Dance and performance studies, dance and politics, Latin America, contemporary technique.
Contemporary technique, choreography, improvisation. On sabbatical 2015–16.
Contemporary technique, choreography, Southeast Asian dance.
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.
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 contemporary technique, choreography, improvisation, critical dance studies, dance history, and Southeast Asian dance, all of which are offered for academic credit. In addition, the department sponsors on-campus classes in dance technique, including modern dance, ballet, lyrical, hip-hop, and Argentine tango, which students may take for PE credit.
Reed dancers may pursue either the established dance–theatre major or an ad hoc interdisciplinary major. Students in past years have pursued ad hoc interdisciplinary majors in dance–Spanish, dance–music, dance–art, dance–psychology, dance–sociology, dance–literature, and dance–history. In consultation with their advisers, seniors may undertake thesis projects that are entirely research-based or projects in which research supports an extensive creative endeavor. Seniors pursuing creative thesis projects have the opportunity to stage a fully produced performance of their work. Please refer to the catalog section on interdisciplinary majors for information on specific requirements for the established dance—theatre major.
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.
Reed brings well-known performing artists to campus each year, and Reed dance students frequently attend off-campus performances and master classes in conjunction with their coursework. In recent years, Ralph Lemon, Stephen Petronio Company, Scott/Powell Performance, Tiffany Mills Company, the Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble, Anna Halprin, Victoria Marks, Troika Ranch, and Lucy Guerin Inc. have come to campus, and Reed dancers have attended recent performances by Urban Bush Women, the Trisha Brown Dance Company, Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan, Nederlands Dans Theater 2, and Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet.
Reed dancers have the opportunity to participate in dance-intensive exchange programs with the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance in Israel or at Sarah Lawrence College in New York. Reed students may also register for dance courses at nearby Lewis and Clark College.
The department successfully prepares students—both majors and nonmajors—for specialized work in dance at the graduate and professional levels. 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.
Note: All graded dance courses listed below may be used to fulfill the Group X requirement.
Dance 201, 232, 252, 260, 264, 335, 345, 346, 351, 360, and 365 may be used to meet either the Group A or Group X requirement. Students can simultaneously receive both academic and PE credit for Dance 111, 112, 211, 212, 215, 252, 311, 312, 321, and 411.
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. 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, both live and on video, 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. Studio.
Dance 201 - Introduction to Dance: History and Culture
Full course for one semester. Dance is a powerful medium: it has the capacity to express the ineffable; to fuse seemingly disparate notions of space, time, mind, and body; and to articulate or even reconfigure one’s sense of identity or one’s place in the world. This course provides an introduction to the discipline of dance studies in a global context, and examines the ways that dance encompasses both cultural and historical ideas about how we exist in the world. We will pair methodology for discussing and writing about dance with investigations of the historical and cultural contexts in which it takes place. Selected opportunities to participate in embodied movement experiences and to attend off-campus dance performances and events will allow a multifaceted approach to our work. No previous dance experience is necessary. 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 contemporary dance technique with extensive work in movement composition. Work in both areas emphasizes movement invention, design, and development, considering in depth the spatial, temporal, and dynamic possibilities of movement. 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. For students without prior training, Dance 111 and 112 are highly recommended as preparation for this course. Studio.
Dance 212 - Contemporary Dance II (Intermediate Level)
Full course for one semester. Students develop strength, flexibility, and versatility in movement through immersion in classic and contemporary techniques, building on knowledge gained in Dance 211 and focusing on the use of weight, musicality, articulation, and athletic physicality in dance. This technical work complements compositional work in developing and orchestrating choreography that explores relationships between content and structure. Student work in technique and choreography is presented in the end-of-semester concert. Viewings, discussions, and critiques of professional dance performances place both these and student works in historical and contemporary contexts. This course is designed for intermediate-level dancers, and is appropriate for students with previous training in dance technique. For students without prior training, Dance 111 and 112 are highly recommended as preparation for this course. Studio.
Dance 215 - Introduction to Contemporary Afro-Brazilian Dance
One-half course for one semester. Designed for students with previous training in dance, gymnastics, martial arts, or movement techniques for actors, this course builds on knowledge gained in introductory movement technique courses in the further exploration of contemporary dance strategies. Employing both composed and improvised compositions, this studio course offers a series of core techniques adapted from Afro-Brazilian movement practices (i.e., capoeira, samba, samba-reggae, frevo, etc.), which emphasize bodily articulation as polycentric and polyrhythmic. Each week, students will be introduced to a specific set of concepts, including asymmetrical alignment of the torso and development of a flexible spine; isolated and decentralized articulation of the hips and shoulders; floor work, inversions, and dislocation in space; and fluidity between motion and rhythm. Additionally, students will be challenged to expand their lexicon of movements in solo or partner work, exploring acute positions and situations that may demand acrobatic dexterity (e.g. handstands) or folding flexibility (e.g., back bending), as well as vocabulary that connotes sexuality (e.g., hip shaking) or violence (e.g., kicking and tripping up). Hence, this course will periodically address issues pertaining to safety, trust, and respect. In addition to studio activities, course work requires attendance at performances and events, video viewings, studio critiques, and discussions guided by short articles. This course is appropriate for students with previous movement training. For students without prior training, Dance 111 and 112 are highly recommended as preparation for this course. Studio.
