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Southwest Dance

DANCE at Southwest High School
The Dance Department is committed to the physical, intellectual and creative development of students as they journey through dance as an art form.   There is a place for every student from the beginner to the serious artist hoping to pursue dance at the college level and beyond.  Under the direction of Erin Brown, the program’s curriculum is designed to nurture individuality while also building a strong sense of community and team work in each ensemble and class. 

Students have the opportunity to:

  • Study with local and national choreographers (Past guests:  Toni Pierce-Sands, Sarah Hauss, Joelle Fernandez, Andy Asong-Morfaw, Darius Strong, Herb Johnson, Baraka de Soeil, Urban Bush Women, Roxanne Wallace)
  • Perform in two majors concerts per year
  • Choreograph their own work
  • Gain a reverence, discipline and understanding of the body in motion
  • Develop collaboration and leadership skills
  • Attend two professional dance performances per year
  • Be a part of an amazing community and make lasting friendships

A beautiful new dance studio was built as part of the 2017 addition to the campus.  It features a wood floor, windows, and mirrors. 


  • Fall IB Dance Student Choreography Showcase (off campus venue)
  • Winter Dance Concert at Southwest (all classes)
  • Spring Dance Showcase at Lake Harriet Band shell (all classes)
  • Spring Dance Concert at Southwest (all classes)

Dance Course Offerings:

The Southwest Dance Program offers a variety of courses for multiple expertise levels.  All classes fulfill the National Dance Standards of “create, perform, connect, respond and synthesize”.  All classes also build skills within the IB dance curriculum.

Dance I
This course is open to any student and is designed to introduce students to the world of dance at the high school level.  Students experience the elements of dance through a variety of genres and techniques including modern dance, ballet, jazz, swing dance, salsa, hip-hop, and dance composition.  Performance is not required. 

Dance II
This course builds on the skills and knowledge acquired in Dance I.  Through focused exploration of technique, composition and elements of dance, students start to deepen their study of dance.  Students in this class will develop teamwork skills and a strong work ethic.  This class prepares students to audition for the Dance Company classes.

Dance Company I
The Dance Company class is for students who are beyond the beginning level and who want the opportunity to train in dance in a yearlong class. A strong focus on modern and jazz will push dancers to grow in their physical skill, while choreography projects push students creatively.  Students will have the opportunity to work with guest artists and will perform in two concerts per year.  Audition required. 

Dance Company II
This class is for students with more experience in dance who want to work on their movement technique and develop their own artistic voice.  It gives students the opportunity to work with guest choreographers and perform in a wide range of dance work.  Modern dance is the main technique and curriculum for the class with other genres enriching the program through guests and special projects.  Audition required. 

Advanced Dance Company II/IB Dance
Dance Company II/IB Dance is a select group of dancers who perform at a high level of proficiency. This class offers advanced students the opportunity to continue their study of dance as performers, choreographers and scholars through technique, improvisation, composition and criticism.   This highly motivated ensemble will work with guest artists and perform in both on and off campus concerts throughout the year.  This course can be taken and tested in for IB Standard or Higher Level credit in the arts.  Audition required.