MODERNISM, POSTMODERNISM AND THE DANCING BODY
DANCE HISTORY SEMINAR 316 Spring 2012
Tues + Thurs 10:30-11:45 The Site
Instructor: Sarah Skaggs
Department of Theatre and Dance
Office Hours: Tues 1:30-2:30, Wed 1:30-2:30, Thurs 5-6
This course will focus on contemporary dance history using theoretical frameworks that interrogate how race, class and gender resist, assimilate, and converge to create the construction of American modern concert dance. A key issue we will explore will be how the politics of the dancing female body on the concert stage produced a radicalized agenda for contemporary dance. We will address key themes and questions throughout the semester, questions such as: “What makes a body “modern?” How
does the feminist agenda on the concert stage aid in the construction of a “modern” body? What was the role of appropriating from exotic cultures in the making of contemporary concert dance? What is the role of technology in the creation of modern dance? What are the effects of war and politics on the dancing body? Orientalism, the Africanist presence in Western concert dance, and the restaging of Native American dances by American choreographers will be addressed as part of the overall construction of American modern dance. Through response papers, in-class presentations, and an in-depth research paper, students will engage with significant issues contributing to the development of modern concert dance.
Course Goals - Student Learning Outcomes
- Students will learn to identify and locate historically the work of 20th and 21st contemporary concert
? Students will learn to analyze, compare, research, and discuss the works of contemporary
choreographers in intertextual and interdisciplinary ways.
- Students will be able to discuss the political, cultural and social contexts in which major dance trends responded to and developed in, focusing on how issues of diversity help define the contours of contemporary dance.
- Students will enhance their understanding of position, power and privilege within the genre of
contemporary dance by focusing on the stakeholders of the art form.
- Students will produce a substantial research paper at the end of the semester that extends their
understanding of the complex and diverse dynamics that shape contemporary dance.
This is a WR (writing intensive) course which means you will be required to produce 4000 words or 15 pages of polished academic writing.
Copeland, Roger. Merce Cunningham: The Modernizing of Modern Dance. New York and
London. Routledge. 2004.
Banes, Sally. Dancing Women: Female Bodies on Stage. London. Routledge. 1998.
Banes, Sally. Terpsichore in Sneakers. Middletown, Connecticut. Wesleyan University Press 1987.
Daly, Ann. Done Into Dance: Isadora Duncan in America. Middletown, Connecticut. Wesleyan
University Press. 1995.
Articles on Moodle
Desmond, Jane. “Dancing Out Difference: Cultural Imperialism and Ruth St.Denis’s Radha of 1906.”
Moving Histories, Dancing Cultures. Ed. Ann Dils and Ann Cooper Albright. Middletown
Connecticut. Wesleyan University Press. 2001.
Gottschild, Brenda Dixon. “Stripping the Emperor African American Presence in American
Concert Dance.” Moving Histories, Dancing Cultures. Ed. Ann Dils and Ann Cooper Albright.
Middletown, Connecticut. Wesleyan University Press. 2001.
Rainer, Yvonne. “No Manifesto.” The Twentieth Century Performance Reader. Routledge, 1996.
Reynolds, Nancy. No Fixed Points Dancing in the Twentieth Century. New Haven, Connecticut, Yale
University Press. 2003.
DeFrantz, Thomas F. Dancing Revelations: Alvin Ailey’s Embodiment of African American Culture.
New York, New York. Oxford University Press. 2004.
Garelick, Rhonda. Electric Salome: Loie Fuller’s Performance of Modernism. Princeton, New
Jersey.Princeton University Press. 2007.
Gottschild, Brenda Dixon. Digging the Africanist Presence in American Performance:Dance and
Other Contexts. Westport and London. Praeger. 1996.
Manning, Susan A. Ecstasy and the Demon: Feminism and Nationalism in the Dances of Mary
Wigman. Berkeley and Los Angeles, California. University of California Press. 1993.
Murphy, Jacqueline Shea. The People Have Never Stopped Dancing: Native American Modern Dance
Histories. Minneapolis, Minnesota. University of Minnesota Press. 2007.
Tomko, Linda. Dancing Class: Gender, Ethnicity, and Social Divides in American Dance, 1890-1920.
Bloomington, Indiana. Indiana University Press. 1999.
Dance Research Journal. Congress on Research on Dance CORD
The Drama Review TDR
Movement Research Journal
New York Times
1. Pre + Post free write on your understanding of US Diversity in the context of Contemporary Dance thDue. Jan 26
2. On-going daily Class Discussion Notes
thth thnd) (To be scheduled early) 3. Two in-class student Presentations (Feb 7 + Feb 9 Mar 20 + Mar 22
4. Two short essay tests TBA
th5. Two 3 paragraph response posts to K Pinero Senior project (due April 17) + DTG concert (due rd May 3)
6. Research topic and annotated bibliography due February 28th (schedule your conference with
me early in the semester!)
th 7. Research paper drafts due March 27
8. Final Research paper due May 3rd
Required Extra-Outside classroom Activities
1. Attendance required at Noche Flamenca ----- Jan 24th 8pm Mathers rd2. E. Patrick Stewart "Sweet Tea" ----- Feb 23 8pm Weiss Center – Rubendall Hall
3. Off Campus Field trip TBA
4. Senior Projects K.Pinero ---- April 14th The Cube
5. DTG Spring Concert ---- April 27th, 28th, 29th 8pm Mathers
1. Attendance: You are allowed 1 absence without penalty. Each absence after that will significantly
lower your grade by one-half a letter grade: i.e., A- to B+.
2. Time: Be on time. If you are more than 10 minutes late, I may mark you as absent. If you need to leave early, please see me at the start of class. Do not leave class without telling me where you are going.
3. Illness: If you are seriously ill for an extended period of time, please email me to discuss other
4. No late papers or projects will be accepted.
5. Texting in class will result in an automatic lowering of your grade by one half letter grade. 6. Talking out of turn or disrupting the class discussion will result in an automatic lowering of your
grade by one half letter grade.
1. Participation: 30 % (15% oral + 15% class discussion notes)
2. Short writing assignments, quizzes, response papers, drafts 20%
3. Presentations and student led discussions 15%
4. Research paper: 35%
I will hand out specific grading rubrics for each project. Standby!
Notes on Conduct:
Academic: Violation of the Academic Code of Conduct will not be tolerated. Please refer to the section on Academic Conduct in your bulletin. If you have a question about a source or a citation question, please come directly to me to discuss and clarify the matter. Also, email submissions of your mid-term and final research paper will not be accepted
No late work will be accepted.
Disabilities and Special Needs: In compliance with the Dickinson College policy and equal access