Performing Arts

Grades 8-12 — Dance (updated Feb. 2019)

Dance 8

Grade 8 dance is an introductory course. In the studio, students will learn the basics of dance technique, history, anatomy,composition and choreography. Students will learn many different styles of dance, such as, contemporary, jazz, hip hop, African, ballet, and ballroom. Dance class will begin with a technical warm up, across the floor exercises, and choreography. Warm up and exercises introduce students to discipline, strength, flexibility, coordination and balance. Students will also explore choreographing their own dance combinations. This beginner level course will teach students basic dance technique and performance qualities developed from the elements of movement. Through a progressive approach, students can expect to improve in strength, flexibility, stamina, balance, and coordination; in addition to building confidence and building trust with one another. Students can expect to work individually, in small groups, and as a large class in preparation for the Year End Dance Recital in June.

Although levels of dance experience varies in these classes, experienced dancers will be challenged in a variety of ways, and beginner dancers will be supported.

Dance 9

This course is an extension of the Dance 8 level, but students do not need to have previous experience. The general structure and content of the course is similar to Dance 8 in its warm ups, across the floor work, and team building exercises, but previous dance technique is coupled with more difficult challenges. This is a great course for beginner to intermediate dancers and adjustments in difficulty levels are made for more advanced students as well. Through a progressive approach, students can expect to improve in strength, flexibility, stamina, balance, and coordination; in addition to building confidence, building trust with one another, and learning how to lead by example. Students can expect to work individually, in small groups, and in a large group in creating one or more class dance pieces in various forms of dance to be performed at the Year End Dance Recital in June.

No previous experience or prerequisite required.

Dance Foundations 10

Depending on how the courses are split due to the number of students signing up for dance in each grade level, grade 10 students are usually placed in a split class with either Junior dancers or Senior dancers. This does not affect the quality of instruction given or the level of difficulty for the grade 10 dancer. An extension to its predecessor, Dance Foundations 9, this course is open to beginner to advanced dancers without any previous experience. The general structure and content of the course is similar to most dance courses in its warm ups, across the floor work, and team building exercises, but dance vocabulary and technique is further developed alongside exploration of choreography. Students can expect to work individually, in small groups, and in larger groups to create one or more class dance pieces in various forms of dance to be performed at the Year End Dance Recital in June.

No previous experience or prerequisite required.

Dance Foundations 11

Perfect for all levels of dance, Dance Foundations 11 centres students around all aspects of performance. Through challenging warm ups, across the floor work, and teacher or student led choreography, students will change their physique in body and mind. Technique is used to improve strength, flexibility, stamina, balance, and coordination, but an important focus is on the performance qualities of any choreography that is introduced in the classroom. Progressive lessons will allow students to work more effectively in small and larger groups. Usually more than one class dance piece is perfected to be performed at the Year End Dance Recital in June.

Students do not need any previous experience in order to take this course. This course also fulfills the 150 minutes per week DPA required for grad transitions

Dance Foundations 12

This course is an extension of the Dance Foundations 11, but students are not required to have Dance Foundations 11 as a pre-requisite. This is a great course for students of any ability. Through challenging warm ups, across the floor work, and teacher or student led choreography, students will change their physique in body and mind. Technique is used to improve strength, flexibility, stamina, balance, and coordination, but an important focus is on the performance qualities of any choreography that is introduced in the classroom. Progressive lessons will allow students to work more effectively in small and larger groups. Usually more than one class dance piece is perfected to be performed at the Year End Dance Recital in June.

This course fulfills the 150 minutes per week DPA required for grad transitions.

Dance Leadership 11/12

Dance Leadership 11 & 12 is a course for students who are passionate about dance and have previously taken dance at Burnaby North.  Students should have a working knowledge of how the dance studio is run and must represent the Burnaby North Dance Program in a positive manner. Students may be teamed up with a dance class to learn how to lead warm-ups, help with choreography, learn how to manage a classroom, and how to problem solve different situations that may arise in a classroom. Some students may be in a block with just the teacher in which they help the teacher with costumes, organization, choreography and may get an opportunity to work on special solo projects.  They assist in the organization of all the dance activities around the school, especially the dance show.

To become a dance leader, you must speak with the teacher before enrolling.

Dance Technique & Performance 10/11/12

Students will learn in a progressive environment that includes daily warm up, across the floor technique, group exploration activities, and individual choreography work.  Laban Movement Analysis will be introduced as will the development of their own choreographic techniques.  One class dance will be performed at the Year End Dance Recital in June. This course focusses on how students can create their own choreography through teacher guided exercises.

It is recommended to have previous experience in a general dance class, dance club, or taken at the same time of Dance 10, 11 or 12, but all students are welcome to take this course.  This course fulfills the 150 minutes per week DPA required for grad transitions.

This will be an after school class that runs until 4:15pm on Day 2’s.


