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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Elizabeth A Cooper
DANCE 250
Seattle Campus

Cross-Cultural Dance Studies

Gateway course for dance major. Examines dance as a universal activity and expression of cultural identity. Offers a cross-cultural and historical view of a variety of theatrical, vernacular, and sacred dance forms, and investigates the myriad ways that dance functions across societies. Offered: A.

Class description

“Encoded in the form, technique, and structure of every dance are meanings and values of importance to the dancers and to those who share their view of the world.”

Gerald Jonas, Dancing

Course Description This class will introduce students to dance as a universal human activity and an expression of cultural identity. Through weekly readings, videos and discussions, we will take a cross-cultural and historical view of a variety of theatrical and non-theatrical dance forms and investigate the numerous ways that dance functions in different societies and how these functions may change over time and in response to events such as colonization, globalization and technology.

Course Objectives:

To appreciate dance as a cultural practice that occurs universally and with infinite variety

To recognize, reflect upon and be able to articulate the essential components of dance movement

To understand that dance is a form of human expression as well as a means of communication

To investigate the differences and similarities dance has across disparate cultures

To understand how dance is a reflection of societal values and worldviews

To understand how dance can simultaneously conserve and expand culture

To recognize dance a part of the cultural infrastructure of American society

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

In this lecture course you will be asked to contribute your insights, observations and queries on an ongoing basis. We will discuss the readings and videos and watch additional videos in class. There will also be a few guest lecturers. Class discussions, small group discussions and writing activities will be a consistent component of this course.

Recommended preparation

This class is intended as a gateway course into the Dance Major but is open to all students across campus and across disciplines. It fulfills both VLPA and I&S requirements. No prior knowledge of dance is assumed. Success is based on your active participation and engagement with the course content and your fellow classmates. I want to know what you see, think and feel about the material we investigate.

Class assignments and grading

Each week students will be responsible for completing reading assignments, viewing videos (placed on course reserve at Odegaard media center) and in-class writing assignments that will emphasize specific course objectives and serve as a means to facilitate analysis, comprehension, and the synthesis of ideas and viewpoints.

Grading will be based on: student participation in-group discussions, in-class writing assignments that will be compiled in a portfolio, two in-class examinations, and a final examination.

subject to change


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 Elizabeth A Cooper
Date: 05/25/2005