Approved by Faculty Senate


University Studies Course Approval


Department: Theatre and Dance

Course Number: THAD 115 Number of Credits: 3

Course Title: Dance Appreciation

Catalogue Description: Analysis and appreciation of theatrical dance styles, 20th century trends and diverse world cultures through historical and theoretical roots. Emphasis on kinesthetic involvement as a basis for response to the dance experience via film, video and movement. Concurrent registration in THAD 090 required of dance minors unless excused by the Department. Offered each semester.

This is an existing course that has previously been approved by A2C2.

Department contact person for this course: Gretchen Cohenour, PAC 212, 457-5665


The proposed course is designed to satisfy the requirement in: Fine and Performing Arts

This course includes requirements and learning activities that promote students’ abilities to…

  1. explore the language, skills, and materials of an artistic discipline; Through movement experiences, group projects, lecture, demonstration, and discussion, students gain an applied understanding of the dance language, theories, and techniques used in choreography and performance.
  2. use the methods of an arts practitioner to actively engage in creative processes or interpretive performances: Students experience the collaborative process of creating and performing an original dance during the midterm group choreography project. Students engage in the processes of brainstorming ideas, creating movement phrases and structures, rehearsing, revising, polishing , and finally performing and assessing the dance product within established criteria, and reflecting on the process.
  3. understand the cultural and gender contexts of artistic expression: Throughout this learning experience, students are encouraged to interact with the content of the course through relating it to their own experiences, personal stories, backgrounds, and culture, in interpreting and finding meaning in this movement based art form. From viewing and processing a broad range of diverse styles and cultural dances, students build awareness of personal assumptions and learn to question cultural and gender stereotypes.
  4. engage in reflective analysis of their own art work or interpretive performance and respond to the work of others. In addition to completing the midterm choreography project written self assessment and process reflection, each student writes peer feedback on each dance, and participates in a verbal critique process. Written assignments responding to professional dance via live performance and video are required regularly throughout the course and vary with the concert seasons in our area.





Winona State University

Instructor: Gretchen Cohenour e-mail:

Office: PAC 212

Phone: 457-5665 (voice mail) or 5230 (THDA office)

Hours: MF: 9:00 - 10:00

MTWR: 11:00-12:00

MTWRF: 1:00—2:00

and by appointment

University Studies: This course satisfies the Fine and Performing Arts Core of WSU’s University Studies program. It includes requirements and learning activities that promote students’ abilities to…

a. explore the language, skills, and materials of an artistic discipline;

b. use the methods of an arts practitioner to actively engage in creative

processes or interpretive performances;

c. understand the cultural and gender contexts of artistic expression:

d. engage in reflective analysis of their own art work or interpretive

performance and respond to the work of others.

Course activities and assignments that address these Fine and Performing Arts Requirements will be identified in the syllabus by letter (a),(b),(c),(d)

1. Course Description bullet bulletAnalysis and appreciation of diverse theatrical dance styles and 20th century trends within their cultural, historical and theoretical contexts. Emphasis on active learning, teamwork, and kinesthetic involvement as a basis for response to the dance experience via live performance, video, movement and writing.

2. Course Objectives

    2. To learn a theoretical framework and cultural context for
    3. understanding and valuing dance as an art form in American

      and "world" cultures. (a),(c)

    4. To experience a broad range of solo and ensemble choreography and
    5. performance in diverse theatrical styles and indigenous dance

      forms. (c)

    6. To become an audience member who participates in the creative
    7. process of viewing dance kinesthetically with heightened aware

      ness, openness and intellectual engagement. (a),(d)

    8. To form written, verbal, and nonverbal aesthetic responses to the
    9. dance experience that reflect an understanding of the art form,

      and one’s unique perceptions and interpretations in relationship

      to the work. (b),(d)

    10. To experience the collaborative process of creating, performing and assessing an original dance. (b)

3. Course Outline

I. What is Dance?

  1. bullet bullet
    2. Exploring theory and materials of the craft: the human
bullet bullet bullet bulletbody, mind and spirit, expressive movement, Laban’s concepts

of space, time, effort, weight and flow. (a),(b)

  1. bullet bullet
    2. Defining dance in terms of how it is used in diverse contexts: artistic expression, therapy, education, ritual, play, religion, entertainment, socialization, exercise, cultural expression, maintenance of traditions and national identities. (c)
    4. The language of movement: kinesthetic response; abstraction; reading dance through the senses; analysis; reflection. (a),(d)
    6. Theatrical dance styles: Techniques, processes, and products. (a),(b)
    8. Choreographic elements: compositional structures, form, content, technique and projection (a),(b)
bullet bullet bullet bullet bullet bullet 

II. Cultural Expression and Historic roots (c),(d) A. Indigenous forms in world dance. B. Evolution of European Theatrical Dance. (Ballet) C. Evolution of Modern Dance. D. African Roots of American Social Dance, Tap, Jazz, and Musical Theatre. E. Modern Ballet, Post Modernism, and Innovations. F. Contemporary issues in dance: Gender, Democracy of Collaboration, Impact of AIDS. III. Participation and Response (b),(d)

