The department is renowned for its extensive studio offerings in ballet technique, contemporary/modern technique, and repertory/performance, as well as its rotating offerings in West African dance, hip hop, tap, jazz, Indian classical dance, tango, contact improvisation, and musical theater. Theory courses range from Scientific Foundations in Dance to Studies in Dance History, Analysis of Rhythm, and Choreography. All courses are designed to contribute in various ways to the College’s Learning Goals. This range of courses is further augmented by more than 100 theory and studio courses offered annually through the Five College Dance Department.
DANCE-151 Elementary Composition
A study of the principles and elements of choreography. How is movement design and meaning constructed? How do the different dimensions of the medium of dance inform and inspire choreographic choices? Course work will focus on experiential and analytical approaches to these questions through readings, video viewings and guided improvisational and compositional explorations of such issues as sensation, time, rhythm, desire, image, shape, space, and effort quality. Students will experiment with a range of tools and strategies for dance making, including movement phrasing, musical structure , collage, group forms, improvisational scoring, and the design of movement in relation to objects and environments.
DANCE-171 Studies in Dance History
This course is designed to present an overview of dance as a performing art, starting at the turn of the twentieth century to contemporary times. Each offering of the course has topical focus through which dance history is explored.
DANCE-171BH Studies in Dance History: 'Ballet History'
Through readings, video and film viewings, individual research projects, and classroom discussions, students will explore principles and traditions of twentieth-century concert dance, with special attention to their historical and cultural contexts. This semester, the topical focus of the course will be ballet history. The dance world and ballet in particular are thought of as microcosms of Eurocentric history and society. Through this particular lens, we can explore how these concepts shape our view of ballet today and of dance history more broadly.
DANCE-171HP Studies in Dance History: 'Contemporary Issues in History and Performance'
This course investigates the development of dance as a performing art in the 20th/21st century. The course will examine major trends, multi-cultural aspects and significant global events affecting the development of dance. We will observe the work of principal artists and companies, and we will investigate aesthetic points of view, beliefs, and assumptions inherent in dance practices, dance criticism and writing of history. The course will investigate topical groupings of events and artists that, in historical perspective, share similar artistic issues and influences. We will look at artists' work and the context of their dance-making and collaboration. Aspects of the work to investigate include: movement description, genre, choreographic methods, production, relationship to music, content, analysis, and economic, geographical or political climates.
DANCE-171MT Studies in Dance History: 'Beginning Modern Dance in History and Practice'
This class is an introduction to the practice of contemporary modern dance at the beginning level, from both the theoretical and embodied perspectives. The course introduces the basic principles of dance movement: body alignment, coordination, locomotion, artistry, and is studied alongside the study of the histories and contexts of modern dance development. Class time will alternate between in-studio dance practice, and lecture-based classes with readings, class discussions, video viewings and short written and creative assignments.
DANCE-241 Scientific Foundations of Dance
Selected scientific aspects of dance, including anatomical identification and terminology, physiological principles, and conditioning/strengthening methodology. These concepts are discussed and explored experientially in relationship to the movement vocabularies of various dance styles.
DANCE-241AM Scientific Foundations of Dance: 'Anatomy of Movement'
Designed for dance students, this course is an experiential study of the human body's musculoskeletal system. The structure of this course includes lectures, movement laboratory sessions, somatic exercises, and developing a personal warmup for full-bodied dancing. Anatomical understanding becomes a springboard for clearer movement choices and deeper engagement in dance practice.
DANCE-252 Intermediate Composition
Intermediate Composition is structured as a workshop for you to explore and expand your own artistic vision. It will increase your understanding of inspiration and intention as they relate to choreography as well as encourage active consideration of choreographic possibilities for space, time, performer/audience interaction, energetic qualities, use of text, music, and physical and environmental intelligences.
DANCE-262 Somatic Studies
DANCE-262HP Somatic Studies: 'Somatic Studies and Dance Practices Toward Healing and Justice'
This course introduces students to a range of somatic therapy practices and their application toward healing and justice work. This will occur within legacies of African-rooted dance and performance that we witness being expressed in a traditional community practice throughout the continent and within the Diaspora. The philosophies and methodologies of these therapies will be investigated, invoked and experienced through the honoring of personal stories within the transformational framework of the community circle -- a nourishing and replenishing space welcome to beings of all races, genders and cultural backgrounds.
