Theater and Dance
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Amherst College Theater and Dance for 2015-16

111 The Language of Movement

An introduction to movement as a language and to dance and performance composition. In studio sessions students will explore and expand their individual movement vocabularies by working improvisationally with weight, posture, gesture, patterns, rhythm, space, and relationship of body parts. We will ask what these vocabularies might communicate about emotion, thought, physical structures, cultural/social traditions, and aesthetic preferences. In addition, we will observe movement practices in everyday situations and in formal performance events and use these observations as inspiration for individual and group compositions. Two two-hour class/studio meetings and a two-hour production workshop per week. Selected readings and viewing of video and live performance.

Limited to 20 students. Fall semester. Professor Woodson.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2015

112 Materials of Theater

An introduction to design, directing, and performance conducted in a combined discussion/workshop format. Students will be exposed to visual methods of interpreting a text. Early class discussions focus on a theoretical exploration of theater as an art form and seek to establish a vocabulary for and understanding of basic theatrical conventions, with readings from Aristotle through Robert Wilson. Students will spend the bulk of the semester testing these theories for themselves, ultimately designing their own performances for two plays. Two two-hour classes and two-hour production workshop included in this time.

Limited to 12 students per section. Spring semester. Professor Dougan.

2014-15: Offered in Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2016

113 Action and Character

 

This course examines what happens on stage (‘action’) and ‘how’ that action happens (the character) from the points of view of  both the playwright and the actor.  The course assumes that the creative process of the playwright and the actor are similar.  Therefore the students will write scenes and one short play, which will be rehearsed as homework for presentation in class. A series of acting and playwriting exercises designed to assist in developing craft and giving students a feeling for the creative processes are presented in class.  Students will be assigned plays and certain critical texts to support their work in writing and acting. Three two- hour class meetings and a two-hour production workshop per week are scheduled. 

Twenty students attending the first class will be admitted.  Selection will be based on the instructor’s attempt to achieve a suitable balance between first-year students and upperclassmen and to achieve a broad range of levels of acting experience.  Notice of those admitted will be posted within 24 hours of the first meeting and a waiting list will be available.  

Limted to 20 students. Fall and spring semesters.  Visting Lecturer Schmitz.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014 and Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2015, Spring 2016

114 Sources of Contemporary Performance

The status quo says, “We do it the way it’s always been done.” The artist replies, “I have an idea, let’s try it another way.” Thus advance theater and dance. Thus evolve opera, happenings and performance art. This course explores several seminal theatrical events and the artists who created them. These innovations changed the course of theater and dance in the 20th century, thereby preparing those who follow to make the new art of the 21st.

After reviewing basic artistic and theoretical assumptions which governed the making of theatrical entertainment at the end of the 19th century, the course will look at playwrights, performers, choreographers, designers, directors and theorists whose ideas opened up new ways of looking at the craft of making those space-time objects we struggle to categorize as plays, dances, operas, performances and events. Particular attention will fall on work that is difficult to correctly place in a single category. Research in primary material such as plays, manifestos, documentary photographs, period criticism, and video transcriptions. Critical papers comparing and contrasting works will be studied. (Required of all majors)

Spring semester.  Professor Woodson.

2014-15: Offered in Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2014, Spring 2016

115H Contemporary Dance: Modern 1/2

The study and practice of contemporary movement vocabularies, including regional dance forms, contact improvisation and various modern dance techniques. Objectives include the intellectual and physical introduction to this discipline as well as increased body awareness, alignment, flexibility, coordination, strength, musical phrasing and the expressive potential of movement. The course material is presented at the beginning/intermediate level. A half course. Because the specific genres and techniques will vary from semester to semester, the course may be repeated for credit.

Omit 2015-16. 

2014-15: Offered in Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Spring 2014

116H Contemporary Dance Techniques: Modern 3

The study and practice of contemporary movement vocabularies, including regional dance forms, contact improvisation and various modern dance techniques. Objectives include the intellectual and physical introduction to this discipline as well as increased body awareness, alignment, flexibility, coordination, strength, musical phrasing and the expressive potential of movement. The course material is presented at the beginning/intermediate level. A half course.  Because the specific genres and techniques will vary from semester to semester, the course may be repeated for credit.

