Location: Bowdoin / The College Catalogue / Courses / Theater and Dance / Dance Courses

The College Catalogue

Theater and Dance – Dance Courses

First-Year Seminars

For a full description of first-year seminars, see the First-Year Seminar section.

1010 {10} c. Understanding Theater and Dance: Doing, Viewing, and Reviewing. Fall 2014. The Department. (Same as Theater 1010 {10}.)

Introductory, Intermediate, and Advanced Courses

1101 {102} c - VPA. Making Dances. Every year. Fall 2013. Paul Sarvis.

Explores movement invention, organization, and meaning. Problem-solving exercises, improvisations, and studies focus mainly on solo, duet, and trio forms. A video component introduces students—regardless of previous experience in dance—to a wide range of compositional methods and purposes. Includes reading, writing, discussion, attendance at live performances, and—when possible—work with visiting professional artists.

1102 {101} c - ESD, VPA. Cultural Choreographies: An Introduction to Dance. Fall 2013. Nyama McCarthy-Brown.

Dancing is a fundamental human activity, a mode of communication, and a basic force in social life. Investigates dance and movement in the studio and classroom as aesthetic and cultural phenomena. Explores how dance and movement activities reveal information about cultural norms and values and affect perspectives in our own and other societies. Using ethnographic methods, focuses on how dancing maintains and creates conceptions of one’s own body, gender relationships, and personal and community identities. Experiments with dance and movement forms from different cultures and epochs—for example, the hula, New England contradance, classical Indian dance, Balkan kolos, ballet, contact improvisation, and African American dance forms from swing to hip-hop—through readings, performances, workshops in the studio, and field work. (Same as Gender and Women’s Studies 1102 {102}.)

1103 {103} c - ESD, VPA. African American Diasporic Dance: From the Ring Shout to Hip-Hop. Spring 2014. Nyama McCarthy-Brown.

Combines dance history, embodied research, and performance. Students engage in readings, class discussions, and movement studies that allow them to learn movement techniques from past eras. Students explore connections between cultural values and norms and movement aesthetics, and discover how African American vernacular dance and jazz music influenced jazz forms and American dance throughout the twentieth century (ragtime, swing, hot jazz, and hip-hop). Culminates with a performance in the December Dance Concert. Students meet once a week in a seminar setting to investigate one dance era, such as swing. The next two class meetings take place in a dance studio in order to embody the dance form discussed that week, and include rehearsals. (Same as Africana Studies 1103 {103}.)

1203 {145} c - VPA. Performance and Narrative. Spring 2015. Abigail Killeen.

For millennia, we have organized our fictions, our religions, our histories, and our own lives as narratives. However much the narrative form has been called into question in recent years, it seems we just cannot stop telling each other stories. Examines the particular nexus between narrative and performance: What is narrative? How does it work? What are its limits and its limitations? How do we communicate narrative in performance? Involves both critical inquiry and the creation of performance pieces based in text, dance, movement, and the visual image. (Same as Theater 1203 {145}.)

1211 {111} c - VPA. Modern I: Technique. Fall 2013. Gwyneth Jones. Spring 2014. The Department.

Classes in modern dance technique include basic exercises to develop dance skills such as balance and musicality. More challenging movement combinations and longer dance sequences build on these exercises. While focusing on the craft of dancing, students develop an appreciation of their own styles and an understanding of the role of craft in the creative process. During the semester, a historical overview of twentieth-century American dance on video is presented. Attendance at all classes is required. May be repeated for credit. Grading is Credit/D/Fail. One-half credit.

1212 {112} c - VPA. Modern I: Repertory and Performance. Fall 2013. Gwyneth Jones. Spring 2014. The Department.

Repertory students are required to take Dance 1211 {111} concurrently. Repertory classes provide the chance to learn faculty-choreographed works or reconstructions of historical dances. Class meetings are conducted as rehearsals for performances at the end of the semester: the December Dance Concert, the annual Spring Performance in Pickard Theater, or Museum Pieces at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art in May. Additional rehearsals are scheduled before performances. Attendance at all classes and rehearsals is required. May be repeated for credit. Grading is Credit/D/Fail. One-half credit.

1221 {121} c - VPA. Ballet I: Technique. Every other year. Fall 2014. Charlotte Griffin.

