Introduction to Modern dance
This course provides an introduction to four very important aspects of dance: how to dance without becoming injured, how to develop an awareness of the body in space, how to move that body through space, and how to create dance with attention to rhythm, momentum and balance.
In the beginning level of ballet technique, students will explore fundamental issues of anatomy, alignment and movement efficiency. Emphasis is placed on moving through space, relating to music (both keeping time and exploring personal expression), and integrating anatomical concepts while moving.
Intermediate Modern dance
The intermediate dancer’s task is to refine and develop musical and stylistic control, to improve in strength, flexibility and muscle coordination, and to address personal alignment issues. In both floor and standing work, coordination and spatial challenges are introduced. Students learn progressively more complex phrases of movement, playing with shifts of energy, momentum and direction, with the goal of moving with precision and commitment.
This is the intermediate level of ballet technique that continues development of vocabulary. Emphasis is placed on form—maintaining accuracy, clear definition of movements, dynamic alignment, musicality—both keeping time and qualitative recognition.
Advanced Modern dance
At the advanced level, the warm-up is more difficult and students are expected to learn phrases more quickly. Students work to develop an articulate, alert and neutral body, ready for precise dancing with intricate coordination. Clarity, simplicity of movement, and attention to detail are key objectives. Advanced dancers are encouraged to take risks to expand the range of their movement practice.
The advanced level of ballet technique focuses on development and expansion in all areas of technique, including musicality, expressivity, dynamic alignment and incorporation of biomechanical principles. Students are expected to engage in the communicative aspect of the art form and to understand the dynamic relationship between technique and artistry. Challenges include working with extremes variations in tempo, spatial complexity, and complicated movement patterning.
Contact Improvisation (CI) is an improvisational duet dance form based on immediate response to sensation, weight, touch, and communication. This course explores states of presence, perception, awareness, and responsiveness to one's self and environment. This course will cultivate these states as a broader context for a study of physical strategies related to gravity, momentum, flight, falling, and rolling. This course will touch on creating scores for articulate improvising, witnessing and performing CI, and making space for open jamming and critical discussion on how you see and experience contact. CI is a rich opportuntiy for creative physical engagement with another person or group and is accessible to people of all physical abilities and experiences.
All 100-level Composition classes provide an introduction to the fundamentals of movement, including timing, energy, space, balance, and phrasing. Viewing other students’ work and learning to articulate constructive criticism will serve to hone each dancer’s aesthetic eye.
Composition classes at the 200 level focus more closely on the issues of crafting by addressing questions of phrase development, form, and relationship to sound/music. Bringing awareness to personal movement habits, students will continue to broaden their personal vocabulary, experimenting with new ways of generating and shaping material.
At the 300 level, Composition classes will ask students to consider the impact that context plays in a creative practice. Every context comes with encoded values that will impact meaning and interpretations, and students will work to understand how these values can affect creative decisions. Students will learn to consider effective means for merging theory with compositional practice, and to engage in dramaturgical practices that can positively augment their creative process.
Designed to expose students to the real life demands of a professional dancer, class time will be spent in the development and rehearsal of a dance in preparation for a public performance at semester’s end. Choreographers consist of faculty and outside guest artists.
The Dance Workshop is a once-weekly evening workshop during which undergraduates present works in progress for critical feedback from faculty and peers. This is one of the most important pedagogical assets of the Dance Program. It is a built-in system of multiple faculty advisers for Senior Projects, it operates as a Junior Seminar for moderated students, and it builds one inclusive community for all of Bard’s dancers, choreographers, and dance appreciators, inside and outside of the major. All students enrolled in dance composition are required to attend.
This course, entitled Archeology of Dance: Ten Masterworks of Modernity uses ten dance masterworks of the twentieth century as windows onto the history of dance. The works are diverse in genre and origin, ranging from Nijinsky’s Rite of Spring, to Katherine Dunham’s Shango, to Banchine’s Agon, to the Swing Dance movement of the Harlem Renaissance. Inspired in part by Foucault’s notion of archeology as historical method, the class will treat each masterwork as a site in which history may be traced by delving into the cracks and fissures the work instigates in the historical archive. The class will be a lecture/discussion seminar with weekly reading assignments, several short response papers, and student presentations. Students will be guided in individual research projects culminating in a final paper that while not limited to, must in some way bring the history of dance to bear upon the chosen subject.
Anatomy for the Dancer
This course is designed as an anatomy class for dancers, prospective dance teachers, and anyone interested in the application of anatomy to dance technique. Scientific information is limited to a need-to-know basis, focusing on the musculoskeletal system, with immediate transfer of lecture material to dance-movement concepts. In addition to the weekly lecture, the class will make frequent visits to the dance studio, where students are guided in applying scientific concepts to movement.
The Physics of Dance
This course is geared toward dancers interested in deepening the technical study of the art form through an investigation into the governing laws of physics. Class meetings are held in the dance studio so that students can move back and forth between theory and application.
Junior/Senior SeminarThe current landscape of creative practices and models for cultural production in the contemporary performance world is a unique and ever-evolving environment. This course will provide students with the knowledge and skills to evolve their creative imaginations and launch a creative practice post-graduation, building a foundation to support a sustained career in the arts. Practical applications of these skills will include the creation of a portfolio of each student’s work and the development of a project for future implementation. A roster of guest speakers will address issues relevant to artists entering the field and discuss their own roles within the performing arts world.