Introduction to the Dance is a one-semester survey course designed to introduce dance as a performing art form, historically as well as in practice, and to explore how dance as a cultural phenomenon helps shape and is shaped by cultural values. The course will track the development of dance as a performing art in Europe and in the U.S. from the Renaissance to the 1950s, by identifying important stylistic trends and the works of major contributors to the field, such as the Ballets Russes, Martha Graham, and Katherine Dunham. While we will focus on Western concert dance as a performing art, we will also study some dance phenomena cross-culturally in order to broaden our understanding of the function dance serves and its relationship to cultural beliefs and to the history of ideas. The study of dance history provides a lens for exploring the world, its people, and their cultures. Assignments include written work and short movement studies composed by students to explore various aspects of the choreographic process and to embody significant trends in the evolution of dancemaking. This course is offered every year.
This course's focus is on modern dance technique for the beginning-level student. During the semester, self-expression through movement will be explored through exercises emphasizing the basic concepts of breath, mobilizing weight, and improvisation. The course involves intensive movement participation; however, there is no stress placed on public performance. No prior experience is necessary. No prerequisite.
Intermediate Modern Technique furthers the work of the beginning-level course with increased application of movement principles established by creative artists and teachers from the American and European contemporary dance tradition. Movement fundamentals from other broad-based techniques and body therapies are also included. No prerequisite; however, permission of the instructor may be necessary if the student has no prior experience. This course is offered every semester.
Intermediate Ballet Technique furthers the work of the beginning-level course with a more in-depth application of the ballet vocabulary and style. Prerequisite: DANC 109 or equivalent or permission of instructor. This course is offered every semester.
This course covers the basic concepts and skills necessary for reading and writing Labanotation, a system for recording movement in symbolic form. Studio work will emphasize re-creating and performing dances from written scores in addition to the theoretical analysis of movement. Class requirements may fulfill Dance Notation Bureau standards for certification in Beginning Labanotation. This course is generally offered every other year.
Special topics in dance composition are the focus of this course. Students will be presented with advanced choreographic theories and challenges. The choreographic assignments vary each semester and may include studies that emphasize partnering, the use of technology, collaboration, or site-specific work. Course requirements include readings, discussions, and the development and presentation of movement studies. Significant preparation time outside of class is expected. Prerequisite: DANC 227 (The Choreographer I) or permission of instructor. Concurrent enrollment in a dance technique class is required. DANC 227 and DANC 228 are offered on alternate years.
Advanced technique work in contemporary dance builds upon principles of movement established at the beginning and intermediate levels. In-depth exploration of floor work, improvisation, somatic practices, and a variety of postmodern styles promotes artistry, efficiency of movement, and integrated strength. Prerequisite: DANC 208 or permission of instructor. This course is offered every semester.