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Style Descriptions


This is a classical form of dance that originated in Europe and has been learned for hundreds of years. This style focuses on precision, strength and agility, and relies a great deal on focus and discipline. Ballet classes begin with a warm-up at a wooden or metal "barre", then transition into exercises in the center of the room. Advanced dancers will also dance ballet in pointe shoes, as seen in the photo on the right. Ballet is the foundation for many other dance styles, such as modern and lyrical, and is vital for the well-rounded dancer to learn in order to succeed in other styles as well.

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Jazz originates from a combination of colloquial American dance and traditional African dances, resulting in a syncopated and musicality-based dance style. Jazz includes styles such as musical theater jazz, street jazz and contemporary jazz. One identifying factor of jazz is the use of "isolations", referring to isolating one part of the body in use of movement opposed to the rest. Jazz classes begin with a warm-up incorporating cardio, isolations, stretching and strengthening, followed by across-the-floor exercises, center technique building and learning choreography.


Tap has very similar origins to jazz, with the addition of shoes with metal plates being used to create percussive rhythms. Tap has two major categories: musical theater and rhythm. Both share a vocabulary and similar movements, with differences in the upper body placement and performance of steps. Tap classes focus on musicality, timing, lower-leg strength and precision by training the dancer to count music and move in conjunction to the beat.

Hip Hop

Hip hop is a later variation upon jazz - beginning in the late 80's and early 90's. Forms of hip hop can be seen in break dancing, popping, tutting, house dance and shuffling. Hip hop is looser in form than jazz, and highly flavored by the choreographer or instructor's own personal style. Personality and flair is a must for this class, and an openness to exploring your own personal artistic groove.


Contemporary is a broad-aspect term for a form of dance combining jazz, lyrical and modern dance. Made popular by shows like So You Think You Can Dance, contemporary dance can be a lot of different things, such as slow and controlled, or fast-paced and frantic. Contemporary shares many aspects with ballet and jazz, while taking classic moves and adding a twist.


Lyrical is a true blend of ballet and jazz. Lyrical shares the long, elegant lines and delicateness of ballet, while incorporating movements and positions from jazz. Lyrical is typically slow and graceful, emphasizing control and freedom of movement.

Musical Theater

Musical theater in the classroom at CSD refers to a style of jazz typically seen used in musicals. This kind of dance is upbeat, step-focused and enables the dancer to get in touch with characters from stories. Musical theater can also include tap, hip hop, ballet and contemporary, depending on the production.


Poms classes are preparatory technique classes to prepare dancers for dancing on a cheer or poms team. These classes are about learning to dance precisely and with sharp energy, while incorporating the added use of pom poms.


Acro (short for "acrobatics") is a training class for students to learn and execute acrobatic tricks such as handsprings, aerial cartwheels, walk overs and round-offs. Younger students can take acro and begin to learn skills such as walking on a low balance beam, somersaults, cartwheels and pencil rolls. 

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