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Dancing Cultures

  • Module code: DC4002
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: Year 4
  • Credits: 30.00
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

This is a year long, core Level 4 module for all students taking Dance programmes at Kingston.  In this module students will study dances from an anthropological perspective through both theoretical and critical analysis, and embodied practice and performance.  Students will study, analyse and embody dance practices from a range of cultures and societies.  Discussion will include how dances have been, and currently are regarded by a range of ‘audiences' and their participants, as well as analysis of the specific contexts of their production, reception and consumption.  Inherent in these discussions are notions of change, transmission and migration of dance forms and practices to other contexts.  Students will be encouraged to explore the relationships between dance and culture, dance and identity, and dance and the community, as well as reflecting on the role, place and value of dance in a range of cultures and societies, including their own.  Throughout the course students will participate in blocks of practical workshops that will develop technical and expressive skills in relevant dance styles.

Aims

  • Introduce students to basic theoretical concepts that will enable them to engage with and critically analyse a range of dance forms from an anthropological perspective.
  • Enable students to consider and discuss the relationships between culture, community, identity and dance.
  • Enable students to develop technical and performance skills in selected social, religious, competitive, folk, popular or theatricalised dance forms located outside of the Western theatre dance canon.

Learning outcomes

  • Articulate a sound understanding of basic theoretical concepts that are used for the anthropological study of dance and human movement.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the importance of cultural, social, economic, political and historical context when analysing dance forms from an anthropological perspective.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the relationships between culture, community, identity and dance.
  • Demonstrate an embodied understanding of selected social, religious, competitive, folk, popular and theatricalised dance forms located outside of the Western art dance canon.
  • Demonstrate a basic level of technical and expressive skills when performing a range of social, religious, competitive, folk, popular and theatrical dance forms located outside of the Western art dance canon.

Curriculum content

  • Theoretical perspectives: dance anthropology, dance ethnology, ethnochoreology
  • The role, place and value of dance in different societies and cultures
  • The concept of community dance
  • Definitions of and basic critical perspectives on ‘ethnic', ‘folk', religious, competitive, theatrical, social, vernacular and popular dance forms
  • Ethnography: participant observation, dance analysis
  • Classical Indian dance (e.g. Bharata Natyam, Kathak, Odissi)
  • African people's dance
  • The transmission of martial art forms (capoeira, wushu) to movement / dance practice
  • The development of ballroom dance styles from social to the competitive
  • ‘Folk' and ‘traditional' dance forms: clog, step dancing, contra dances, country dances, Morris dancing

Teaching and learning strategy

Lectures are used to introduce areas of theoretical, historical or conceptual study relevant to dance anthropology.  Seminars will be used to support the development of students' understanding of these concepts, as well as to make links between theory and practice.  Practical workshops will assist students to embody and reflect on a range of dance forms.  

In the first teaching block students will attend a regular two hour session, which will either be a lecture, a seminar discussion or a practical workshop.  In the second teaching block a series of intensive practical workshops will develop technical and expressive skills in chosen dance styles, with some seminar interventions.  Each week this module provides one hour for the supplementary technique class scheme (STS). 

A number of key skills are developed as part of this module.  In particular students will develop self-awareness, research and information literacy, communication and inter-personal skills.  These will be developed through activities such as class and small group discussion of key ideas and concepts, summaries and discussions of the module reading, research tasks and practical workshops.  

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive KIS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Lecture 14
Scheduled learning and teaching Seminar / practical workshops 30
Guided independent study Independent study 234
Scheduled learning and teaching Technique classes 22
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

As this is a core skills module the assessment takes the form of a portfolio, which tests the key academic and performance skills students require to progress effectively on this degree programme.  The progress mark is awarded by the module tutors in consultation with the individual student through an evaluation of the students' contribution to and progress in the lectures and practical classes in the first semester.  

  • Practical performance assessment (8-10 mins)
  • Written essay (1,250-1,500 words)

Students will complete first drafts of set tasks during the course of study, and receive feedback on these before final submission. There will also be elements of formative assessment preparing students for the final written assignment, which may include a written summary of a piece of scholarly writing, a research exercise, or a completion of indicative bibliography.

The assessment for this module is designed to evaluate student progression in research, theoretical analysis, and technical and expressive practical skill development.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
Articulate a sound understanding of basic theoretical concepts that can be used for the study of dances located outside of the traditional Western 'art dance' canon. Written essay
Demonstrate a sound understanding of the importance of cultural, social, economic, political and historical context when analysing social, religious, vernacular and theatrical dance forms located outside of the traditional Western 'art dance' canon Written essay
Demonstrate a sound understanding of the relationship between dance and culture, society, community and identity Written essay
Demonstrate an embodied understanding of a range of religious, social, vernacular and theatrical dance forms located outside of the traditional Western 'art dance' canon Practical performance
Demonstrate a basic level of technical and expressive skills when performing a range of social, religious, competitive, folk, popular and theatrical dance forms located outside of the Western theatrical art dance canon Practical performance

Breakdown of Major Categories of Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment Name Assessment Weighting
CWK Essay 50
PRC Practical performance 50
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It IS NOT a requirement that any major assessment category is passed separately in order to achieve an overall pass for the module

Bibliography core texts

Foster, S. (ed.) (2009) Worlding Dance Basingstoke: Macmillan.

Bibliography recommended reading

Buckland, T. (2011) Society Dancing: Fashionable Bodies 1870-1920 Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Buckland, T. (ed.) (2006) Dancing from Past to Present: Nation, Culture, Identities Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press.

Buckland, T. (ed.) (1999) Dance in the Field: theories, methods and issues in dance ethnography Basingstoke: Macmillan.

Carter, A. & O'Shea, J. (2010) The Routledge Dance Studies Reader, London:Routledge.

Dils, A. and Cooper-Albright A., Moving History / Dancing Cultures: A Dance History Reader Middletown CT:Wesleyan University Press.

Dodds, S. (2011) Dancing on the Canon: Embodiments of Value in Popular Dance Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Grau, A. & Jordan, S. (2000) Europe Dancing: perspectives on theatre dance and cultural identity, London: Routledge.

Hamera, J. (2006) Dancing Communities: Performance, Difference and Connection in the Global City (Studies in International Performance) Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Martin, J. (2003)The Intercultural Performance Handbook London:Dance Books.

Peterson Royce A. (2002) The Anthropology of Dance London: Dance Books.

Peterson Royce A. (2004) Anthropology of the Performing Arts: artistry, virtuosity and interpretation in cross-cultural perspective, Lanham MD:AltaMira Press.

Thomas, H. (2003) The Body, Dance and Cultural Theory Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Thomas, H. (ed) (1997) Dance in the City New York: St. Martin's Press.

Williams, D. (2004, 2nd edition) Anthropology and the Dance: Ten Lectures Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press. 

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