You can explore the creative aspect of dance in three levels of Dance Composition courses. Levels I and II present students with increasingly sophisticated compositional tools and approaches to help them evolve and refine choreographic ideas. Level III, Advanced Choreography, gives students the opportunity to work one on one with a faculty mentor over the course of the semester to fully develop choreographic intent and produce a full scale work. Improvisational techniques are introduced and refined as an approach that enables students to explore and expand their own movement and choreographic ideas and students learn to help and direct others in generating movement. In addition, traditional and more contemporary models of dance making are presented as potential templates for creative work. Students also learn to constructively evaluate their own work and the work of others. Discussion of and feedback on weekly choreographic assignments, readings, and viewings contribute to broadening and deepening both creative work and critical response. Students can prepare for a Composition course or the Composition sequence by taking the half semester Improvisation course in their first year. Concurrent attendance in any level technique course is required at all three levels. Composition courses earn 1 academic credit per course and students enroll for them at academic registration.
Dance Composition I is open to students, regardless of their level of dance training, who are interested in the creative process as it plays out in dance. Basic concepts such as space, phrasing, timing, image, energy, density and partnering are introduced and explored alongside attention to the roles of inspiration and synthesis in the creative process. Students work alone and in groups on weekly movement assignments. Learning to productively discuss and give feedback on this ongoing work and on assigned readings is an important part of this class.
Dance Composition II builds on work accomplished in Composition I and develops an understanding of and skill in the theory and craft of choreography. This includes deepening movement invention skills; exploring form and structure; investigating sources for sound, music, text and language; developing group design; and broadening critical understanding. Students will work on a selected number of projects and will have some opportunity to revise and expand work. Readings and viewings will be assigned and related production problems will be considered
Advanced Choreography is a semester long tutorial in which a student, under the guidance of a faculty mentor, develops a work of more significant length and one of consequence to her artistic sensibility. Students also take on the responsibility for all production considerations. Advanced choreography works are supported in studio performances, in the Tabitha concert or in the Spring Dance Concert.