This 100-level introductory course to twentieth-century dance history focuses on dance visual literacy, orienting students to the primary resource materials of dance by viewing/reading full-length choreographic works. Balancing quantity with quality, the aim of this course is for students to be challenged to view 100 full-length twentieth-century dance works for the express purpose of contextualizing them within the socio-political-cultural framework of the twentieth century.

The choice of the 100 choreographies, in any one semester, could be seen as arbitrary, and are subject to change, in order to accommodate various themes within the five-college dance department. These first “100” came from the faculty that identified works in which they have had an affinity. Once identified, the challenge was to find full-length dance works available on film/media. Some works in the chronology include those by five-college faculty, so that you can see the evolution of their dance aesthetic and, in turn, understand the particular “technique” / geneology being passed on to you.

This class will develop and sharpen the skills needed for looking at and writing about dance. Our central concern will be how a dance communicates and what it expresses to the viewer. We will experiment with different modes of descriptive, analytical, and critical writing, tooling the skills needed to synthesize the reality of the performance with its poetic or cultural resonance.