Omitted 2015-16.

 

2014-15: Offered in Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Fall 2010, Spring 2012, Fall 2012

117 Contemporary Dance Modern 3: Partner Dancing Technique and Repertory

This course will include technical investigations of weight sharing, body-part manipulations, off-balance support, lifting and being lifted, negative space, resistance, and various ways of harnessing forces of momentum. How can we move with confidence, spatial awareness, and fearless agency when in close proximity and in contact with other bodies?  Duets, trios, and groups will be challenged to kinetically build set partner dances with repeated opportunities in the last part of class to perform, often with the added challenge of speeding up.

The repertory portion will draw from the material generated in class to create a larger piece, with final performances near the end of the semester in Holden Theater. There will be one weekly rehearsal (Friday 4-5:30) as a full group and TBA individual rehearsals to build solo material. Several rehearsals will also be added close to the performance date.

Omitted 2014-15.

2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013

117H Contemporary Dance Technique Modern 3: Partner Dancing

Technical investigations of weight sharing, body-part manipulations, off-balance support, lifting and being lifted, negative space, resistance, and various ways of harnessing forces of momentum. How can we move with confidence, spatial awareness, and fearless agency when in close proximity and in contact with other bodies?  Duets, trios, and groups will be challenged to kinetically build set partner dances with repeated opportunities in the last part of class to perform, often with the added challenge of speeding up. 

Spring Semester. Visiting Lecturer Nugent.

2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2016

119H Contemporary Dance Techniques: Contact Improvisation

The study and practice of contemporary movement vocabularies, including regional dance forms, contact improvisation and various modern dance techniques. Objectives include the intellectual and physical introduction to this discipline as well as increased body awareness, alignment, flexibility, coordination, strength, musical phrasing and the expressive potential of movement. The course material is presented at the beginning/intermediate level.  A half course.  Because the specific genres and techniques will vary from semester to semester, the course may be repeated for credit.

Omitted 2015-16.

2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Spring 2012

120H Contemporary Dance Techniques: Ballet/Modern 1/2

The study and practice of contemporary movement vocabularies, including regional dance forms, contact improvisation and various modern dance techniques. Objectives include the intellectual and physical introduction to this discipline as well as increased body awareness, alignment, flexibility, coordination, strength, musical phrasing and the expressive potential of movement. The course material is presented at the beginning/intermediate level.  A half course.  Because the specific genres and techniques will vary from semester to semester, the course may be repeated for credit.

Spring semester.  Visiting Lecturer Nugent.

 

2014-15: Offered in Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2016

121H Contemporary Dance Technique: Ballet 3

The study and practice of contemporary movement vocabularies, including regional dance forms, contact improvisation and various modern dance techniques. Objectives include the intellectual and physical introduction to this discipline as well as increased body awareness, alignment, flexibility, coordination, strength, musical phrasing and the expressive potential of movement. The course material is presented at the beginning/intermediate level. A half course.  Because the specific genres and techniques will vary from semester to semester, the course may be repeated for credit.

Fall Semester. Visiting Lecturer Polins.

2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015

122H Contemporary Dance Technique: Hip Hop

This class is designed to focus on the movement aspect of hip hop culture. Dance in the tradition of B-Boys and B-girls while learning a wide variety of hip hop movement. From the old school "bronx" style to commercial hip hop, learn a wide range of hip-hop vocabulary in a course emphasizing group choreography, floor work, and partner work. No previous dance experience is necessary. Class will incorporate funk, street, b-boy/b-girl, and house elements to stretch and tone the body. Class will include across the floor and center combinations which will ask the dancers to find their relationship to musicality, athleticism, dynamics, and articulation of the body.

