Approved by Faculty Senate


University Studies Course Approval


Department: Theatre and Dance

Course Number: THAD 131 Number of Credits: 3

Course Title: Performance I For Everyone

Catalogue Description: Integration of vocal, physical and mental components of performance through solo and group improvisational and collaborative work. Concurrent registration in THAD 090 required of THAD majors and minors unless excused by the department. Offered yearly.

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 and vocal exercises and improvisations, group projects, demonstrations, and discussion, students gain experience in basic performance skills, theories and embodiment techniques used in acting, dance, music, and other expressive applications. Through studying Laban Movement Analysis (LMA) students gain a universal language system and set of criteria for perceiving and organizing expressive movement.
  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 original movement and text-based studies throughout the semester through group in-class work and individual assignments. Midterm and final projects focus on integrating and applying skills in a performance venue of the student’s choice.
  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, and to express meaning and define values through interpretive performance. Performance projects include subject matter that reflects and questions cultural and gender stereotypes through movement observation, and analysis. Also, students witness diverse peer and professional performances.
  4. engage in reflective analysis of their own art work or interpretive performance and respond to the work of others. Students engage in both written and verbal peer and self-assessment throughout the course. This includes daily journal reflections, giving peer feedback, and participating in group performance critiques, video analysis, and revision. Self- assessment papers and process reflections are written at midterm and finals. Written assignments responding to required professional theatre and dance performances vary with the concert seasons in our area.

THDA 131 Performance I For Everyone (3 SH)

Winona State University Course Syllabus


INSTRUCTORS: Gretchen Cohenour (8/28 - 11/1) AND Vivian Fusillo (11/3 - 12/8)

Office: PAC 212 Office: PAC 217

Phone: 457-5665 Phone: 457-5248


Hours: MF 9:00-10:00 Hours: MW 9:00-11:00

MTWR 11:00-12:00 TR 9:00-12:00

MTWRF 1:00- 2:00

and by appointment 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)


To discover movement and voice as a prime resource in expressive communication and performance.(a), (b), (c), (d)

To create solo and group improvisations using personal interpretation and theatre games for role preparation. (b)

To gain a basic understanding of core support, body mechanics, efficient energy use, relaxation and breathing techniques and to apply these principles in warm-up, class process and performance. (a), (b)

To increase performance skills including stage movement and vocal techniques, awareness, observation, risk, focus, spontaneity, flow, confidence, trust and teamwork.(a), (b), (c)

To experience Laban's concepts of Body, Space and Effort as a framework for understanding expressive movement in diverse contexts and its applications (i.e. character development and staging scenes).(a), (c)

To gain a working vocabulary of Postural and Gestural movements, falls, rolls, developmental patterns, points of initiation and basic theatrical dance forms. (a), (c)

To reflect on performance process and product, and to respond articulately to self and others through oral and written work. (d)


Class will focus on ACTIVE experiential LEARNING through technique (skill acquisition), structured improvisation (creative problem solving and exploration) and composition (creating movement studies, and role preparation for scripted scenes). Class will consist of group projects, lecture/demonstrations, solo, small group and large group performances and discussions / peer critiques, and videotape feedback.(a,b,c,d)


Time on Task: Spend 2+ hours of studio time weekly outside class for independent movement exploration and class assignments. Submit scheduled hours to Gretchen during first week of classes and keep a log of studio time and class project rehearsal time in your journal. (b),(d)

Observation/Integration/Collaboration/Sharing: Consciously and continually observe and research self, human, animal, and machine movement patterns and habits in your world. Open your senses! "Try on" those patterns- play! analyze; exaggerate; simplify, and make connections between your life and "performance". Raw material for creative solo and group projects and scene development is everywhere you look with openness and curiosity! (a,b,c,d)

Reflection/Documentation: Keep an ongoing journal including class notes, movement and life observations, notes on readings and text, articles, movement scores and drawings, required cultural event responses, and critiques. Please date entries. (d)

Performance Literacy: Attend local performances of theatre, dance and music as time allows and type 1-2 page responses to required shows. See calendar for dates. (a),(d)

ASSESSMENT bullet bullet60% Class attendance and fully engaged participation. Completion of assignments, and level of commitment to the process. More than 3 absences will lower your final grade 1 letter per absence. (Make-ups or extra credit options are available for excused absences). Notify Gretchen ASAP with any known conflicts) (b), (a), (c), (d)

15% Three performance responses (5 pt each) See due dates below (d)

5% Midterm Project (b), (a), (d)

10% Midterm Journal and self-assessment (graded on completeness, depth and creativity). Give this to Gretchen during Midterms - see calendar for due dates (d), (a), (c)

10% Final Project, Journal and self-assessment (graded on completeness, depth and creativity). Give this to Vivian during Finals. (a),(b), (c), (d)


Wed. 8/30 3:00 PM 1st WSU Dance Society Meeting - All Welcome! Green Room, PAC

5:00 PM 1st Wenonah Players Meeting- All Welcome! Green Room, PAC


TW 9/5-6 5:30 PM AUDITIONS: "DANCESCAPE 2001" PAC Mainstage Everyone Welcome! bullet bulletWRFSS 9/6-10 Guest Residency: MUNTU Dance Theatre of Chicago. (See schedule)

R 9/7 7:30 PM REQUIRED PERFORMANCE: MUNTU PAC Main Stage (get tickets 8/31)

(Typed 1-2 page response due M. 9/11)

W.9/13-9/26 Small group performances in class. TOPIC: creative chapter presentations

F 10/13 Completed MIDTERM Journals (A-N) DUE in class.

RFSS 10/12-15 7:30 PM REQUIRED PERFORMANCE "The Foreigner" PAC Main Stage

(Typed 1-2 page response due M. 10/16)

MWF 10/ 16,18,20 Midterm Projects performed in Class

F 10/20 Completed MIDTERM Journals (O-Z) DUE in class.

F 10/27 12:00 PM Selected Performance I projects shown at THDA Showcase.

W 11/1 Last class with Gretchen. Assessment Activities and wrap-up.

F 11/3 First class with Vivian.

RFSS 12/1-3 7:30 PM REQUIRED PERFORMANCE: "A Christmas Carol" PAC Main

(Typed 1-2 page response due M. 12/4)

T 12/5 6:00 Final Student Choreographers Audition- PAC Mainstage

W 12/13 8:00-10:00 a.m. Performance I FINAL 8:00-10:00 am

TFS 2/15-17 W.S.U. Dancescape 7:30 p.m.

TEXTS: Barton, Robert. Acting: Onstage and Off. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace College Publishers, 1993. RECOMENDED (REQUIRED for THDA Majors and minors) bullet bulletRoland, David. The Confident Performer. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1997 REQUIRED (Note: Read the text, outlining chapters in your journal as you go by Sept.13.)


Alberts, David. The Expressive Body: Physical Characterization For The Actor. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1997. bullet bulletAlexander, F. Matthias. The Use of the Self. London: E.P. Dutton and Co.,1932.

Boal, Augusto. Games for Actors and Non-Actors. London: Routledge, 1992. bullet bulletCameron, Neil. The Running and Stamping Book. Paddington, Australia:

Currency Press Ltd, 1995.

Hendricks, Gay. Conscious Breathing: Breathwork for Health, Stress Release, and Personal Mastery. N.Y.: Bantam Books, 1995.

Highwater, Jamake. DANCE: Rituals of Experience. Pennington, N.J.: Princeton Book Co., 1992.

Laban, Rudolf. The Mastery of Movement. Boston: Plays Inc., 1971.

Martinez, J. D. Combat Mime: A Non-violent Approach to Stage Violence. Chicago: Nelson-Hall Publishers, 1982.

Miller, Celeste. Dancing From The Heart: Life Stories. Glouster, MA: 1994.

Moore, Carol-Lynne and Yamamoto, Kaoru. Beyond Words: Movement Observation

and Analysis. N.Y.: Gordon and Breach Publishers, 1988.

Newlove, Jean. Laban for Actors and Dancers. N.Y.: Routledge, 1993. bullet bulletPierce, Alexandra and Roger. Expressive Movement: Posture and Action in

Daily Life, Sports, and the Performing Arts. N.Y.: Plenum Press, 1989.

Roland, David. The Confident Performer. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1997.

Rubin, Lucille S. (ed.). Movement for the Actor. N.Y.: Drama Book Specialists, 1980.

"I hear what you say, but I see what you do." - Chinese Proverb