Dear Parents and Students,
Welcome, or welcome back, to the Los Alamitos High School Dance Program! To my returning dancers: I am so proud of all of you! We have some wonderful memories and now have a new year to look forward to for creating new memories and growing as dancers. I cannot wait to get dancing and performing again this year!
To new students: Before you start the program, it is very important that you and your parents understand what you are about to commit to. Students have made the mistake in the past of thinking this class would be an easy P.E. substitute. They found out too late that they were wrong. If that is your motivation for joining the dance program, please rethink your decision. Being in the program involves much more time, commitment, and dedication than a regular class. It involves performances, after-school rehearsals, and total dedication. You are asked to dress out EVERYDAY, participate every day, and put in 100% effort every day. Your grade in Dance is based on participation. If you are sick or miss school often, or are just too busy and are already over-committed, then maybe the dance program is not for you. This program must be a priority. In addition, you may not miss a required extra rehearsal or performance. So really think about what you are doing because this is far from the easy way out of P.E.
It is very important that you know and understand my policies, procedures, and expectations. I hope to answer any questions regarding the course with the following information.
The focus of the class will be various forms and styles of jazz dance. We will also have ballet once a week. The Intermediate and Advanced classes are UC approved for Fine Arts. (You need to let your counselor know if you are taking the class for Fine Arts credit.) This means there are extra requirements for those classes in order to meet UC standards. These requirements involve written assignments, a critique of an outside dance performance (check the website for assignment details and format), and a Final involving dance terminology. (Advanced dancers also have other added requirements and a contract sheet.)
The focus of the first six weeks of the semester will be technique. This involves warming-up, conditioning, technique across the floor, ballet, and dance combinations. The focus of the second six weeks will be approximately half technique and half show preparation. The focus of the last six weeks will be the performance.
Performance and Rehearsals
There will be at least one performance a semester, for three nights and a matinee, that you need to commit to. The performance is a huge commitment. Your grade for the course is determined in large part by your involvement in the performance. If you are unable to attend all of the following performances and rehearsals, you should wait to join the dance program until you are able to make the time commitment. The performances this semester are Thursday, January 21st, Friday, January 22nd, and Saturday, January 23rd, at 7:00 with a 5:50 call time all three nights and a matinee performance on the 23rd at 1:00 with an 11:50 call time. (NOTE – MONDAY, JANUARY 19th IS A SCHOOL HOLIDAY. YOU CANNOT PLAN TO GO AWAY FOR THE THREE DAY WEEKEND AND REMAIN IN THE DANCE PROGRAM THIS SEMESTER.) There will be a mandatory show run-through rehearsal on Friday, January 15th from 2:45 to 5:00, and a mandatory dress rehearsal Tuesday, January 19th from 4:15 to 7:30. There will be a technical rehearsal Saturday, January 16th from 9:00am-7:00pm. Beginning dancers are required to sign-up for and attend one hour of tech. rehearsal. Please put these dates, including the extra rehearsals, on your calendar today! Check with all outside activities such as cheer teams and dance studio shows, competitions, rehearsals, and any other important events that may conflict with these dates. Also let on-campus groups such as choir, band and sports teams about these dates. Your commitment to this performance is required and crucial. There will be a performance contract with show rules and expectations sent home in December that you and your parents will be expected to sign.
THE SECOND SHOW DATES ARE AS FOLLOWS:
Show run-through - May 13th, 4:15-6:30 (note the later time due to AP testing)
Dress rehearsal - May 17th, 4:15-7:30
Performances - May 19th, 20th, 21st, at 7:00 and a 1:00 matinee on the 21st.
MISC. NOTES REGARDING SHOW/REHEARSAL ATTENDANCE
- You must have a doctor’s note to excuse you due to serious illness or injury from a performance – the only other excusable reason for missing a performance is a death in the family. This also applies to the two mandatory rehearsals. HAVING TO WORK IS NOT AN EXCUSE FOR MISSING A REHEARSAL. If you have a job, let them know NOW about this commitment. If you miss a performance for any reason other than serious illness or injury, or death in the family, you will fail the class and will not be allowed to remain in the program. If you miss a mandatory rehearsal, you will lose half of your show points and will not be moved up a level the following year.
- As we start preparing for the show, you need to make it a priority to be at school, dressed out, and ready to rehearse. Missing dance, even for school-sponsored events, is not okay. Do not plan on sitting out on days when we are intensely preparing for the show or adding on to your dance.
- You may not miss any dance class 3 weeks before the show (when we are rehearsing in the PAC) for any reason other than serious illness or death in the family. If you are absent for these reasons, a parent must call or email me. If not, you lose 20 points from your grade for every absence.
- If you are injured or seriously ill prior to show week, you must be cleared to dance by the show run-through date, or you cannot participate in the show.
