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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Jolynn Edwards
BIS 309
Bothell Campus

History of Dance in Europe and America

Discussion of the major developments in European and American dance history. Dances from the court, ballroom, and theater including masterpieces from the modern repertoire. Based on primary source material and film recreations that document dance's social and theatrical role from the Renaissance to the present.

Class description

We will be able to recognize, describe, and analyze dance forms, movement vocabularies, and the works of individual choregraphers and dancers. Our overview begins in Renaissance court dance, but quickly comes forward in time, stopping at two masterpieces of nineteenth-century dance before focusing on the ballet and modern or post-modern creative work of the 20th century. We will end with the works of the 1990s.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Using videos of performances of theatrical works, re-created from notation or handed down from one generation of choreographers or dancers to the next, we will build a knowledge base of different types of dance movements and learn not only formal analysis, but also ways to interpret dances. Students will discuss the readings and the viewed dance pieces in plenary or small-group session. In order to bring home the power of dance, students must attend a live professional performance and write a newspaper review. To assist in background there is a password-protected website.

Recommended preparation

A European or American history, music history, or literature class might help situate the dance class in the larger comparative arts contexts, but students excel without such background. There are always some students who have studied dance in their early years who bring a particular experience and analytical skill to the class discussions.

Class assignments and grading

In addition to the dance review, there will be combination objective and essay exams, and final poster sessions on performing artists/dance companies functioning today.

Exams, poster sessions, dance review, and oral participation comprise the basis for grading.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Jolynn Edwards
Date: 04/07/2004