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Popular Dance

  • Module code: DC5002
  • 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 is a core module for Level 5 Dance students that introduces the concept of ‘popular dance' through the examination of a range of theoretical approaches, the analysis of a number of popular dances, practical embodiment and students' own ethnographic research.  During the module we will examine the concepts of popular culture and popular dance using writing from cultural studies, popular music, film and media studies, and sociology.  We will examine a number of popular dance forms within their specific contexts of production, circulation, consumption and participation, and consider how the various sites in which they take place (across the vernacular, stage and screen media) have an effect on meaning, value and aesthetics.  We will consider how engaging in popular dance provides individuals with ways to negotiate, and challenge constructs of identity, and the social frameworks in which they are located.  We will also discuss and examine various methodologies used for the research of popular dance forms, and through practical workshops learn about specific technical and performative techniques that are often used when popular dance styles become theatricalised and codified.

Aims

  • Introduce students to theories, methodological approaches and issues relevant to the study of popular dance forms
  • Enable students to embody popular dance forms that have been codified or theatricalised in order to inform their understanding of relevant theory and methodology
  • Introduce students to ethnographic field research methods

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of theoretical and methodological approaches relevant to the study of popular dance forms
  • Situate popular dance forms in relation to their historical, cultural, economic and political contexts
  • Demonstrate understanding of embodied expressions of meaning, value and aesthetics within performances of popular dances
  • Demonstrate key skills of research, documentation and analysis relevant to the ethnographic study of popular dance forms

Curriculum content

  • Popular dance in screen media (e.g. advertisements, documentaries, internet video sharing websites, film musicals, Bollywood, music video)
  • Popular dance on stage (e.g. burlesque, hip hop theatre, street dance, musicals)
  • Popular dance in vernacular contexts (e.g. club spaces, street forms, dance studios)   
  • Theoretical concepts relevant to the study of popular dance: popular culture, culture, cultural studies, subculture, intertextuality, value, identity, hegemony, ideology, globalisation, hybridity, authenticity, commercialisation
  • The historical, cultural, economic and political development of a range of popular dance forms, such as street dances (breaking, locking, popping, house, hip hop, waacking, voguing), jazz, burlesque, Bollywood
  • Practical workshops focusing on the performance of popular dance practices such as burlesque, jazz, tap, Bollywood and some theatricalised 'street' dances.
  • Ethnographic fieldwork examining social and vernacular popular dances in context.

Teaching and learning strategy

Lectures and discussion groups are used to introduce and examine areas of theoretical, historical or conceptual study.  The module is supplemented by practical workshops and field visits to assist students to embody and reflect on a range of popular dance forms.  

The module is divided into blocks of study that analyse popular dances according to the context in which they occur (street, studio, stage and screen).  It is taught in a two hour weekly session.  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, inter-personal, management and leadership, and creativity and problem-solving skills.  These will be developed through activities such as small group and class discussion, research tasks and practical classes.  

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive KIS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Lecture / seminar 30
Scheduled learning and teaching Practical workshops 14
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 Level 5 module the assessments test the key skills students require to progress effectively on this degree programme.

  • Group presentation (15-20 mins with questions)
  • Written essay based on personal ethnographic research (2,000 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, for example, a written critique of an article and a research proposal for the final written task.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of theoretical and methodological approaches relevant to the study of popular dance forms Group presentation and written essay
2. Situate popular dance forms in relation to their historical, cultural, economic and political contexts Group presentation and written essay
3. Show an understanding of embodied expressions of meaning, value and aesthetics within performances of popular dances Group presentation and written essay
4. Demonstrate key skills of research, documentation and analysis relevant to the ethnographic study of popular dance forms Written essay

Breakdown of Major Categories of Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment Name Assessment Weighting
PRC Group presentation 35
CWK Essay 65
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

Buckland, T. (ed.) (1999) Dance in the Field: Theories, Methods and Issues in Dance Ethnography Basingstoke: Macmillan.

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

Bibliography recommended reading

Dixon Gottschild, B. (2002) Waltzing in the Dark: African American Vaudeville and Race Politics in the Swing Era New York: St. Martin's Press.

Dodds, S. & Cook, S. (eds.) (2013) Bodies of Sound: Conversations Across Popular Music and Dance Farnham: Ashgate.

Malnig, J. (ed.) (2009) Ballroom, Boogie, Shimmy Sham, Shake: A Social and Popular Dance Reader Urbana and Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press.

McMains, J. (2006) Glamour Addiction: Inside the American Ballroom Industry Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press.

Pini, M. (2001) From House to Home: Club Cultures and Female Subjectivity Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Osumare, H. (2007) The Africanist Aesthetic in Global Hip Hop New York and Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Sterns, M. & Sterns, J. (1994) Jazz Dance: The Story of American Varnacular Dance New York: De Capo.

Storey, J. (2003) Inventing Popular Culture Oxford: Blackwell.

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

Valis Hill, C. (2010) Tap Dancing America: A Cultural History USA: Oxford University Press.

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