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In the summer of 1964 musicians Marvin Gaye, Williams Stevenson and Ivy Jo Hunter composed one of the enduring anthems of the 1960’s powerful social and political movements, Dancing in the Streets. Motown’s Martha and the Vandellas introduced this song, which continues to be sung by contemporary artists as an expression of celebration and as a call to action. What brought people into the streets in many world communities during the summers of 1964 and 2020? We will examine, discuss and respond to the ways dance, music, visual art and stories offer documentation of lived experiences and develop ways to investigate and document our present experiences. Science and inventions impact how dance, music, visual art and information are made and shared causing culture and experiences to be witnessed and become meaningful beyond the boundaries of their origin. Creating for example, the globally evolving canon of Hip Hop.
We will consider:
– How artists document major themes in social justice such as anti lynching movement across time through work such as Strange Fruit (as poetry, dance, visual art, music, media)
– How the arts documented the 1950’s-80’s in selected communities such as New York City, Los Angeles, Detroit, Kingston, Johannesburg, Atlanta, Rio, Chicago, Havana, Port au Prince, Lagos and Accra
– Selected dance forms such as Charleston, Lindy Hop, Hip Hop, Electric Slide, Vogue, Stepping and Rumba as documents in motion
– Contemporary choreographers Camille Brown, Rennie Harris , Vincent Mantsoe and Ephrat Asherie use social dance as an anchor for choreography
– Music of the Black Lives Matter, Say Her Name and Civil Rights Movements
Course meetings will include:
– Study of designated social dance
– Making solo and group dances
– Learning selected songs
– Discussion of selected readings, media and works of visual art in class meetings
– Showing of individual and group generated performance and or media or text based material
Format: seminar; Seminar/Studio. This course is in collaboration with Gotham Arts Academy in Brooklyn, New York and will include sessions and collaboration with participating students. Other resources include guest artists and scholars, Jacob's Pillow Dance Interactive and Archives, the Williams College Museum of Art, New York City Public Library of Performing Arts, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
Evaluation will be based upon: 1.Scheduled showings of material you and any collaborators are making in response to course materials, guest artists and scholars. 2. Quality of participation in weekly meetings that are interactive and discussions of course materials. 3. A 7 page paper that provides the research for your final project. 4. A final project presentation that is a synthesis of the information and ideas that inform your final project.
None. This course is intended for beginning as well as experienced students who are curious about ways that the arts ( dance , music , theater, media, etc.) document the present and the past. Please contact the instructor if you have questions
An interest in the arts, popular culture, history and/ or experience in social dance, music, writing or visual art making.