Omitted 2015-16.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Spring 2014

125H The Craft of Speaking I: Vocal Freedom

A beginning studio course in the development of voice for speaking. Students develop range and tone through regular physical exercises in relaxation, breathing technique, placement, and presence. Individual attention focuses on helping each student develop the physical, mental, and emotional self-awareness needed for expressive vocal production. Practice is oriented toward acting for the stage, but students with a primary interest in public speaking, teaching, or improved interpersonal communication will find this course valuable. A modicum of reading and written reflection is required.  Three class meetings per week. Limited to 28 students from among those who attend the first class meeting, admitted based on class year and major.  Early registration does not confer enrollment priority.

Fall semester.  Professor Bashford.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2015

142H Contemporary Dance Techniques: West African

The study and practice of contemporary movement vocabularies, including regional dance forms, contact improvisation and various modern dance techniques. Because the specific genres and techniques will vary from semester to semester, the course may be repeated for credit. Objectives include the intellectual and physical introduction to this discipline as well as increased body awareness, alignment, flexibility, coordination, strength, musical phrasing and the expressive potential of movement. The course material is presented at the beginning/intermediate level.

Fall semester. Five College Lecturer Sylla.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2015

150 Performing Modernity in Contemporary Spanish Theatre

(Offered as SPAN 242, EUST 252, and THDA 150.)  Spain’s recent past has been characterized by its anxiety over becoming a modern European nation. Playwriting has responded by dealing with topics such as drug use, sexualities, youth culture, and social problems. This course examines the social, historical and cultural transformation Spain has undergone over the last thirty years. We will read plays by José Luis Alonso de Santos, Juan Mayorga, Paloma Pedrero and Alfredo Sanzol among others. Readings will be supplemented with adaptations of the plays in theatre, film, and television, secondary bibliography, and in-class performances. Conducted in Spanish.

Requisite: SPAN 199, 211 or 212 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 15 students. Priority given to Spanish majors. Omitted 2015-16 Visiting Professor Rodriguez-Solas.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014

160 Dynamics of Play Reading: Elements, Structures, Paradigms

In this course, students explore elements of dramatic literature and their implications for audience experiences in performance. Character, language, spectacle, plot, rhythm, and theme are studied in the light of dynamic audience response in real time and space. Particular emphasis is placed on exploring the legacy of classical form and later evolutionary and innovative responses to it. In addition to exercises in analytical and descriptive writing, students undertake experiential projects that explore distinctive theatrical conventions of the plays studied. When possible, course activities may also include attending live performances.  Exemplary plays are chosen for their contrasting qualities, from antiquity to the present, including plays by Euripides, Shakespeare, Ibsen, Shaw, Brecht, Churchill and Kushner, among others. Two class meetings per week.

Spring semester. Professor Bashford.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Fall 2010, Spring 2012, Spring 2016

209 Contemporary Dance Technique and Repertory Modern 3/4

This course will include studio sessions in contemporary modern/jazz dance technique at the intermediate level and rehearsal sessions to create original choreography; the completed piece(s) will be presented in concert at the end of the semester. The emphasis in the course will be to increase expressive range, technical skills and performance versatility of the dancer through the practice, creation and performance of technique and choreography. In addition, the course will include required readings, the viewing of dance videos and live performances to give an increased understanding of the historical and contemporary context for the work.  Audition for course enrollment will be held the first day of class.

Omitted 2015-16.   Five College Professor Matteson.

2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2013

210 Modern Dance Technique and Repertory

Instructor:  Idan Cohen

This course provides an opportunity for intermediate/advanced dancers to refine technical skills in contemporary dance and deepen the understanding of the body as an instrument of expression.  The class will combine a technical warm up focusing on virtuosity and strength to improve the dancer's physical abilities, alertness and performance quality.

Students will then learn, rehearse and perform set choreography as part of I Capulleti e I Montecchi- a dance opera directed by Israeli choreographer Idan Cohen; this work will premiere in at the end of the spring semester with students and professional dancers and musicians.

Audition for course enrollment will be held the first day of class.

