Summer 2004

Dance, Creative Process, and Culture


06/29/2004 - 07/29/2004
Wednesday 09:00 AM - 10:00 AM

This course will combine the work of composing contemporary dance/performance art with the work of analyzing its cultural context and long-term social effects. By dancing, choreographing, and discussing culture, we will ask ourselves about what cultural constructs we embrace when we dance, create, and participate in cultural activities. What can we imagine that would lead to different cultural values? For this discussion we will read MAN'S RAGE FOR CHAO: BIOLOGY, BEHAVIOR AND THE ARTS by Morse Peckham and Patrick Wilkinson, and Peter Brooks' THE EMPTY SPACE. Class discussions will explore the philosophical questions asked by The Long Now Foundation, at, and students are encouraged to read through that Web site in advance of the first meeting of the class, focusing on how it investigates the long-term effects of our present artistic acts.

For the course, each student will: write a paper on each book; write a final proposal on personal values; teach a dance and or movement class that promotes those values; create a composition of a creative/performance event, upholding those values, to be presented in the student's own community and to present in class at the culmination of the course. Class sessions will be divided into dance "labs" and discussions. Your final project does not have to be movement based.

This course is available to anyone who has previously composed their own work, performed, and is confident as a mover. You may be an artist in a different discipline other than dance but you need to be able to see and execute movement. This course will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays for five weeks, June 29-July 29. This course may count toward the creative process requirement or the dance and culture requirement for the dance and movement studies concentration. Additional course fee: $30.

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:
Christopher Alexander, A PATTERN LANGUAGE (Oxford University Press), Paperback

Peter Brook, THE EMPTY SPACE (Touchstone Books), Paperback


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