DANCE-267 Embodied Archives: Reading, Writing, and Researching Dance
This course, open to all, is an introduction to qualitative research methods employed by dance scholars and practitioners. Texts will include live and recorded performances, movement-based workshops, and theoretical secondary sources. Students will gain an understanding of epistemology, autoethnography, and phenomenology as they pertain to dance practices; articulate the felt experience of dance in concrete writing; conduct interviews; develop a practice archive; and craft a detailed research proposal and review of literature. Trips to regional dance archives and local rehearsal visits will contextualize the work done in class.
DANCE-272 Dance and Culture
DANCE-272AF Dance and Culture: 'Improvisation from an Africanist Perspective'
This course will be a contemporary exploration of the physical, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of the African-rooted community dance circle. Through technical, literary, and media-based explorations, students will examine the circle as a culture of healing and transformation that sustains people of African heritage across geographic spaces spanning both oceans and time. By investigating dance improvisation as a practice of deep listening and as a method of negotiating with precarity and the unknown, we will conduct in-depth research on the potentials of the circle as a place of embodiment, resource, and belonging that can be participated in by people across all cultures, races, and backgrounds.
DANCE-272FD Dance and Culture: 'Funk Styles'
This course introduces students to funk dance styles such as Locking, Popping, and Breaking. We will examine the evolution of African American music and its relationship to what's happening historically in the U.S. Students will learn the terminology and rhythmic patterns of each dance form and how to find their own relationship to the movement. This class will focus on becoming grounded in the basics through technique drills and combinations. There will be many sessions where the students can freestyle using the foundation they've learned and incorporating their own uniqueness to the movement. The study of music and movement will take form in research, through books, scholarly journals, and documentaries. This will allow students to have many discussions throughout the course on the many artists and pioneers of the form.
DANCE-272HP Dance and Culture: Hip Hop
This course will be a literary, media-based, and technical exploration of the history and influence of contemporary Hip Hop culture creation. Students will engage in an embodied study of various hip-hop dance techniques and a rigorous investigation of the influence of Hip Hop culture on music, fashion, language, media, and personal style throughout the world. The technical aspect of the course will support their study of history and culture through media, readings, discussion and research. Works cited will include peer reviewed articles, as well as the brilliance of materials created outside of the narrow academic lens. Each reading, film, or documentary that is assigned will be followed by written responses and discussions, and students will present their in-depth research findings at the end of the course.
DANCE-287 Rhythmic Analysis
The study of music from a dancer's perspective. Topics include musical notation, construction of rhythm, elements of composition (visual aspects of music and movement), communication between dancer and musician, and music listening.
DANCE-295 Independent Study
Students interested in independent study in dance (Dance 295) must provide convincing reasons for pursuing independent work and be self motivated and directed in their work. Students are responsible for choosing and receiving approval from a faculty advisor, with whom workload expectations, meeting times, and outcomes will be mutually negotiated and set for the semester. Credit load (1-4) will reflect the workload level and outcomes of the proposed study (e.g., a 2-credit independent study requires a minimum of 2-4 hours of outside work each week.
DANCE-305 Dance Repertory
DANCE-305CR Dance Repertory: 'Contemporary Repertory'
This course is designed for intermediate and advanced dancers interested in performing. The work developed will be performed in the Fall Faculty Concert.
DANCE-305HP Dance Repertory: 'Hip Hop Repertory'
This course is designed for intermediate and advanced hip hop dancers interested in performing a premiere hip hop work for the Fall Faculty Dance Concert.
DANCE-305RB Dance Repertory: 'Ballet Repertory'
This course is designed for intermediate and advanced dance students interested in performing. The work developed will be performed in the Fall Faculty Concert.
DANCE-305RM Dance Repertory: 'Modern Repertory'
This course is designed for intermediate and advanced dancers interested in performing. The work developed will be performed in the Fall Faculty Concert.
DANCE-309 Dance Repertory: Ballet Variations
DANCE-309BV Dance Repertory: 'Classical Ballet Variations'
This course is designed for intermediate- to advanced-level dance students who wish to study classical ballet variations. The course examines the evolution of classical ballet choreography and compares and contrasts the many revivals and remakes of classical full-length productions. Students will learn variations from Swan Lake, Giselle, and Cinderella. Requirements outside of the classroom include viewing videotapes, researching choreography, and attending live performances. Pointe shoes are optional.
