About Mission Hills Dance
The Visual and Performing Arts Dance classes at Mission Hills High School perform several times each year. The students train in technique in several dance genres. They will create dances in modern, contemporary, lyrical, jazz, musical theater, and hip-hop. Annually the students also create a dance film, which is presented at our ArtsFest performance. Past dance films took the students around campus and devising site-specific dance in unusual and unsuspecting locations. The students are taught to work with choreographic design, texture, background, and symmetry versus asymmetry patterns. Our winter and spring shows features student choreography.
Mission Hills High School provides a great opportunity for students to explore their range of creative and technical abilities. The students create numerous dances themselves, as well as working with collegiate and professional dancers and choreographers. Progressive Steps is an annual production in which guest artist offer master classes, as professionals teach technique and set choreography on the students. It culminates in an evening performance including Mission Hills dancers, college dancers, and professional dancers. It is a unique experience and a valuable connection for our students with the progression from high school, to college and universities in the area, and professional company dancers and choreographers.
ABOUT THE TEACHER
Heather Zornes-Almanza is the Visual and Performing Arts Dance teacher at Mission Hills High School. She earned her BA in Dance from San Diego State University where she was awarded the Outstanding Graduate Award in Dance. Heather earned her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, emphasis in Differentiated Instruction. She performed as a company member of Mojalet Dance Collective from 1999-2005 for which she served as Director’s Assistant. Heather has performed throughout San Diego County, Los Angeles, Mexico, and East Coast. She has performed works by Jean Isaacs (San Diego Dance Theater), Kevin Wynn (New York), Katie Stevenson-Nollet (Connecticut), and Christopher Pilafian (San Francisco). Heather performed in San Diego Dance Theater’s Trolley Dancers for 10 years including Yolande Snaith’s (internationally acclaimed choreographer) Ten Green Bottles. Currently, Heather dances with Allyson Green Dance (Allyson Green, UCSD Dance Department Chair, and now Dean of Arts at NYU), Sadie Weinberg (San Diego, LA), and BOUND Contemporary Dance Project (Jillian Chu, director), as well as working for Disney. Heather’s choreography has been shown throughout San Diego. Her most recent work, Sudden Take, was selected for presentation at the San Diego Emerge Festival VI to critical acclaim as “daring, aggressive… then [falling] into smooth unison. The movement was non-stop and embraced the music, but also played with the rhythms so it was never predictable.” (Janice Steinberg, San Diego Arts)
Classes Offered at MHHS
WHAT WILL I LEARN?
● Daily stretch and strength conditioning
● Classical technique training
● Jazz, lyrical, musical theater, and modern dance
● Guest hip-hop choreography
● Choreography strategies and projects
● Dance history
● Dance criticism
● Cultural dance appreciation
● Dancer Health and Nutrition
WHAT DO I NEED FOR CLASS?
Students will need black jazz shoes, as we begin with jazz technique, and street shoes are not allowed on our hardwood dance floor. Dance Two and Production will also need ballet shoes. All classes will be dressing out daily in ALL BLACK dance attire, which may be leggings, jazz pants, or yoga pants and a form-fitting top. No baggy clothing is permitted, as it hinders viewing the student’s body alignment and placement (which could lead to injury). Students should wear their hair back and away from their face, so a hair band should be kept in their locker at all times. A water bottle with the student’s name on it is also recommended.
Dance One is a beginning level class
introducing the elements of dance and
fundamental to intermediate vocabulary
and technique in a studio setting. A
variety of genres will be introduced to
the students through technique, choreo-
graphy and performance skills. Students
do not need previous dance experience
to succeed in this class. Performance
opportunities will be given, although
Dance Two is an intermediate level class
that can be taken after either completing
the Dance One class, or by auditon. This
class offers students a wider range of
performance opportunities, while still
building on technical and choreographic
skills. Student in Dance Two will work with
guest artists in our Progressive Steps
Program. A more challenging level of
repertoire is taught to these students, as well as having the opportunity to show their work in performance.
Dance Production is our advanced level
at MHHS. Students may enroll in this
class only with teacher approval after
an audition. Students in this class work
with many guest artists each year and
learn advanced repertoire for performance from local professional dancers and college professors.
All students will train at the barre in ballet technique, as well as modern dance. Students are expected to create high level, meaningful choreography and will have the opportunity to present their work.
Students will have the opportunity to have a professional photoshoot and will learn how to construct a biography for their portfolio.
At this level, students may also be invited to our Mission Dance Company, performing
at outside venues in the San Diego area.