Oct 01, 2020  
Course Catalog 2019-2020 
Course Catalog 2019-2020 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


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Laura Baudot, Associate Professor of English; Acting Chair
Ann Cooper Albright, Professor of Dance
Alice Blumenfeld, Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance
Talise Campbell, Visiting Assistant Professor of Africana Studies/Dance
Holly Handman-Lopez, Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance
Alysia Ramos, Assistant Professor of Dance
Robert Wesner, Visiting Instructor of Dance


The Oberlin Dance Department encourages students to create, perform, and think about movement in a manner that is consonant with their experience in the other fine and liberal arts. The curriculum offers various approaches to the study of movement, from creation and performance to physical techniques, critical inquiry and somatic studies.

Dance at Oberlin is characterized by its commitment to experimentation and to the creation of original work. Student, faculty and guest artist choreography is presented throughout the year in formal concerts, and in a regular series of showcases. Outstanding resources for artistic collaboration with student and faculty directors, designers, composers, musicians, and video artists are found in Theater, the Conservatory of Music, Cinema Studies, and the Art Department.

Movement classes are offered in a range of genres and levels in order to support the physical, intellectual and imaginative process of becoming a dance artist.  These courses serve all students, including those who wish to explore dance as part of their broader education, those pursuing dance in combination with related arts, and those who intend to enter the dance field professionally.

Students have the opportunity to explore somatic studies through courses that focus on alignment, movement integration and meditative practice. The concentration in somatic studies offers an excellent preparation for a lifetime of personal health and work in a broad range of therapeutic fields.

The Dance Department also provides a focus in critical inquiry. These courses examine the historical contexts and theoretical frameworks of a variety of dance traditions while encouraging students’ intellectual curiosity and willingness to explore new ideas. The practice of research and writing about dance in its cultural contexts develops an appreciation of dance as both an artistic and a sociological phenomenon.

In the second semester of the junior year qualified students may be admitted to the Honors Program in Dance. The Honors project may be either, 1) a creative project in dance performance or choreography, or 2) research in dance history, criticism, or theory resulting in a substantial written thesis. Any creative project also includes a significant research and written component. At the completion of the senior Honors Project, a panel consisting of the Honors student’s faculty advisor and at least two other faculty members, including a faculty member from outside the department, will examine the student’s work.  Applications and further information concerning Honors work are available in the Dance Department office, Warner Center, and online.

Winter Term
Winter Term provides an opportunity for students to engage in individual projects or a group project sponsored by the faculty. Master teachers and guest choreographers are brought to campus each Winter Term to work with students for an intensive two or three-week period. In addition, students use this time to participate (at times with alumni of our program) in various off campus dance-related internships.

Off Campus Study
Before credit is awarded for off-campus study, students must obtain tentative prior approval from the chair of Dance and the Office of Study Away. After the study is completed, the student must supply evidence of satisfactory participation. A maximum of 3 courses of off-campus study may be applied to the major in Dance. 

Trinity/LaMama Performing Arts Program in New York
An intensive, one-semester Oberlin College Affiliated Program emphasizing interdisciplinary work in theater and dance that includes internships, seminars, studio classes and attendance at 45+ performances and events. Full semester’s credit is given through Trinity College, Hartford, CT. The program is offered in the fall semester only.  Students interested in this interdisciplinary immersion in the arts in New York City should contact a member of the dance faculty for additional information.

GLCA Arts program in New York
The GLCA program consists of a semester of study, normally done during the junior year, in the areas of technique, performance, production, and related studies. A major focus of this program is an intensive internship with an artist or arts organization. In the past, the GLCA Program students have been placed with various theater companies, film and video studios, major dance studios, dance presenting organizations, dance critics, and stage designers. All arrangements for transferring credit must be made with the chair of Dance before a student begins the GLCA Program. 

Spring Semester at NYU’s Tisch School of Arts
An affiliated program designed to offer Oberlin students a concentrated semester of study in film production, film studies or musical theater. The program is offered in the spring semester only. Interested students should contact the Office of  Study Away for application forms and detailed information about the program.

The Laban Centre in London, England
This year-long or fall semester affiliated program, administered through Butler University, offers a unique combination of study abroad in a vibrant artistic community along with rigorous dance training in technique, theory, and technical production. Students interested in this performance-based intensive should contact the Chair of the Dance Department for more information.


Dance Major

Students planning to major in dance must secure the approval for a program of study from a member of the dance faculty who thereby agrees to act as the student’s academic advisor. The major in dance requires 9.5 courses that can be made up of both full and half courses.  Potential dance majors are advised to complete the Breadth of Study requirement first. At the time of their major declaration and in consultation with their academic advisors, students will provisionally specify those courses that will meet the Focused Study requirement.

All Dance majors and minors must sign up for required courses during pre-registration.  Only courses requiring a placement class or audition are exempt from this rule.

Rising seniors whose capstone project involves creation or performance, and who (in consultation with their academic advisors) qualify for a senior concert, must request a senior production by April 1st of their junior year. Forms are available in the Warner Office or online.

Students must earn minimum grades of C- or P for all courses that apply toward the major.

Dance Major (9.5 courses):

The dance major is comprised of 9.5 courses (or the equivalent combination of full and half courses) divided into the following four areas of study:  Creation and Performance, Critical Inquiry, Physical Techniques and Somatic Studies (see listings below).

1.) Breadth of study (5 courses, made up of a combination of full and half courses):
             2 courses from each of these areas of study:
                   Critical Inquiry, Physical Techniques
             1 course from each of these areas of study:
                   Creation and Performance; Somatic Studies 

2.) Focused study (3 courses, half of which must be above the introductory level): 
             In consultation with their major advisor, students will choose further 
             courses which will create a focus in the major. Up to two courses
             taken outside the dance program can be used toward this requirement
             provided that those courses relate directly to the chosen area of study
             and will be meaningfully integrated in the Senior Project.

 3.) Remaining requirements (1 full course, 1 half course, and 2 enrichment experiences): 
             One course in the area of design and production - full course    

             Senior Project - half course

             Production Crew (THEA 199) - must be taken twice - no credit

Dance Minor (5 to 5.5 courses):

 A student planning to minor in dance must secure the approval of a program of study from a member of the dance faculty. The minor requires 5 to 5.5 courses or the equivalent combination of full and half courses.

1.) Courses in defined areas of study (2.5 to 3 courses):
     Take one course in three of these four areas:
                                 Creation and Performance
                                 Critical Inquiry
                                 Physical Techniques
                                 Somatic Studies

2.) In consultation with their minor advisor, students will choose their remaining
        courses as electives.

3.) Production Crew (THEA 199) - no credit  


Critical Inquiry - theoretical and historical studies in dance

Physical Techniques - courses which focus on technical proficiency and experiential insight into various dance forms

Creation and Performance - choreographic and improvisational creative work and performance

Somatic Studies - learning about the body through a variety of movement practices and theoretical approaches which develop kinesthetic awareness and understanding of how the body functions

Critical Inquiry

Theoretical and historical studies in dance.

Creation and Performance

Choreographic and improvisational creative work and performance.

Somatic Studies

Learning about the body through a variety of movement practices and theoretical approaches which develop kinesthetic awareness and understanding of how the body functions.

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