Degree Essentials

Dance

Faculty and Staff

Professor Gill Wright Miller, Chair

Professor Gill Wright Miller (PhD); Professor Sandra Mathern-Smith (MFA); Assistant Professor Stafford C. Berry, Jr. (MFA); Visiting Assistant Professor Kathleen Dean (BC, certified movement educator); Visiting Assistant Professor Mara Penrose (MFA); Resident Musician and Composer John Osburn (MFA); Production Assistant and Academic Administrative Beth White (BA)

Mission Statement and Goals

The Department of Dance is committed to the liberal arts study of "dance as an art form" and the belief that such a study necessitates an integration of the kinesthetic (body), the intellectual (mind), and the emotional/internal (spirit). We see this trinity (body/mind/spirit) as the core concern of the discourse, the discipline and the department as we explore physical and metaphysical material both artistically and theoretically, exposing students to the principles of dance through the critical inquiries of movement practices and dance studies. We address these body/mind/spirit experiences as foundations for artistic, intellectual, and personal freedom.

Practically, we strive to balance breadth with depth in all aspects of our curriculum. To this end, each course blends physical and intellectual exploration. Early on in a student's career, we encourage the application of critical research and concert performance, emphasizing the use of technology and supporting collaboration through interdisciplinary work. Ultimately, our aim is to develop competence in a wide variety of approaches to both dancing and the study of dance as an art form.

Student Learning Goals

  • Students will be able to achieve, minimally, an intermediate level of proficiency in a combination of various aspects of embodied movement practices.

  • Students will be able to demonstrate (factual) knowledge and (reflective and analytical) understanding of the languages, syntax, historical developments, and cultural significances of dance's various bodily-kinesthetic forms.

  • Students will be able to select appropriately and employ various methods for describing, discerning, analyzing, labeling, and categorizing human movement.

  • Students will be able to use basic 21st century technology including digital equipment and software applications in order to access and document art work, and to use it appropriately to market or create within those media.

  • Students will be able to explore, shed limitations, reflect, and question within a process, and demonstrate their self-discoveries in independent and original theoretical and creative projects.

  • Students will demonstrate a fluency of critical methods both written and oral that is evident across course work and utilized within the body of their senior research.

Requirements for the Major in Dance (B.A. Degree)

36 credits minimum The Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance reflects a philosophy that integrates principles of theory and practice resulting in the development of an original voice. "Movement Practices" courses engage students in dance training and performance work, and in learning and applying physical skills to the creation and reconstruction of African/Diasporan, modern/postmodern, and (periodically) balletic dance forms. "Dance Studies" courses emphasize creating, moving, recording, reading and writing, exposing the foundational patterns of skilled movement acquisition, generating close textual analysis of specific movement forms, and culturally contextualizing the diversity of dance forms. Advanced Studies courses provide opportunities to deepen and integrate through independent research. In all courses, the boundaries between practice and theory are purposefully blurred, indicating our commitment to a liberal arts curriculum rather than a conservatory model.

Movement Practices: All dance majors must take a minimum 12 credits in Movement Practices, combining coursework in any combination. Possibilities include:

  • African/Diasporan Level II or III, 2 credits (DANC 222, 322) or Performance, .5-1 credit (DANC 422/424)

  • Modern/Postmodern Level II or III, 2 credits (DANC 232, 332) or Performance, .5-1 credit (DANC 432/434)

Dance Studies: All dance majors must take at least one course in three different areas of inquiry, comprising a minimum of 12 credits (4 credits per course) in Dance Studies. Our dance curriculum offers four areas of inquiry. Possibilities include:

  • Critical Historical and Cultural Inquires--Recent examples include: The Body in Performance, Modernism ReComposed; The African/Diasporan Aesthetic in America.

  • Compositional Studies: Choreographic Investigations; African Movement Aesthetics; Improvisation and Performance; Site-Based Work; Text/Voice-Based Work

  • Human Movement Investigations: Somatics I; Somatics II

  • Movement Analysis: Labanotation; Labananalysis; Reconstruction

Advanced Studies: All dance majors must also enroll in a minimum of 12 additional credit hours. These 12 credits shall be comprised of three requirements:

  • Any 4 credit hours that deepen a student's experience/knowledge in a chosen area of interest. This may include:

    • A series of Movement Practices courses (at the 200-level or above) that total 4 credit hours

    • An additional course in Dance Studies (at the 200-level or above)

  • Senior Research 451 (Proposal: Thesis and Methodology) (4 credits)

  • Senior Research 452 (Execution: Investigation and Presentation) (4 credits)

Requirements for the Minor in Dance (B.A. Degree)

24 credits minimum The minor is designed to accomplish two things: (a) encourage those new to dance to have access to this course of study, and (b) avail those interested in a narrow study of dance to design a minor that suits their interests. Beyond a reduced number of credit hours, the main differences between the major and minor are these:

  • Majors may not include any 100-level courses in the fulfillment of the requirements; Minors may include any 100-level courses for fulfillment of the requirements.

  • Majors must include at least three of the four categories of inquiry; Minors may select any course regardless of distribution.

  • Majors must complete a senior research project; Minors are not required to complete a senior research project.

Movement Practices: All dance minors must take any combination of 12 credits in Movement Practices (any genre at any level). Possibilities include:

  • African/Diasporan Level I, II or III, 2 credits (DANC 122, 222, 322) or Performance, .5-1 credit (DANC 422/424)

  • Modern/Postmodern Level I, II or III, 2 credits (DANC 132, 232, 332) or Performance, .5-1 credit (DANC 432/434)

Dance Studies: All dance minors must take any three courses, resulting in 12 credits in dance studies (selected from any area).

  • Critical Historical Inquiries: Understanding Dance; The Body in Performance; Modernism ReComposed; The African/Diasporan Aesthetic in America

  • Compositional Studies: Choreographic Investigations; African Movement Aesthetics; Improvisation and Performance; Site-Based Work; Text/Voice-Based Work

  • Human Movement Investigations: Somatics I; Somatics II

  • Movement Analysis: Labanotation; Labananalysis; Reconstruction

Additional Points of Interest

The General Education distribution requirements include two 4-credit-hour courses in two different departments in the Fine Arts Division. All Movement Practices courses, except "Performance-Student" (DANC 424, 434, 444) may accumulate credit toward a GE Fine Arts requirement. Any Dance Studies course fulfills one GE Fine Arts requirement.

When registering, please follow these general guidelines:

  • All 100-level courses assume no previous experience with Movement Practices or Dance Studies.

  • All 200-level courses assume a review of the fundamentals of the languages and practices of the sub-discipline will be necessary, including a review of library searches and basic digital technology. Level II Movement Practices courses are appropriate for students with significant previous experience in dance training, even if not in the genre being offered.

  • All 300-level courses require independent thinking and processing. Level III Movement Practices courses require two semesters at the 200-level in the same genre or permission of the instructor.

  • All 400-level Movement Practices courses are by audition or invitation only.

  • It is expected that a student might enroll in the same level movement practice course for two or more semesters. This repetition is permissible by the Registrar.

  • Performance courses will not accrue additional fees from the University, even if the student is already at the limit of credit hours for that semester.