Academy for Performing Arts: Dance

  • LOCATED AT MORRIS KNOLLS HIGH SCHOOL, in Rockaway, The academy for  Performing Arts: Dance, offers a major in Dance. Students with this major will work with master teachers and professional choreographers.


Academy Teacher

Ms. Lisa Peluso



Degrees and Certifications:

Ms. Lisa Peluso

Lisa Peluso (Montclair, NJ) began her career as a pre-professional performing in dance competitions, various cruise lines, and throughout Disney World theme parks.  She graduated summa cum laude from Montclair State University with a BFA in Dance and received several scholarships throughout her studies. While attending MSU, she was invited into the company in residence, Donna Scro/Freespace Dance and performed extensively with the company for about 7 years with seasons in NYC and domestic touring.  Lisa was a scholarship apprentice/understudy for Jennifer Muller/The Works for several years and has additionally performed with Flexicurve, project: Smith, BEINGs dance, and KDNY amongst other project based contemporary modern companies.  She joined Elisa Monte Dance in 2011 and enjoyed 3 years of performing Ms. Monte's signature works as a soloist.  She recently was asked to rejoin the company in a special alumni performance celebrating the company's 35th anniversary season.  

​   Lisa's original choreography has been commissioned by several dance companies throughout New Jersey. Choreographic highlights include: International Dance Festival in Hawaii, the 2010 American College Dance Festival Gala concert in Virginia, Bryant Park, Merce Cunningham theater, the Fringe Festival Edinburgh, UK. Her work has received acclaim nationally and internationally.  Lisa has enjoyed adjunct dance faculty positions at Montclair State University, Rutgers University, College of St. Elizabeth, Union County College, and County College of Morris (8 years).  She continues to guest teach throughout New York and New Jersey. Lisa is a state certified vocational teacher.  She is also pursuing her Masters in Dance Education (EdM) with a PK-12 Dance Teaching Certification at Rutgers University. Lisa has been a guest artist for many years at the Academy of Visual and Performing Arts since its inception under former dance director Ruth Clark.  She is thrilled to continue the tradition of excellence and passion for dance education as the only dance faculty at Morris County Vocational Technical High School.

Career Field -Performing Arts: Dance

  • Career Pathways in the Academy for Performing Arts: Dance (include but are not limited to):

    Production Managers, Digital, Video, Stage ♦ Cinematographers, Film/Video Editors ♦ Dancers ♦ Play Writers, Screen Writers, Screen Editors, Script Writers ♦ Directors and Coaches, Performers, actors, Musicians ♦ Make-Up Artists and Costume Designers ♦ Stagecraft Designers, Lighters, Sets, Sound Effects, Acoustics, Painters ♦ Composers, Conductors


    The Academy for Performing Arts: Dance has not yet completed senior internships. The first senior class will be in 2022. 


Academy Course of Study

  • 9th Grade: 

    Academy: Introduction to Dance as an Art Form

    The Introduction to Dance as an Art Form seeks to prepare serious dancers for a professional career in dance or career paths in related fields and to pursue further dance studies at the college level. This course explores dance as an art form in its many dimensions both technically and academically by introducing students to both the interpretive role of the dancer and the creative role of the choreographer through practical applications and through the study of dance history and aesthetics. Students are given a sound technical and academic foundation in a variety of dance forms and career applications with the intent that a wide base of knowledge and experiences in their art form will aid their success in the competitive and diverse workplace of contemporary professional dance. Students are trained, encouraged, and expected to develop the professional work ethic, discipline, and teamwork skills required of success in this profession. Coursework is designed to train both a versatile technical dancer, and develop an expressive artist able to communicate a broad base of themes through movement. Our intent is to develop and nurture young dance artists who are facile both in mind and body. APA dance students will gain a broad base of knowledge, skills and experiences that will pave the way for further opportunities to pursue careers in dance and theatre, as dancers, choreographers, historians, researchers, notators, dance therapists, educators, movement specialists, technical theatre artists, arts administrators and fitness-wellness practitioners.

    This course will focus on introducing Modern, Ballet, and Jazz from a technical and academic approach. Special emphasis is given on proper body mechanics, dance science, and injury prevention. The dancers will learn to move efficiently and begin to form a stronger technical foundation that can be applied to any dance technique. The basic concepts of choreography and improvisation are explored and how this creates professional dance work. An introduction to dance history is explored theoretically and practically in the classroom so that students can start to make connections to dance technique and their historical influences. Students are introduced to technology tools that help prepare the dance student for a dance career and other dance related careers. Collaboration and teamwork is integral in all of the units and is essential to the progression of the four year course of study.


    10th Grade:

    Academy: Intermediate Dance Technique, Dance Technology & Theoretical Studies

    In their second year, students will continue to explore and build on the previous year’s training through Modern Dance II, Ballet II, Jazz Dance II, Improvisation, Composition and Choreography and Repertory/Production II, Dance History/ Aesthetic Judgment and Criticism in Dance II, Movement Science for Dancers II, Dance Technology II, and Career Planning II.  Technical training emphasizes the Western theatrical dance genres of Ballet, Modern Dance, and Jazz and students are expected to gain a high degree of technical proficiency in at least one of these dance genres. Students will also have introductory experiences in a variety of styles and cultural dance forms through field trips to college programs and performances, guest artist workshops and repertory and research to enhance their movement vocabularies as well as expand their understanding of the contribution of cultural and social dance to theatrical art.


    11th Grade:

    Academy: Junior Year (Advanced Dance Technique, Choreography & Career Planning)

    Coursework builds on skills and concepts gained in previous year’s training, with increasing demands in the performance of technical skills through Modern Dance III, Ballet III, Jazz Dance III, Improvisation, Composition and Choreography and Repertory/Production III, Dance History/ Aesthetic Judgment and Criticism in Dance III, Movement Science for Dancers III, Dance Technology III, and Career Planning III.  Technique training is infused with dance science and related health science coursework to serve safe practices and career longevity. These courses are designed to assist students in developing anatomically sound movement patterns and proper alignment in the full potential range of human movement. Related coursework includes but is not limited to Laban Movement Analysis, Bartenieff Fundamentals™, Experiential Anatomy for Dancers, Nutrition for Dancers, Injury Care and Prevention, Yoga, Pilates, and experiential practice and research of Fitness/Wellness principles and methodologies.

    12th Grade:

    • College Option:  Providing students meet the academic criteria, they may attend County College of Morris for earn up to 24 credits, paid for by MCST.
    • STRUCTURED LEARNING EXPERIENCE (SLE) :  Required 120 hour Internship



Academy Video - Class of 2019