Being in this class will require some dance necessities. You will need jazz shoes and a few dance clothes. (You do NOT need to buy school P.E. clothes.) Please see me if you need help in attaining these items in any way. It would also be helpful if you had ballet shoes, especially at the intermediate and advanced levels. Upper level dancers should have knee pads and have them in class every day. (Also, at the intermediate and advanced levels you may need other types of shoes for performances.)
NOTE - FOR OTHER DANCE PROGRAM NEEDS PLEASE SEE ATTACHED COSTUME DONATION PAGE.
Special discount offer for shoes! Diva Dancewear is offering a 20% discount on all jazz shoes for Los Al Dance Program students from now through September 6th.
NOTE - LOS AL DANCE APPAREL, CAR DECALS, AND WARM-UP DVDS WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR OPTIONAL PURCHASE FROM THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 3RD THROUGH FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 11TH DURING LUNCH IN THE DANCE ROOM. SEE HANDOUT WITH OPTIONS AND PRICES.
You are required to wear dance attire and dance shoes every day in class. Points are subtracted from your grade if you are not fully and properly prepared for class and if you do not do all of the following:
• For the upper level dancers, dance clothes must be professional and form- fitting. Dance pants, leotards, leggings and tank tops are acceptable as long as they are form fitting. They may be any color. Beginning dancers may wear any work-out type clothes; however, I prefer form-fitting dance clothes if possible. You must change into some type of workout clothes, though - stretchy school clothes are not okay. Dresses as a top are not okay either. Your dance clothes must look like dance or work-out clothes.
• You must wear jazz shoes every day unless otherwise specified. I would prefer you to have split-sole jazz shoes (no boots). The color is up to you, but beige is best as that is what we more commonly use for our performances. YOU MAY NOT WEAR SOCKS IN CLASS. Beginners must have shoes by Monday, September 7th. All other levels must have shoes in class tomorrow.
• Hair must be out of your face so as not to bother you or be distracting while you are dancing.
• Do not wear jewelry.
• Make sure you have appropriate support and that booty shorts (not recommended attire) and tank tops cover you completely. If you choose to wear booty shorts, you are REQUIRED to wear sweats over them to start class and can only take your sweats off when you are fully warmed up.
• You are required to have some sort of slip-on shoe to wear when coming from the locker room to the dance room, and for wearing when sent outside to work on a dance.
• You need to be dressed on time. You have five minutes from the bell to get dressed and get to class (WITH THE EXCEPTION OF INTERMEDIATE 3 AND ADVANCED). You will be dismissed five minutes before the bell to have time to change into your street clothes. That means you need to be ready to dance at _____________, and you will be dismissed at _____________. As soon as you arrive in the dance room, I expect you to start stretching and prepping for class.
• ON LATE START WEDNESDAYS, CLASS WILL START WHEN THE BELL RINGS. IF POSSIBLE, YOU SHOULD WEAR YOUR DANCE CLOTHES UNDER YOUR SCHOOL CLOTHES ON THESE DAYS.
You will need to dress-out for class starting tomorrow.
You have two non-dancing days a semester due to illness or injury without any cost to your grade. YOU MUST HAVE A NOTE FROM A PARENT TO SIT OUT. (On certain days, if you choose to sit out, it will count for two days. I will let you know when this is the case.) These may not be used if you only forgot your dance clothes. On sit-out days you must still dress-out and you need to take a full page of notes during class. (Please see the "sit-out requirements" sheet for details.) If you have a doctor’s note, you will be excused from class without using one of your two days.
You lose fifteen points everyday you sit out beyond your two days. If your injury or illness causes you to sit out more than two days I need a doctor’s note excusing you from class. In this case, you will be given a written assignment to make up for the time missed. If you have an illness or injury that causes you to sit out for more than two weeks or an indefinite amount of time, you will need to wait and take the dance class once you have healed.
I'd prefer for you not to use these days if at all possible. A slight cold or cramps often feel better after you have danced. Even an injury to one part of your body does not mean that you can't move the other parts. Let me know at the beginning of class if you have an injury or are not feeling well and need to take it easy.
Please use these days wisely and only if absolutely necessary!
Your grade for this course is broken into two segments. The first segment is based on participation. Everyone starts the course with 250 points. So, the good news is everyone starts with an “A”! The bad news is you can lose the points very easily. The participation segment of your grade is based on six areas. Each time you do not comply with the requirements of one of the six areas, you lose five points. That means if you get six marks against you, your grade goes down to a “B.” The following are the six graded areas:
• BEING ON TIME - You must be dressed and ready to dance on time. Your grade goes down five points with each tardy. You receive a tardy if you are not ready to dance on time.
