Reed College Catalog

Oluyinka Akinjiola

Modern/contemporary technique, choreography, dances of Africa and the African diaspora.

Victoria Fortuna

Dance and performance studies, dance and politics, Latin America, contemporary technique.

Carla Mann

Contemporary technique, choreography, improvisation.

Minh Tran

Contemporary technique, choreography, Southeast Asian dance. On sabbatical 2017–18.

The Reed dance program emphasizes dance as an art that both responds to and influences the shifting artistic and cultural landscape of contemporary society. The program fosters a creative and contextual approach to dance, one that integrates theory with practice and values not only reading, writing, and speaking but seeing, making, and moving as modes of investigation. Working both in and out of the studio, Reed dancers learn and create new movement vocabularies and find new perspectives by which to see, question, understand, and evaluate the expressive possibilities of the human body moving in space and time.

Curriculum
All classes are open to majors and nonmajors. The department offers students at all levels of experience opportunities to choreograph, perform, participate in residencies with visiting artists and scholars, and interact closely with faculty members. Our wide-ranging curriculum includes courses in choreography, improvisation, critical dance studies, dance history, Latin American dance, and Southeast Asian dance, all of which are offered for academic credit. Courses in the contemporary dance sequence engage the study of modern dance technique within choreographic and critical contexts. Technique classes in ballet, Afro-Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, Argentine tango, hip-hop, lyrical jazz, and other dance forms are offered on a credit/no credit basis under the auspices of Dance 101. Students may consult the schedule of classes to see the specific techniques being offered in a given semester. In addition to academic credit, students may simultaneously receive PE credit for courses that include a substantial technical component.

Major
All Reed dance majors pursue both creative and critical work, but may choose an emphasis in dance studies—history, theory, critical and cultural studies—or dance studio—technique, choreography, improvisation, and performance. Seniors emphasizing dance studies undertake thesis projects that are focused in scholarly research but may also include a creative component. Seniors emphasizing dance studio undertake projects in which research supports an extensive creative endeavor, and have the opportunity to stage a fully produced performance of their work.

Requirements for the Major

Dance Studies Emphasis

  1. Six units in dance studies (history, theory, and critical and cultural studies) including Dance 201 and a 300-level junior seminar course before senior year. With departmental permission, one unit of this requirement can be fulfilled by a history, theory, or critical or cultural studies course in theatre, music, literature, or art.
  2. Five units in dance studio (technique, improvisation, choreography, and performance), including Dance 211 and one unit of choreography or improvisation. Credit for dance technique courses (Dance 101) may be counted towards this requirement.
  3. Technical proficiency: must achieve 300-level technical proficiency in one dance form and 200-level technical proficiency in a second dance form.
  4. Crew requirement (25 hours, arranged in consultation with the department, or completion of Theatre 162 or 201, or a course in stagecraft).
  5. Thesis.

Dance Studio Emphasis

  1. Four units in dance studies (history, theory, critical and cultural studies) including Dance 201 and a 300-level junior seminar course before senior year.
  2. Seven units in dance studio (technique, improvisation, choreography and performance), including Dance 211 and one unit of choreography at the 300 level. With departmental permission, one unit of this requirement may be fulfilled by a studio course in art, creative writing, music, or theatre. Credit for dance technique courses (Dance 101) may be counted towards this requirement.
  3. One unit in theatre design.
  4. Technical proficiency: must achieve 400-level technical proficiency in one dance form and 200-level technical proficiency in a second dance form.
  5. Crew requirement (25 hours, arranged in consultation with the department, or completion of Theatre 162 or 201, or a course in stagecraft).
  6. Thesis.

For either emphasis, at least one unit of the above requirements must be met through a course or courses focusing outside the Euro-American dance tradition. A number of courses may fulfill either the dance studies or the dance studio requirement, but not both simultaneously.

Interested students may also pursue either the established dance–theatre major or an ad hoc interdisciplinary major. Students in past years have undertaken interdisciplinary majors in dance–art, dance–music, dance–Spanish, dance–psychology, dance–sociology, dance–literature, and dance–history. Please refer to the catalog section on interdisciplinary majors for information on specific requirements for the established dance–theatre major.

Performing Opportunities
Performing opportunities are available to all Reed students through the department-sponsored Reed Dance Concert, the Performance Ensemble, the student-run Reed Dance Troupe, Reed Arts Week, senior thesis productions, and independent projects. Whether or not they are enrolled in dance classes, all students are invited to audition for these opportunities.

