methods and Guidelines for Progress


The fundamental and ongoing expectations for all students in this class are:

1. Keep a positive, focused attitude towards your work in class. Being present is crucial. 

2. Fully attend to the movement material presented, as well as to the explanations and analyses of its specific components; 

3. Listen carefully to and apply all corrections and recommendations for improvement that are provided in class (to the group AND to individuals); 

4. Learn the movement material as quickly as you can through observation and practice; 

5. When executing movement, work towards both technical and qualitative success of the material;

 6. Reflect in writing (as assigned) on your progress toward your achievement of the learning goals;


I will assess your progress and achievement through:


1. Daily oral feedback to you and/or others on work done in class; 

2. Mid-term and final evaluations of your achievement using the Dance Technique Feedback sheet (student conferences, written feedback); 

3. Oral and/or written feedback on written self-assessments assigned to you during the semester.


PRIORITIES AND POLICIES FOR SCHEDULING STUDIO SPACE


A. Advance Reservations

Please see the bulletin board for most current priority listing for advance reservations. There is a first come first serve basis have Level 2 & 3 have Priority. Level 1 and others must see Ms. Pope.


B. Signing up once sheets have been posted

Write in both first and last name clearly. Those who sign up are presumed to be using the space for their own LoMA Dance Major-connected work, not to gain space for a non-affiliated group or individual, only dance majors and approved students have permission to use the studio. The individual who has signed out the space will be held responsible for any problems that occur during its use.


WHAT YOU NEED


*If you have any issue with purchasing any items see or email Ms. Pope.* 

The items needed are Non-Negotiable; they are for dance class and performance purposes, these items are known as Dance Basics. Dance Majors are expected to be prepared with ALL BLACK ATTIRE every class, if not your grade will be affected for Non-Compliance with the Dance Major Dress Code. See the "Dance Major-What You Need" Subpage for more details. 

VIDEOTAPED CONCERTS AND PERFORMANCES


All LoMA Dance Major concert performances are recorded by the Ms. Pope. Shortly after a concert, and for the remainder of the academic year that the concert takes place, the concert video is available to students through purchase from Ms. Pope. Please only purchase concert footage from Ms. Pope unless otherwise instructed by Ms. Pope. Ms. Pope will always have Permanent copies of each concert recording. If you would like footage of just the dances you were in please bring Ms. Pope at least a 4-8gb flash drive. 


HOUSEKEEPING CONCERNS


Dance studios are very difficult to keep clean. There is a custodial staff who tries to keep studios and dance studio floors swept and mopped on a regular basis. Their job, however, does not give them the responsibility of cleaning up after sloppy students. Students should make every effort to pick up after themselves in order to keep the studios uncluttered and safe for classes. Clothing that is left behind in studios will be turned in to the Lost and Found  Other lost and found items, such as jewelry, may be turned in to Ms. Pope


Do not eat or drink anything except water in the dance studios. Spilled foods and beverages are very harmful to the dance surfaces and can be dangerous to dancers. Glass from broken containers is especially dangerous. We have a mouse problem! Finding Mouse poop everywhere is terrible so please eat outside of the studio. 


Street shoes for Hip Hop are allowed on the dance floors BUT if they shoes have been worn outside the must be thoroughly washed.  I prefer them not to be worn outdoors. Ballet slippers and other dance shoes should never be worn outdoors.


MULTIPLE COMMITMENTS


Part of the LoMA experience involves learning to set priorities, make decisions, and experience the consequences of your choices. You will probably have more opportunities and more options to choose from than ever before. You will have to find a way to balance classes, homework, your social life, your job, and your rehearsal commitments, etc. There is a strong temptation to get too involved, especially in activities you love (such as clubs, sports teams, and performing with other organizations). The consequences may include stress-related illnesses, injuries, poor academic performance, and a diminished reputation if you cannot fulfill all the responsibilities you take on. The best prevention is to avoid overload from the beginning.


