Summer 2003

Topics and Techniques in Postmodern Dance


07/14/2003 - 07/25/2003
Monday-Friday 05:30 PM - 09:00 PM

Schoenberg Dance Studio

Postmodern dance is a hybrid mix of ballet, modern, pedestrian movement, non-concert dance styles and world dance. Each choreographer or company has a different balance of these ingredients that determines their style of dancing and composing dances. Concert dance has, traditionally, used dance to illustrate other art forms (visualizing music, illustrating stories), and the choreography was driven by the primacy of story or music. Postmodern choreography places the body and it's physicality as the subject to be explored and expressed through dance. This exploration draws on movement across the board, infusing choreography with cross-cultural vocabularies of syntax, craft, and overall form.

In this intensive dance course, we will identify and begin to master some of the basic technical skills of post-modern dance, such as facility in shifting from formal to casual movement, from weightlessness to weighted-ness. By practicing dances as rigorously as our imaginations will allow, we will explore the essence of each physical effort. In order to identify each student's creative voice, we will explore and solve problems within individual approaches to choreography. Students will begin forming a picture of their own creative process, their sense of beauty, and will develop their own understanding of the function of postmodern dance as a social art form.

We will critically analyze art, art making, and dancing, beginning by studying theories of postmodern dance and its place in contemporary culture. Through our own art-making and exploratory processes, students will be challenged to expand upon or abandon these theories and begin building their own theoretical critique of postmodern dance. Reading for this course will include Suzi Gablick, Conversations Before the End of Time; Diane Ackerman, Deep Play, and selected essays; see the GLSP Web site for a syllabus and book list.

In advance of the course, students should read all assigned texts and write a two-page response paper to each book. During the course, students will keep a daily journal responding to the issues and themes of each class, and will perform a final project at the end of the course. A final performance culminates all the work of the course, because dance is a form that is realized in performance. Even though it is about process and developing a methodology, the work of this course very possibly might mean something completely different upon reflection after experiencing the performance of one's ideas. Grades for this course will be based on class participation, written assignments, and the performance of a final dance project. This course is designed for students with some previous experience practicing dance or movement.

Assignments to be completed in advance of course. See GLSP Web site for further information.

KT Nelson is the co-artistic director of ODC/San Francisco, which she joined in 1976 while the dance company was still based at Oberlin College. In addition to choreographing and directing the company's first full-length family ballet, The Velveteen Rabbit, Nelson has choreographed more than 40 works, and has composed and commissioned numerous sound scores. She received the Isadora Duncan award in 1987 for outstanding achievement in performance, and again in 1996 for her piece Scout. Nelson has received 13 Izzie nominations in all categories, including a triple Izzie nomination for her 1993 work, River. Her work, Under the White Umbrella, which was commissioned for the San Francisco Ballet's principle dancers Mikko Nissinen and Elizabeth Loscavio, premiered in 1995 at Le Gala des Etoiles in Montreal. Since 1997, commissioned by Diablo Ballet, Nelson has choreographed The Escaping Game, Making Love with Your Socks On, Walk Before Talk, and They've Lost Their Footing. She is the director of ODC's Educational Outreach Program and is founder and codirector of ODC's Dance Jam, a company of nine young artists who perform her and guest artists' works.


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Studio

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:

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