Visiting Artists
Reed brings well-known performing artists and scholars to campus each year, and Reed dance students frequently attend off-campus performances, talks, and master classes in conjunction with their coursework. Visiting artists, companies, and scholars have recently included Ronald K. Brown, Sean Dorsey, Kyle Abraham, d. Sabela Grimes, Ralph Lemon, Stephen Petronio Company, Mestre Silvinho, Emiko Susilo, Tiffany Mills Company, Meredith Monk, Ann Cooper Albright, and Rosemary Candelario. Reed dancers have attended recent off-campus performances and talks by Ballet BC, Grupo Corpo, Hillel Kogan, Eisa Jocson, Clare Croft, and Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan.

Exchange Programs
Reed dancers have the opportunity to participate in dance-intensive exchange programs with the Sarah Lawrence College in New York and the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance in Jerusalem. Reed students may also register for dance courses at nearby Lewis and Clark College.

Graduates
The department successfully prepares students—both majors and nonmajors—for specialized work in dance in graduate school and in the profession. Reed alumni pursue graduate degrees in dance, teach, choreograph, perform, write about dance professionally, and work in dance outreach and arts administration. Honors given to Reed dance students have included the Watson Fellowship and grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Dance 101 - Dance Technique

Variable credit: one-half or zero course for one semester. Through this course, students may take technique classes in ballet, Afro-Brazilian, Argentine tango, hip-hop, lyrical jazz, or other dance forms; students should consult the schedule of classes for specific techniques and levels offered in a given semester. These classes are offered on a credit/no credit basis only. To qualify for one-half credit, students must have taken or be currently enrolled in a graded (rather than a credit/no credit) dance department course; each graded dance department course taken allows a student to earn credit for two semesters (one unit) in Dance 101. A maximum of four units (eight semesters) in Dance 101 may be accrued overall. This course applies toward the dance studio requirements for majors, and students may also receive PE credit for this course. Studio.

Dance 111 - Introduction to Dance: Studio I

One-half course for one semester. Designed for students with no previous dance training, this course provides a foundation for the further study of a variety of dance forms. Principles of alignment, body mechanics, and locomotion will be explored through the practice of movement vocabularies drawn from modern and contemporary concert dance. Though primary work will be in the studio, the course includes a discussion of critical perspectives from which to view contemporary dance performance. Students will read about, attend, and review professional dance performances as well as examine performances on video. This course may apply toward Group X and toward the dance studio requirement for majors. Students may also receive PE credit for this course. Studio.

Dance 112 - Introduction to Dance: Studio II

One-half or full course for one semester. Drawing primarily from the movement vocabularies of modern and contemporary concert dance, this course builds on concepts and practices of dance technique introduced in Dance 111, and introduces elements of movement composition through the creation of collaborative choreography projects. Discussions of professional dance performances locate contemporary dance within cross-cultural contexts. With the instructor’s permission, students may enroll in the course for one unit, and will carry out additional projects in choreography and a critical examination of a contemporary dance performance. Dance 111 strongly recommended but not required. This course may apply toward Group X and toward the dance studio requirement for majors. Students may also receive PE credit for this course. Studio.

Dance 201 - Introduction to Dance: History and Culture

Full course for one semester. This course is an introduction to dance studies as an interdisciplinary field within the humanities and social sciences. Broadly defined, dance studies engages in critical analyses of dance practices from historical and cultural perspectives. Throughout the course of the semester, students explore and affirm dance as a vital cultural practice by considering a broad range of concert and social dance practices across time and geographic place. Course material pays particular attention to how dance articulates complex questions around race, gender, sexuality, class, ability, and nation. Written and embodied assignments introduce and explore key methodologies in the field, including movement description and analysis, critical assessment of embodied practice, archival research, and interviews. No previous dance experience is necessary. This course may apply toward Group A or Group X and toward the dance studies requirement for majors. Lecture-conference.

Dance 211 - Contemporary Dance I (Intermediate Level)

Full course for one semester. Designed for the intermediate dancer, this course combines an exploration of modern and contemporary dance techniques with extensive work in movement composition. Work in both areas emphasizes movement invention, design, and development. Course work includes attendance at professional dance performances, video viewings, discussions, and critiques. Students will perform their work in the end-of-semester concert. This course is appropriate for students with previous training in dance technique. This course may apply toward Group X and toward the dance studio requirement for majors. Students may also receive PE credit for this course. Studio.

Dance 212 - Contemporary Dance II (Intermediate Level)

Full course for one semester. This course is designed to deepen students’ technical and compositional development in contemporary dance with an emphasis on movement analysis. Broadly defined, movement analysis refers to methods for describing, visualizing, interpreting, and documenting human movement. In terms of technique, students develop strength, flexibility, and versatility in movement through immersion in classic and contemporary vocabularies, focusing on the use of weight, musicality, articulation, and alignment in dance. This technical work complements compositional work, viewings, readings, and writing assignments that approach movement analysis from a variety of perspectives, including aesthetic and quotidian movement. This course may apply toward Group X and toward the dance studio requirement for majors. Students may also receive PE credit for this course. Studio.

Dance 232 - Community Dance and Collective Creation

Full course for one semester. This course explores community dance as a mode of choreographic composition and social intervention based on principles of collective creation. Students develop strategies for creating an inclusive dance practice open to all participants regardless of age, training, or physical capacity. Course work will include projects conducted in conjunction with local community organizations. The course’s approach to collective dance practices will be based on structured improvisation methods drawn from the Western contemporary dance tradition; however, we will engage group members’ particular embodied knowledges, including concert, social, and folkloric forms and/or quotidian corporeal experiences. This course is appropriate for students with previous training in dance technique. For students without prior training, Dance 111 and 112 are recommended as preparation for this course. This course may apply toward Group A or Group X and toward the dance studio or studies requirement for majors. Studio-conference.

Dance 241 - Dancing Latin/x America

Full course for one semester. This course is an introduction to Latin/x American dance studies.. This course takes a hemispheric perspective and considers a wide range of social, concert, and popular dance practices from the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. From a disciplinary perspective, this course explores the intersection of three fields: dance studies, Latin American studies, and Latin/x studies. At this intersection, we will engage the methods used by scholars working from historical, ethnographic, queer, feminist, and ethnic studies standpoints to ask: What is the relationship between dance and Latin/x American identity (national, personal, and/or transnational)? How do dance practices reinforce and/or deconstruct racialized, gendered, and classed stereotypes? How do movement forms and performance styles mobilize, remember, or reimagine Latin/x identities and histories? Dance 201 recommended but not required. This course may apply toward Group A or Group X and toward the dance studies requirement for majors. Conference.

Not offered 2017–18.

Dance 252 - Improvisation

One-half or full course for one semester. Since the early 1960s, improvisation has played an increasingly sophisticated role in contemporary dance. This course will investigate contemporary improvisational practices that are at once creative, performative, and philosophic. The first half of the course will focus on contact improvisation, a partnering form that explores the exchange of physical support, the practice of which has challenged notions of gender roles, ability and disability, and community structure. The second half of the course will focus on choreographic improvisation, a form in which movement scores are developed and refined over time, and which has influenced changing views of the function of performance and the relationships between makers, performers, and viewers of dance. One year of dance technique or one year of intermediate-level creative work in visual art, music, theatre, or creative writing highly recommended. This course may apply toward Group A or Group X and toward the dance studio or studies requirement for majors. Studio-conference.

Dance 260 - Dances of Bali, Indonesia

Full course for one semester. This course offers the opportunity for students to combine contextual study of Southeast Asian culture and performance arts with studio activities in dance. The class provides social, cultural, and aesthetic views of the performing arts in Southeast Asia with a special focus on Bali, Indonesia. The course will examine selected ritual, social, and court dances of Bali such as Kechak and Legong in cultural and historical context. Students will be introduced to technical aspects of Balinese dance and its relation to music. Studio sessions will bring these ideas to life as students learn basic dance movements and musical structures. Lectures, readings, films, and images will cover the diversity of the island, the role of dance and music in Balinese culture, and the challenges of globalization. This course may apply toward Group A or Group X and toward the dance studio or studies requirement for majors. Conference-studio.

Not offered 2017–18.

Dance 270 - Dance, Gender, and Sexuality

Full course for one semester. How do global dance practices perform and/or contest gender and sexual identities? What is the relationship between quotidian and danced identities? This course introduces and explores the intersections between dance studies and gender, queer, feminist, and transgender studies, with special attention to how these fields intersect with questions of race, class, and ability. It considers a wide range of historical and contemporary practices ranging across concert dance, social practices, club dancing, ballroom culture, and popular forms. Work inside and outside the classroom focuses on readings, viewings, class discussion, and written assignments; however, we will share several movement workshops and dance practice–based classes throughout the course of the semester. Dance 201 is recommended but not required. This course may apply toward Group A or Group X and toward the dance studies requirement for majors. Conference.

Dance 311 - Contemporary Dance III (Intermediate-Advanced Level)

Full course for one semester. Designed for high-intermediate and advanced level dancers, this course will combine rigorous technical training with work in choreography. Technical material will be drawn from contemporary movement vocabularies and will focus on moving with energy and precision within complex movement phrases. Choreographic work will address compositional elements of dance—including action, space, time, gesture, structure, image, and interaction—as inherently meaningful catalysts for thinking choreographically. Study in choreography will be supported by video viewings, discussions, and critiques, as well as attendance at professional dance performances. Student work will be performed in the end-of-semester concert. With permission of the instructor, the course may be repeated as an advanced practicum. Prerequisite: Dance 211 and 212, or Dance 312 or equivalent experience. This course may apply toward Group X and toward the dance studio requirement for majors. Students may also receive PE credit for this course. Studio.

