MIDDLE SCHOOL COURSES
Physical Education 7
This course introduces students to individual sports, team sports, fitness, and aquatics. The program challenges students to raise their fitness levels and develop motor and leadership skills, good character, and a positive self-image. During first semester, students rotate through activities of varying intensity. In the second semester, students are assigned to one of two tracks. Placement in the sports-performance track is determined by student desire and staff approval. This track alternates between weight-room workouts and playing sports. The fitness track continues to build athletic skills and improve fitness through sports and games.
Physical Education 8
The eighth-grade program continues to develop the knowledge and skills introduced in Physical Education 7. Students who enroll for the entire year have the opportunity to sign up for the sports-performance track designed to prepare middle school athletes for high school sports. This track alternates between weight-room workouts and playing sports. If space is available, students who enroll for one semester may also sign up. The fitness track continues to teach students to develop lifelong habits and build character through teamwork, communication, and cooperation while playing sports.
Physical Education 9
Students participate in a variety of activities each trimester. These activities may include badminton, basketball, fitness, football, soccer, softball, team handball, ultimate Frisbee, volleyball, weight training, and others deemed appropriate by the Physical Education department.
Introduction to Contemporary Dance
This course introduces students to the technical and creative elements of contemporary dance. Prior dance experience is not required. Basic studies in modern, jazz, and ballet familiarize students with contemporary movement vocabulary as they develop coordination, agility, flexibility, and proper alignment and gain confidence in self-expression. Students are introduced to the choreographic process in a collaborative setting. The end-of-year informal showcase provides students with an opportunity to present original works.
Contemporary Dance Workshop I
This beginner/intermediate course is for dancers with previous training and performance experience. Students develop their technical and analytical skills through choreography. Students perform in a showcase at the end of the semester and participate in after-school rehearsals during the week prior to that event.
Prerequisite: Introduction to Contemporary Dance, audition, or prior enrollment.
Contemporary Dance Workshop II
This intermediate/advanced course enables dancers to hone their technical and creative skills at a faster pace. Strength and flexibility are further developed through studies in jazz, ballet, and modern techniques. Creativity and self-expression are emphasized through guided improvisations and choreographic assignments. Students expand their critical-thinking capabilities by viewing, analyzing, and discussing dance. The class explores the group creative process as students choreograph, rehearse, and perform as an ensemble. They present their work in a showcase at the end of the semester and participate in after-school rehearsals during the week prior to that event.
Prerequisite: Two semesters of Contemporary Dance Workshop I, audition, or prior enrollment.
This course for technically and creatively advanced dancers develops choreographic skills. It focuses on creative movement explorations and improvisations; choreographic design, shape, form, and development; critical and analytical thinking about choreography; and practical experience in rehearsal and performance. Dancers collaborate to choreograph, rehearse, and perform in a professionally produced dance concert. Student participation in after-school rehearsals is required an average of twice per week from November through February and Monday through Saturday during the last three weeks leading up to the March concert.
Prerequisite: Audition or prior enrollment.
UPPER SCHOOL COURSES
Strength and Conditioning
Students participate in a sports performance program designed to prepare them for competition on an interscholastic athletic team. Harvard-Westlake athletes are encouraged to enroll during the off seasons of their sport. Class activities include weight training, agility training, and physical conditioning. Individual student programs comprise exercises aimed at improving performance in sport(s) of their choice.
Fencing I is a beginning class that explores mobility, attack, defense, tactics, and technique in modern fencing. The course primarily focuses on foil, though saber and épée are also explored.
Directed Study: Yoga I
This class provides an introduction to basic yoga and is open to students of all levels. Postures, breath control, and meditation are emphasized. Students learn these practices in the context of a larger mind/body discipline through which they can acquire greater self-awareness. Students work toward an independent daily practice of yoga.
Sports Science: Care and Performance
This yearlong introductory course is laboratory and project based. Topics range from practical elements of care to cognitive neuroscience to the meaning of “team.” Units of study include exercise physiology in sports medicine and performance training; care practice; the principles of strength, speed, endurance, and flexibility; testing for strength, speed, and endurance; perception-action coupling; biomechanical analysis and functional movement screens; sports psychology; and leadership. Students are graded on unit tests and quizzes, homework and laboratory assignments, and a capstone project at the end of the year.
The Art of Dance I
This beginning-level course offers an in-depth exploration of dance technique, choreography, improvisation, and performance. Genres that may be explored include modern, contemporary, jazz, hip-hop/street, musical theater, and ethnic dance forms. Students learn to assemble, compose, and perform their own dances through a series of collaborative choreographic assignments and showcases. The class provides the opportunity to appreciate dance as an art form and a space to experience expression through movement.
The Art of Dance II
This intermediate-level course offers an in-depth exploration of dance technique, choreography, improvisation, and performance. Genres that may be explored include modern, contemporary, jazz, hip-hop/street, musical theater, and ethnic dance forms. Students collaborate on choreographic assignments that help develop their creative voices, and they perform their work throughout the year. The class provides the opportunity to appreciate dance as an art form and a space to experience expression through movement.
Prerequisite: Contemporary Dance Workshop II or The Art of Dance I.
Advanced Dance Seminar
This course is designed for students who have actively participated in the Harvard-Westlake dance curriculum and want to work in depth on a project. The subject and nature of the project is determined by each student with the consent of the instructor. Students present one dance project per semester. A written paper and an oral or performance presentation are required. Meeting times are arranged between the student and teacher.
Advanced Dance I: Choreography
This advanced-level course offers an in-depth study of choreography and the creative process. Genres that may be explored include modern, contemporary, jazz, hip-hop/street, musical theater, and ethnic dance forms. Technique and performance are also examined. Students enrolled in this course become members of the outreach dance company, which focuses on creating community service–based performances. Students perform as an ensemble throughout the year and are given the choice to perform in the annual dance concert. The class provides the opportunity to appreciate dance as an art form and a space to experience expression through movement.
Prerequisite: Dance Production or prior enrollment.
Advanced Dance II: Performance and Production
This advanced-level course is designed for the serious dance student. Students choreograph and perform in the annual dance concert and various dance presentations throughout the year. Working as an ensemble is stressed; commitment and discipline are essential. As members of the Advanced Dance II company, students develop as dance artists. The class provides an opportunity to appreciate dance as an art form and a space to experience expression through movement.
Prerequisite: Audition or prior enrollment.
Directed Study: Ballet
This course is for beginner- through advanced-level students interested in studying ballet. Barre technique, body alignment, and proper movement mechanics are emphasized and serve as a strong foundation for dancers, athletes, and actors. Classes are accompanied by a pianist. Students taking this course for a full year may earn one trimester of Physical Education credit.