Introduces the fundamental principles of classical ballet technique as a studio practice and performing art. Includes barre, center, and across-the-floor exercises with an emphasis on anatomical alignment, complex coordination, movement quality, and musicality. Combines dance training with assigned reading and writing, video viewing, performance attendance, and in-class discussion to increase appreciation for and participation in the art form. Ballet I is a one-credit course with a required lab.

1301 {104} c. Stagecraft. Every year. Fall 2013. Michael Schiff-Verre.

Introduction to the language, theory, and practice of technical theater. Hands-on experience in lighting, scenic and property construction, costuming, and stage management. Considers the possibilities, demands, and limits inherent in different forms of performance and performance spaces, and explores the job roles integral to theater and dance production. Includes forty hours of laboratory work. Grading is Credit/D/Fail. (Same as Theater 1301 {104}.)

1302 {130} c - VPA. Principles of Design. Every year. Fall 2013. Judy Gailen.

An introduction to theatrical design that stimulates students to consider the world of a play, dance, or performance piece from a designer’s perspective. Through projects, readings, discussion, and critiques, students explore the fundamental principles of visual design, as they apply to set, lighting, and costume design, as well as text analysis for the designer, and the process of collaboration. Strong emphasis on perceptual, analytical, and communication skills. (Same as Theater 1302 {130}.)

1501 {140} c - VPA. History of Twentieth-Century Dance. Fall 2014. Paul Sarvis.

Excavates histories of twentieth-century modern dance and ballet by asking aesthetic, philosophical, and social questions. Focuses on dance vocabularies and notions of representation—illusion and authenticity, intention and authorship, changing ideas of the performance space, the countercultural attitude of modernism, and the sociopolitical dimensions of dance performance. These inquiries are introduced by movement exercises in the studio, and elucidated by video viewing, reading, discussion, and writing.

2211 {211} c - VPA. Modern II: Technique. Spring 2014. The Department.

A continuation of the processes introduced in Dance 1211 {111}. May be repeated for credit. Grading is Credit/D/Fail. One-half credit.

2212 {212} c - VPA. Modern II: Repertory and Performance. Spring 2014. The Department.

Intermediate repertory students are required to take Dance 2211 {211} concurrently. A continuation of the principles and practices introduced in Dance 1212 {112}. May be repeated for credit. Grading is Credit/D/Fail. One-half credit.

2221 {221} c - VPA. Ballet II: Technique. Fall 2013. Nyama McCarthy-Brown.

A continuation of the processes introduced in Dance 1221 {121}. Grading is Credit/D/Fail. One-half credit.

Prerequisite: Dance 1221 {121} or permission of the instructor.

2222 {222} c - VPA. Ballet II: Repertory and Performance. Fall 2013. Nyama McCarthy-Brown.

Repertory students are required to take Dance 2221 {221} concurrently. Repertory classes are an opportunity to learn and perform new choreography or historical reconstructions created by faculty or guests. Class meetings conducted as rehearsals. Additional rehearsals may be required. Attendance at all classes, studio and stage rehearsals, and performances required. Grading is Credit/D/Fail. One-half credit.

2231 {231} c - VPA. Jazz II: Technique. Spring 2016. The Department.

Extends students’ technical proficiency by increasing practice in jazz dance styles and intricate combinations; students learn dance technique along with the appropriate historical and cultural contexts. Includes vocabulary, and variations of jazz, and focuses on its roots in social dance heavily influenced by African American traditions. Students have the opportunity to embody various jazz styles such as vintage jazz, Broadway jazz, lyrical jazz, and the jazz techniques of Bob Fosse and Luigi. A series of dance exercises and combinations teach jazz isolations, syncopation, musicality, and performance skills. Through this ongoing physical practice, students gain strength, flexibility, endurance, coordination, and style. Includes a performance requirement, and several readings. Attendance at all classes required. Grading is Credit/D/Fail. One-half credit. (Same as Africana Studies 2234 {235}.)

Prerequisite: Dance 1211 {111} or 1221 {121}, or permission of the instructor.

2232 {232} c - VPA. Jazz II: Repertory and Performance. Spring 2016. The Department.

Intermediate repertory students are required to take Dance 2231 {231} (same as Africana Studies 2234 {235}) concurrently. Attendance at all classes is required. Grading is Credit/D/Fail. One-half credit. (Same as Africana Studies 2232 {232}.)

