Duke University Dance Program
Art as Work: Valuing Labor in the Arts (graduate/undergraduate seminar)
Interdisciplinary seminar on work, working identities, and workplace performances in the arts. Enrolled graduates and advanced undergraduates review theories of artistic production, labor, and value across the analytical traditions of cultural labor studies, critical race and feminist studies, dance and performance studies. Analysis of dominant representations of arts labor and entrepreneurship from arts management, administration and policy discourse. Our goal is to highlight institutional pressures that constrain enabling environments for the arts. Culminating research projects analyze and interpret local arts workworlds, including but necessarily students' own.
Special Topics in Interdisciplinary Performance
Arts production seminar casts students as an interdisciplinary team exploring the a wide range of expressive media in live performance. Workshops and course case studies led by instructor and invited guests develop skills in movement, theatre, performance, music/sound design, video projection and live processing. This FULL CREDIT production arts seminar requires ongoing student-driven creative responses to agreed upon themes. Culminates in the public presentation of student-driven, collaborative performance works at the Rubenstein Arts Center. No formal arts training or experience necessary.
Theories of Corporeality (graduate seminar)
This graduate seminar explores theoretical frames for articulating the urgency and significance of the body as a non-negotiable power source. Course literature embraces a broad swath of disciplinary inroads to corporeality studies and draws significantly although not exclusively from the disciplines of dance, performance studies and critical area studies theorists and debates. Required readings, viewings, analysis of performance texts, guest presentations and movement workshops draw surgical attention to the body as a site of meaning making, knowledge and change. Students body forth knowledge in conversation, writing, and in-class movement activities that put theoretical concepts on their feet, so to speak. Course culminates in the creation of an original research project. The course is adaptive and open to Duke graduate students of all interests and abilities. Zero dance experience is required.
Improvisation (undergraduate studio)
The purpose of this practical dance course is to develop students’ capacity to engage in critically embodied choice-making using dance as a primary research framework. Following dance scholar Danielle Goldman (2010), we reject dominant associations of improvisation with “freedom” or unbridled expression, instead defining improvisation as a practice of moving in response to known and constraints. The course structure begins by introducing students to dance traditions from EuroAmerican, African, and Latin diasporas where the capacity to improvise danced movement is differentially valued. Next, students will draw from their respective movement histories in workshops that use improvisation to create choreography. Course readings, viewings, and intermittent field trips expose class participants to significant figures who use dance improvisation in performance. No formal dance training or background is required. All abilities welcome.
Movement in Question: Introduction to Critical Dance Studies
This writing-intensive seminar casts undergraduate students as a research team engaging in multiple ways with the interdisciplinary field of critical dance studies. Students read and analyze foundational texts and theories in the discipline, develop capacity to interpretively analyze movement across a range of contexts, and practically engage in embodied activities that make gaps between textual representation and embodiment visible. This hybrid approach throws movement into question and centralizes dance as a critical way of knowing and making the world. Final Research Projects include conventional academic papers or choreographed performances that engage issues raised in the course. Zero dance experience required. All interests and abilities welcomed.
Fall 2018, Fall 2019
Introduction to Dance (undergraduate hybrid)
This introductory undergraduate dance seminar situates dance as an art form that responds to and influences the shifting artistic and cultural landscape of contemporary society. Our context-specific approach is interdisciplinary and multi-modal. In other words, we embrace reading, writing, speaking, seeing, making, and practical engagement with dance traditions and techniques as rigorous modes of investigation. Students will read and discuss cross-cultural dance literatures, critically respond to and choreographically analyze live and recorded dance performances and participate in dance experiences that evidence how dance produces meaning in local contexts. Intermittent movement labs challenge students to reflect on their own embodied choice making. Students with and without dance experience are encouraged to join this critical investigation of dance as a cultural practice that uniquely foregrounds the body’s capacity to produce a politics.
Institute for Curatorial and Performance Practice (ICPP)
Visiting Assistant Professor - graduate program in performance curation
Entrepreneurial Strategies for Curatorial Practice (2018-2019, 2019-2020)
(co-taught with Dr. Paul Bonin-Rodriguez)
This graduate course for curators introduces students to a variety of creative strategies, practices, and resources that curators draw on to successfully build artistic projects from the idea phase through implementation, assessment, and next steps. To do this work, students will study a range of materials related to arts policy, entrepreneurship, and curatorial practice while also meeting with key artists and professionals. By the year’s end, students should be able to strategically build programming that leverages resources, but also addresses the needs of partners, audiences, and other key stakeholders.
Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies (TAPS)
Movement and Gesture: Dance, Media, and Theory
This graduate seminar functions as a laboratory on writing the body and writing movement across the intra-disciplines of dance, media, and performance studies. In it, we will rehearse methods of writing bodies in/and movement, human and nonhuman, that have emerged in dance and performance scholarship over the past four decades. We will integrate literatures from political philosophy, economy, and phenomenology to show how writing movement and writing gesture performs across the humanities more broadly. Combining reading, writing, viewing, and practical explorations, students will reconsider habits of seeing and sensing the body in relationship to their own graduate projects.
The Activist Body
What does it mean to be a politically responsive body in the current historical moment?
The current explosion of activist activity on and beyond college campuses has been called a “movement moment” (McCarthy, 2017), signaling an urgent need to address what it means to be a politically responsive body in the world today. This course examines activism as a topic and performance practice rooted in the body’s capacity to disrupt the political status quo. Building from the growing literature on protest and social movement in dance and performance studies, students will theorize activism and agentic embodiment, analyze cultural events that claim activist intentions, and body forth activist strategies and manifestos in weekly movement sessions. In class activities are multi-modal and include: responding to course readings, viewing and discussing activist case studies, observing and documenting activist repertoires in and beyond the Brown campus, and participation in movement sessions facilitated in class by the instructor and invited guests. Final research projects can take the form of academic papers, activist syllabi/curricula or staged interventions in the virtual or physical realm. To compliment these activities, students are required to attend the one-day Activist Body Symposium on Friday, September 29th, 2017 at the Granoff Center and Lyman Hall, a free arts and humanities convening that features twenty perspectives on political embodiment and social movement, broadly defined.