Dance Sun Country
Dance Sun Country is committed to giving each student a solid dance education focusing on technique, musicality, and showmanship. We strive to create a positive atmosphere for our students, nurturing the mind and body to act as one in order to develop grace, poise, and personal confidence that will benefit them throughout their entire lives in any career they choose.
With over 70 years of combined teaching experience, our highly qualified instructors bring a wealth of knowledge and diversity from a wide variety of professional and academic settings. Our instructors have extensive training and teaching experience with dance studios, companies, and universities throughout the U.S., as well as professional experience with the likes of the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Moscow Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Disney World, and both Disney and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. Our staff lead structured, challenging classes that are full of creativity and enthusiasm.
In addition to their weekly classes, as students advance in our programs they also have the opportunity to attend numerous dance workshops and summer intensives held throughout Florida and the U.S. each year. We are proud that many of our dancers continue to receive scholarships and acceptance into summer intensives with some of our nation’s most prestigious companies and schools, including American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet School in NYC, Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Atlanta Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Orlando Ballet, Next Generation Ballet, and Florida State University.
Coed – Available for ages 18 months – 2 years 11 months (Parent / Child Class)
An introduction to dance for our very youngest dancers. These classes are structured to stimulate coordination skills, listening skills, balance, music interpretation, and creative expression. This non-performance oriented class will keep the children engaged and attentive by combining dance activities with creative movement using fun and appropriate music, themes, props, and games. Full participation of the adult with the child supports bonding, language, movement development, great fun and play!
Coed – Available for ages 2 years 6 months – 3 years 11 months
Children will explore music, rhythm, and movement, while nurturing their energy, vitality, and imagination. These first dance classes help young students to develop mental, physical, and social skills through a fun, age-appropriate dance curriculum.
Coed – Available for ages 4 years – 5 years
Introduces the young dancer to simple ballet technique, French terminology, and proper ballet classroom procedures, while continuing to nurture and develop the same skills/goals as introduced in the Dance Tots. Ballet barre, center work and across the floor steps will be introduced.
Coed – Available for ages 6 years and up (Must be entering 1st Grade)
Ballet is a highly technical form of dance training, and is the foundation of all dance. It builds strength and flexibility while instilling grace and coordination in a dancer. Students will learn fundamental concepts of classical ballet, learn ballet terminology and proper ballet technique, as well as gaining an appreciation for ballet as an art form. The number of classes required per week increases as students progress into the intermediate levels and higher.
Placement in pointe class is at the discretion/approval of the Director. Pointe work is not a consideration until students have had sufficient ballet training to demonstrate significant strength and understanding of both classical ballet technique and body placement. Emotional maturity and dedication are also considered before placing a student “en pointe”.
Coed – Available for ages 6 years and up (Must be entering 1st Grade)
Tap is a rhythmic form of dance that is performed in special “tap shoes”. Beats and rhythms are executed through the feet. Students will learn to tap in an energetic and music-filled atmosphere, improving their memory, coordination, musicality, and stamina. Tap is offered in combination with Jazz for ages 6-9. Our program offers multiple levels of ballet training (beginner through advanced).
Coed – Available for ages 9 years and up
Jazz is a technique based style with a strong ballet background. There are many styles of jazz, including modern jazz, funky jazz, Broadway jazz, lyrical, contemporary, and hip-hop. Elements including body isolations, stretch and strengthening exercises, kicks, leaps, turns, and technical steps are taught in this class. This class consists of structure and discipline along with combinations and routines that are full of fun and sass!
Coed – Available for ages 4 years and up
Hip-Hop is an upbeat urban style of dance that is forever changing. Various age groups are offered. Students will be introduced to fun, age-appropriate dance classes that focus on fundamental Hip-Hop moves and choreography, while helping to develop rhythm, musicality, coordination, self-esteem and confidence. Appropriate popular music is combined with high energy dance moves and routines that are artistically expressive and fun.
Coed – Available for ages 10 years and up
Classes will focus on an eclectic blend of different styles of modern dance technique. This style teaches the body to move as an expressive tool. Classes will incorporate technique with a more athletic style of movement including contract and release, fall and recovery, special awareness, partner work and improvisation. Expression and exploration are key elements that will be included.
SPECIALTY CLASSES AND CAMPS
Coed – Available for ages 3 years and up
Our program also offers a variety of non-recital specialty classes and camps held in various mini-sessions throughout the year, and may include “Princess Ballerina”, “DanceMania”, “Hip-Hop Explosion!”, and “Boys Only”, to name a few. Our themes may change from year-to-year so that we can continue to provide a variety of dance styles for our students to explore.
Parent Observation Weeks provide the opportunity for parents to observe the growth of the dancers, and to experience the class from the “inside”. To minimize distraction for our students and to allow our faculty to do the best job possible in the training of your child, Parent Observation Weeks are only offered at certain times during the year.
Our goal is to keep your child focuses so that they can maximize their class experience and continue to progress effectively throughout the year.
Specific dates for observation weeks are posted in advance.
Dance Sun Country will have its annual Recital at the end of each dance season (May). Participation in the Recital not only helps to build self-confidence, but also develops theatrical presence, expressiveness, style, and teamwork, which are essential to the performing arts. Although performing in the Recital is not mandatory, we do encourage all of our students to share in this rewarding experience. It is a wonderful way for students to showcase the results of their hard work, and for family and friends to join in their pride of achievement.
Participation in the recital does require additional costs. Details regarding dates, fees, etc. are distributed in the fall of each year.
SUN COUNTRY DANCE THEATRE
Sun Country Dance Theatre (SCDT) is the resident non-profit, ballet-based, pre-professional performing company of Dance Sun Country. Since its founding in 2008, SCDT has endeavored to develop and nurture the artistic talent of our youth by providing performance opportunities for the talented young dancers of our community. Through the discipline of rehearsals and the joy of performance, dancers learn important life lessons while taking their dance skills to the next level.
Open auditions for dancers are held in August of each year. Company dancers have the opportunity to participate in numerous performances throughout our community annually, including performances at numerous arts festivals, community and charitable events, area nursing and retirement homes and local public schools.
SCDT’s educational outreach program, “Reach Out and Dance” (R.O.A.D.), incorporates several programs, including “Dance Talks”, offering dance education to hundreds of Title I elementary school students each year, “Head Start Dance Day”, an interactive dance workshop and performance for Alachua County Head Start students, and “R.O.A.D. Summer”, which hosts a week-long dance camp for head start children through a collaboration with Head Start and Fearnside Family Services.
The company’s formal productions include a fully-staged spring concert as the culmination of each Season and in 2013 featured the premier of the original story ballet, “Little Red Riding Hood.” SCDT also provides opportunities for our dancers to work with Guest Choreographers from around the U.S., and has commissioned numerous original works of choreography in highly diverse styles of dance, including classical ballet, modern, lyrical, musical theatre, jazz, tap and hip-hop. In January 2015, SCDT was invited to appear as Guest Artists at the “Merging Forces” Dance Concert in Houston, Texas. SCDT has also been accepted and invited to perform as Guests Artists in numerous other productions, including the Florida Dance Association Showcase Performance, Spotlight on Youth and the Showcase Performance at the Pensacola State College Summer Workshop.
SCDT believes students should dream big – and that all children deserve high quality arts-in-education experiences that support their academic, social, emotional and creative development. SCDT strives to spread the joy of dance to as many children, teens, and adults as possible to inspire, educate and entertain.
SCDT programs are funded in part by the City of Gainesville, Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs.