This course is for ANYONE interested in learning about ballet, through a variety of experiences. First, of course, will be physical practice. For those who have no (or little) prior ballet training, you’ll learn the fundamentals of ballet technique in a safe but challenging class (separate classes are available for intermediate/advanced dancers) twice per week. All course participants will gather together once a week for movie/documentary viewings–a wide range of films (primarily) about ballet and ballet dancers from around the world. Readings and other viewings will be assigned so that all students have a grasp of the overarching history of ballet. We’ll consider whether, how, and why “traditional” ballets can be relevant as performance art today, and explore ways in which ballet has stumbled, and ways in which it has soared and evolved. While the course assignments will offer historical context, we’ll also take a rigorous look at broader topics in the art form, including some of the ways in which ballet hasn’t always lived up to its potential as a dance form for all people regardless of class, race, and gender. We’ll consider basic information–plot-lines of ballets we’ll be looking at–as well as more subtle ideas–famous dancers’ takes on these roles, the socio-political aspects of the works themselves and the times they were created in. Students will submit (informal) written responses to the assignments. The class may go on one or two field trips to attend performances and will write response papers when applicable. EVERYONE is welcome in this class, and students will be assessed on their individual progress.
The Class: Format: studio; In addition to physical classwork in the dance studio, class will gather to view/discuss dance films; one or two field trips to view live dance will occur over semester
Requirements/Evaluation: Workload: in-class physical participation, 2x per week, 75 minutes each class = 2.5 hours/wk; group film viewing/discussion = 3 hours per week; outside of class readings and viewings, with informal written responses, assigned 1x or 2x per week = 2-4 hours/wk; one or two live performance "field trips" with response papers over course of semester. Evaluation: based on quality of participation & individual progress in technique class, (50% of grade); quality of assignment responses and in-class discussions (20% of grade); live performance response papers (10% of grade); final "Film Festival Review" paper (20% of grade)
Enrollment Preferences: Students who express a wish to engage with dance in the future
Materials/Lab Fee: Ballet class attire: leotard, tights/leggings, ballet slippers (students should purchase their own clothing) approx. $75-100. Field Trip travel/meals: approx. $75 per student per trip (max two trips per semester)
Distributions: Division I