2401 {270} c - VPA. Choreography for Dancers: Invention, Method, and Purpose. Spring 2014. The Department.

Through a vigorous sequence of creative projects, fluent dancers excavate sources and explore methods for making dance. Detailed work on personal movement vocabulary, musicality, and the use of multidimensional space leads to a strong sense of choreographic architecture. Students explore the play between design and accident—communication and open-ended meaning—and irony and gravity. Studio work is supported by video viewing, and readings on dance, philosophy, and other arts.

Prerequisite: Dance 1101 {102} or 1102 {101}, and two of: Dance 1212 {112}, 2212 {212}, or 3212 {312}.

2402 {250} c - VPA. Theater, Dance, and the Common Good. Spring 2014. The Department.

Theater and dance have a long history of political engagement, social intervention, and community building. Examines the historical precedents for today’s “applied” theater and dance practice, including Piscator, Brecht, Boal, Cornerstone Theatre, Judson Dance Theatre, and Yvonne Rainer. Significant time also spent working with local agencies and institutions to create community-based performances addressing social issues such as homelessness, poverty, prejudice, and the environment, among others. (Same as Theater 2402 {250}.)

2502 {240} c - VPA. Performance in the Twenty-First Century: Avant- Garde/Neo Avant-Garde. Fall 2013. Kathryn Syssoyeva.

Examines contemporary forms such as live art, neo-cabaret, dance theater, theater of images, new circus, solo performance, and site-specific theater. Hybrid by nature and rebellious in spirit, these practices reject the boundaries and conventions of traditional theater and dance. Yet for all its innovation, contemporary performance has roots deep in the twentieth-century avant-gardes. What, these days, is new about performance? Through readings, film screenings, and our own performance-making, considers the genealogical roots of performance, and investigates the ways twenty-first-century performance is exploring body, mind, technology, social justice, intercultural and transnational aesthetics, and globalism. Assignments include readings, research presentations, written responses, and short-form performance projects. (Same as Theater 2502 {240}.)

2970–2973 {291–294} c. Intermediate Independent Study in Dance. The Department.

2999 {299} c. Intermediate Collaborative Study in Dance. The Department.

3211 {311} c - VPA. Modern III: Technique. Fall 2013. Paul Sarvis.

A continuation of the processes introduced in Dance 2211 {211}. May be repeated for credit. Grading is Credit/D/Fail. One-half credit.

3212 {312} c - VPA. Modern III: Repertory and Performance. Fall 2013. Paul Sarvis.

Intermediate/advanced repertory students are required to take Dance 3211 {311} concurrently. A continuation of the principles and practices introduced in Dance 2212 {212}. May be repeated for credit. Grading is Credit/D/Fail. One-half credit.

3301 {340} c. Live Performance and Digital Media. Spring 2015. The Department.

Over the past two decades, digital media has infiltrated live performance to such an extent that it has become almost as indispensable as sets, lights, and costumes. Theater and dance artists have embraced these media as a way to enhance the expressivity and scale of their work, as well as a cultural phenomenon to be critically investigated. Introduces students to sound and video applications such as Garage Band, Final Cut Pro, Motion, and Isadora, and requires them to create performances incorporating these tools. Also contextualizes student projects with theoretical readings and examinations of contemporary performance practitioners. (Same as Theater 3301 {340}.)

Prerequisite: One course numbered 1100–1999 {100–199} in theater or dance.

3401 {322} c. Ensemble Devising: The Art of Collaborative Creation. Fall 2013. Davis Robinson.

Experienced student actors, dancers, and musicians collaborate to devise an original performance event. Immerses students in the practice of devising, from conception and research to writing, staging, and ultimately performing a finished piece. Examines the history of collective creation and the various emphases different artists have brought to that process. In the Fall of 2013, the epic Mahabharata and the 1957 workers’ rights musical The Pajama Game will provide source material for in-class projects and the fall theater production. (Same as Theater 3401 {322}.)

Prerequisite: One course numbered 1100–1799 {100–199} in theater or dance and one course numbered 2000–2799 {200-289} in theater or dance.

4000–4003 {401–404} c. Advanced Independent Study in Dance. The Department.

4029 {405} c. Advanced Collaborative Study in Dance. The Department.

Online Catalogue content is current as of August 1, 2013. For most current course information, use the online course finder. Also see Addenda.