DAN590: Dance in Society

Why does a break dancer move one way and a salsa dancer another? How does dance differ when it occurs on a proscenium stage versus a night club?

Why does a break dancer move one way and a salsa dancer another? How does dance differ when it occurs on a proscenium stage versus a night club? How can dance and choreography act as forms of personal but also cultural expression? What social meaning is embedded in dance? Through theory and practice, this course seeks to answer these questions, by approaching dance with a socio-cultural lens. Learning theory rooted in anthropology and ethnomusicology will help students form a shared vocabulary about how dance intersects with society and how politics and power have shaped a cultural dance expression. The work of several notable dance anthropologists will be read and discussed. Through embodied practice, students will learn a range of disciplines, both contemporary and traditional or folk. These may include but are not limited to: Ballet, Bellydance, Bharatanatyam, Breaking, Capoeira, Contemporary, Indonesian dance, Irish Step, Hip Hop, Hula, Jazz, Musical Theater, Salsa, Samba, Swing, Tango, West African and dance of the African diaspora and Voguing. This course will make at least one off-campus trip to observing dance "in the field." Students engage in reflective writing and movement exercises and are encouraged to share their own movement style and cultures. Final projects will feature a choice between an analytical paper, a creative media project (like website, blog or short documentary film) and a choreographed dance project.