• BEING PROPERPLY PREPARED - You must be dressed in appropriate dance attire and dance shoes. If you forget your clothes, you still need to dance or you will lose fifteen points.
• HAVING A POSITIVE ATTITUDE - You must have a positive attitude at all times – no divas, no whiners, no grumps! A positive attitude includes respect towards your fellow dancers and me.
• SHOWING PROPER BEHAVIOR - You must listen closely and not talk to others, especially when the teacher is giving instructions. Disruptive behavior and talking will result in a lower grade and you will be asked to leave class. Your FOCUS must at all times be on the instructor and dancing.
• HAVING REGULAR ATTENDANCE - You must attend class consistently. Be healthy and come to school! (Please see all attendance policies on the next page.) If your absence is a truancy, THIRTY points will automatically be subtracted from your grade. If you have more than two truancies in a semester, you will not be allowed in the program the following semester.
• PUTTING FORTH EFFORT - You must put forth 100% effort at all times.
The second segment of your grade is based on points you earn for other activities.
These other activities include weekly combinations, the show (a major part of
your grade), and any written assignments including the performance critique
for Int. 1,2,3 and Advanced. Your grade for this segment is based upon the total
number of points earned out of the total points possible. Both segments will
be combined for your total grade at the end of the semester.
My grading scale is as follows:
90 – 100% of total points = A
80 – 89% of total points = B
70 – 79% of total points = C
60 – 69% of total points = D
PLEASE NOTE – This class is different than other classes in that so much of the grade is earned in the last six weeks of the semester due to the performance at the end of the semester. Because of this, you can actually go from an “A” to an “F” after the last progress report. Parents must be aware of this possibility and know that there may not be time for notification prior to receiving the final grade.
Attendance Policies – Grades and Performance
Let me know in advance of absences whenever possible – I especially need to know of any unavoidable extended absences ASAP. (Although, as a part of this program, you are expected to avoid those types of absences.) Communication from parents and students regarding absences is key. The bottom line is I need the students in class. Dance is a participation class and the time missed cannot be appropriately made up in any way.
1) If you have more than 10 absences both semesters and/or lower than a “C” both semesters, you will not be moved up the following year.
2) If you have seven or more absences, excused or unexcused, you are required to do make-up assignments. See the chart below for the number of absences with corresponding required number of make-up assignments. A paper is worth forty points while an assignment is worth twenty. You will receive notice if this applies to you with specific assignment details within the last two weeks of the semester. In addition to the assignments, with ten or more absences, you will be put on an attendance contract for the following semester, which will mean that attendance needs to improve or you will not be allowed to remain in the program.
# of absences
7-9 - one paper
10-13 - one paper/attendance contract
14-16 - two papers/attendance contract
17 or more - three papers/attendance contract
3) If you miss too many classes in which we are rehearsing for the performance,
you will not be allowed to be in the show or may be cut from sections of your
dance. This is left up to the choreographer’s discretion. If you miss
choreography due to on campus suspension, you will not be included in the choreography
for that day.
4) It is not okay to miss class for a school-sponsored event such as a field trip, sporting event, or other performing arts events on a day we are working on the performance dances. Ask teachers for other options so that you are not absent from this class for any reason, especially on show days.
5) If you miss show choreography, but are left in the section that you missed, you are expected to learn what you missed on your own within two days of being absent or you will be taken out of the section.
6) COMMUNICATION IS KEY! If at all possible, you or a parent, need to email me when you are sick - especially if you have to miss show choreography. If you are absent, you must check with me before class starts on the day you come back to see what you missed. If you know in advance that you have to miss class due to a school sponsored event, you must tell me as soon as you know about it. These things show me that you are responsible and committed and make it easier for me to work around absences when possible.
7) If you are more than 15 minutes late to class, excused or unexcused, it counts as a sit-out day.
It’s never too early to think about your goals in dance. It’s always a good idea to take outside classes and to talk to me about your goals. Regular attendance, 100% effort, and staying focused are key to mastering the technical abilities you need to improve and advance to the next level. With this in mind, please note the following policy:
If you do not get a passing score on the final at the end of the year, you will not move up a level the following year. Keep this in mind as you focus and work throughout the year and see me for extra help if you feel you need it.
Make-up Work & Extra Credit
If work needs to be made up, such as the performance of a combination, you will need to set up a time with me to make up the work. If your absence is a truancy, you will not be allowed to make up the work missed. You will have very few extra credit opportunities, if any. Extra credit projects are not given to make up for a poor participation grade.
Some important details and miscellaneous rules…
• Effort – As I have said before, you will be graded on effort. When I grade you on your combination performance I will be looking for personal improvement. Improvement will not happen without your full dedication and effort daily. I cannot stress to you enough the importance of 100% effort every day and your personal commitment to improvement. You will not succeed or improve as a dancer unless you put forth 100% effort. Don’t do enough to get by – do enough to get ahead!
