In this class we will consider the relations between literature and the performing arts. What is the relationship between text and performance?
How can we approach dance, music, and theatre through the lenses of literature and philosophy? And how do dance, music, and theatre deepen and enrich our understanding of literary and philosophical texts? This course is organized into three parts, each of which focuses on a different dimension of performance and literature. We begin by tracing the history of dance as a mode of ritual performance in Hellenic antiquity before examining its legacy among pioneers of modern dance. Specifically, we will evaluate how modern dance has reacted against classical ballet by considering the work of Isadora Duncan, Martha Graham, and Alvin Ailey. We will discuss how literature treats music by reading a range of authors including Heinrich Von Kleist. Friedrich Nietzsche, Ernst Bloch, Leo Tolstoy, and Toni Morrison. Our approach to theatre will include readings by Aristotle, Euripides, William Shakespeare, Aimé Césaire, Bertolt Brecht, Augusto Boal, Wole Soyinke, and Anne Carson. Students will take advantage of performance events around NYC in addition to dedicated readings of course materials.