Dance Studies Courses 2019-2020
THST 215a / ENGL 434a, Writing Dance Brian Seibert
The esteemed choreographer Merce Cunningham once compared writing about dance to trying to nail Jello-O to the wall. This seminar and workshop takes on the challenge. Taught by a dance critic for the New York Times, the course uses a close reading of exemplary dance writing to introduce approaches that students then try themselves, in response to filmed dance and live performances in New York City, in the widest possible variety of genres. No previous knowledge of dance is required. WR, HU
THST 319a / AFAM 313a, Embodying Story Renee Robinson
The intersection of storytelling and movement as seen through historical case studies, cross-disciplinary inquiry, and studio practice. Drawing on eclectic source materials from different artistic disciplines, ranging from the repertory of Alvin Ailey to journalism, architectural studies, cartoon animation, and creative processes, students develop the critical, creative, and technical skills through which to tell their own stories in movement. No prior dance experience necessary. HU
THST 335a / AFST 435a, West African Dance: Traditional to Contemporary Lacina Coulibaly
A practical and theoretical study of the traditional dances of Africa, focusing on those of Burkina Faso and their contemporary manifestations. Emphasis on rhythm, kinesthetic form, and gestural expression. The fusion of modern European dance and traditional African dance. Admission by audition during the first class meeting. HU RP
THST 340a, Ballet Now Daniel Ulbricht
A practical investigation of seminal ballets in the repertory of New York City Ballet. Tracing a sweeping history of artistic innovation from the early twentieth century to the present, this course covers the technique and aesthetic details that constitute New York City Ballet’s style and follow the ways that these stylistic strengths are applied and transformed in the contemporary ballets of the 21st century. Repertory excerpts move through foundational works by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins to ballets created in the past fifteen years by some of the most prominent ballet choreographers working today. Prior dance training required. Admission is by audition. HU
THST 395a / ART 389a, Postmodern Dance Emily Coates
A studio-based exploration of the epochal shift in choreographic aesthetics known as postmodern dance. The social and historical context in which postmodern dance emerged, including the reconstruction of key dances from the 1960s and 1970s; the evolution of postmodern dance aesthetics into the twenty-first century. HU
THST 427a / AMST 349a, Technologies of Movement Research Emily Coates
An interdisciplinary survey of creative and critical methods for researching human movement. Based in the motion capture studio at the Center for Collaborative Arts and Media, the course draws movement exercises and motion capture experiments together with literature from dance and performance studies, art, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, cognitive science, and the history of science to investigate the ways that artists and scholars conceive of human movement as a way of knowing the world. Students will develop their own projects over the course of the semester. No prior experience in dance required.
T 10:30 – 12:20 pm
THST 097b, Anatomy in Motion Bronwen MacArthur
The connection between advances in human anatomy and kinesiology—the science of human movement—and dance practices from the early 1900s to the present. Study of seminal texts and practical exercises that drove the research of Frederick M. Alexander, Mabel Elsworth Todd, Barbara Clark, and Lulu Sweigard and the application of their ideas in contemporary movement practices today. Topics include the synthesis of dance and science; the reeducation of alignment, posture and balance; the use of imagery; and the unification of mind and body. No prior dance experience required. Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required; see under First-year Seminar Program. HU
THST 235b / ART 235b, Dance Theater Irene Hultman Monti
A studio-based introduction to movement vocabularies, physical techniques, and choreographic repertoire from post-1950 modern and postmodern dance theater to the present. Through a historical survey of major aesthetic shifts in dance, the course focuses on building the essential skills of a dance artist: the heightened awareness of time and space, the ability to read and translate diverse choreographic ideas, and the ability to question in motion. Open to students of all levels and majors. HU
THST 380b / AMST 370b, The History of Dance Brian Seibert
An examination of major movements in the history of concert and social dance from the late nineteenth century to the present, including ballet, tap, jazz, modern, musical theater, and different cultural forms. Topics include tradition versus innovation, the influence of the African diaspora, and interculturalism. Exercises are used to illuminate analysis of the body in motion. WR, HU
M 3:30 pm-5:20pm
ANTH 445b / AFAM 451b / THST 450b / WGSS 442b, Black Women Moving and the Ethnography of Embodiment Aimee Cox
In this course we explore the theory and methods employed by Black women ethnographers, artists, and activists invested in transforming the traditional norms of the academic disciplines and creative contexts in which they operate. These boundary erasing, rule breaking women challenge us to think expansively and act courageously in our efforts to not only dream a new world but bring that world into fruition. The life and work of anthropologist/dancer/choreographer/activist Katherine Dunham (1909–2006) provides the framework through which we think through the strategies contemporary scholar-artists employ in their social justice practices, while the concept of movement is our theoretical and methodological foundation for engaging with the work of historical and contemporary Black women change agents. We ask how movement functions in the work of Dunham and these contemporary scholar-artists in terms of: the moving and/or dancing body; movement and migration across geographic territories and imagined space; and participation in social movements. Inspired by the techniques these women have developed for re-imagining the possibilities for moving as an act of social change, we experiment with creating our own embodied artistic practices and research methods. Students should anticipate a holistic experience that requires an openness to physical activity and choreography (accessible to all) as one of our primary tools for both analyzing the multi-media course texts, as well as constructing our own boundary crossing projects. SO
MW 10:30am-12:20 pm
For more information on course meeting times and locations visit the Yale College Programs of Study.
YALE DANCE THEATER
Founded in 2011, Yale Dance Theater (YDT) is a faculty-led extracurricular initiative that enables Yale students to work with professional artists on the reconstruction of existing choreography and/or development of new work. YDT is conceived as a practice-based research initiative that allows students to investigate choreographic ideas and their historical context through a rigorous, semester-long rehearsal process, resulting in a final public performance. As part of the research, YDT dancers regularly post blog entries about their experience. YDT’s mission is to track and contribute to current discourses in dance through an inquiry distinctly grounded in physical experience.
To date we have undertaken projects in coordination with the companies of Twyla Tharp (2011), Merce Cunningham (2012), Reggie Wilson (2013), Akram Khan (2013), Trisha Brown (2014), Matthew Rushing/Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (2015), Gaga USA/LeeSaar The Company (2016), Urban Bush Women (2017), Paul Taylor Dance Company and Taylor 2 (2018), and Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company (2019).
Sponsored by the Dance Studies curriculum in cooperation with the Arts Discretionary Fund in Yale College, Theater and Performance Studies, and Alliance for Dance at Yale.
Faculty director: Emily Coates
Student Coordinator: Madelyn Blaney ’21, Elayna Garner ’20, Mariel Pettee PHYSICS PhD ‘21