DANCE-338 Mobilizing the Hippocampus
This course will provide a research site to investigate the functions of the hippocampal brain region to then embody that learning through choreographic structures. In particular, students will use dance expression to aid the understanding of complex neuroscience topics, and apply neuroscience knowledge to deepen creative expression. "Mobilizing the hippocampus" will help to bridge a gap between science and art, serving as a tool to stimulate a heightened understanding of both disciplines.
DANCE-377 Advanced Studies
DANCE-377DW Advanced Studies: 'Oscillating Viewpoints in Dance-Making: Dance Writing and Dramaturgy'
How can we activate the tension between language, movement, and performance to reveal subterranean aspects of dancing experience? How do layers of relationship, dialogue, attention, sensation, and subjectivity shape meaning? In this upper-level seminar, students will explore practices of writing and dramaturgy in relation to dance-making process and performance. Taking a cue from dramaturg Katherine Profeta, we will oscillate between multiple vantage points -- stepping in and out of roles such as that of researcher, questioner, witness, archivist, translator, outside eye, and inside eye. Considerable attention will be given to how writing and dramaturgical practices can be sites of care. This course is designed for students who have a dedicated, ongoing dance practice. Coursework will consist of compositional studies, readings, discussion, writing, and research in addition to outside studio and rehearsal visits and attendance at live performances.
DANCE-377ST Advanced Studies: 'Dance Styles: Street and Club'
This house and hip-hop class will develop the student's dance while preserving the essence of the styles the student is learning. It is important to be capable of using technique within the groove as it is the soul and the identity of the dancer. The groove which is often perceived as an esthetic can also be an invitation to question its social meaning. The objective is to investigate the student's identity and to turn this very technical style into something more natural. This method develops the coordination, the rhythm, the musicality, polyrhythm and a strong sense of body control. Elements of social justice will be discussed during the class. This course also involves discussion, research and journal assignments.
DANCE-387 Rhythmic Analysis II: Performance
A continuation of Dance 287. The focus now shifts specifically to performance and the notation of complex rhythmic structures. Working as an ensemble, the class will create a music/dance suite, using body music, movement, vocal work, and music visualization as our inspiration. Emphasis will be placed on odd and mixed meters and rhythmical accuracy. Students will contribute both movement and musical material. Class time will be run like a professional rehearsal. Outside work will focus on musical research, choreography, and music notation. This suite will be performed at Blanchard Campus Center at a date to be determined.
DANCE-390 Senior Capstone Seminar
Each dance major will be expected to be involved in a senior project during their final year of study. One should sign up for Dance 390, Senior Seminar for both fall and spring semesters. Senior projects can vary, from choreographic or performance work to research topics.
DANCE-395 Independent Study
Students interested in independent study in dance (Dance 395) must provide convincing reasons for pursuing independent work and be self motivated and directed in their work. Students are responsible for choosing and receiving approval from a faculty advisor, with whom workload expectations, meeting times, and outcomes will be mutually negotiated and set for the semester. Credit load (1-4) will reflect the workload level and outcomes of the proposed study (e.g., a 2-credit independent study requires a minimum of 2-4 hours of outside work each week.
DANCE-107 Introduction to Ballet and Modern
This course is an introoduction to the basic principles of ballet and modern dance. Students will learn and practice common forms, pathways, and footwork in both styles. The class will focus on momentum, weight shift, and dynamic alignment.
DANCE-113 Beginning Modern
An introduction to the basic principles of dance movement: body alignment, coordination, strength and flexibility, basic forms of locomotion. No previous dance experience required.
DANCE-119 Contact Improvisation
Contact improvisation is a duet movement form that explores communicating through the language of touch, momentum, and weight. Classes will develop simple solo and duet skills - rolling, falling, balance, counterbalance, jumping, weight sharing, and spirals.
DANCE-120 Beginning Ballet
Students will study the basic movements and fundamentals of classical ballet. The movements are taught in a pure form, at a relaxed pace before proceeding to more complex combinations. Ballet I sets the groundwork for the movements and musicality of the ballet lesson.
