The Holland Hall Fine Arts curriculum offers an array of dance courses in modern dance.

Middle School Dance (6th-8th Grade) Dance is a physical education option for the fall, winter and spring seasons. Each season includes technique class, lessons in anatomy, dance history, Laban/Bartinieff fundamentals, choreography, and a culminating performance.

Upper School Dance (9th-12th Grade) Students may enroll in Dance for fine arts credit or physical education credit. Course offerings include:

  • Modern Technique, levels I-IV
  • Choreography
  • Repertory

The dancers have a minimum of three formal performances per year, with a variety of informal opportunities.

The Modern Dance technique offered at Holland Hall combines Laban Movement Analysis (LMA) with Bartinieff Fundamentals.

LMA is a system and language for understanding, observing, describing and notating all forms of movement. Devised by Rudolf Laban, LMA draws from his theories of “Effort” and “Shape” to describe, interpret and document human movement. Used as a tool by dancers, athletes, physical and occupational therapists it is one of the most widely used systems of human movement analysis.

Bartinieff Fundamentals are an extension of LMA originally developed by Irmgard

Bartinieff who trained with Laban before becoming a physiotherapist. The resulting

Fundamentals are a set of concepts, principles, and exercises that apply Laban’s movement theory to the physical / kinesiological functioning of the human body. They include:

Dynamic Alignment
Core Support
Rotary Factor
Initiation and Sequencing
Spatial Intent
Center of Weight / Weight Transference
Effort Intent
Developmental Patterning and its Support for Level Changes

Guest artists hosted by the Holland Hall Dance Department: modern dance legend Bill Evans, Bartinieff specialist Tina Kambour, New York company director Daniel Gwirtzman, Complexions founder Desmond Richardson (co-hosted), Trey McIntyre (co-hosted).

Recent professional performances attended by Holland Hall students include the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Koresh Dance Company, Trey McIntyre Project, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, and Pilobolus.

What is Modern Dance?

Modern Dance, or contemporary dance, is usually focused on communication of ideas and/or emotions through movement alone, rather than the telling of stories. Sometimes, modern dance is concerned simply with movement itself without trying to convey a “message”. While modern dance techniques have been developed over the years, many artist-educators approach dance training through eclectic systems – borrowing what they see as useful and pertinent, and offering other aspects to the classroom experience that come from personal exploration and experience. Likewise, the work of each modern dance choreographer will be as unique as the artist creating that work. As a general rule, it is assumed that while each choreographer has the freedom to build upon vast developments and styles, these choreographers will invent (and later re-invent) their own movement vocabularies for the work they make.

~ as presented by the Mid-America Dance Alliance