Marlboro College – Dance
ART 2217  – Dance in World Cultures
Spring 2009

Instructor: Kristin Horrigan         Class Time: MTh 1:30-3:20
E-mail:         Class Location: Dance Seminar Room
Office Phone: 258-9278         Credits: 4
Office Hours: by appointment  (M, W, Th, F)      Prerequisites: Permission of the Instructor

Course Description
In this course, we will explore what dance means in a variety of cultures around the world, while considering the challenges inherent in viewing and analyzing dance that comes from outside one’s own cultural traditions. Class work will be based in discussion of readings and dance films, but the course will also include a number of studio master classes with guest artists. While this course is open to all students, it aims in particular to provide students intending to pursue Plan work in dance a foundation for tutorial level work in dance history, theory, and writing.

Course Objectives
Upon completion of this course the student will demonstrate:
• A knowledge of theoretical concepts and terminology relevant to scholarly analysis of world dance cultures
• A set of questions and tools for analyzing dances on both a micro level (movement vocabulary, performance qualities, compositional structure, etc.) and a macro level (cultural meaning, context, etc.)
• The ability to write clearly and effectively about dance
• The ability think critically about dance scholarship, dance film, and dance experiences and to integrate visual, textual, and kinesthetic information
• An understanding of movement as a way of knowing and dance as culture

Requirements:  Read
  Come to class
  Participate actively in class discussions 
  Complete weekly writing assignments and final project
  Make time for master classes outside of regular class time
  Work well with others

Participation in class is a necessary component of this course.  Excessive absence will affect your quality of participation grade.  If more than 6 classes are missed, no credit will be given for this course.  Students are responsible for work missed due to absence.

Out of respect for others, please arrive on time to class.  Late arrivals will affect your quality of participation grade.

Required Texts:

Gere, David ed.  Looking Out.  New York: Schirmer Books, 1995. 
*While this text is central to the course, it is not available in the bookstore due to an ordering problem.  You will need to read portions of this text on-line as directed in class. 

Castaldi, Francesca.  Choreographies of African Identities: Négritude, Dance, and the National
Ballet of Senegal.  Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2006. 

Spindel, Carol.  Dancing at Halftime: Sports and the Controversy over American Indian Mascots. 
New York: New York University Press, 2002.

Numerous additional articles will be made available on reserve or in class in accordance with the reading assignments and bibliography listed on the following pages. 


1.  Readings and Videos
Students will be assigned approximately 75-100 pages of reading per week.  See class
calendar for specific assignments.  Students will also be asked to view 1-2 videos per
week on reserve in the dance seminar room. 

2.  Short Writing Assignments
Students will be asked to write short papers and/or responses to reading assignments each week.  Guidelines will be given for most assignments.  In the absence of specific questions or discussion topics, students writing a reading response may choose to analyze any one of the texts, compare two texts, raise questions for discussion, or relate the text(s) to critical frameworks used in class.  In the reading responses, students are encouraged to cite the text(s) specifically and to develop one or two ideas in a focused way over the course of 1-2 pages.  To receive full credit, writing assignments must be submitted before or at the start of the class at which they are due to be discussed.  Some writing assignments will be shared in class for peer review, and students may be asked to revisit their writings for further editing during the course of the semester.  The bulk of the writing in this course will be done through these short papers and assignments.   

3.  Final Paper
Students are asked to write a final paper of 5-8 pages that draws upon the course material and develops an idea or inquiry in more depth than we were able to cover in class.  Specific guidelines for this assignment will be developed over the course of the semester.  Students should keep track of topics of interest as they come up during the semester.
One-page proposal due:  April 9
Outline due:  April 27
Paper due:  May 4 (for peer review in class)
Revised paper due:  May 9

4.  Master Classes
Because of the number of master classes we will (hopefully!) have this semester, we will need to arrange for some meetings outside of our regularly scheduled class time in order to fit them all in.  Students must make an effort to participate in the scheduling process and be available for these experiences. 

Suggested Local Performances:
Dance Brazil, Saturday, February 14, 8pm, Williams College
Luis Bravo: Forever Tango, Friday, February 27, 8pm, UMass Amherst
Trinity Irish Dance, Friday, March 27, 8pm, UMass Amherst
Trinity Irish Dance Company, Saturday, March 28, 8pm, Colonial Theater, Keene, NH
Nrityagram Dance Ensemble of India, Tuesday, April 21, 7pm, Dartmouth College

If scheduling permits, we will make a class trip to one of these performances.  Students who miss a master class, may attend an additional performance and arrange to complete a writing assignment for make-up credit. 

