2019-20 Advanced Dance Class


Olivia Reidy is passionate about dance education, and has taught multiple styles of dance in Northern and Southern California dance studios and schools for the past seven years. This is her first year as the Director of Dance for the San Mateo High School Performing Arts Department and she is grateful to be able to share her knowledge and love of movement with so many incredible students! Olivia was born in the Bay Area where she grew up studying a variety of dance styles such as jazz, ballet, tap, contemporary, modern, hip hop, and house at Dance Mode Studio in San Carlos and Teen Dance Company in Mountain View. She graduated from UC Irvine in 2016 with degrees in Dance Performance and Public Health and a dream of combining the two fields in order to provide access to dance education to as many children as possible. Upon graduation, Olivia worked with two contemporary dance companies: The Fyber Dance Vision and Roots and Wings Dance Project and performed in many dance projects throughout the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas such as Breaking Glass Project, Called to Play Small: Home Grown @ Bootleg, SoCal Dance and Choreography Festival, Pasadena Dance Festival, RAW Artists, EMCxBD Dance Concert, Safehouse Arts, and more. She also worked as a dancer in the Pixar Play Parade and the Main Street Electrical Parade at the Disneyland Resort. Olivia is passionate about supporting students’ growth as artists, creative movers, technicians, choreographers, and humans!


Beginning Dance

In this yearlong course, students learn beginning dance techniques in the areas of Jazz, Tap, and Ballet. This class is recommended for students with little or no formal dance training and who are interested in studying dance as an art form.

In the Jazz/Ballet portion of the class, students learn

  • Dance Terminology (plié, relevé, tendu, battement, retiré, coupé)
  • Basic Dance Steps (chassé, pivot, pas de bourrée, kick ball-change, lindy, jazz square, back-side-front)
  • Basic Dance Technique (spotting, setting a turn, single pirouettes, chainé turns
  • Stage Terminology (upstage, downstage, stage right and left, procenium)

In the Tap portion of class, students learn:

  • Beginning Tap Moves (shuffle, flap, stamp, stomp, brush step)
  • Basic Tap Steps (carry over, carry back, waltz clog, rhythm roll, single time steps


All students enrolled in Beginning Dance perform in the Spring Dance Concert, “Mateo Motion”. This class fulfills the Fine Arts graduation requirement and satisfies the Visual and Performing Arts requirement for the University of California and California State University systems.

Intermediate Dance

In this yearlong course, students continue to develop the dance skill and techniques they have learned in the Beginning Dance class. Students are exposed to a variety of dance styles including Traditional Jazz, Latin Jazz, Theatre Dance, Lyrical/Contemporary Jazz, Hip Hop, and Tap. Students have the opportunity to experience further skill development and creativity as they create their own choreographic piece to possibly be performed in the Spring Dance Concert, “Mateo Motion”.

This class emphasizes more advanced dance techniques. Students learn:

  • Dance Terms (développé, attitude, dégagé, rond de jambe, jeté)
  • Basic Choreographic Concepts (energy, force, suspend, sustain)
  • Dance History (famous dancers and choreographers)

In Tap, the students will continue to refine their basic skills and also learn:

  • Intermediate Tap Terms (Flap Change, Riff, Slam)
  • Intermediate Tap Steps (double buffalo, traveling cramp roll, stomp time steps, scissors, tap chassé, breakout, triple back, paddle)

Advanced Dance

In this yearlong course, students study advanced choreographic techniques in Traditional Jazz, Latin Jazz, Contemporary Lyrical, Tap, Hip Hop and Musical Theatre. Students are required to learn a wide variety of choreographic styles and are also asked to incorporate these styles into the creation of their own performance piece for the Spring Dance Concert. In the Advanced class, dance performance is emphasized. Students perform at various school and community events throughout the school year.

In the Advanced Class, students continue to improve their dance technique and also learn:

  • Advanced Jazz/Ballet Terms and Techniques (saut de basque, pas de chat, cabriole, triple pirouettes, tour jeté, assemblé, rond de jambe)
  • Advanced Tap Steps (grace taps, grace tap changes, cramp roll time steps, pull backs)
  • An Advanced Tap Warm-Up (The Bill Robinson Routine: Doin’ the New Low Down)
  • Choreographic Principles and Staging

Students enrolled in the Advanced Dance class are encouraged to audition for San Mateo High School’s musical theatre productions.

Download the Dance Syllabus: