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Performing Theories

  • Module code: DC5001
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: Year 5
  • Credits: 30.00
  • Pre-requisites: Successful completion of Level 4 Dance requirements or equivalent
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

This Level 5 module enables students to frame critical and analytical investigations of dance movement, dance works and dance events. Performing Theories combines practical sessions and lectures in order to introduce students to methodological tools, theoretical frameworks and critical writings in relation to dance performance and dance practices. 

The module addresses a number of key methodologies used within 21st century dance research, including intertextuality in dance, the body politic and gender representations in performance.  These concepts will be explored through technique classes, repertoire sessions, video and live performance analysis and group discussions.  

Aims

  • Demonstrate an understanding of different theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches used for the analysis and reading of dance works.
  • Develop students' awareness of the relationship between analytical frameworks and dance practices. 
  • Develop the technical and performance skills in selected Western theatrical dance styles. 

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate an understanding of different theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches for the analysis and the reading of dance works.
  • Select and apply appropriate theoretical frameworks in the analysis of dance works.
  • Demonstrate technical and performance skills in the presentation of a dance piece devised through the creative interpretation of instructions.
  • Apply research, embodied understanding, structuring and academic writing skills in the production of analytical writing and performance practice.

Curriculum content

Theoretical and analytical perspectives

  • A critical view of Adshead-Lansdale's (1988) approach to basic dance analysis
  • Intertextuality
  • Historiography
  • Politics (e.g. gender politics, feminism)
  • Semiotics
  • Aesthetics
  • Ideology
  • Post-structuralism
  • Gender
  • Post-colonial
  • Genre-specific
  • Spectatorship

Applied to:

  • Practical work (e.g training, repertoire, dance reconstructions)
  • Live and recorded dance performances
  • Dance writings/research, archive documents and artifacts

Choreographers and companies studied may include Siobhan Davies, Richard Alston, Lloyd Newson and DV8, Bill T. Jones, CandoCo, Mark Morris, Matthew Bourne, Wayne McGregor, Vincent Dance Theatre, Alvin Ailey, Urban Bush Women, Hofesh Shechter.  Techniques studied may include Cunningham, Graham, Release, Limón and Contact Improvisation.  

Teaching and learning strategy

Students are introduced to various critical perspectives within the lectures and explore these further through viewings of recorded dance, discussions and practical sessions. In order to help students fully understand the connection between theory and practice, some of the theories discussed in class will be explored in the studio (e.g. engaging with theories of embodiment and body representation, exploring strategies of signification through movement and experimenting with ideas surrounding dance dramaturgy). Each week this module provides one hour for the supplementary technique class scheme (STS).

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive KIS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Lecture 20
Scheduled learning and teaching Practical classes 22
Scheduled learning and teaching Practical Classes (STS) 22
Guided independent study Independent study 236
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

The assessment for this module is designed to increase students' awareness and knowledge through a progressive mode of assessment. Support and feedback will be provided during the academic year via formative tasks, class discussions and draft submissions. 

In teaching block one the formative task will take place during lecture time as well as in the form of group exercises and presentations. This will allow students to monitor their progress and development of their knowledge and understanding of various methods and theoretical frameworks in relation to performance practice. 

In teaching block two students will work towards their assessment. The summative assessment is distributed in two phases. Firstly, students will be assessed on the practical aspect of the module via a practical presentation.  Secondly students will write academic essays (2000 words) applying a method or theoretical framework to the analysis of a specific dance work (i.e the repertoire learned in class or work provided by the tutor). Relevant essay questions will be provided by the tutor. 

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
An in-depth understanding of different methodological approaches to the analysis and the reading of dance works. a) Assessed formatively by class discussions and the submissions of a draft. b) Assessed summatively through an essay
Select and apply appropriate theoretical frameworks in the analysis of dance works. a) Assessed formatively via class discussions and designed task. b) Assessed summatively via an essay.
Demonstrate technical and performance skills in the presentation of a piece of repertoire. a) Assessed formatively in class presentations. b) Assessed summatively via practical performance.
Apply research, structuring and academic writing skills in the production of analytical writing and performance practice. a) Assessed formatively via a draft submission and practical presentations in class. b) Assessed summatively via an essay and practical performance.

Breakdown of Major Categories of Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment Name Assessment Weighting
CWK Essay 50
PRC Practical assessment 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

Adshead-Lansdale J (1999). Dancing texts : intertextuality in interpretation. London: Dance Books.

Reinelt, J & Roach, J (eds.) (2010). Critical Theory and performance. Michigan: The university of Michigan Press. 

Bibliography recommended reading

Adshead-Lansdale J (2008). Decentring dancing texts: the challenge of interpreting dances.Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Adshead-Lansdale J (1988).Dance analysis: theory and practice.London : Dance Books.

AlbrightAC (1997) Choreographing Difference: The body and Identity in contemporary dance. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press. 

Foster, SL (2011) Choreographing Empathy: Kinesthesia in Performance. NewYork: Routledge. 

Foster SL (1995). Corporealities : body, knowledge, culture, power. London : Routledge.

Lepecki A (2006) Exhausting Dance: Performance and the Politics of Movement. London:Routledge. 

Martin R (1998) Critical Moves: Dance Studies in Theory and Politics. New York: Duke University Press.

Martin R (1990) Performance as Political Act: The Embodied Self. New York: Bergin &Garvey Publishers.

Schechner, R (2002) Performance Studies: an Introduction. London: Routledge. 

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

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