Dance is an artistic expression that has been meaningful to young and old across cultures and throughout human history- from sacred rituals, to folk dances, to the professional stage. Introducing young people to this rich world of dance, and the rewarding practice of developing one’s body and mind through a physical discipline, is one of our most important and beloved jobs here at MAGMA.
Dance develops coordination, musicality, balance, strength, awareness, and a sense of embodiedness that is very empowering. Our classes acknowledge that training in dance gives the opportunity to develop physical skills AND to develop creativity. Different kids have different interests, whether that’s in aesthetics (the artistic style), or in approach (how it’s taught). We have a broad program that gives kids a variety of styles and approaches to discover and explore.
Age Appropriate Progressions
At the root of all of our classes is the understanding of what is age appropriate for each class. Our classes are taught methodically and safely, giving each child a foundation of strength and agility before moving on to more complex moves. We also avoid content that is too mature for young kids, in our movement vocabulary and music choices.
For athletic kids who love to move and have fun, we have classes like Capoeira and American Social Dance. These energetic, creative, and interactive classes reflect folk and social dance traditions.
For kids who are interested in the refined and rigorous study that leads to stage performance, we have a program that nurtures students through the techniques of Classical Ballet and Contemporary Modern Dance, eventually adding in Improvisation and Contemporary Jazz/Street Dance styles in the teenage years. Studying technique in conjunction with the more athletic styles adds to the versatility a dancer brings to the stage.
We believe that in order to grow, kids need to know how to excel in their form. At MAGMA we strive to create a culture of practice that helps kids understand their own strengths, cheer on other’s strengths, and work on where they need improvement without judgement or negativity. When training in a dance technique, the concept of ‘personal best’ is applicable: students can strive to have more control, speed, or artistic expression within a movement vocabulary. Other times, creativity can inspire healthy competition – making up the move that makes everyone go “wow!” – and this is where the social dance and improvisation structures encourages excellence through a culture of supportive appreciation. Being creative and striving for excellence means taking risks – which also means risking failure – and so we teach kids to applaud and empathize with each other’s efforts.
Performing and the Talent Myth
Development is a very individual path for young kids. What people refer to as “talent” in dance is made up of several factors: physical ability, passion and focus, and performance quality. Some kids have the stuff naturally, most develop it over time, and sometimes it can ebb and flow at various times in a child’s life as a function of growth spurts, intellectual curiosity, emotional development, and a whole host of other factors. Therefore, we keep the focus on the elements that make for “talent” and instill in our students the love of taking up the challenge to become better dancers and performers through hard work, a supportive culture, and holistic understanding of the form. We don’t emphasize performance when they are young, but take the long view of serious training and performing as a developmental journey into maturity. Students at MAGMA will see the progression of training and performance, from the littlest kids who give a presentation of their classroom work, to our teen students who perform in choreographed pieces, to the professional companies who come to MAGMA and put on evening length works. All end-of-year performances are relaxed events, performed in regular practice clothing.
Tuition and Scholarships
Tuition information for the school is given on the Registration Page of this website. We firmly believe that everyone, regardless of financial means, should have access to dance lessons, so need-based scholarships are available to offset tuition costs. Please inquire at the studio for more information. If you are interested in donating to the Scholarship Fund, information available here: http://magma.center/scholarship-fund/