The curriculum is regarded as two blocks
First Block: the first two years, the Grounding year and the Locating year comprises the first block
Second Block: the second two year block is made up of the Defining year and the Going on year
While the courses of study are highly structured, SEAD is committed to maintaining a fluid and responsive style of organization. As the particular needs and desires of faculty, individual students or class groups manifest themselves in the daily life of SEAD, efforts are made to take these on board and to be open to changes that take advantage of unanticipated possibilities throughout the year - with the best interests of the students at heart.
In the first year at SEAD the emphasis is on gaining concentrated experiential knowledge of in-studio work: daily classes in ballet, contemporary techniques and yoga make up the morning. Afternoons are spent in workshops in improvisation, composition and related subjects. Working with a variety of teachers and methods, students are introduced to vigorous and rigorous physical practices: energetic and soft, internally and externally driven, set or in-the-moment, old and new forms - all are engaged in to begin to inform each students aesthetics and goals. Introductory classes in anatomy, rhythm, injury prevention and production that are intended to contribute to the students knowledge and orientation of areas of interest are offered. In addition, a project for the whole group with a choreographer is undertaken in one of the year's later sessions.
A major component of the first year is an intensive in-studio workshop with a single artist. In this class, students are introduced to choreography and performing by dancing/making/improvising with a variety of methods intended to help each student in the group find his/her own creative potential and preferences. Work is done in the group to support one another's ideas with generosity and curiosity; while at the same time finding individual strategies toward doing one's best work and clarifying methods, goals and issues.
This second year both expands on the first and introduces new information The aim of the second year is to further locate and validate one's own creative practices. To that end, students work with several dance artists in the first half of the year. Theory and repertory classes are also introduced in the second year to provide historical and aesthetic overviews of the field, intended to give the student enough exposure to make informed choices for more concentrated study and pursuit. In the second half of the second year students start to articulate to themselves and to SEAD how they will spend the second block.
Block Two has two years of study intended for the outgoing and self directed student:
Students are meant to work to develop a maturity and discernment appropriate to the professional field. SEAD offers many and varied opportunities to further skills in technique, performance, choreography and theory.
SEAD aims for choreographers to begin to engage with questioning and rigorous dance making in a way that can sustain a lifetime of making, to examine how this translates into the day to day in the studio; to explode assumptions and received opinion, including fashion - turning discoveries of assumptions into fuel for making; to understand what it means to put your questions in your work; to have an efficient understanding of how to work. Students can decide to do a choreography concentration beginning in the third year. Mentoring of work and frequent showings are essential components of the choreography concentration.
SEAD aims for performers to realize a broadening of potential both technically and intuitively; an ability to work in a variety of styles, an ability to communicate efficiently with choreographers and peers; an experiential understanding of stage presence and of performative styles - confidence, presence and generosity in performance - applying physical understandings to practice. There are many possibilities offered to address these aims; to name one - a self initiated yet SEAD supported project that involves contacting and negotiating a choreographer of her choosing - to learn and perform an existing solo - is available in the fourth/goingon year. Showings and informal performance opportunities in several forms are open to all, year round; both inside and outside the school. Many have been put in place by SEAD; opportunities can also be self initiated.
SEAD aims for theorists to broaden their understanding and articulation of historical and current theoretical ideas, to gain the ability to relate ideas to practice, both one's own and that of others. Some of the opportunities presented to students engaged in theory are: participation in a theory intensive available by application process; elect to do a thesis initiative, and thus upgrade their diploma by an extensive piece of writing to be mentored by an independent scholar, also available by application (this option is not included in SEAD's fees. Details can be found by clicking on Academy Fees)
In addition, lighting workshops, opportunities to learn about and requirements to engage in every aspect of production make up another part of SEAD's education. Sufficient knowledge of all aspects of production are necessary to graduate.
Students may apply to do an exchange program, SEAD has partner institutions in Europe and the United States such as New York University's TISCH Scool of the Arts and with Movement Research.