 

2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016

211 Movement and Opera

This course will examine different ways to create strong interactions between movement and song in contemporary opera.  While In a traditional opera the singers sing and speak, expressing themselves primarily through song and the spoken word, contemporary productions often require singers to combine singing, moving and acting in surprising ways.  Also, in many contemporary dance practices dancers are required to use their voices as part of the choreographic concept. This course will focus on specific methods for combining singing and moving in experimental ways and bring some of these experiments to the stage. The course will use the story of the Italian opera I Capuleti e I Montechhi (The Capulets and the Montagues), a two act opera by Vincenzo Bellini and libretto by Felice Romani, as a way to inspire experiments in movement, text and song.  A production of this opera will be staged in the spring semester by visiting artist/choreographer Idan Cohen. A central focus will be on the idea of communication between the rival parties in the libretto (The Capulets and Montagues), emphasizing the interaction of the different medias--music and dance--through which the story will be portrayed. Students in this course will work alongside the professional guest artists in exploring different aesthetics and possibilities for integrating dance and song in experimental ways.

Limited to 20 students. Spring Semester. Visiting Lecturer Cohen.

2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016

216H Contemporary Dance Techniques: Modern 4/5

The study and practice of contemporary movement vocabularies, including regional dance forms, contact improvisation and various modern dance techniques. Objectives include the intellectual and physical introduction to this discipline as well as increased body awareness, alignment, flexibility, coordination, strength, musical phrasing and the expressive potential of movement. The course material is presented at the intermediate/advanced level.  A half course.  Because the specific genres and techniques will vary from semester to semester, the course may be repeated for credit.

Fall semester. Visiting Lecturer Martin.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2015

217H Contemporary Dance Techniques: Modern/Ballet 4

The study and practice of contemporary movement vocabularies, including regional dance forms, contact improvisation and various modern dance techniques. Objectives include the intellectual and physical introduction to this discipline as well as increased body awareness, alignment, flexibility, coordination, strength, musical phrasing and the expressive potential of movement. The course material is presented at the intermediate/advanced level.  A half course.  Because the specific genres and techniques will vary from semester to semester, the course may be repeated for credit.

Omitted 2015-16.

2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013

225H The Craft of Speaking II: Spoken Expression

In this second course in the craft of speaking, students learn to shape and speak text to powerful effect. Students build on prior work to extend vocal range and capacity while learning component principles of spoken expression. Articulation, inflection, methods of contrast and interpretation, tone, verbal imaging and aural structures of poetry and rhetoric are practiced in a studio setting. Emphasis is placed on personal engagement and presence to others while speaking. Assignments in text scoring and memorization support class work. The course culminates in presentations of prepared texts. Two class meetings per week.

Requisite:  THDA 125H.  Spring semester.  Professor Bashford.

2014-15: Offered in Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2016

226 Black Protest Traditions in American Dance

African American dance and music traditions have played a critical role in the African-American struggle to sustain its humanity--- to express joy and pain corporeally through a particular relationship to rhythm. This class explores the forms, contents, and contexts of black traditions that played a crucial role in shaping American dance, looking at how expressive cultural forms from the African diaspora have been transferred from the social space to the concert stage. Viewing American cultural history through the lens of movement and performance, we begin with an exploration of social dance during slavery and the late nineteenth century, when vibrant social dances insisted that black bodies, generally relegated to long hours of strenuous labor, devote themselves to pleasure as well. We will then look at how the cakewalking of Ada Overton and George Walker, proto-feminist singing of Bessie Smith, stair-dances of Bill Robinson, protest choreographies of Katherine Dunham and Pearl Primus, and hip-hop performances of Rennie Harris can be viewed as corporeal embodiments of the centuries-long freedom struggle-- whether non-violent, confrontational or contestational--and how these modes of performance reflect an increasingly independent free black voice demanding equal inclusion in the body politic.

2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015

227 Knowing Bodies, Moving Minds: Community in Motion

In this course, students investigate how the arts – specifically, dance and movement – can be used in a collaborative fashion to extend various forms of knowledge within a specific community. The course considers "knowing" as a phenomenon situated in the human body, in ways that may be physical, social, emotional, and intellectual. Students learn models and philosophies of community arts education and apply them in practice, first with one another, and then working with students at a local high school. One class per week is devoted to theory, reflection, and preparation; the other class each week is used to facilitate movement exchanges with high school students. The course also includes frequent written reflection, online discussion, and the creation of interactive campus and community arts projects. Readings include the educational theories of Dewey, Whitehead, and Paulo Freire, along with feminist theories of the body as a site of knowledge.

Omitted 2015-16.

2014-15: Offered in Spring 2015

228 Feminist Performance

(Offered as THDA 228 and SWAG 228.)  The Women’s Liberation Movement dramatically affected the American social and intellectual climate of the 1970s. In art, as in education, medicine, and politics, women sought equality and economic parity as they actively fought against the mainstream values that had been used to exclude them.  Performance art proved to be an ideal match for the feminist agenda--it was personal, immediate, and highly effective in communicating an alternate view of power in the world. Artists explored autobiography, the female body, myth, and politics, and played a crucial role in developing and expanding the very nature of performance, consciously uniting the agendas of social politics with art. This class will take us from Yoko Ono’s performances of "Cut Piece" and the Judson Dance Theater's proto-feminist experiments of the 1960s to the radical guerilla-style performances of the 1970s and beyond, where the body was the contested site for debates about the nature of gender, ethnicity and sexuality. We will be looking at works that were not polite demands for legislative change, but raw and sloppy theatrical displays and ecstatic bonding experiences that managed to be at once satirical and celebratory, alienating and illuminating.

Omitted 2015-16.

 

2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2012

229 Chekhov and His Theater

(Offered as RUSS 229 and THDA 229). Anton Chekhov's reputation rests as much on his dramaturgy as on his fiction. His plays, whose staging by the Moscow Art Theater helped revolutionize Russian and world theater, endure in the modern repertoire. In this course, we will study his dramatic oeuvre in its cultural and historical context, drawing on the biographical and critical literature on Chekhov, printed and visual materials concerning the late nineteenth-century European theater, and the writings of figures like Constantin Stanislavsky, who developed a new acting method in response to Chekhov's art. We also will examine key moments in the production history of Chekhov's plays in Russian, English, and American theater and film.

Omitted 2014-15.

2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2014

230 The Instrument:  Body of Work

“All theatre is about paying attention.”  Andrei Serban

This studio course will offer techniques that foster expansive physical and emotional concentration as well as the development of character through improvisation scores and within scene work.  As performers of theater, students will explore issues of voice, body and imagination by refining inherent resources with specificity of action and articulate expression.

Two two-hour sessions per week.  Previous theater and / or dance experience recommended.  Readings in acting theory accompany the discipline of weekly physical explorations.

Requisite: THDA 113. Spring semester. Visiting Lecturer Schmitz.

2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2013, Spring 2016

242 Plays in Play: The Ensemble and the Playwright

In this course, students conduct rehearsal investigations into the work of a particular playwright, and explore ways in which coordinated action renders dramatic writing in theatrical form.  In addition to examining selected plays and background material, students develop ensemble techniques of play, improvisation, and staging.  Emphasis is placed on the communicative means required to develop a shared vision.  This course is open to students interested in any aspect of play production but is required for students who want to do advanced work in directing in the department.  All students should expect to act, co-direct, conduct research, and explore basic visual design implications together.  The course will culminate in a workshop-style performance, and group rehearsals outside of class meeting times are required.  This course may be repeated once when the selected playwright is different.  The playwright for Fall 2015 is Anton Chekhov.

Requisite: A prior college-level course in theater or permission of the instructor. Not open to first-year students. Limited to 24 students.  Fall semester. Professor Bashford. 

 

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Fall 2012, Fall 2015

250 Video Production: Bodies in Motion

(Offered as THDA 250 and FAMS 341.)  This studio production class will focus on multiple ways of tracking, viewing, and capturing bodies in motion. The course will emphasize working with the camera as an extension of the body to explore radically different points of view and senses of focus. We will experiment with different techniques and different kinds of bodies (human, animal, and object) to bring a heightened awareness of kinesthetic involvement, animation and emotional immediacy to the bodies on screen and behind the camera. In addition, we will interject and follow bodies into different perceptions of time, progression, place and relationship. In the process, we will express various experiences and theories of embodiment and question what constitutes a body. Depending on student interests, final projects can range from choreographies for the camera to fictional narratives to documentary studies. The class will alternate between camera sessions, both in the studio and on location, and sessions in the editing suite working with Final Cut Pro.

