History of Dance: Beginning Through Renaissance

"The truest expression of a people is in its dance and in its music." —Agnes de Mille

In this course, students were immersed in the world of dance. Students learned to understand dance as a cultural practice that reflects and impacts local communities and global cultures. They experienced dance directly by attending performances at the Modlin Center for the Arts, taking a community trip to Cuba, learning movements from a diverse set of dance forms, and creating their own movement sequences.

Inside the Classroom

Students explored dance through historical and aesthetic perspectives that familiarized them with dance from the beginning through the Renaissance period. Students examined relationships between cultural studies, performance studies, ethnic studies, gender and sexuality studies, and contemporary dance practices. This class helped students develop an awareness and appreciation of dance in its artistic, social, and cultural contexts through an understanding of the aesthetic and critical dimensions of viewing dance as an art, expression, and entertainment.

Outside the Classroom

Outside the classroom, students became literate, sensitive, and enthusiastic audience members by attending performances at the Modlin Center and traveling as a community to Havana, Cuba over winter break to be exposed to a diverse array of dance forms. Because the "doing" of dance is central to understanding, there was ample opportunity to participate in master classes of visiting dance artists at the Modlin Center.

Students also created three dance sequences and develop a movement vocabulary based on the study of various ethnic groups, societies, and historical periods in four movement lab sessions.

Research and Capstone

Through research, group projects, critical analysis, and direct participation in the creative process, students explored how dance and movement have been central to communication, expression of emotion, and the development of community since the beginning of mankind.