A. Experiencing dance in relationship to theatre, visual arts and music. B. Choreography project: Creative Process/Aesthetic Inquiry/Skill Development C. Using a framework for reflective analysis: form, content, technique, projection, and staging. D. Dance writing: descriptive prose, analysis, and poetry. E. Reinterpretation: responding to dance via the creation of work in another art form.4. Instructional plan and methodsMovement experiences, group projects, video, lecture, discussion, concert attendance, emphasis on active participation and creative synthesis. Students are required to keep a notebook w/lecture, discussion and movement notes, notes on textbook readings, and visual images.5. Assessment Class participation and attendance is required, of course. No absences, please. Students are responsible for the content of each class period. Excessive absences (more than 3 total) will drop your final grade one letter (7 pts) for each class missed. Make—up arrangements may be requested in writing by the student. Students are encouraged to notify the instructor in advance

if class is to be missed.

40% - Four "response" assignments (See attached calendar for topics and due dates) (d) 40% - Class participation, level of involvement, and quizzes 10% - Midterm Choreography Project (b) 10% - Final Written Exam (a),(c),(d)6. Textbook Ambrosio, Nora. Learning About Dance: An Introduction to Dance as and Art Form and Entertainment- 2nd Edition. Dubuque, Iowa. Kendall Hunt Publishers, 1999.

Students are encouraged to select readings from the bibliography below and to research dance artists and ideas of personal interest that are referred to in class in order to deepen your understanding of, and response to the work. Use our wonderful new library!!!!!

7. Bibliography 1. Brown, Jean Morrison, ed. The Vision of Modern Dance. Princeton: Princeton Book Company, Publishers, 1979. 2. Cohen, Selma Jeanne, ed. Dance as a Theatre Art. N.Y.: Harper and Row, 1974. 3. Copeland, Roger and Cohen, Marshall, eds. What is a Dance? Readings in Theory and Criticism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983. 4. Emery, Lynne Fauley. Black Dance in the United States From 1619 to 1970. Palo Alto, Calif.: National Press Books, 1972. 5. Foster, Susan Leigh. Reading Dancing: Bodies and Subjects in Contemporary American Dance. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1986. 6. Hanna, Judith Lynne. The Performer — Audience Connection.

Austin: University of Texas Press, 1983. 7. Horst, Lewis. Modern Dance Forms in Relation to the Other Arts. San Francisco: Impulse Publications, 1963. 8. Kerner, Mary. Barefoot to Balanchine: How to Watch Dance. N.Y.: Anchor Books, 1991. 9. Kirstein, Lincoln. Dance: A Short History of Classical

Theatrical Dancing. N.Y.: G.P. Putnam & Sons, 1935. 10. Kreemer, Connie. Further Steps: Fifteen Choreographers On Modern Dance. N.Y.: Harper and Row, 1987. 11. Laban, Rudolph. The Mastery of Movement. 2nd Ed. London: MacDonald and Evans, 1960. 12. Martin, John. Introduction to the Dance. Brooklyn: Dance Horizons, 1969. 13. Nadel, Howard Myron and Miller, Constance Nadel, eds. The Dance Experience: Readings in Dance Appreciation. N.Y.: Praeger Publishers, 1970. 14. Stearns, Marshall and Jean. Jazz Dance: The Story of American Vernacular Dance. N.Y.: Da Capo Press, Inc, 1994.

Video Series: PBS 8-part series entitled "Dancing" at W.S.U. Media Services.


What is a "Response" Assignment?Content: Your processed reflective response to the viewing and experience of the danceForm: 1) VERBAL. Write about what you have experienced honestly using language that clearly describes the movement and ideas and feelings that you witnessed in the work. Go beyond merely stating an opinion or passing judgement on the work. Substantiate your opinions with reference to specific movement phrases in the dance. Choose a "point of view" or format appropriate to the specific assignment. Use "dance language" and terminology learned in class, and/or ... (for example) you may write poetry, or you may construct an outline of what you're learning or how you were informed by the choreography. BE CREATIVE! Illustrate! BE ARTICULATE! (a),(d) 2) NONVERBAL/Diverse Media. Your response may take the form of a sculpture, painting, drawing, music, composition, etc... (must

include a typed prose description of how your work relates to or was inspired by the dance to which you are responding.) (b),(d)

Technique/Presentation: All assignments must be submitted on time and be typed. Aesthetic appearance and clarity of your papers or projects will affect your grade. Late Penalty: One point per day late will be subtracted from your assignment grade.Purpose of the Response Assignment: To help "frame" and understand your experience of the dance product through the process of re—viewing or re—creating the experience in a new form. To foster the notion of audience as collaborator or participant in the art—making process.What is the Midterm Project? (b),(d) Purpose: -To experience the process of creating a dance -To collaborate with other students on a project -To reflect on your creation

The midterm project is your opportunity to learn more about dance as an art form through creating and performing your own group dance. This creative process includes: 1) Brainstorming ideas and improvising, then coming up with a plan and creating movement phrases 2) Rehearsing to refine, practice, set, and polish choreography. 3) Performing your dance project in class. 4) Assessing your work and your peers' work based on the criteria of dance form (physical structure), content (ideas and meanings), technique (skills and clarity) and projection (communication and focus). See the Midterm Project Assessment Form for more details!!!