If you're looking to put together a course of study during your undergraduate years that might build your skills as an actor, enrich your creative life and knowledge as a director, or generally help you transition into the world of the performing arts (both onstage and offstage), here are some courses that we (i.e. the Theatre Program) recommend. We'll be adding to this list as we discover more classes to share with you, but this is a start.
Using your body as an instrument to express thought and emotion is one of the backbones of an actor's technique. These dance classes may help cultivate a heightened awareness of your body:
DAN 102 Fundamentals of Movement
This course will explore movement through the use of technique and improvisation. It emphasizes spontaneity, joy in moving, and self-awareness and is based on experiential anatomy and developmental movement patterns. It provides a strong foundation for further study in dance, theater, or sports, or can be used as an introduction to movement and body awareness. No previous dance training is required.
DAN 110 Beginning Dance Techniques: Jazz, Modern and Ballet
This course serves as an introduction to dance technique, specifically in Jazz, Ballet and Contemporary Modern Dance. Emphasis will be on the development of basic skills, energy, strength, control, breath, alignment, continuity and connectivity, and rhythmic and bodily awareness. No prior training is necessary or expected. Students who have had prior training will be challenged individually. Within the three specified forms, students will also explore dance improvisation, dance composition, and dance performance as both audience members and participants.
DAN 140 Beginning Tap
Development of basic skills, energy, strength, control, continuity, and rhythmic and bodily awareness through the teaching of rhythm tap dance. No previous tap dance experience is expected.
DAN 202 Contact Improvisation
Contact improvisation is rooted in dance, the martial arts and studies of body development and awareness. It is a duet form where partners use weight, momentum, and inertia to move each other freely through space, finding support through skeletal structure rather than muscular effort. We will explore solo and duet skills such as rolling, falling, balance, counter-balance, jumping, weight sharing, spirals, and attuning to sensory input. Skill work will be combined with more open dancing in a supportive and focused environment. No previous dance training required.
DAN 217 Body as Medium: Performance Art
This class will introduce students to performance art as a four-fold discipline: as a historical and contemporary practice, as a powerful means of personal expression and as a path toward ecological wellness. Much confusion surrounds performance art, partly because it is difficult to institutionalize. After all, many cannot decide whether performance art constitutes theater, dance, visual art or physical exercise. And since it can pass as potentially all or none of the above, performance art remains a powerful avenue of interdisciplinary inquiry. Students, presented with daily warm up, group and individual exercises, will learn to develop collaborative and individual pieces that explore embodiment as artistic medium. Key elements covered in the class will be: Body as artistic medium, Embodied history, Alternative philosophies of the body, The Body Politic vs. the political body site-specificity
DAN 265 Contemporary Dance
This class will focus on contemporary dance, a form that is an evolving exploration of expression through movement. It will blend the challenges of full-bodied, momentum-driven dancing with a sense of one's own self-awareness and discovery. Classes will explore basic Laban and Bartenieff concepts, efficiency of movement, breathe, gravity and weight, musicality, performance, and somatic practices. Through rigorous dancing, students will be challenged to move beyond not only their physical, but also their artistic boundaries and dimensions.
DAN 270 Capoeira: Brazilian Art Movement
An art form of self-defense with strong aerobic and dance elements that brings together a harmony of forces. Through the study of the history, movements and culture behind Capoeira students will gain self-confidence, power, flexibility, endurance, and ultimately the tools towards self-discovery. Capoeira is within the reach of anyone regardless of age, sex, or athletic experience. In keeping with its strong traditions, Capoeira balances the body, mind, and soul and enables one to break through limits, revitalizing oneself for everyday life.
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