selected CourseS & Supervisions
I have taught studio and studies courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels in the Dance Area in the School for Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University, in the Dance Department in the School for the Arts, Media, Performance and Design at York University, in the Music Theatre Performance Program at Sheridan College, at George Brown Dance and as a guest at a variety of institutions including Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, School of Toronto Dance Theatre, McMaster University, Quinte Ballet School, Rosedale Heights School for the Performing Arts and Arts Umbrella.
Simon Fraser University
What is dance? How do we describe and evaluate it? How does dance communicate? How do cultures and contexts inform dance’s meaningfulness? What might we say about the performer’s experience? What factors influence an audience’s interpretation? In a contemporary inter- or post-disciplinary artistic context, we need tools and skills for critical appreciation of complex art and performance events that include, derive from or otherwise embrace dance and the moving body. This course provides students with an introduction to aesthetic theory and critical frameworks for discussion and evaluation of dance art and practice and prepares students to articulate aesthetic and theoretical ideas about dance in disciplinary and interdisciplinary conversations about art, performance and culture.
Dance History: From the Twentieth Century to the Present
A dance studies/theory course that contextualizes various histories of modern, classical and contemporary dance styles through a critical framework that considers the challenges of doing dance history and various gaps and missing (untold, erased) histories. Students encounter the work and influence of significant dance artists from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present. A selection of artists who have been at the forefront of innovation and change are considered through various thematic lenses and within their socio-political, cultural and historical contexts, in order to form a coherent link with current practices.
CONTEMPORARY/MODERN DANCE FORMS: 3RD YEAR UNDERGRADUATE LEVEL
A studio technique class at the intermediate/advanced level, drawing together multiple aesthetic influences. Foundational principles derive from Laban-based movement theory, developmental patterning and somatic practice. Students develop skills in dynamic connectedness, bodily articulation, spatial design, nuanced use of movement qualities, and an experiential understanding of performance presence. Class structure includes bodywork, perceptual warm-up, technical centre and travelling sequences, and phrase work. Bodylab sessions takes place once weekly, focussing on bodywork, somatic practice, perceptual processes and improvisational scores.
METHODS AND MATERIALS FOR MOVEMENT OBSERVATION: GRADUATE LEVEL
A blended theory/practice course taught in studio for graduate students in dance, theatre, education and anthropology, presenting Laban-based movement theory through experience, discussion, embodied theory, live demonstration and video observation. Course content is accessible to individuals with or without a dance/movement background. Students develop skills in perceiving, describing and analyzing human movement, providing them with a key research method for movement-based research at the graduate level.
dance Writing: Undergraduate & Graduate level
At the undergraduate level: a practical course in professional writing for dance majors including: artistic statements, biographies, resumes, grant proposals, reports and reviews. At the graduate level: a blended theory/practice course taught in studio exploring discourse on dance writing, developing skills for writing with and through the body, and practicing critical-poetic writing about dance through subjective experience and objective analysis.
Dancing for Non-Majors: Undergraduate (Service Course)
An undergraduate course for non-majors from across the university providing an introduction to bodywork & conditioning, dance technique, improvisation, creative process and composition. Open to students with no prior experience. Course material developed from on a pedestrian movement foundation and introduced principles of contemporary dance including dynamic alignment and connectedness, breath support, articulation and range of motion, spatial intent, performance presence, flow and qualitative expressivity. The course included development of a scored movement work and informal performance.
Dance, Film & Culture: Undergraduate (Service Course)
An interdisciplinary, pan-faculty course for students in the School for Arts, Media, Performance and Design offered through blended learning including online lecture and assignments plus live lecture/tutorial. The course introduces students to dance, film, and cultural analysis through the critical viewing of a variety of dance films, informed by contemporary scholarship related to dance and cultural criticism. Key critical terms and concepts serve as a framework for cultural analysis of dance/movement within popular films from the 1970s though today.
Ballet for contemporary DAncers: undergraduate level
An intermediate ballet technique class with emphasis on dynamic alignment and effective movement patterns. Fundamental ballet movement vocabulary is explored and developed with a view to supporting contemporary aesthetics and versatile physicality. Strong focus is placed on effective use of turnout for stability and groundedness; activation of core connectivity and articulation of legs and feet for fast weight shifting, turning and jumping; and development of line through multi-dimensional spatial tensions. Class proceeds through barre exercises, centre practice, across-the-floor phrases and short variations.
SENIOR PROJECTS: UNDERGRADUATE LEVEL
A seminar course for 4th year dance majors in which each student completes a capstone/thesis project. The course progresses through development and preparation of a project proposal; preparation, review and approval of research ethics protocols; implementation of a work plan with progress reports; realization of the final project, with relevant text and multi-media documentation; and symposium poster presentation. Projects range from theoretical and ethnographic studies to education and dance pedagogy, dance science research, business and marketing plans and professional portfolio development.
IMPROVISATION: UNDERGRADUATE LEVEL
An introduction to improvisation, providing students with tools and strategies for sourcing movement; recognizing and subverting personal habits and disciplinary training patterns; developing scores; composing in the moment; and working in solo, duet and ensemble contexts. Some contact improvisation skills are also explored.
choreographic icons and movement analysis: ONLINE COURSE
Modules in an online degree-completion course on choreographic icons of musical theatre performance and Laban-based movement analysis, culminating in a three-part, major research project including a choreographic profile, style analysis and critique of selected choreography.
STUDENT SUPERVISIONS: UNDERGRADUATE & GRADUATE LEVEL
MASTER’S RESEACH PROJECT, MA (2nd Reader): Allen, Robert. “What Number Am I On?” Researching the Musical Theatre Swing for Students Training in Post-Secondary Musical Theatre Programs”; York University, Dance, 2017-2018
FINAL RESEARCH PROJECT, MA, (2nd Reader): Duggan, Brittany. "Dance, Criticism and the Media"; University of British Columbia, Journalism, FW2016/17
INDEPENDENT STUDY, BFA, 4th Year: Trarback, Marissa. "Movement Analysis and the Asymmetrical Dancing Body"; York University, Dance, FW2016/17
DIRECTED READING, MA: Friedman, Rebecca. "Positioning Dance Movement Therapy in the Everyday Classroom"; York University, Dance, SU2016
DIRECTED READING, MA: Allen, Robert. "Body Mind Connections in Swing Education: Practiced Based Research Analysis; York University, Dance, SU2016
SENIOR PROJECTS, BFA, 4th Year. See above for range of projects supervised within this course.