Degree Requirements2016-2017

Dance

Faculty and Staff

Professor Sandra Mathern-Smith, Chair

Professor Gill Wright Miller (PhD); Professor Sandra Mathern-Smith (MFA); Assistant Professor Stafford C. Berry, Jr. (MFA); Visiting Assistant Professor Michael J. Morris (PhD); Resident Musician and Composer John Osburn (MFA); Production Assistant and Academic Administrative Beth White (BA)

Mission Statement and Goals

We believe that vital dance artists and scholars develop from independent thinkers who are committed to cultivating a personal aesthetic and artistic focus and who resourcefully engage in original research and commit to the construction of knowledge. Our mission supports the development of student artists/scholars who are informed citizens and responsible agents of positive change in a world where the moving arts are essential. Exposing students to a wide breadth of cutting edge and experimental dance practices from diverse cultures and perspectives from around the world is embedded in our curriculum and ideology. The focus of our movement practices intentionally centralizes Modern/Postmodern Dance and African/African-Diasporan forms, shifting the paradigm of dance education away from a ballet-centered model. The integration of embodied practices with scholarly inquiry is integral to our mission.

Writing within the Major: Both dance scholars and dance artists come to better understand their ideas and those of others through writing. We focus our teaching of writing on experiential and conceptual ideas prompted by, and about, the body, to generate precise description and sophisticated analysis. Our aim is to hone students’ observation and reflection skills, and ability to document these intelligently and concisely through writing.

Student Learning Goals; Students will be able to:

  • Broaden perspectives through risking failure, embracing ambiguity, and exposure to a range of dance making and performance.

  • Synthesize knowledge and generate new, independent and original theoretical and creative projects.

  • Demonstrate multifaceted practical, analytical, and reflexive understanding of languages, syntax, historical developments, and cultural significances of dance’s various bodily-kinesthetic forms.

  • Employ various methods for describing, discerning, analyzing, labeling, and categorizing human movement.

  • Be proficient movers in a combination of aspects of embodied movement practices, at the intermediate level, at a minimum.

  • Demonstrate a fluency in disciplinary vocabularies both orally and written that is evident across coursework and utilized within the body of student’s senior research.

  • Use basic 21st century technology including digital equipment and software applications in order to access and document artwork, and to use it appropriately to market or create within those media.

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 and modern/postmodern dance. “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, practicing dance making, 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. Denison University works to make study abroad possible for all students. Studying dance abroad allows students to experience another culture and way of life through the lens of movement and dance studies. These opportunities integrate with the department’s mission and potentiate a deepening understanding and more expansive perspective on movement in a global context. We encourage students to visit the Off-Campus Study office to explore their options. Additional Points of Interest: The General Education 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 G.E. Fine Arts requirement. For example two movement practice courses such as DANC 132 and 232, will fulfill one G.E. Fine Arts requirement. Any Dance Studies course fulfills one G.E. Fine Arts requirement.

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 separate 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 Dance minor is designed to accomplish two objectives: (a) encourage those new to dance to access 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 requirements include two, 4 credit-hour courses, in two departments in the Fine Arts Division. All Movement Practices courses, except “Performance-Student” (DANC 424, 434, 444) may accumulate credit toward a G.E. Fine Arts requirement. Any Dance Studies course fulfills one G.E. 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 will 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.