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Dance

This program presents dance as the development of a technical skill, a creative experience that integrates feeling and movement, a performing opportunity, and as the subject of historical and aesthetic analysis. The curriculum, open to any interested student, includes modern dance and ballet technique, improvisation, choreography, history, and dance in comparison to other art forms. Students are encouraged to combine dance training with work in theater, music, and art. Semiannual dance concerts provide opportunities for student performance and choreography.

 

Beginning Modern Dance Technique
Dance 101–104 Shifrin
3 credits
This class introduces a modern dance technique that develops expressiveness, proper alignment, efficient and clear movement, musicality, spatial awareness, coordination, flexibility, strength, and the ability to dance with others. Course material consists of warm-up exercises, dance combinations, anatomical information, and imagery. Reading, written assignments, and films help students formulate personal viewpoints on dance. The course is designed for students with little or no previous training, and for those with more experience who will be challenged accordingly.
This course is generally offered once a year.
Imagination in Motion
Dance 105 Shifrin
3 credits
This course explores strategies for movement invention and composition. Both improvisation—the spontaneous generation of movement that is ephemeral—and choreography—the setting of dances so they can be reconstructed—will be utilized. Developing a vocabulary for discussing and analyzing movement in order to better understand dance and give constructive feedback is also central to the class. Towards these ends, we will investigate how movement can be generated by exploring the formal elements of dance: The body, energy, space, and time. Throughout the course aesthetic issues will be examined, such as: What structure exists in improvisation? What is each person’s movement style and how can it be expanded? How can one determine if an improvisation or choreographed dance is working? Improvisation and choreography will take place in class and for homework. Supplemental readings, watching DVDs, and attendance at on campus events are also required. No prerequisites.
This course is generally offered once every three or four years. Last taught S11.
Moving Issues
Dance 107/207 A. Coote, Shifrin
3 credits
Moving Issues explores issue-based dance and choreography. The course investigates how personal and cultural issues can be expressed through dance and, in turn, how dance can impact the experience of those issues. Students learn to consider such issues and challenges from an artist’s standpoint through the creation of both improvisational dance and set choreography. The course emphasizes personal expression, the creative process, and the power of the arts to transform our experience of the questions, challenges, and concerns faced in our lives. The class includes warm-up exercises, movement and choreography labs, performance opportunities, journaling, discussion, and the use of other arts modalities. Readings and videos deepen the understanding and experience of class material. Response journals, movement assignments, and a final project/paper are required. No prerequisites.
This course is generally offered once a year.
Dance Production
Dance 108/408 Shifrin
1/4 credits
Students in this course are members of a production team whose goal is a final performance of dances. Participants may function as choreographers, directors, composers, dancers, actors, musicians, set designers, light board operators, technicians, costumers, and stage and publicity managers. Teamwork and individual initiative are crucial for completion of the project, as are adherence to rehearsal schedules and responsibility for learning and fulfilling one’s role. While the final performances are the culmination of the class, the quality of the process is important as well. Journals, midterm, and final papers are required. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.
This course is generally offered once a year.
Speaking and Moving
Dance 109m Shifrin
2 credits
Movement, whether literal or more abstract, can accompany and be the source of sound and text, just as sound and words can augment and give rise to movement. Improvisation, choreography, texts, assigned homework readings, creative writing, and performance are the means of exploring the ways dance and theater use speech and motion. No prerequisites.
This course is generally offered once every three or four years. Last taught F11.
Moving Stories
Dance 110m Shifrin
2 credits
Stories are most often communicated in words, but movement can also tell them. This module explores the ways in which dance can convey a range of stories and themes. It also explores what aspects of verbal storytelling are not replicable in dance. No prerequisites.
This course is generally offered once every three or four years. Last taught F11.
Meaning through Movement
Dance 112/212 Shifrin
3 credits
Movement is a powerful means of communication, ranging from literal gesture to abstract motion. The course explores how this extensive physical vocabulary can be used to express a variety of themes ranging from very personal ones, such as autobiography and emotions; to the political, such as war and technology; to the philosophical, such as control and chance. Improvisation and choreography are the main structures used in class. Homework includes choreography, response journals, and written responses to assigned readings and video watching. The course is open to students with no prior movement experience (100-level) and to students in dance and theater wishing to continue the exploration of movement as an expressive medium (200-level).
This course is generally offered once every three or four years. Last taught F08.
Ballet
Dance 114/314 Aver Thung
2 credits
In this class, dancers acquire a traditional approach to ballet technique along with a foundation that aims for anatomically friendly movement. It offers a flexible blend of classical ballet, kinesiology, and tai chi principles in order to encourage flow, efficiency, and a whole-body approach. Clear and efficient technique is developed through barre and center work, with an ongoing emphasis on musicality, use of breath, awareness of the floor and space, and moving in relation to others.  Individual expression and movement quality are encouraged and developed.