Requisite: Previous experience in composition. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2015-16. Professor Woodson.

2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Spring 2012, Spring 2014

251 Intermediate Composition: Making Dances

This course will provide strategies and approaches for developing choreography. Solo, duet and small group exercises in and out of class will generate inventive movement that will be the source material for each student in the making of a new dance. These dances will be performed in various stages of development throughout the semester as works-in-progress. Emphasis will be placed on continuous revision and a willingness to throw the creative process into the public forum as a means of gaining information for further work. Two two-hour class meetings per week and weekly lab/rehearsals. 

Consent of the instructor is required for students without a previous dance composition course.  Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2015-16.  Professor Matteson.

2014-15: Offered in Spring 2015

252 Scripts and Scores

This course will provide structures and approaches for creating original choreography, performance pieces and events. An emphasis will be placed on interdisciplinary and experimental approaches to composition, choreography, and performance making. These approaches include working with text and movement, visual systems and environments, music, sound and chance scores to inspire and include in performance. Students will create and perform dance, theater, or performance art pieces for both traditional theater spaces and for found (indoor and outdoor) spaces.

This course is open to dancers and actors as well as interested students from other media and disciplines. Two two-hour class meetings per week and weekly lab/rehearsal sessions. Consent of the instructor is required for students with no experience in improvisation or composition.

Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Professor Woodson.

2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2012, Spring 2014, Spring 2016

254 Sound Design for Live Performance

What is the role of sound in live performance, and how is it designed and produced?  This course provides an introduction to the fundamentals of sound design in live performance contexts from both technical and artistic perspectives.  Students will explore the fundamentals of audio production and acoustics through a series of short projects, covering a range of topics from using various sound-editing software applications, including ProTools, Logic and other DAW platforms, to live sound reinforcement principles. Special consideration will be given to software environments (QLab) dedicated to live playback and design of acoustic spaces, and we will examine strategies for developing an efficient, real-world approach to the technical rehearsal process.  Throughout the course, we will consider interpretive skills needed for imagining sound design opportunities in various script, dance, and performance-oriented collaborations.  The course will culminate in a final project that integrates technical and artistic problem-solving skills related to creating sound for a live performance.

Requisite: One prior practice-of-arts course in theater and dance, music or studio art, or equivalent experience. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2015-16. Visiting Lecturer Robinson.

2014-15: Offered in Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2012, Spring 2014

260 Costume Design and Fashion History

An introduction to the analytical methods and skills necessary for the creation of costumes for theater and dance with emphasis on the integration of costume with other visual elements. Western costume history. Lab work in costume construction.

Requisite: THDA 112 or consent of the instructor.  Limited to 8 students.  Fall semester.  Professor Dougan.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2015

261 Lighting Design

An introduction to the theory and techniques of theatrical lighting, with emphasis on the aesthetic and practical aspects of the field as well as the principles of light and color.

Requisite: THDA 112 or consent of the instructor. Lab work in lighting technology.  Fall semester. Resident Lighting Designer Couch.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Spring 2013, Fall 2015

263 Scene Design

The materials, techniques and concepts which underlie the design and creation of the theatrical environment.

Requisite: THDA 112 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 8 students. Spring semester. Professor Dougan.

2014-15: Offered in Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2016

270 Playwriting I

A workshop in writing for the stage. The semester will begin with exercises that lead to the making of short plays and, by the end of the term, longer plays-ten minutes and up in length. Writing will be done in and out of class; students’ work will be discussed in the workshop and in private conferences. At the end of the term, the student will submit a portfolio of revisions of all the exercises, including the revisions of all plays.

Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 15 students. Not open to first-year students. Spring semesters. Playwright-in-Residence Congdon.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014 and Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2016

280 Words and Music for Theatrical Performance

(Offered as THDA 280 and MUSI 260.) Conducted as a collaborative workshop among student writers and composers, this course explores the close relationship between words and music. While working together on new music/text pieces for the stage, we will seek to arrive at various definitions of "music theater." In addition to ongoing creative assignments, we will examine existing works in various genres, including songs, musical theater, opera and other experimental forms.  Featured writers and composers will include Brecht and Weill, Auden/Kallman and Stravinsky, Sondheim and Bernstein, and Goodman and Adams, among others. Although students with varied experience in musical composition and/or creative writing will be admitted, all students should expect both to write text, to compose music and to work together doing so. Regular class meetings will be supplemented by individual tutorials. The course will culminate in a public performance of final projects created in collaboration with other students.  

Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 16 students. Omitted 2015-16. Professor Bashford.

 

2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013

285 Collaborative Dramaturgy

In this course, students explore the function of the dramaturg in the process of theatrical creation, collaborating with directing, acting, and design students on projects created in Directing Studio (THDA 380).  Student dramaturgs learn to conduct various methods of play analysis and targeted research concerning the work of given playwrights, their cultural milieus, and past production histories.  As collaborative work proceeds, students learn to tailor additional research and analysis in concert with rehearsal activities.  Activities include written analysis and synthesis of their findings, rehearsal and performance analysis, oral critique, and participation in creative conversations.  Special emphasis is placed on developing skills in effective written and oral communication with actors, directors, and designers in support of a shared artistic vision.  This course is appropriate for students interested in developing analytical skills related to the processes of directing, design, playwrighting, and the study of dramatic literature more generally.  Two class meetings per week, and students should expect to attend a significant number of rehearsal and performance events outside of class meeting times.  

Requisite: One prior college course in the arts or dramatic literature, or permission of the instructor.  Limited to 24 students. Omitted 2015-16. Professor Bashford. 

 

2014-15: Offered in Spring 2015

330 Rehearsal

An advanced course in acting. The class will focus upon the actor’s close analysis of the playwright’s script to define specific problems and to set out tactics for their solutions. The interaction of the actor’s creative work outside rehearsal and the work within rehearsal will be delineated by assigned exercises.

Requisite: THDA 113 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 16 students. Omitted 2015-16.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Spring 2013

340 Directing Studio

This is a studio course in leading collaborators toward completed theatrical interpretations of dramatic texts. Each student director independently produces and directs two medium-length, site-specific projects. Reading, writing, and class sessions are devoted to the practice of directing and to discussion of problems and approaches. Topics include the articulation of coherent artistic intent, the role of the audience in performance, and the use of space, sound and light. Studio exercises are employed to support directorial techniques. In addition, this course considers organizational and research methods related to successful production, and, when possible, students will collaborate with student designers and dramaturgs enrolled in related courses. Two class meetings per week. Students should expect to schedule a significant amount of rehearsal time outside of class meetings for the successful completion of projects.

Requisite:  One of the following: THDA 240, 242, 252 or equivalent college-level experience with consent of the instructor. Spring semester. Professor Bashford.

2014-15: Offered in Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2016

350 Video and Performance

This advanced production class will give students an opportunity to explore various relationships between live performance and video. Experiments will include creating short performance pieces and/or choreography specifically designed for the video medium; creating short pieces that include both live performance and projected video; and creating short experimental video pieces that emphasize a sense of motion in their conceptualization, and realization. Techniques and languages from dance and theater composition will be used to expand and inform approaches to video production and vice-versa. Sessions include studio practice (working with digital cameras and Final Cut Pro digital editing) and regular viewing and critiques. Students will work both independently and in collaborative teams according to interest and expertise.

Requisite: Previous experience in theater, dance, music composition, and/or video production or consent of the instructor. Limited to 10 students. Spring semester.  Professor Woodson.

