Introduction to the Dance
This is a one-semester survey course designed to introduce dance as a performing art form, historically as well as in practice, and to explore how dance as a cultural phenomenon helps shape and is shaped by cultural values. The course will track the development of dance as a performing art in Europe and in the U.S. from the Renaissance to the 1950s, by identifying important stylistic trends and the works of major contributors to the field, such as the Ballets Russes, Martha Graham and Katherine Dunham. While we will focus on Western concert dance as a performing art, we also will study some dance phenomena cross-culturally in order to broaden our understanding of the function dance serves and its relationship to cultural beliefs and to the history of ideas. The study of dance history provides a lens for exploring the world, its people, and their cultures. Assignments include written work and short movement studies composed by students to explore various aspects of the choreographic process and to embody significant trends in the evolution of dancemaking. No prerequisite. This course is offered every year.