History and Appreciation of Dance

History and Appreciation of Dance


Fall 2010
08/23/2010 - 12/12/2010

Course Information

Section 002
TTh 17:20 - 18:40
RRC3 3338.00
Jessica Coxe

Office Hours

  • T Th
    6:45 - 7:15
    Round Rock Campus
    and by appointment

Course Requirements



  • There will be three written tests during this course.
  • There will be one research presentation at the end of this course.
  • Students are responsible for completing two performance observations. One performance observation may be the ACC Choreographers’ Showcase in December.
  • Students may be given additional smaller assignments throughout the semester.   



The course text is Ballet and Modern Dance by Susan Au. This book is available in the ACC bookstore. Other readings will be placed on Blackboard, and students are responsible for either downloading these articles or printing them out so as to be able to refer to them in class. See the attached course schedule for reading assignments. Students are responsible for all course readings even if we do not discuss the readings in class. Video will be used frequently in DNC 2303 and some of these will not be available for outside viewing. Students should therefore make every effort to attend each class period, as it will be difficult to arrange make-ups for video viewing. 



• Consistent attendance

• Completion of all reading assignments on time and a readiness to discuss the key points of these readings in class

• Completion of three exams, two performance observations, one in-class presentation, and other assignments as given by the Instructor.

• Active participation in class discussions  




This paper should be a minimum of 450 words (2 type-written pages, double-spaced).

A Performance Observation should be a clear, concise analysis of a live dance performance you attend during this semester. Your two performance observations must be about two different styles of dance. The first paper is due on or before Tuesday, October 12thand the second is due on or before Tuesday, December 7th.

Approach this assignment as an opportunity to apply some of the concepts you are learning in class. Specifically note the following points:

            Name of the performance ensemble or company, Location, Date and Title of dance(s)

                        note: dance titles should be underlined or italicized.

            Purpose and function of the dance

            Profile of the dancers (professional, amateur, student, community members)

Choreographer’s Intent and how this was communicated through the following devices:

Accompaniment (silence, self made, music- recorded or live, type of instrumentation, etc.)


            Use of space (direction, level, focus, grouping)

            Use of rhythm (tempo, meter, accent)

            Use of energy (force, movement quality)

            Characteristic or stylistic uses of the body

In your paper use the points above to present a description of what you observed. If there are several dances in the program, you may choose to write primarily about one or two dances. Please focus on the relationship of what you observe in the performance to your experience of studying and learning about dance in this particular class. 


This is not a paper about your personal opinions of the dance (I liked it, I didn’t like it/note: first person should NOT be used). Instead, approach the performance keeping in mind that you will be writing a critical analysis of what you have seen. It may help to take notes during the performance.  Be clear and concise in your observations and remember that the primary focus of your paper should be on the dancing.




DANC 2303 History and Appreciation of Dance


Unless noted as a handout, all readings (apart from the text) are on reserve in the Rio Grande Campus Library.


Week 1


Tues. 24          Introduction, A Definition of Dance aesthetics

Thurs. 26            Dance as an Expression of Culture

                      Read:          Judith Lynne Hanna, excerpt from To Dance is Human(handout)

JoAnn Kealiinohomoku, An Anthropologist Looks at Ballet as a Form of Ethnic Dance            (handout)           

Week 2

Tues. 31          Beginnings of Ballet/Renaissance, Baroque dance

                      Read:            Chpt. 1 in text


Thurs. 2          Rise of Professionalism, Ballet d’Action

                      Read:          Chpt. 2 & 3 in text


Week 3

Tues. 7                    Romantic Ballet         

                      Read:          Chpt. 4 in text

                                Deborah Jowitt, In Pursuit of the Sylph: Ballet in the Romantic Period

Thurs. 9            Continuation


Week 4

Tues. 14            The Russian Imperial Ballet           

                      Read:          Chpt. 5 (61-72) in text

Thurs. 16            Continuation


Week 5

Tues. 21          Review and Wrap-up

Thurs. 23          Test 1


Week 6

Tues. 28          Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes

                      Read:          Chpt. 5 (72 -85) and Chpt. 7 (103-112)

                                Lynn Garafola, Diaghilev’s Cultivated Audience

Thurs. 30           Continuation


Week 7


Tues. 5                        The Rise of American Ballet

                      Read:          Chpt. 9 in text

Thurs. 7          Continuation


Week 8

Tues. 12          Forerunners of Modern Dance

                      Read:          Chpt. 6 in text

                                Helen Thomas, Beginnings: Dance and the Process of Cultural Reproduction

                        1st Performance Observation Due

Thurs. 14            Dance Video Night at the Rio Grande Campus 6:00pm


Week 9

Tues. 19          Continuation: Forerunners of Modern Dance

Thurs. 21          Pioneers of Modern Dance

                      Read:          Chpt. 8 in text

                                Martha Graham, I Am A Dancer


Week 10

Tues. 26          Continuation: Pioneers of Modern Dance

                      Read:           Constance Valis Hill, Katherine Dunham’s Southland: Protest in the Face of Repression

                      Review and Wrap-up

Thurs. 28            Test 2


Week 11


Tues. 2                    Second Generation Modern Dancers

Read:          Chpt. 10 in text (p. 155 - 164)

            Coda: The Revelations of Alvin Ailey

Thurs. 4          Continuation

                        Read:            Joyce Morgenroth, Chpt. 1Merce Cunningham


Week 12

Tues. 9                    Post-Modern Dance

                      Read:          Chpt. 10 in text (p. 164 - 173)

                                Sally Banes, Choreographic Methods of the Judson Dance Theater

                                Yvonne Rainer, No Manifesto (handout)

Thurs. 11          Continuation: Trisha Brown, Twyla Tharp, Jiri Kylian

Read:          Joyce Morgenroth, Chpt. 4Trisha Brown


Week 13

Tues. 16          Contemporary Dance Trends: German Tanz Theatre

                      Read:          Chpt. 11 & 12 in text

                      Read:          Norbert Servos: Pina Bausch: Dance and Emancipation

Thurs. 18          Continuation: Bill T. Jones, Mark Morris, William Forsythe

Read:          Joyce Morgenroth, Chpt. 11Mark Morris

Week 14


Tues. 23            Wrap up, contemporary dance

Thurs. 25            HOLIDAY


Week 15

Tues. 30            Class Presentations


Thurs. 2          Class Presentations


Week 16

Tues. 7                    Review / Give out take home exam (Test 3, Part A)

                      2nd Performance Observation Due

Thurs. 9            Test 3


*ACC Choreographers’ Showcase December 3rd & 4th at 8:00pm

Course Subjects

See Course Schedule in Readings above.

Student Learning Outcomes/Learning Objectives



1. To gain a critical understanding of dance as a form of human cultural expression.   

2. To be able to identify and discuss the major periods and figures of Western Theatrical Dance. 

3. To understand certain historical factors that affected the development of Ballet, Modern and Contemporary Dance.

4. To be able to place a specific dance form in the appropriate social, political, or historical context, thereby applying critical thinking skills to the understanding of that particular form.

5. To present to the class a verbal presentation on a Contemporary Dance form.  

6. To practice writing about dance in a clear, concise and sophisticated manner, identifying key concepts of space, time and energy utilized in the observed dance performance.   

7. To gain a greater understanding for and appreciation of dance as an art form.   



1.  Students will study and learn about the key players and critically analyze the major developments in Ballet and Modern Dance History, demonstrating this knowledge in three written exams and one oral presentation.

2.  Students will attend, observe and critically write about two live professional dance performances through the completion of two performance observation writings.

3.  Students will demonstrate their ability to critically analyze and understand the development and key individuals of an additional dance style (Western or Non-Western) through the oral presentation project at the end of the semester.