Senior Gym vs. Dance

When a Ridgewood High School student reaches their senior year, they have many opportunities to take unique classes to fulfill their graduation requirements. One of the most popular classes is the semester long Dance I elective. This class is offered as an elective for all RHS students, but it is mostly taken by seniors since it can satisfy the credits required for physical education.

Dance I provides an opportunity for students with a variety of skills to work as a Company and explore the beginnings of American modern dance through contemporary choreography. Students are expected to participate in daily warm-up exercises, show a positive attitude and energy appropriate for artful dance, and collaborate with other members of the class in preparation for the Dance Concert held at the end of each semester. All students who enroll in Dance I must accept the performance calendar as part of the course requirements that will determine their participation grade.

If a student takes Dance I as one of their electives while they are an underclassmen, they can continue to take dance their senior year. RHS offers Dance II and Advanced Dance for those who are choreographically gifted. Dance II is a performance-based class for grades 9-12 which focuses on intermediate level skills in ballet and modern dance techniques, as well as world dance. Advance Dance is a continuation of Dance II and focuses more on refining the techniques learned in the precursor semester course. Both Dance II and Advanced Dance students participate in the highly anticipated Dance Concert at the end of each semester.

Students who choose not to take dance their senior year and opt for a more traditional physical education experience are enrolled in First Aid & Safety, Senior Physical Activities, and Senior Wellness. First Aid & Safety covers basic first aid, CPR, and the use of an AED, and also gives tips to students of how to act in dangerous situations. Activity 12 and Wellness 12 are more standard gym and strength and conditioning classes that RHS students have experienced in their previous years.

Sarah Clay, a local dance enthusiast, says that, “Dance is a great way to get exercise but also more fun than the stereotypical gym classes. I love that RHS offers this to seniors and I think all schools should.” In addition, Jules Einemer, another RHS dance student, agrees and added “People sometimes view gym or school exercise classes as just running, weightlifting, or more conventional methods of working out, but dance is a really good way to stay in shape and is a great option.” 

On the other hand, Activity 12 allows seniors to get exercise and learn techniques through playing tennis, partaking in pickle-ball tournaments, and participating in run days every other day, along with other games. This is a more common take on gym, but continues to allow students to work out in fun and interactive ways. Wellness 12 is similar to the courses offered to juniors and utilizes RHS’s fitness center with top coaches and trainers. Whether you decide to take Dance or not your senior year, RHS will make sure you stay active and lead a healthy lifestyle. 

Kevin Collier and Sophie Howard
staff writers

Graphic: Rachel Lubell

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