Not offered 2015—16.
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 will 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, folkloric, and/or urban dance forms and/or quotidian corporal experiences. This course is appropriate for students with previous training in dance technique. For students without prior training, Dance 111 and 112 are highly recommended as preparation for this course. Studio-conference.
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. Studio-conference.
Not offered 2015—16.
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. Conference-studio.
Not offered 2015—16.
Dance 264 - Embodying History: Twentieth-Century Concert Dance through Labanotation
Full course for one semester. This course highlights major choreographers through their choreographic and movement styles as a vehicle to examine trends in American modern and postmodern dance from the 1960s through the end of the twentieth century. It integrates elementary Labanotation lessons into dance history, so that students will learn and perform some of the dances they read about and discuss. We will critically view, read, and write about concert dance, execute Labanotation exercises, and learn excerpts of some of the works we discuss. Class discussions will bring to light the social politics of the time period, gender relations and identity issues in the dances, and choreographic trends. Labanotation concepts offer cognitive tools with which to embody history, to allow students the opportunity to kinesthetically experience the dances about which they learn, and to provide a means to analyze dance and history. Prerequisite: Dance 112 or one year of dance technique, and Dance 201, or consent of the instructor. Conference-studio.
Not offered 2015—16.
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. Focused assignments in choreography will center on the use of thematic and narrative materials from which to generate detailed movement phrases. 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. Studio.
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 investigate the relationships between movement materials and structures and those of sound and visual design. 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. 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. Studio.
Not offered 2015—16.
Dance 335 - Special Projects in Choreography
One-half or full course for one semester. This special topics course focuses on a variety of choreographic issues. Topics have included analogous forms; alternative and altered sites; dancing home; process-oriented choreography; and biography/autobiography. Prerequisite: one year of dance technique and one year of creative work in dance, music, theatre, writing, or the visual arts. Studio-conference.
Not offered 2015—16.
Dance 345 - Stravinsky and the Ballets Russes
See Music 345 for description.
Not offered 2015—16.
Dance 351 - Dance Traditions of Southeast Asian Civilization
Full course for one semester. This course is an in-depth study of cultural concepts for understanding the historical and artistic significance of choreographic works from Southeast Asia in the context of religion, and social and political development. We will explore classical dance forms including the Peking Opera of China, court dances of Cambodia, ceremonial and ritual dances of Burma and Indonesia, performing arts of Vietnam, and contemporary Asian dance works. Students will learn small, simple excerpts of traditional dances as a base from which to explore creative processes through cultural and anthropological perspectives of performing arts in Southeast Asia. Lecture-conference-studio.
Not offered 2015—16.
Dance 360 - Queer Dances: Gender, Sexuality, and Identity in Modern and Contemporary Concert Dance
Full course for one semester. How does dance reflect and affect our notions of queer identity? How are issues of gender, sexuality and power manifested in drag performances, in club dancing and on the concert dance stage? This course traces the history of gay, lesbian, and transgender concert dance performance and choreography in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries in the U.S. and Europe. We will examine gender, sexuality, and power, and how dances reflect choreographers’ identities, from gay and lesbian modern dance icons, to drag performance, to genderqueer expression, to how choreography reflects personal identity, historical politics, and social movements. Prerequisite: Dance 201 or consent of the instructor. Conference.
Not offered 2015—16.
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; we will destabilize the ethnic and racial identities most readily associated with each. To explore dance as a site of cultural negotiation, contestation, and exchange, we will trace three dance diasporas: African, Latin/x, and Asian. We will examine how social and concert forms animate the formation of national, racial, ethnic, and gendered identities, chart global migration patterns, and complicate facile understandings of cultural authenticity. Prerequisite: Dance 201 or consent of the instructor. 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 ballet 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 in choreography will center on the use of technique-based theory for choreographic research and on approaches to the orchestration of movement material. With permission of the instructor, the course may be repeated as an advanced practicum. Prerequisite: Dance 311 or Dance 312 or equivalent experience. Studio.
Not offered 2015—16.
Dance 481 - Independent Study
One-half or full course for one semester. Prerequisite: approval of instructor and division.