• If you are suspended from school for drug or alcohol use, or if you are suspended during show time, you will not be allowed in the program the following semester.
• Advanced Dancers – See the Advanced Dance Contract for specifics regarding your class expectations.
• Be careful what you say on social media and be aware that I always find out about it.
• Put your name on all of your dance attire – especially your shoes.
• If you are in two periods of dance, please write both periods you are in on all forms, sign-in sheets, and assignments. Be prepared to possibly do things twice - always check with me.
• Potty breaks – there are none. With only forty-five minutes to dance, I cannot allow you to take class time to use the restroom. You need to use the five minutes given to you to dress to go to the bathroom. If you have a medical condition that requires you to use the restroom at any given moment, I need a note from your parents and a physician.
• If you want a locker in the locker room, see the attendant __________________, and she will assign you a locker. Do not change in the restrooms in the girls’ locker room.
• You may not walk around campus in your dance clothes. You may not walk around campus bare foot. You need something to cover your dance clothes when coming from the locker room to the dance room or when practicing outside.
• After you change at the end of the period you need to stay behind the yellow line by the locker room until the bell rings for dismissal. If you change early, you may not wander the campus.
• Bring water!! You’ll need it, and since time is precious, I can’t give you specific water breaks.
• Be careful of what you leave behind in the dance room and locker room – many personal belongings have been lost or stolen. (I do have a lost and found box you can check if you lose something but I am not responsible for what you leave behind.)
• I would love to have Kleenx and band-aides donated to the dance room – we go through these things so quickly!
• No changing in the dance room unless it is a special occasion in which I have deemed the dance room a dressing room – double check with me that it is one of those special occasions before you begin changing. Changing in the dance room will also result in five points being deducted from your grade.
Dance room rules
1) Please be sure your cell phones are turned off during class.
2) The atmosphere in the dance room is one where everyone feels respected, safe, and comfortable. It is a positive, encouraging, and energetic atmosphere. I expect everyone to help create and keep this atmosphere at all times.
3) We MUST all pitch in to take care of the dance room and our floor. With this in mind, I am strictly enforcing the following rules:
• No food, gum, or drinks in the dance room. (You should never chew gum in a dance class anyway.) I will subtract five points from your grade for bringing food or drinks in the dance room. You will receive a lunch detention for having gum.
• Help to keep the dance room clean. The dance room gets messy fast. It’s your dance room. Clean up after yourselves! Be sure to throw away all empty water bottles and pick up and throw away band-aides.
• Take street shoes off at the door and do not wear shoes that have been worn outside of the dance room, in the dance room. The cleaner the floor this less slippery it will be. Absolutely no stiletto pumps in the dance room.
I will be in need of show helpers for each show and will be sending home a flyer in December about this. I also am always looking for seamstresses, videographers, and people to help with props. (Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help with these specific jobs.) I appreciate anything parents and family members can do to help out. I could not have performances without volunteers!
LOS AL DANCE WEB SITE
I have a website with show pictures, a LAHS Dance Program calendar, class handouts and other important information. Please visit the site at losaldance.com.
PARENT CONTACT INFORMATION
Please turn in the parent/guardian contact information sheet along with the signature portion of the classroom management plan. This will be used to send out important information and reminders. The Booster contact person is Sogema Montes and the email address is email@example.com. The Booster Club president, Kelly Jennings, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feel free to speak to me for any reason. You can email me at email@example.com.
You can also call me any time at (562) 799-4780, extension 82501 to leave a
message, but the best and fastest form of communicating with me is through email.
It is going to be another exciting year! I hope you are looking forward to our
time together as much as I am!
Mrs. Rikki Jones
***SHOW THIS LETTER TO YOUR PARENTS – KEEP IT TO REFER TO FOR IMPORTANT INFORMATION. RETURN THIS SIGNATURE PORTION TO ME TOMORROW.
Parents please be sure to fill out the parent contact info sheet AND read and initial each of the following:
• We have read and understand ALL dance program policies. ____
• We understand that performances and rehearsals are mandatory. (Please review the dates and put them on your calendar today.) ____
• We understand that this class is different than other classes in that so much of the grade is earned in the last six weeks of the semester due to the performance at the end of the semester. Because of this, a student can actually go from an “A” to an “F” after the last progress report. We are aware of this possibility and know that there may not be time for notification prior to receiving the final grade. _____
• It is okay to put show pictures on the dance website that may include my student. ____
• We are aware of the costume donation and the requested due date. _____
Student Signature _________________________ Print Name __________________________
Period(s) ______ Date _______________
Parent Signature _________________________ Print Name ___________________________
**Be sure to check out the LAHS Dance Program website at losaldance.com.