Please keep in mind that activities that carry course credit (academic classes), in general, should take precedence over non-credit activities ("the extras"). Do not expect to turn in papers or present assignments late or receive "free absences" in other courses in order to attend rehearsals or performances or other LoMA related activities. Notify your Ms. Pope ahead of time if have a conflict.


A HEALTHY DANCER


A good dancer is a healthy dancer, able to be fully expressive and articulate in heart, mind, and body. Much of your dance education involves getting to know yourself, your basic health needs, what works and is appropriate for your particular characteristics, and what isnʼt in your best interests. This may be entirely different from that which is true for your classmates. Also, learning what to do if you are sick or injured and how/when to get back into full participation is of utmost importance for a healthy dance life. The following guidelines concerning a healthy dancer are suggestions and/or reminders. Of course, any problem areas need to be evaluated by an appropriate professional: there is faculty here to find help you if needed.


Nutrition - "You are what you eat" is an old saying that still holds some wisdom. You need regular nutritious meals to sustain you through the time and energy demands of the dance program. A balanced diet for an active person should contain a number of different kinds of foods. Youʼll need a regular supply of protein to stabilize your energy release and repair bone and muscle tissue--good sources of protein include lean meat and dairy. Try to eat many vegetables and fruits, which provide minerals, vitamins, fiber, and water. Make sure you have a good source of calcium. Become a label reader when you grocery shop to check the nutritional information on packaged foods, and choose foods that are lower in hydrogenated and trans-fats. If you eat at restaurants or in the cafeteria, choose a variety of foods. A variety of textures and colors in foods is a good appetite satisfier and guideline for obtaining a balance of nutrients.


Dancer-friendly snacks - Bananas, oranges, apples, nuts or seeds, raisins, rice cakes, carrot sticks, apple sauce and juice packs (unsweetened), and graham crackers all are good alternative snacks. Plenty of water throughout the day is essential to replace fluids lost during a workout.


The Weight issueMaintaining a healthy weight is a necessity for career-minded dancers. Yet figuring out what a healthy weight is can be a challenge when we are surrounded by images of people with weight issues at either end of the scale. If you think you might not be at a healthy weight, seek nutritional advice, and support.


A healthy body always contains a percentage of fatty tissue. It serves as an energy store and as insulation for organs. Your culture, genetic make-up, and metabolism all affect your body type. We all have different shapes and body types; itʼs what makes us interesting. Your mirror or the latest fashion magazine may not be the best judge of what weight you should be. Crash or fad diets are harmful and donʼt work in the long run. Youʼll usually gain the weight back and may even gain more weight. Diets such as these deplete the system of needed nutrients and can cause severe metabolic imbalances. Binging and purging are symptoms of bulimia and excessive weight loss is a symptom of anorexia nervosa--both life-threatening illnesses that require professional help.


Managing stress - Stress is a part of being human, going to school, having a busy life. 

How to manage stress so it does not get the become a lifetime concern? First you need to become aware of needs and characteristics that are unique to you. This includes the amount of sleep your body requires to be fully functional, knowing your tolerance level, quiet times, hobbies or activities that are relaxing for you, and how friendships and family connections play a part in your life. There are also many somatic and relaxation techniques that may help relieve symptoms of stress. For example, meditation, deep breathing exercises, a nap, listening to peaceful music or relaxation tapes, a walk in the woods or a park, or riding a bike can refresh you even if you only have 10 minutes. Make these a regular part of your schedule. Keep in mind that getting a full nightʼs sleep can provide much needed energy for dance classes.


Schedule - It is helpful to plan a weekly and daily schedule for everything you need to do: classes, a job, rehearsals, meals, study hours, relaxation, free time, sleep, etc. Keeping a regular schedule is less stressful than having to constantly keep up with all you have to do. Balance your activities as best you can. A whole day of non-stop going is not good. You need time to rest your body and integrate all the new information.