2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2016

352 Performance in Place: Site Specific 

(Offered as THDA 352, FAMS 342 and MUSI 352.)  The focus of this studio course will be to create performances, events, happenings and installations in multiple locations both on and off campus.  This course is especially designed for students in dance, theater, film/video, art, music and creative writing who want to explore the challenges and potentials in creating performances outside of traditional "frames" or venues (e.g., the theater, the gallery, the lecture hall, etc.). At the center of our inquiry will be questions of space, place and community.  In the first few weeks of the semester we will tour different sites and research multiple historical and contemporary examples of site-specific performances and artists across media. We will then select different sites--based on student interest and location access--and spend the rest of the semester creating events/performances on site.  Students will work in collaborative teams to create these performances for these places.  Interaction with communities at these sites will also be explored, connecting the artistic work to community engagement and raising awareness of the issues and ethics involved in site-specific performance. These projects will be performed in process and at the end of the semester in a three-day festival. Different guest artists in dance, theater, art, sound and political activism will join the class and work with designated groups.  (Class meeting Fridays 1-4; outside rehearsal/lab sessions TBA.)

Requisite: Previous experience in improvisation and/or composition in dance, theater, performance, film/video, music/sound, installation, creative writing, and/or design is required. Omitted 2015-16.  Professor Woodson with Guest Artists.

 

2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013

353 Performance Studio

(Offered as THDA 353 and FAMS 345.)  

In this advanced course in the techniques of creating performance, each student will create and rehearse a performance piece that develops and incorporates original choreography, text, music, sounds and / or video. Improvisational and collaborative structures and approaches among and within different media will be investigated.  The final performance pieces will be presented in the Holden Theater. 

Two ninety-minute class sessions per week.  There will be weekly mandatory showings.  These showings are a working document of the important and  necessary vicissitudes within a creative process.   

Requisite: THDA 252 or the equivalent and consent of the instructor. Fall semester. Visiting Lecturer Schmitz.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2015

360 Design Studio

An advanced course in the arts of theatrical design. Primary focus is on the communication of design ideas and concepts with other theater artists. Also considered is the process by which developing theatrical ideas and images are realized. Students will undertake specific projects in scenic, costume and/or lighting design and execute them in the context of the Department’s production program or in other approved circumstances. Examples of possible assignments include designing workshop productions, and assisting faculty and staff designers with major responsibilities in full-scale production. In all cases, detailed analysis of the text and responsible collaboration will provide the basis of the working method. May be repeated for credit.

Requisite: THDA 260, 261, 263 or consent of the instructor. Fall and spring semesters. Professor Dougan.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014 and Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2015, Spring 2016

363 Design Studio II

This course is a continuation of THDA 360, an advanced course in the arts of theatrical design. Primary focus is on the communication of design ideas and concepts with other theater artists. Also considered is the process by which developing theatrical ideas and images are realized. Students will undertake specific projects in scenic, costume and/or lighting design and execute them in the context of the department’s production program or in other approved circumstances. Students in this course will design for a full-scale production. In all cases, detailed analysis of the text and responsible collaboration will provide the basis of the working method. May be repeated for credit.

Requisite: THDA 260, 261, or 263 or consent of the instructor.  Fall and spring semesters. Professor Dougan.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014 and Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2015, Spring 2016

370 Playwriting Studio

A workshop/seminar for writers who want to complete a full-length play or series of plays. Emphasis will be on bringing a script to a level where it is ready for the stage. Although there will be some exercises in class to continue the honing of playwriting skills and the study of plays by established writers as a means of exploring a wide range of dramatic vocabularies, most of the class time will be spent reading and commenting on the plays of the workshop members as these plays progress from the first draft to a finished draft.

Requisite: THDA 270 or the equivalent. Admission with consent of the instructor.  Limited to 10 students. Spring semester. Playwright-in-Residence Congdon.

2014-15: Offered in Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Spring 2014

400H Production Studio

An advanced course in the production of Theater and Dance works. Primary focus will be on the integration of the individual student into a leadership role within the Department’s producing structure. Each student will accept a specific responsibility with a departmental production team testing his or her artistic, managerial, critical, and problem-solving skills.  A half course.

Admission with consent of the instructor. Not open to first-year students. Fall and spring semesters. The Department.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014 and Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2015, Spring 2016

490 Special Topics

Independent Reading Course. Full course.

Admission with consent of the instructor. Fall and spring semesters. The Department.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014 and Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2015, Spring 2016

498, 499 Senior Departmental Honors

For Honors candidates in Theater and Dance.

Open to seniors. Fall semester. The Department.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2015
 
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