DANCE-121 Advanced Beginning Ballet
A continuation of the knowledge gained in Ballet I. The course will emphasize maintaining correct body placement, coordination of the arms and head while using the whole body for dance. Curriculum covered will include the small and big classical poses and an increase in the allegro portion of the class.
DANCE-127 Renaissance and Baroque Dance I
Sixteenth- through eighteenth-century European social dance, contemporary with the eras of Elizabeth I and Shakespeare in England, the Medicis in Italy, Louis XIV in France, and colonial America. The focus will be on learning the dances, supplemented by historical and social background, discussion of the original dance sources, and reconstruction techniques.
DANCE-128 Renaissance and Baroque Dance II
Continuation of Renaissance and Baroque Dance I. Sixteenth- through eighteenth-century European social dance, contemporary with the eras of Elizabeth I and Shakespeare in England, the Medicis in Italy, Louis XIV in France, and colonial America. The focus will be on learning the dances, supplemented by historical and social background, discussion of the original dance sources, and reconstruction techniques.
DANCE-132 Introduction to Hip Hop
This class will introduce students to the basic elements of hip-hop dance including bouncing, rocking, waving, swinging, and much more. The class will include drills and combinations, which will ask the dancers to find their relationship to musicality, athleticism, dynamics, and articulation of the body. In addition, students will learn the history of hip-hop's core four elements: Deejaying, Emceeing, Breakin', and Graffiti.
DANCE-133 Introduction to Breakin'
In this course we will learn about the history and foundation of Hip Hop culture from its birth to both the current underground and commercial scene. We will work on foundational techniques and dynamic movements to continue to develop the growth within each student. Documentaries shown in class will inform the students about the underground battle scene and its evolution to the big-stage events like the Olympics. Students will learn battle etiquette and, as community engagement, the class will attend a local event where they can showcase what they've learned and be in community within the Hip Hop culture. Students will also be prepared for commercial work by practicing choreography in class that includes auditioning techniques and working on-stage presence. The goal of the course is to physically train and educate students in Breakin' as well as prepare them for any path they want to follow in dance.
DANCE-142 West African Dance
The objectives of the course are for students to understand the profound influence African dance has had on American dance forms, to understand the significance of dance in African culture, and to understand the connection between drummer and dancer and to appreciate and respect a culture that is different yet similar in many ways to American culture.
Argentine Tango is the sensual and elegant social dance of the city of Buenos Aires, which is experiencing a worldwide revival. Cuban Salsa Rueda is a unique Salsa Game developed in Havana, Cuba. Class will include the steps, the history, and anecdotes about the culture of tango and salsa. We will cover traditional and modern forms. All dancers will learn lead and follow, so you do not need a partner. Wear leather-soled shoes or bring socks.
DANCE-146 Afro-Fusion Dance
An introductory course in Afro-fusion dance with an emphasis on Afro-centric drums, music and movement. Exploration of a fusion of West African, Jazz technique and Afro-beats dance styles. Development of dance technique, and performance principles as well as history, culture and life.
DANCE-147 Bollywood Dance
Throughout the course, students will build a solid foundation in rhythm, coordination, strength, and stamina, all of which are applicable to various dance styles. By focusing on these fundamental aspects, participants will not only develop their skills in Bollywood dance but also enhance their abilities across various dance styles. Students will also engage in ear training exercises to develop their ability to discern various beats, enabling them to recognize and appreciate the unique sounds of traditional Indian instruments. Through this practice, they will gain a deeper understanding of the intricate rhythm system that underpins Indian music.
DANCE-216 Intermediate Modern
DANCE-216MA Intermediate Modern 2x/week
This course is a continued practice of modern dance. Physically, the emphasis is on aligned, articulate and efficient dancing through modern dance technique and principles. Students will build capacity for physical endurance and active presence as well as a deepening awareness of the body's potential. Course work will include improvisation, moving into and out of the floor, shifting the centers of gravity, and finding agility and clarity in movement and thought.
DANCE-217 Site-Specific Intermediate/Advanced Modern Improvisation
This course will focus on the development of site-specific improvisational dance skills. Beginning in indoor environments, and moving outdoors when the weather gets warmer. Students will perform solo, duet and group improvisations inspired by nature, architecture and public spaces. Students will then collaboratively build movement choreographies using compositional methods that draw from the improvisations. There will be repeated opportunities to perform with and for each other.
