In accordance with the Massachusetts Arts Curriculum Framework, CityStep implements a program-wide year-long curriculum designed to promote both select performance goals and specific personal growth objectives.
Each month, every CityStep class will focus on one of the following performance goals:
1. Movement Elements and Dance Skills. This goal emphasizes the fundamental elements of dance and choreography in its most basic incarnation, and includes arming participants with a solid foundation of theatrical movement for performance art of all types.
2. Dance as Expression. This goal is devoted to the understanding of dance as a medium for complex and unique expression. Students will learn how to relate movement to moods evoked by music, art, and other forms of inspiration as well as to express thematic and plot-driven concepts through dance.
3. Choreography. Building on the above two concepts, students will learn how to combine and manipulate movements to produce extended, varied phrases of dance. Participants will create their own choreography in preparation for their class’s piece in the final show.
4. Performance in Dance. This goal will emphasize the communicative aspect of movement. Students will learn basic rules and strategies for reaching an audience and will have the opportunity to perform before one another. This is also considered the final step in the preparation for the annual CityStep performance.
Each month, every CityStep class will focus on one of the following personal growth objectives:
1. Community. This goal emphasizes the importance of building a supportive, safe, and trusting environment in each CityStep classroom that is conducive to students stepping outside their comfort zones and try new things.
2. Self-Expression. CityStep students have the chance to express their feelings and ideas in a new way during this curricular unit. Activities encourage students to use movement and dance to communicate how they are feeling, or how they might interpret or react to another piece of artwork, a song, or a verbal phrase.
3. Creativity. This goal is devoted to expanding the artistic horizons of each CityStepper by pushing students to move beyond borrowing or parroting the ideas or movements of others into the organic creation of new movement-based storytelling and choreography.
4. Self-Confidence. This goal focuses on imbuing students with self-confidence that will allow them to not only be eager and excited about presenting their hard work on stage to large audiences, but to confront other challenge tasks that confront them in their lives.
In addition to the above focus areas, each CityStep classroom will work to incorporate other activities to foster a greater understanding of dance and performance. Such activities include dance and music workshops in which students are exposed to a variety of genres of dance as well as the basic principles of music. Students will also be encouraged to broaden their understanding of dance by identifying and studying its social, historical, and cultural contexts. Activities supporting this goal often include multimedia presentations and discussions or field trips to live performance.