Curriculum Overview

 

The dance major prepares dancers to move, create, analyze, write about and evaluate dance as an expression of the individual, of culture and of history. It features a balanced curriculum of performance-based and theory-based courses, while all courses address both studio and analytical components of topics covered.

A major in Dance consists of 11 credits as stipulated: eight dance courses demonstrating a balance between performance and theory work, such that four courses focus on performance (technique and composition, listed under “Performance Focus” below) and four on history, theory and analysis, listed under “Analytical Focus”; TDF 320 (Kinesiology for Dance) and 331 (Dance History) must be among the analytical courses); the TDF capstone course, TDF 495 (Senior Seminar); an additional two TDF classes to be selected from other dance electives or entry-level acting, design, theatre studies, media studies, or other dance electives as approved by the Dance Program director; and 40 hours of technical crew work. At least three courses must be taken at or above the 300-level. Students wishing to study off campus should consult with dance faculty members and the Office of International Studies. Students seeking admission to graduate school in dance should consult with faculty advisers about additional courses to further prepare them for that direction.

Students may develop a Joint Major in dance and another field in consultation with the Dance faculty adviser. Templates for such a major are currently available for dance and biology, history, or psychology. Those students wishing to propose a Joint Major between dance and fields other than the three listed should meet with the heads of these programs (dance and the proposed field) to determine an appropriate program of study. For joint majors, 30 hours of technical crew work is required.

A minor in Dance consists of six course credits in dance: three from the “Performance Focus” course list and three from the “Analytic Focus” course list, as approved by the department chairperson. Dance minors must complete 20 hours of technical crew work.

Dance Courses

 

COURSES IN DANCE: PERFORMANCE FOCUS

116. Introduction to Modern Dance. (A)

The practice of modern dance technique, integrating movement experience with study of the philosophies and theories that have shaped the art and its practice.    

J. Conley

117. Introduction to Ballet. (A)

Basic technique and theory of ballet, including the anatomical laws governing ballet movement and investigation of the style and aesthetic of ballet technique. The course emphasizes the practice of dancing as well as that of writing, thinking and speaking clearly about ballet.    

P. Vail

200201 and 300301. Dance Production Ensemble I and II. (A)

Credit for work undertaken toward performance in at least two College productions in the course of one academic year. Students are cast in choreographies by audition. They study, read and write about techniques, theory and history appropriate to mastery of the work in progress. Class/rehearsal and performance participation are mandatory. For TDF 200 and 300, students receive no credit, but a full credit is awarded for the completion of TDF 201 and TDF 301. Prerequisites: audition and permission of the instructor.     

J. Conley, P. Vail

218. Intermediate Modern Dance Technique and Composition. (A)

A continuation of modern dance technique study, with further development of flexibility, strength and efficiency in movement. Fundamentals of dance composition are also studied. Ways that dance can communicate meaning are explored through reading, writing and movement assignments. Prerequisite: TDF 116 or permission of the instructor.    

P. Vail

219 and 319. Flamenco Dance I and II. (A)

Technique, rhythms and history of Flamenco dance in a studio format. TDF 319 has a prerequisite of TDF 219 or permission of the instructor.             

E. Hevia y Vaca

223. Introduction to West African Dance. (A) (NW)

African dance is an emanation of the lives of the people in this culture. Students learn, practice, perform, discuss, and write about the historical and cultural tradition of West African dance, with a focus on the dances of Guinea.

J. Peck

227. Intermediate Ballet. (A)

Continued study of ballet technique and theory. Class includes kinesiological applications as well as historical and compositional investigations. The course emphasizes not only the practice of dancing but also of writing, thinking and speaking critically and clearly about ballet. Prerequisite: TDF 117 or permission of the instructor.     

P. Vail

260. Compositional Improvisation. (A)

The practice of improvisation not only as a tool for choreography, but also as an art and performance form in itself, offering insightful experiences and discoveries. Students learn how to be fully present, both in body and in mind, making conscious choices and composing in the moment. Reading, writing and movement assignments support in-class practice. Prerequisite: TDF 116 or permission of the instructor.    

P. Vail

317. Advanced Modern Dance, Technique and Performance. (A)

A continuation of modern dance technique study, with further development of flexibility, strength and efficiency in movement. Investigating individual dynamism and nuance in movement—aspects of performance—is an essential aspect of coursework. Strategies that enhance, deepen and develop this practice are explored through reading and writing assignments and studio work. Prerequisite: TDF 218 or permission of the instructor.    

P. Vail

330. Choreography and the Creative Process. (A)

Investigation of choreographic problems and complex questions of artistry, based on reading, writing, discussion, feedback, movement exploration and performance. Questions asked include: What is creativity? How do we foster it for ourselves? Prerequisite: TDF 116 or permission of the instructor.     

P. Vail

490. Independent Study. (A)

Independent study directed by the Theatre, Dance and Film staff. Permission of chairperson.     

Staff

495. Senior Seminar. (A)

See description under Theatre Required Courses.

 

 

COURSES IN DANCE: ANALYTICAL FOCUS

240. Dance and World Cultures. (A) (NW)

A study of non-Western dance forms and the cultural influences that have shaped them. Topics will include but are not limited to dance as a form of oral tradition; dance as a part of religious ritual; and cultural perceptions of the body, beauty and gender as revealed through dance performance. Class formats include lecture, discussion and studio sessions.     

J. Conley

244. Sound and Movement. (A)

Study of the relationship between sound and movement as it pertains to making dance, as well as the collaborative partnership of composers and choreographers. Through lecture, discussion, movement exploration and composition, students examine a variety of roles that music plays in the dance world, develop perceptive listening skills and undertake basic rhythmic and harmonic training. Prerequisite: TDF 116 or permission of the instructor.    

J. Conley

320. Kinesiology for Dance.

Study of the science of movement as it relates to dance, including basic anatomy and physiology, the physics involved in dancing and the mind-body connection responsible for producing and controlling movement. Lectures, discussions and movement focus on understanding how the body moves and on increasing movement efficiency to enhance performance and prevent injury.    

P. Vail

330. Choreography and the Creative Process. (A)

See text above, under Performance courses.    

P. Vail

331. History of Western Theatre Dance. (A)

Survey of the forces that have shaped and influenced stage dancing in much of Western Europe and the Americas beginning with the fifteenth century and moving into the contemporary periods. Class formats include lecture, discussions and studio sessions.     

J. Conley

345. Videodance. (A)

An intensive workshop investigating the relatively young art form of video dance. In addition to reading and writing assignments, coursework will entail analysis of existing dance films and creation of original works. Students will collaborate in all aspects of the creative process, which includes directing, choreography, filming, and editing. Prerequisite: TDF 116 or permission of the instructor.    

P. Vail

490. Independent Study. (A)

Independent study directed by the Theatre, Dance and Film staff. Permission of chairperson.

J. Conley, P. Vail