Grades 9-12 — Drama (updated Feb 2019)

Drama 8

In Drama 8 we start to explore what it means to collaborate with others, to tell a story, and build a community that supports each other. We play games, do exercises and build ensemble.  Students find themselves challenged with the basics of performing. They learn about blocking, cheating out, being loud enough, and how to play character, to name a few. The skills in Drama transfer to many aspects of life students will encounter as students and as adults. 

Drama 9/10

In Drama 9/10 we explore deeper what was established in Drama 8, though no previous Drama experience is necessary. In these classes we are reaching for more risks, and growth in performance. Monologues, devised work and script work are the core of the curriculum. Students continue to increase their interpersonal skills, through assignments and check in. The grade 9s and 10s will work together on assignments, and at times have their own assignment for that grade. 

Acting 11/12

A performance class for students interested in the theatre, and/or they like the community the class offers. Students will work on a range of different curriculum, with two showcases in winter and spring for additional performance opportunities. This class will look at genres of theatre, devised work, scripted work and be tailored for the class. 

Improvisation 11

This class is open for any grade 10, 11, or 12 student who would like to play, take risks, be characters, and have a lot of fun. Students who want to do any of the above better, can also take the course. The course will study the basics of improvisation, look at short form games, long form improv and genre-based improv. There will be showcases for the all three aspects of Improv. A basic knowledge of performance will enhance the experience. 

Scriptwriting and Directing 11/12

Students who take this course are inserted into the junior grades (either Drama 9, or Drama 9/10) to assist them in their work. They lead games, get to know the students and direct them in their assignments. Scriptwriting assignments are written for specific student groups and a journal will be necessary to track your work as well as directing notes. 

Theatre Company/Musical Theatre

This class is by audition only. The school play or musical is an elective that takes place after school. Students will have to prepare their role, memorise lines, focus in rehearsal and show nights. Students who love performing, being part of a close community, and are committed to performance are encouraged to audition.  


Grades 9-12 — Music Department (updated Jan 2018)

Burnaby North’s Music Program is recognized as one of the most outstanding programs in British Columbia. Our concert bands and orchestra have received numerous awards, and many of our students have received individual awards from various organizations. Students of all abilities are welcome in our program and we teach music to beginner students up to students at a first year university level.

Beginner Band (any grade)

Any grade with no school band experience are welcome! Welcome to a new start with a life-long skill with an award-winning program! Students in this class learn to play an instrument regularly used in a concert band. No prior knowledge is necessary. Instruments are chosen in consultation with the teacher to ensure a good match and to ensure a good concert band experience for all students in the class. Burnaby North’s Beginner Band has been invited in the past to Canada’s national music festival, MusicFest, and earned a Gold in the process!

Orchestra — Grades 8-12

Grades 8 – 12 with a minimum two years of violin, viola, cello, or double bass experience. We are one of the few schools in the province that offers a string orchestra class. Students in this class experience many of the same field trips as other music students. We have many talented students in this class and over the past few years we have had students chosen for the provincial honour. In addition, Burnaby North was a pilot school for a unique program with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Connects, where our students had many direct experiences with the VSO, both in and out of the classroom. The orchestra has also participated in many festivals, always earning high ratings. To further enhance the experience, we try to augment the orchestra with wind, brass, & percussion players from the concert bands to create a full symphony orchestra.

Junior Jazz Band 8

Junior jazz band introduces students to jazz repertoire and beginning improvisation skills. A variety of styles of music will be explored, including swing, latin and rock. All students must have one year of experience on their instruments. This is not a beginner class. Guitar, bass and drum students are expected to read music notation used in band, which would have been taught in elementary school band classes. Private study on rhythm section instruments is highly recommended as the adjustment to high school jazz band can be challenging if students have not had elementary band experience. Also, guitar students must provide their own amplifiers which may be stored in room 406. Drummers must have a stick bag with sticks, brushes and mallets. Basic vibraphone skills will be required for drummers and class time will be given to practice mallet instruments. Please contact the teacher if you have any questions or concerns.

Small combos will be formed to provide the opportunity to study improvisation and allow students to develop confidence with playing solos. Basic theory and harmony rudiments are introduced so that students are able to creat their own musical ideas. All aspects of beginning improvisation will be taught so that students can successfully complete the requirements and enjoy the freedom of personal expression! Concerts and retreats are also part of the opportunities for students when they join jazz band.

Intermediate Jazz Band 9

Intermediate jazz 9 builds on the skills learned at the junior level. Students will explore a variety of styles of music, including swing, latin and rock. Improvisation skills will develop students’ understanding of theory and harmony. Students will learn how to play in small combos and apply their own creative ideas to the repertoire. All participants must have completed junior jazz band 8 or concert band 8 classes. Otherwise, students must contact the teacher to discuss their music background. Concerts and retreats are also part of the opportunities for students when they join jazz band.