This course is generally offered every semester.
Ballet II
Dance 116/216 Aver Thung
2 credits
In this class, dancers acquire a traditional approach to ballet techniques along with an innovative foundation that aims for anatomically friendly movement. It offers a flexible blend of classical ballet, kinesiology, and tai chi principles in order to encourage flow, efficiency, and a whole body approach. Clear and efficient technique is developed through barre and center work, and an ongoing emphasis on musicality, use of breath, awareness of the floor and space, and moving in relation to others. Individual expression and movement quality are encouraged and developed. Prerequisite: Dance 114 or permission of the instructor.
This course is generally offered once a year.
Chinese Sword
Dance 119/120 Aver Thung
2 credits
Chinese Sword Form, also known as Tai Chi Sword, is a meditative movement art based on the same principles as Taijiquan and Qigong. A symbolic wooden sword is used in slow exercises that explore the concepts of advancing and yielding. There are 64 movements in the form, and over the course of the semester, we will explore a section of it. The class will include sitting and walking meditation, then the meditation of the sword form itself. There are some readings that will be discussed, but the focus of the course is on movement. The primary goal is a balance of relaxation and resilience in motion. This course is generally offered every semester. 
Intermediate Modern Dance Technique
Dance 201–204 Shifrin
3 credits
A continuation of Dance 101–104, this class concentrates on advancing the student’s awareness of and skills in alignment, efficiency and clarity of motion, musicality, spatial use, dancing with others, and personal expressiveness. Permission of the instructor is required.
This course is generally offered once a year.
Topics in Dance: Relationships between Dance and the Visual Arts
Dance 205 Shifrin
3 credits
The pedagogical assumption behind this course is that visual intelligence is as important and capable of development as verbal and mathematical intelligence. This class aims to nurture ways of perceiving, discussing, and creating art through the exploration of visual arts and dance, both of which are primarily based on physical, nonverbal images. Though there are multiple genres in the visual arts, the focus here will be on painting and drawing. By comparing the formal components of visual arts and dance, it is hoped that students will gain greater awareness of these two art forms in particular and aesthetic questions in general. Questions addressed in this course include: What are the basic formal components of dance and of the visual arts; How are they similar and dissimilar? How can these elements be played with to create art? What are the principles behind the organization of art that contribute to how it works and is perceived in dance and the visual arts? What can a comparison between the formal elements of dance and the visual art teach us about art in general and about ourselves? Engagement in the creative process is the most direct route to growth as an artist and, if cultivated, may result in improved technical skills and development of personal style. Therefore the making of original choreography and art work will be the basis for apprehending the material in this course. Visual art and choreography from outside artists will be included, but each student is encouraged to create his/her own dances and visual art works, even and especially if such efforts have not been attempted before. The class is open to any interested student.
This course is generally offered once every three or four years. Last taught S09.
Topics in Dance: Relationships between Dance and Theater
Dance 206 Shifrin
3 credits
Traditionally, theater is thought to be rooted in verbal communication while dance centers on human movement. But since both art forms rely on the live body, they share a number of common formal elements: The body’s appearance and action, a presence in space and time, and the use of sound and objects. This course simultaneously presupposes that there is no clear line between theater and dance, AND that each has the potential to be a very different medium of expression. The following two questions are key foci of this class: What are the formal elements available for use in dance and theater? What can be expressed in dance and what in theater? How are they different? The main vehicle for exploring the interplay between the two art forms will be class exercises and improvisations: The experience of doing theater and dance. This will be supplemented with readings, writing, discussion, attendance at performances, watching work on video, and creative assignments done outside of class.
This course is generally offered once every three or four years. Last taught S08.
Topics in Dance: Relationships between Dance and Creative Writing
Dance 211 Shifrin
3 credits
This course is an exploration of the ways in which dance and creative writing are similar and dissimilar in their formal components. The expressive abilities of each medium will be examined through creative work in and outside of class. Major course goals are the development of an ability to perceive, discuss, and appreciate dance and creative writing as well as the awareness and growth of one’s personal style in both art forms.
This course is generally offered once every three or four years. Last taught F10.
Choreography
Dance 215/315 Shifrin
3/4 credits
This course is for those who wish to explore their choreographic voice and expand their ability to see, describe and analyze dance. Towards that end, students will create
their own work, observe dances by professionals and peers, read texts pertaining to the creative process, learn how to give constructive, tactful feedback, and use inclass
explorations as vehicles for learning about the basic building blocks of dance. In order to fully experience and assimilate the course content, it is crucial that students
spend time on a regular, weekly basis choreographing outside of class. Hopefully each person will arrive at a greater awareness of his/her personal style and what he/she values in dance.
This course is offered when there is sufficient student interest. Last taught S12.
Dance Tutorial
Dance 300/400 Shifrin
4 credits
Under these course numbers, juniors and seniors design tutorials to meet their particular interests and programmatic needs.