DANC 207
ReReading/Righting Ballet's History: Celebrating BIPOC Figures in Ballet (w/ Ballet Technique) Fall 2021
Division I

Class Details

“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 2021, 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 twice-weekly ballet technique classes) readings and viewings relevant to our coursework will be assigned; a third weekly meeting will be held for 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 ’21; in addition to joining us (remotely) for discussions, she will guide us in those projects.
The Class: Format: seminar/laboratory; Students will be placed in either Beginning Ballet, or Intermediate/Advanced Ballet (see prerequisites for more information): Beginning Beginner Ballet: Section 02 Tuesday/Thursday 11:10 am-12:35 pm (N) OR Intermediate/Advanced Ballet: Section 03 Monday/Wednesday 11:00 am-12:15 pm (P). ALL students will meet together for a third class meeting/seminar on Fridays, 11:00 am-12:15 pm.
Limit: 12
Expected: 10
Class#: 1611
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Robust engagement in technique classes and meetinng sessions; timely and thoughtful written (informal) responses to assigned readings and viewings; development and presentation of course projects.
Prerequisites: Technique for the two levels will be separate. For the beginner level NO prior experience is required. For the int/adv level, students must have at least three yrs of prior ballet training, and instructor's permission.
Enrollment Preferences: Students who are invested in learning both the physical aspect of ballet technique, as well as its broader history and the specific areas this course is investigating.
Materials/Lab Fee: Ballet class attire (i.e., leotards, tights/leggings, slippers)--students are responsible for acquiring personal clothing and shoes. Est. cost $75-150.
Distributions: Division I

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