Not offered 2017–18.

Dance 312 - Contemporary Dance IV (Intermediate-Advanced Level)

Full course for one semester. Designed for high-intermediate and advanced level dancers, this course combines rigorous technical training with work in choreography. Classic and contemporary techniques will provide both conceptual and stylistic bases from which to approach complex movement vocabularies. In-class work will emphasize clarity and specificity in movement and include floor work, partnering, and a detailed consideration of alignment. Choreography projects will center on the use of conceptual frameworks and thematic materials to generate performance works. Study in choreography will be supported by attendance at professional dance performances, video viewings, discussions, and critiques, and students will perform in the end-of-semester concert. With permission of the instructor, the course may be repeated as an advanced practicum. Prerequisite: Dance 211 and 212, or Dance 311, or equivalent experience. This course may apply toward Group X and toward the dance studio requirement for majors. Students may also receive PE credit for this course. Studio.

Dance 321 - Contemporary Performance Ensemble

Zero or one-half course for one semester. This course focuses on performance through the development, rehearsal, and production of contemporary dance works. Students will address the technical, stylistic, and interpretive challenges of choreographic material presented as well as develop and manipulate choreographic material of their own. Work in and out of class leading to performance will be supported through written responses, small group sessions, and critiques. Requires rehearsal outside of class times. Prerequisite: instructor’s permission or by audition. Offered on a credit/no credit basis only. This course applies toward the dance studio requirements for majors, and students may also receive PE credit for this course. Studio.

Dance 335 - Special Projects in Choreography: Political Bodies

One-half or full course for one semester. This special topics course will explore moments in history when dance and politics intersect and how these moments can inform our creative processes. The power dynamics of where, when, how, and by whom dances are performed will be investigated alongside perspectives and value systems. Prerequisite: one year of dance technique and one year of creative work in dance, music, theatre, writing, or the visual arts. This course may apply toward Group A or Group X and toward the dance studio or studies requirement for majors. Studio-conference.

Dance 362 - Dance Ethnography

Full course for one semester. This research seminar examines methods and theories that engage in and emerge from cross-cultural dance analysis and practice. It explores the relationship between dance and ethnography through readings, performance, discussion, and independent research. Students read foundational texts in the field as well as recent ethnographies to address the politics of representing and engaging “others,” situating positionality, accounting for the transnational circulation of performance practices, and serving as advocate and/or witness. Assigned ethnographies emphasize the relationships between dance and race, nation, class, sexuality, and gender. Prerequisite: Dance 201 or consent of the instructor. This course may apply toward Group A or Group X and toward junior seminar and dance studies requirements for majors. Conference.

Not offered 2017–18.

Dance 365 - Contemporary Global Dance

Full course for one semester. This course asks what it means to dance “locally” in a global world. It considers how contemporary global dance practices challenge neat distinctions between Western and non-Western traditions and destabilize the ethnic and racial identities most readily associated with each. To explore dance as a complex site of cultural negotiation, contestation, and exchange, the course traces transnational dance diasporas across the global north/south axis. Students examine how global dance flows animate the formation of national, racial, ethnic, and gendered (post)colonial identities, chart global migration patterns, form the basis of innovative fusion styles, mobilize transnational political economies, and complicate facile understandings of cultural authenticity. Prerequisite: Dance 201 or consent of the instructor. This course may apply toward Group A or Group X and toward junior seminar and dance studies requirements for majors. Conference.

Dance 411 - Advanced Technique and Performance

One-half or full course for one semester. Designed for the advanced dancer, this course offers a rigorous examination of technique, integrating vocabulary from classical and contemporary dance with choreological conceptions of the body in motion. Emphasis will be placed on understanding and embodying the conceptual framework of movement material and the ways in which that understanding is integrated in performance. Focused assignments will center on how varying approaches to dance performance relate to genre and conceptions of the performative. With permission of the instructor, the course may be repeated as an advanced practicum. Prerequisite: Dance 311 or Dance 312 or equivalent experience. This course may apply toward Group X and toward the dance studio requirement for majors. Students may also receive PE credit for this course. Studio.

Dance 470 - Thesis (Dance)

Full course for one year.

Dance 481 - Independent Study

One-half or full course for one semester. Prerequisite: approval of instructor and division.