Intermediate Jazz Band 10

Intermediate jazz 10 builds on the skills learned at the intermediate jazz 9 level. Students continue to explore jazz repertoire and improvisation techniques at a higher level. Clinicians will be brought in to work with students and to provide insight into specific aspects of performing. Theory and harmony rudiments will develop students’ ability to think creatively about music and to apply their own ideas to performance. All participants must have completed intermediate jazz 9 or the equivalent. Otherwise, students must contact the teacher to discuss their music background. Students will have the opportunity to participate in field trips and extra curricular performances. Every two years, trips to New York and Los Angeles are alternatively offered for international performance experience, as well as educational and cultural enrichment.

Senior Jazz Band 11 / 12

Senior jazz band builds on the skills learned at the intermediate 10 level. Students continue to explore jazz repertoire and improvistaion techniques at a very high level. Clinicians will be brought in to work with students and to provide insight into specific aspects of performing. Theory and harmony rudiments will develop students’ ability to think creatively about music and to apply their own ideas to performance. All participants must have completed intermediate jazz 10 or the equivalent. Otherwise, students must contact the teacher to discuss their music background. Students will have the opportunity to participate in field trips and extra curricular perfomrnaces. Every two years, trips to New York and Los Angeles are alternatively offered for international performance experience, as well as educational and cultural enrichment.

Junior Concert Band

(Grade 8 with one year elementary school band experience.)

Intermediate Concert Band

(Grades 9 – 11 with at least one year of secondary school band experience)

Senior Concert Band

(Grades 10 – 12 with at least two years of secondary school band experience or the teacher’s written approval.)

In these classes you will refine your skills as a musician by learning to play a musical instrument at a progressively higher level of skill. Styles of music cover all sorts of genres, including Broadway, jazz, pop, marches, overtures, orchestral transcriptions, and more! We offer many extra musical experiences and field trips to allow our students the opportunity to hear the best musicians in Vancouver and to try new musical ideas. In the past few years we have taken our students on music retreats, to symphony rehearsals, and have performed in international, national and local festivals. Burnaby North’s recent invited visits to Canada’s national music festival, MusicFest, have resulted in Gold & Silver awards. Our Senior Concert Band travels annually, and usually makes a major tour every three years, the last ones to Cuba.

Students should have successfully completed Intermediate Band or equivalent.

Junior Concert Choir — Grades 9-12

Prior choir experience is an asset but not required. Students develop music reading skills, knowledge of music and vocal technique.

Senior Concert Choir — Grades 10-12

Senior choir builds on the skills learned at the intermediate choir level. Students explore choral repertoire and vocal technique at the senior level. A variety of musical styles will make up the repertoire, including classical, folk, broadway, gospel, jazz and popular music. Students will also participate in small chamber groups to examine aspects of arranging and performing with greater individual responsibility. Song writing and arranging are areas of study that choir students may find opportuinty to explore. Students with an instrumental background are also welcome in choir as many of the pieces call for piano, guitar, bass and drums. Clinicians will be brought in to work with students and to provide insight into specific aspects of performing. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in field trips and extra curricular performances. Every two years, trips to New York and Los Angeles are alternatively offered for international performance experience, as well as educational and cultural enrichment.

Music Leadership

Students with a strong interest in music are encouraged to apply for this course. Students learn basic conducting, teaching skills, organizational skills and advanced musical skills. Software used includes Microsoft Excel, MS Word, Sibelius and Finale. Admission to this course is with teacher approval only.

Music Theory AP

Music theory is everyone’s favourite subject! Music AP is offered at Burnaby North as an opportunity to earn advance university credit by learning what is equivalent to first year university music theory. The content of the course will emphasize the learning and application of theoretical constructs in Western Music from the Baroque to modern periods. Equal value is put on the learning of written theory, aural and oral understanding of written music theory and application of the knowledge through composition. Enrollment in the course is not limited to those already taking other courses in the music at Burnaby North, though the ability to read music is essential and some prior experience with music theory through programs like the Royal Conservatory (Rudiments 2) is recommended. Course work leads to the writing of the Music AP Theory Exam in May and a major third term project demonstrating the students knowledge of theory.

Students may only write the AP exam if enrolled in the course.

Music Composition & Technique 11/12

This course gives students opportunities to explore in depth the creation of music in various styles.

You can obtain more information about the Visual and Performing Arts courses from:

  • Dance: Zoe Read
  • Drama: Courtney Couch
  • Media Arts: Mr. P. Byrne
  • Music: Ms. I. Balchen-Stitt, Ms. A. Steiger
  • Visual Arts:  Ms. M. Lehtonen, Ms. C. Steudel, Ms. J. Macrae
  • All: Mr. P. Byrne (Department Head)
  • Or see your counsellor.