Quality of Participation 35
Reading Responses, Short Papers and On-Line Posts 50
Final Paper 15

This syllabus is subject to modification by the instructor at any point during the semester.


Azzi, Maria Susana, Simon Collier, Artemis Cooper, and Richard Martin.  Tango.  London:
Thames and Hudson, 1995.
Bach, Faith.  “New Directions in Kabuki.”  Asian Theatre Journal.  6.1 (1989): 77-89.
Banes, Sally.  Dancing Women: Female Bodies on Stage.  New York: Routledge, 1998.
Banes, Sally.  Writing Dancing in the Age of Postmodernism.  Hanover, NH: Wesleyan
University Press, 1994.
Castaldi, Francesca.  Choreographies of African Identities: Négritude, Dance, and the National
Ballet of Senegal.  Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2006.
Chakravorty, Pallabi.  “From Interculturalism to Historicism: Reflections on Classical Indian
Dance.”  Dance Research Journal.  32.2 (2000-2001): 108-119.
Claus, Madeleine.  “Baile Flamenco.”  Flamenco.  Ed. Claus Schreiner.  Portland, OR: Amadeus
Press, 1990.  89-120.
Daniel, Yvonne.  Dancing Wisdom: Embodied Knowledge in Haitain Vodou, Cuban Yoruba,
and Bahian Candomblé.  Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2005. 
Desmond, Jane. “Embodying Difference.”  Meaning in Motion: New Cultural Studies of Dance. 
Ed. Jane Desmond. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1997.  29-54.
Dils, Ann and Ann Cooper Albright, eds.  Moving History/Dancing Cultures: A Dance History
Reader. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2001.
Dunham, Katherine.  Island Possessed.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1969.
Ernst, Earle.  “Notes on the Form of Kabuki, II.”  Educational Theater Journal.  6.4 (1954): 303-
Gere, David ed.  Looking Out.  New York: Schirmer Books, 1995. 
Ohno, Kazuo and Yoshito Ohno.  Kazuo Ohno’s World: from without and within.  Trans. John
Barrett.  Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2004.
Sachs, Curt.  World History of the Dance.  New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1937.
Savigliano, Marta.  Tango and the Political Economy of Passion.  San Francisco, CA: Westview
Press, 1995.
Spindel, Carol.  Dancing at Halftime: Sports and the Controversy over American Indian Mascots. 
New York: New York University Press, 2002.
Thiel-Cramér, Barbara.  Flamenco: The Art of Flamenco, its History and Development until our
Days.  Lidingö, Sweden: Remark, 1991. 
Vissicaro, Peggy. Studying Dance Cultures Around the World: An Introduction to Multicultural
Dance Education.  Debuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 2004.
Washabaugh, William.  Flamenco: Passion, Politics, and Popular Culture.  Washington D.C.:
Berg, 1996. 
Williams, Drid.  Anthropology and the Dance: Ten Lectures.  Chicago: University of Illinois
Press, 1991, 2004.

Class Calendar:

January 26 Readings Due: Ann Dils and Ann Cooper Albright, “Looking at World Dance”
(in Moving History/Dancing Cultures)
Deidre Sklar, “Five Premises for a Culturally Sensitive Approach
to Dance” (MH/DC)
Assignments Due:  Think about all the dance you have seen (live and on film) and done.  Make a list of these experiences.  Try to be as comprehensive as possible.  Make a separate list of dances or dance forms you have heard of but not seen or done.

January 29 Readings Due: Joann Kealiinohomoku, “An Anthropologist Looks at Ballet as a
Form of Ethnic Dance” (MH/DC)
Curt Sachs (choose excerpts to read, on reserve in classroom)
Drid Williams, “Why Do People Dance?”
Peggy Vissicaro, “The Comparative Framework”
Sally Banes, “The Romantic Ballet: Giselle”
Assignments Due: Reading response

February 2 Readings Due: Jane Desmond, “Embodying Difference”
Assignments Due: Write “Personal Emic” (approx. 3 pages) and bring a paper copy to class for peer review
  Be prepared to present (briefly) one section of Desmond

February 5 Readings Due: Looking Out, Intro and Chapters 1-3
Assignments Due: Reading Response – Make a list of terms and concepts that
will be useful when we get to looking at dance cultures from around the world.  Define and discuss a few that you most want to remember.