Preventing injuries - Proper warm-up before class and rehearsals is essential to keep you dancing longer and stronger. Some low impact aerobic work outside of class is also good for stamina and to protect you during more stressful times such as during dance concerts, performances, and exams. Too much exercise without time for the muscles to recuperate can make you prone to injury; so can insufficient sleep or eating haphazardly. Learn to take class intelligently. Early detection of alignment problems or structural imbalances can also help prevent injuries. Donʼt do something if you experience pain. Ask Ms. Pope questions if you think youʼre not doing an exercise properly. With large classes, Ms. Pope canʼt always spot potential problems every time, and you need to know how to learn as well as what. Learn to recognize the difference between ordinary soreness and pain. Getting back into exercise after a holiday, just overdoing it, or a time away from exercise can mean sore muscles. Usually this goes away after a few days of working regularly. A hot bath with a cup of Epsom salts (available at drug stores) can relieve the soreness, which is usually caused from excess lactic acid in your muscles. 


What to do if you are in serious discomfort or get an injury - The formula for first aid for any injury is RICE. "R" for rest. Stop what youʼre doing, and sit down. "I" for ice: Get ice to the injured area immediately to relieve swelling and pain. See the office for and ice pack. "C" for compression: Wrap loosely in an ACE bandage if itʼs an extremity. "E" for elevation: Lie down, put the injured part above your heart level. This will help to reduce swelling. Then get medical attention if necessary. If you get severely injured in the Building, you must complete an injury report in the main office with Ms. C. When you are cleared as to when you can return to classes, approach it slowly, listen to your body to reduce further injury. Often it is possible to take part of a class, the floor work or barre for example, and observe the rest. Or you may be able to adapt an exercise to use only the uninjured parts and think/visualize the exercises for the injured part. Make sure you tell your Ms. Pope of your condition and ask what is possible to do in the class. 


Illness - If you get sick and are contagious and/or have a fever, you should not be in class. Go to the doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Return to class and rehearsals as directed. Proper and early self-care can speed recovery.


Special concerns - Often school or personal problems can seem overwhelming. Mental health is just as important as physical health. Feeling more than occasionally depressed, abusing alcohol or drugs, finding yourself angry too much of the time, consistently avoiding responsibilities, overeating or having no appetite are all areas of concern. See and a LoMA counselor they are trained in dealing with the special needs of students. Often just being able to talk over a problem with a qualified person is enough to get you back on track. If you have a problem with a particular class or a sensitive issue, often talking with Ms. Pope or other faculty member can clear this up quickly. IT IS NOT A SIGN OF WEAKNESS TO ASK FOR HELP.


Sexuality-Of course, as with all new learning experiences, developing your independence and your own attitudes about things is a part of the process. Issues of sexuality are part of this. Take responsibility for yourself in learning all you need or want to know about it. Information is available if you simply ask. 


PARENT AND STUDENT AGREEMENT  


Lower Manhattan Arts Academy Dance Department is committed to maintaining an environment that is free of bias, prejudice, discrimination and/or harassment predicated upon race, gender and/or gender identity or expression, color, religious, age, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, citizenship status, or any other legally protected basis. Such behavior is prohibited by law and undermines the character and purpose of the school. Students who believe they have been subjected to bias, harassment, discrimination or who have been treated unfairly on the basis of a protected status but are unsure of where to file a complaint should meet with the Guidance Counselor, Dean, Assistant Principal or Principal.


I have read and understand the needs, expectations, format, grading scale, and rules for dance class as a dance major. I understand that if I do not adhere to these requirements my grade will be affected and failing this class will result in attending SUMMER SCHOOL. I understand that being a dance major is a 10th through 12th grade commitment at Lower Manhattan Arts Academy.  I need to successfully complete all dance and academics credits to graduate.


I agree to the requirements as a dance major and am ready to begin training as a pre-professional dancer.



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