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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Elizabeth A Cooper
DANCE 344
Seattle Campus

Topics in Dance History

Covers topics in Western theatre dance history from Renaissance court dance through the twentieth century. Examines developments and stylistic trends in ballet and modern dance in cultural/historical/political context. Includes assigned readings and primary source materials. In-depth analysis of dances on video guides a discussion of form, content, interpretation, and critical reception. Prerequisite: either DANCE 250 or DANCE 251.

Class description

Course Description Historiography as a mode of inquiry reflects a way of thinking about dance that draws one to understand and explain the past. The historian asks questions about the events, art works, and personalities that shaped dance in the past. Historical inquiry seeks to create a meaningful interpretation of what happened, an in some cases, why it happened and how it relates to who and what we are today. Penelope Hanstein, Reseaching Dance (p42)

This course spans topics in Western theatre dance history from Renaissance court dance through the 20th century. This quarter we will focus on developments and stylistic trends in ballet with attention to the cultural, historical, and political circumstances that helped to shape the works under review. Assigned reading, and viewing, and in-depth analyses of dances will guide a discussion of form, content, interpretation, and critical reception. This is a writing/research-intensive course. All students will receive W credit with successful completion of the course.

Student learning goals

To be aware of the cultural and historical biases we bring to dance-viewing and dance analysis and to note how these biases affect our understanding, interpretation, and aesthetic assessment of the dances and dancers we encounter.

To understand dance as more than art or entertainment, but as a broad cultural practice that is encoded with meaning and embodies distinct aesthetic, social and philosophical/religious values

To develop analytical and critical skills that will facilitate how we observe, discuss and write about the art form

To engage in the practice of dance history research and gain an appreciation for some of the research methods used by the dance historian

To evaluate sources of information critically and effectively

To become comfortable writing about dance and use writing as a learning strategy—as a means o reflect, think critically, synthesize information, posit questions, and assert and substantiate viewpoints

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

The timely completion of all reading, writing and viewing assignments is essential for the successful completion of this course. Active class participation on the part of each student is a basic requirement of this seminar. You are expected to read the class text and articles closely and thoroughly, keep a reading journal https://catalyst.uw.edu/workspace/bcoop/23722/151903, and to come to class prepared to share and discuss your ideas. I have provided guides to critical reading and evaluating and analyzing scholarly sources on the course website in the Class Resources link.

If you have not done the reading or viewing, you will be unable to participate fully (this includes in-class writing assignments). Details on specific written assignments and the final research paper will be provided during the quarter. If you are new to the historiographic process and to writing research papers, then I strongly suggest you work with a writing tutor at the Odegaard Writing and Research Center. Sign up for a tutoring session on-line—http://depts.washington.edu/owrc/ This website also includes many useful links to help with all stages of the research and writing process. It is a valuable resource for this course.

10% Performance Attendance and written response

30% 1) Reading Journal (see the link below for how to read critically and take notes. Use the Reading Journal Template on the course website for all required reading.

60% A 10-12 page research project to include the following: ➢ Research Proposal (to include research question(s) and draft thesis statement) (due 10/13) I recommend that you discuss your ideas with me at my office hours. Look at this guide for evaluating scholarly sources for research: http://www.library.illinois.edu/ugl/howdoi/scholarly.html ➢ Annotated Bibliography in Chicago Style http://itech.dickinson.edu/libwiki/images/3/39/AnnotatedBibliographiesHistory.pdf (due 10/27) ➢ Introduction with thesis statement and Macro-Outline http://writing2.richmond.edu.offcampus.lib.washington.edu/writing/wweb/outline.html (due 11/10) ➢ Draft of research paper (due 11/22) you will be doing peer reviews of paper drafts. Bring 2-3 copies. ➢ Peer review comments (due 12/01) ➢ Final and substantive revision of Research Paper (due 12/12) ➢ Oral presentation of research project during finals week (12/15, 10:30-12:20 Smith 115)


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.
Additional Information
Last Update by Elizabeth A Cooper
Date: 09/29/2011