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“What does dance give you?” asked the great African American dancer, teacher, and director Arthur Mitchell: “The freedom to be who you are and do what you want to do.” In the ballet world, however, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color have struggled to achieve that “freedom” their white counterparts have enjoyed. In this course students continue their technical/artistic training in ballet while also exploring different topics in past and current ballet history; in Fall 2020, our main focus will be on some of the notable BIPOC figures in the world of ballet, with the history of ballet providing both a timeline and a sociopolitical backdrop against which we can trace and discover the intersectionality that has helped shape the aesthetics of ballet as well as other genres we know today. Though this is primarily a studio course (with in-studio or online ballet technique classes given twice-weekly; see formats below) readings and viewings relevant to our coursework will be assigned; a third weekly meeting will be held for virtual group discussions on those assignments. Alongside broader ballet history texts, the essays and articles by authors such as Brenda Dixon Gottschild and Theresa Ruth Howard will offer keen insights into some of the more specific issues and topics regarding race and diversity in the field of ballet. In addition to informal, written responses to the readings and viewings, Howard’s website “Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet” will be an important anchor/springboard for course projects. Howard will be a guest collaborator in this course for Fall ’20; in addition to joining us (remotely) for discussions, she will guide us in those projects.
Format: studio; Two tech classes per level will be offered per week in the following formats: in-studio for on-campus students; live-streaming for off-campus students in a similar time zone; pre-recorded films for off-campus students unable to realistically engage in the "live" session blocks. If the number of on-campus students exceeds the studio space limit for this year, we will follow an alternating studio/livestream schedule. Classes will be designed with the knowledge that many spaces will be restrictive.
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
Robust engagement in technique classes and discussion sessions; timely and thoughtful written (informal) responses to assigned readings and viewings; development and presentation of individual and collaborative final projects.
Advanced students (DANC 209): Minimum of three years of ballet training, with permission from instructor; Intermediate level students (please register for DANC 207): Minimum of one year of ballet training, with permission from instructor.
students who have demonstrated a steady interest in dance and dance training
Ballet class attire (i.e., leotards, tights/leggings, slippers and/or pointe shoes)--students are responsible for acquiring personal clothing and shoes. Est. cost $75-150.