February 9 Readings Due: Looking Out, Chapters 11 and 14
Sally Banes, “Writing Dancing”
Assignments Due:  Post terms and definitions to class glossary on Courses

February 12 Readings Due: Francesca Castaldi, “Introduction”
Assignments Due: Short paper about dance film (approx. 3 pages)

February 16 Readings Due: Castaldi Chapters 1-4
Assignments Due: Search YouTube for relevant dance clips
Open Reading Response

February 19 Readings Due: Castaldi Chapters 6, 7 and Conclusion
(Chapter 8 optional)
Assignments Due: Make notes for discussion (no formal RR due)

Marilyn and Sekou Sylla, African Dance Master Class (TBA)

February 23 Readings Due: Yvonne Daniel, Chapter 1
Katherine Dunham, Chapters 6 (optional) and 7
Assignment Due: Reflect on the term “ritual.”  Define it on your own first.
Then seek others’ definitions.  How do these definitions connect with the examples in the text?  Post definitions on the Courses site and be prepared to discuss your findings in class. (no written response due in class)

Emily Peck, Afro-Cuban Master Class (TBA)

February 26 No class – ACDF

March 2 Readings Due: None
Assignments Due: None

March 5 Readings Due: Barbara Browning, “Headspin: Capoeira’s Ironic Inversions”
Additional Capoeira article TBA
Assignments Due: Prepare notes for class discussion
See capoeira on YouTube and use what information you
have to contextualize and analyse what you find.  Post a link to one example on the Courses site along with a brief discussion of it. 

Jamie Coulter, Master Class in Capoeira (TBA)

March 9 Readings Due: Barbara Thiel-Cramér, p. 9-67
Madeleine Claus, “Baile Flamenco”
William Washabaugh, vii-xiii and Chapter 1
Assignment Due: Reading Response – Consider the ways in which these three authors represent Flamenco differently. What do you observe through the contrast of these voices.  What are the strengths of each approach?

March 12 Readings Due: none
Assignment Due:  Micro/Macro writing assignment – Choose a short section of the flamenco video to describe in words.  Don’t worry about doing an exact play by play, but do try to capture the essence of the movement in specific language (approx. 1 page.)  Then write a second short passage that places this movement in a larger context, drawing in ideas from the readings (approx. 1 page).  In class, we will spend some time playing with creative ways to link the two texts you have written. 

Flamenco Master Class (TBA)

March 14-March 29  SPRING BREAK!!!

March 30 Guest lecture/discussion with Robin Pritchard
Readings Due: Dancing at Halftime, Prologue, Chapters 1-4, 6-7, 9-11, 18-19,
Afterward  (all other chapters are optional reading)
Looking Out, Chapters 6-8
Assignments Due: Be prepared for class discussion

April 2 Readings Due: Lisa Doolittle and Heather Elton “Medicine of the Brave: A Look
at the Changing Role of Dance in Native Culture from the Buffalo Days to the Modern Powwow” (MH/DC)
Assignments Due:  Reading Response (may include Dancing at Halftime)

April 6 Readings Due: Marta Savigliano p.1-9, 19-21, 30-72
Simon Collier p. 18-64
Assignments Due:  Reading response comparing the two articles and your
reaction to reading them in this particular order. 

April 9            Readings Due: web research on contemporary tango
                      Assignments Due:    Be prepared for class discussion
Final Project Proposal (one page)

Jackie Wong, Tango Master Class (TBA)

April 13 Readings Due: Avanthi Meduri, “Bharatha Natyam –What Are You?” (MH/DC)
Assignment Due: Participant Observation – What information do you get
from the physical experience of the master class that you
did not get from the readings and videos?  (2-3 pages)

April 16 Readings Due: Looking Out Chapters 9 and 10
Assignment Due: Catch up on adding terms and definitions to web glossary

April 20 Classical Indian Dance Master Class with Mary Brust
Readings Due: none 
Assignments Due:  Update your Personal Emic Essay (new length 4-5 pages)

April 23 Readings Due:  TBA
Assignment Due:  Reading Response

April 27 Readings Due: Earle Ernst
Faith Bach
A. C. Scott p.15-32, 81-104
Assignments Due: Outline of final paper (be prepared to discuss with class)

April 30 Readings Due: Bonnie Sue Stein, “Butoh: ‘Twenty Years Ago We Were Crazy,
Dirty, and Mad’” (MH/DC)
Kazuo Ohno and Yoshito Ohno, p. 9-58
Video Viewings: See Butoh films on reserve in the dance seminar room
Assignments Due:  Brief Response to Films and Reading

Jennifer Hicks, Butoh Master Class (TBA)

May 4 Readings Due: none
Assignments Due:  Final Paper (hard copy for peer editing in class)

May 9 Revised version of Final Paper due

Last modified: Monday, December 19, 2011, 9:18 AM