The HSPVA Department of Dance consists of approximately 100 dance majors and a dance faculty of 12 prominent professionals. A broad dance curriculum emphasizes both the performing and theoretical skills including: ballet, modern dance, jazz, musical theatre, tap dance, dance photography, dance survey, dance history, repertory, and composition.
Since 1982 HSPVA has been housed in a facility especially designed for the needs of aspiring young artists, including: three large dance studios, a gallery for dance photography exhibits, and large dressing facilities for men and women with accessibility to a full theater facility.
The HSPVA Dance Department provides a pre-professional dance education for students who wish to pursue a professional career in dance. The program is patterned after well-recognized university and conservatory programs of dance. The program is designed for gifted, aspiring students who are seeking a highly concentrated dance curriculum for three hours daily. The HSPVA Dance program incorporates a broad spectrum of the traditional dance forms, fostering artistic, intellectual and personal growth, along with versatility and flexibility for a career in a professional dance company. The Dance Department strives to teach the necessary skills a successful dancer must develop: creativity, passion for their art, self-discipline, independence, and the art of advocacy both individually and for the arts in society.
Dance Department Philosophy
The philosophy of the Dance Department is to:
- Train students in traditional technique classes of ballet, pointe, modern dance, jazz dance, tap dance, musical theatre stage dance, and repertory;
- Theoretically train students in dance composition, dance history, dance survey, dance production, dance photography;
- Allow students to perform and utilize dance skills in productions;
- Teach process and problem-solving and improve student technical and theoretical thinking skills;
- Provide a safe, positive environment for students to create, experiment, and take chances
- Expose students to additional professional choreographers from university/conservatory dance programs and from professional dance companies;
- Teach self-discipline, advocacy, commitment, responsibility, and ethics;
- Develop self-evaluation skills and an appreciation for their art form.
Since its inception in 1971, Houston's HSPVA has received international acclaim as the pro to-type for subsequent "magnet schools" throughout the United States and Canada. The HSPVA Department offers a broad dance curriculum designed to prepare dancers for a professional career in dance or for entrance into leading university/conservatory dance programs.
The HSPVA Department of Dance has become a magnet for outstanding professional artists and has been the fortunate recipient of residencies and visits by well-known artist like Agnes DeMille, Arthur Mitchell, Paul Taylor, Yuriko, Melissa Hayden, George Faison, Bill T. Jones, Bella Lewitzky, Gus Giordano, Bill Evans, Tina Ramirez, and Jose Greco, to name a few. It has also hosted master classes and demonstrations by some of the world's most outstanding dance companies - American Ballet Theatre, Martha Graham Dance Company, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Pilobolus, Repertory Dance Theatre, David Gordon's Pick-Up Dance Company, Ballet Folklorico de Mexico, The White Oak Project, and Jose Limon Dance Company.
The HSPVA Concert Dancers, under the direction of Janie Carothers have appeared on numerous university campuses and have toured in the United States, England, Scotland and China. The HSPVA Concert Dancers are now of two high school art programs in Texas approved and affiliated with Young Audiences of Houston. Their one-hour Young Audiences show has been featured in over 30 elementary and middle schools in the Houston area for the last fifteen years.
Perhaps the best yardstick for measuring the success of the HSPVA Department of Dance is the achievements of its graduates. Many have been featured on Broadway and network television, have appeared with outstanding international dance companies and have received generous scholarships to leading university dance programs. HSPVA has had eight Finalists in the thirty-five year history of the national program and two Presidential Distinguished teachers.