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Choreography: A Field Guide for Dance

Semester and Year FA 2018
Course Number ARTS-UG1220
Section 001
Instructor Kathryn Posin
Days R
Time 3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Units 4
Level U


This course may be combined with a 2-unit, competitive internship arranged by Gallatin. Internship information will be forthcoming.


This class is a guide through the elements used in making a dance. Choreography can be a sensuous non-verbal game, as well as a way to express identity in today’s complex world. Each week a different tool used in the creating of a dance is identified and explored. There is a short technique class based on the formal device studied that week, making physical this knowledge. The student begins with short movement studies, leading to group studies of increasing complexity as they incorporate their knowledge of these skills. Teacher and class respond to the work of each, building understanding and confidence. A final performance in the theater is videoed and uploaded for student use. Each week the choreographers who excel in their use of an element under study are introduced through readings and videos. The psychological storytelling of Martha Graham, Balanchine’s blazing neo-classicism, the chance field dances of Merce Cunnigham, Twyla Tharp’s humorous inversions and the space- altering deconstructions of William Forsythe are studied. Mathew Bourne’s gay  Swan Lake  and the powerful black gospel songs of Alvin Ailey are seen as models of an intention that has been fully realized. The study of space, time, energy, and theme and variation are studied and seen as handled by the masters. Readings include: from  The Art of Making Dances  by Doris Humphrey, from  The Intimate Art of   Choreography  by Blom and Chapin, from  S p ace Harmony by  Rudolph Laban, from  Terpsichore in Sneakers  by Sally Banes, Janet Eigner, “Dance, Politics and Activism.” posted by eignerdancereviews, April 2012,   from  The Creative Habit , by Twyla Tharp.


All Syllabi

Course Type

Arts Workshops (ARTS-UG)