Course Offerings in the Dance Program:
The Dance Program offers 100-level studio classes for first-year students and other beginning dancers; 200-level classes, which are open to all students at the intermediate level of technique; and 300-level classes, open to all students with the experience appropriate for an advanced-level course. All dance studio classes have live musical accompaniment. Tutorials arise out of a student's interest in delving deeply into a subject that is not generally covered in the curriculum. Topics have included dance pedagogy, partnering technique, pointe work, and specific elements of dance history and dance science.
- Beginning I Dance Courses are intended for the beginner with no previous experience necessary. Open to all students.
- Beginner II level is for students who have had at least one semester of Beginner I at Bard, a year of dance training in that technique elsewhere, or by permission of the instructor.
Beginning I 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.
Beginning I Ballet
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.
Introduction to Contemporary African Dance
Rooted in contemporary African Dance, using Badolo’s own movement style, this course explores movement over/under/inside and outside the tradition. The class begins with a warm-up that involves both physical and mental preparation. By listening to internal rhythms of the body and the beat of the music, dancers can discover their own musicality and their own movement language. Students will be exposed to the skills of improvisation starting with simple forms.
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 class is designed for students who have mastered the fundamental vocabulary of ballet technique and who are interested in cultivating their potential for movement complexity. The stylistically neutral approach emphasizes the form as a scientific biomechanical system, enabling the dancer to pursue greater expressivity without pre-conceived artifice, and allowing her/him to move easily into other dance forms or physical systems with ease. Students are expected to engage with (new) concepts around their bodies’ anatomical structure that are brought to bear in the movement practice.
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.
Ballet is a tradition handed down over generations of teachers and dancers, subject to change and growth through each individual. As a part of this lineage, the class looks at the practice of ballet as a system of anatomical, mechanical and physical principles living in musical time. Advanced ballet study is an opportunity to go deeply into the form. Through the traditional class structure of barre exercises and center floor combinations, the class invites upper level students into a fascinating study that calls upon mental and physical energies in equal measure.
Dance Composition I
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.
Dance Composition II
Building on concepts introduced in Dance Composition I, this course is intended to prepare students to create original dances for performance in the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts. Isadora Duncan, Pearl Primus, Jose Limon, George Balanchine, Merce Cunningham, Liz Lerman, Lucinda Childs, Bill T. Jones, Mark Morris, and Donald McKayle choreograph(ed) using music and/or text in a variety of ways. We study these different approaches; students experiment with a range of sounds and structures to broaden their musical horizons when developing dance studies into completed dances. The course is required of potentialdance majors before moderation; open to students of choreography who are not intending to major in dance (but have seriously studied dance technique here at Bard or elsewhere) and with permission of the instructor. Prerequisite: Dance Composition I.
Dance Composition III
Comp III is designed to expand our scope as makers. We will draw from the movement-based ideas generated by philosophy, cultural studies, as well as dance makers past and present to generate our own processes and questions. Essential to our trajectory will be an increased understanding of different dance traditions and an increase in our dance literacy: our ability to see and speak about dance in its own milieu as well as understand its implications for and relevance to larger cultural contexts. This course will explore ideas and values about dance composition derived from Western European traditions and the African diaspora. All classes will be co-taught by Souleymane Badolo and Leah Cox.
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.
What is postmodern performance, how does it relate to modern dance, and how does it extend to current performance practices? In the 1960s, there was a marked shift in creative practices that opened up who could perform and create performance. The artists who created this expansion ushered in a new level of cross-disciplinary collaboration and participation, the effects of which we continue to utilize today. We'll explore these artists' trends alongside modernism and postmodernism's philosophical developments, modern and postmodern characteristics of other art forms, and significant political and cultural developments influencing the modern/postmodern distinction. Student interests will inform which artists and aspects of this rich moment in history we'll focus on, and classwork will include embodied explorations that enable us to experience firsthand the pivotal shifts in creative processes and compositional values for live performance. Video, class discussion, focused weekly readings, and reflective analysis assignments will complement our practice-based learning. The course will culminate in a two-part final project comprised of performance/physical research and writing. This course fulfills the dance history requirement for the dance major and is a worthwhile course for any student interested in performance practices that involve movement and cross-disciplinary collaboration.
Materials for Movement (formally Anatomy for the Dancer)
In this course we will study musculoskeletal anatomy in detail and consider its relationship to movement generally, and dance specifically. Emphasis will be placed on the systematic relationships within our moving bodies as we shift between the local and global perspectives. Recent exciting research of the myofascial framework of our connective tissue structure will underpin our understanding of the whole. The goal of the course is to present a scientific basis for the human body that will enhance the technical and aesthetic growth of dance performance.
Research and Practice of African Dance
In this course we will move between lecture/discussion and physical practice as we explore the traditional dances of West Africa and their relationship to divination practices and ceremonies. Specifically, we will examine the influence of the traditional dances on contemporary dance in Burkina Faso. There will be assigned reading and writing assignments, video research and outside projects. Grading is based on attendance, participation, and outside projects. Completion of at least (one) 100 level dance class required.
The 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.