DANCE-219 Intermediate Improvisation
This course focuses on dance improvisation. The class studies structured improvisation through the use of scores, tasks, imagery, and other methods for generating and crafting movement. Students will sharpen their awareness of attention and intention in instant decision-making practices as individuals and in group settings. This is a movement class intended for students with a regular dance practice in any form.
DANCE-222 Intermediate Ballet
This course is designed for the intermediate-level dancer. It will include a logical and efficient development of exercises culminating with varied allegro combinations. The class will provide the student the opportunity to acquire endurance and learn artistic expression. The importance of musicality within the technique will be a fundamental aspect of the class.
DANCE-223 Intermediate Ballet
Continues to perfect the classical ballet technique, concentrating on small and big poses at the barre, pirouettes and adagio work in the big poses in the center, and jumps in the small and big poses in the allegro section of the class. More complex grand allegro will be presented.
DANCE-232 Intermediate Hip Hop
Journey through time and experience the evolution of hip-hop from its old-school social dance roots to the contemporary phenomenon of commercial choreography that hip-hop has become. Using film and text in addition to studio work, this class will create a framework from which to understand and participate in the global culture of hip-hop dance.
DANCE-234 House Dance
This course is designed for dancers to learn the fundamentals of House dance. Students will learn the history and culture of House along with terminology of the dance movements. Class will include across the floor drills and center combinations, which will ask the dancers to find their relationship to musicality, athleticism, dynamics, and articulation of the body. Improvisation is a critical component of this course. This will empower them to embody the movement, feel comfortable improvising, and have a greater capacity to learn more intricate choreography.
DANCE-272QF Dance and Culture: 'Queer and Feminist Performance'
What does performance teach us about subjectivity? How do bodies' cultural inscriptions shape meaning in dance? How does choreography complicate the performance of gender? This course poses an inquiry into euro-american contemporary dance performance through the lenses of queer and feminist thought. Students will study the body as a site of knowledge production and investigate how movement and performance can highlight the intersection of theory and lived experience. Class will read from authors including adrienne marie brown, Audre Lorde, Sarah Ahmed, Ann Cooper Albright, Petra Kuppers, José Muñoz, Fiona Buckland, and others. We will watch and be in conversation about performances by choreographers like Rosie Herrera, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Ananya Chatterjea, Miguel Gutierrez, and Ralph Lemon.
DANCE-305NT Dance Repertory: 'Exploring the Intersection of Movement, Choreography, and Performance'
Throughout the semester, students will actively participate in the choreographic process as they create or rework dance pieces. A strong background in modern dance technique and improvisational skills is preferred as these technical elements will serve as a solid base for the choreographic and performance aspects of the course. Students will have the opportunity to refine their technique, expand their movement vocabulary, and explore improvisational skills within the context of choreography. This course offers a comprehensive experience exploring intersections of dance and performance studies, choreographic processes, and technology.
DANCE-305ST Dance Repertory: 'Street Styles'
This course is designed for intermediate and advanced street style dancers interested in performing a premiere work for the Fall Faculty Dance concert.
DANCE-318 Advanced Modern
Intermediate and Advanced study in modern technique focuses on body level issues of strength, support, alignment, articulation, and initiation; and performance issues of rhythmic clarity, spatial clarity, intention, embodiment, intricate coordinations, and expanding personal vocabularies. Students will build capacity for physical endurance and active presence as well as a deepening awareness of the body's potential.
DANCE-319 Advanced Modern and Improvisation
In studying dance at the advanced level, students are expected to define their own priorities, thresholds, and modes of working. This course is an opportunity for students to physically engage with dance forms rooted in modern dance and improvisational forms of the mid-twentieth century and the twenty-first century. Daily creative and physical practice and building a resilient and collective dance culture are the foundations of this course. Meeting times will be dedicated to codified modern forms, improvisational practice, and discussion. Advanced placement or instructor permission is required.
DANCE-325 Advanced Ballet
Course is for advanced dancers and will stress complex classical ballet technique combinations, concentrating on turns at the barre, turns in the big poses in the centre, and batterie in the allegro. Artistry, presentation, and musicality of dance will be incorporated, with the grande allegro serving as the focus of the class. The last half hour will be devoted to advanced pointe technique.