ECA Dance Department Curriculum Arc

YEAR ONE

Modern Technique 1 [M/W, Quarter 1, 2, 3, 4]

Ballet [TH, Quarter 1, 2, 3, 4]

Choreography 1 [M/W, Quarter 1 & 2]

West African Dance Technique [Tuesday, Quarter 1 & 2]

Modern Dance History 1 [TH, Quarter 1& 2]

Kinesiology/Body Alignment [T/TH, Quarter 3]

Faculty Repertory [M/W, Quarter 3]

Senior Project [M/T/W/TH, Quarter 4]

 

YEAR TWO (Semester 1)

Modern Technique 2 [M/W, Quarter 1, 2, 3, 4]

Ballet (TH, Quarter 1, 2, 3, 4]

Choreography 2 [M/W, Quarter 1 & 2]

Modern Dance History 2 [T/TH, Quarter 1& 2]

Professional Repertory Reconstruction [T/TH, Quarter 3]

Faculty Repertory [M/W, Quarter 3]

Senior Project [M/T/W/TH, Quarter 4]

 

YEAR THREE (Semester 1)

Modern Technique 3/4 [M/W, Quarter 1, 2, 3, 4]

Advanced Ballet [TH, Quarter 1, 2, 3, 4]

Choreography 3 [M/W, Quarter 1 & 2]

Partnering and Improvisation [T/TH, Quarter 1& 2]

Professional Repertory Reconstruction [T/TH, Quarter 3]

Faculty Repertory [M/W, Quarter 3]

Senior Project [M/T/W/TH, Quarter 4]

YEAR FOUR (Semester 1)

Modern Technique 3/4 [M/W, Quarter 1, 2, 3, 4]

Advanced Ballet [TH, Quarter 1, 2, 3, 4]

Choreography 4 [M/W, Quarter 1 & 2]

Special Project: Social Justice [TH, Quarter 1 & 2]

Senior Seminar: College App/Studio Exploration [T, Quarter 1 & 2]

Senior Seminar: Teaching Partnering/Production Techniques [T/TH, Quarter 3]

Faculty Repertory [M/W, Quarter 3]

Senior Project [M/T/W/TH, Quarter 4]

 

ECA DANCE DEPARTMENT COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

YEAR ONE

Modern Technique 1

Modern Dance Technique: the study of contemporary dance based on 20th- century and 21st century, including Graham and Dunham technique and exploring my own technical variations. The primary focus in Modern Technique one is to develop appropriate alignment (placement of the spine and pelvis), good movement habits, and core strength.  Students will develop basic modern technique skills including as use of the torso in curves and arches, rapid changes of direction, parallel position in the feet and body, off-center balances, floor work, and various ways to jump and turn.  Students will also hone their ability to retain extended and continuous movement phrases and examine aesthetic principles as technical demands increase.  Students will develop their ability to accurately retain movement phrases. Students will increase their practice in the principles of time, space and energy, improvisational exploration and expressive movement performance. The technique class will address the development of proficiency in the following areas: Body alignment, centering, kinesthetic, awareness, use of breath, focus and dynamics, perception and attention to detail.

Ballet

In Ballet, students explore beginning/intermediate techniques of classical ballet. These techniques include basic barre and center exercises designed to develop strength and articulation of the whole body. Barre exercises are designed to progressively warm up muscles. They include plié (small and large leg bends); tendu, degagé and frappé (leg gestures of various speed, accent and leg height); rond de jambe, développé and adagio (fluid, sweeping leg gestures designed to increase strength, flexibility and fluidity of movement). During center exercises students connect dance steps into various phrases. Types of phrases include allegro (quick and intricate stationary or traveling jumps like glissade, jeté and assemblé); balancé and pirouette practice (waltz steps and turns); and grand allegro (sweeping steps, jumps, and turns which travel across the floor).  In Ballet, students are expected to work independently at their own level, continually trying to develop their overall ballet technique and master appropriate ballet vocabulary.

Choreography 1

In Choreography 1 students will explore ways to improvise movement, invent movement phrases, and create solo studies. Students will work with partners and in large and small groups, examining ways to ‘borrow’ the movement ideas of others to as a springboard in the creation of their own movement, both improvised and choreographed. Emphasis will be placed on four choreographic elements – movement improvisation, invention, manipulation and organization. Students will explore ways to successfully to work as an ensemble and offer positive constructive criticism.  Students will discuss and examine the choreographic and improvisatory ideas of Joyce Morgenroth, Lynn Anne Blom and Anne Bogart.

West African Dance Technique

West African Dance Technique explores the traditional rhythms and dances of Guinea, West Africa, and how the two interact and reinforce each other. Students explore techniques, terminology, and history common to traditional West African Dances.  Developmental exercises will condition the body and refine the ear for the rhythmic requirements of this dance form. Technical exercises will emphasize grounded stance and appropriate use of alignment.  This is an oral tradition, and the students are required to learn the material without written or digital aids. It is a collaboration and involves learning to listen so to hear how it all fits together.

Dance in Guinea occurs collectively in a community setting. It expresses the life of the community more than the mood of an individual or a couple. In villages throughout the country, the sound and the rhythm of the drum express the mood of the people. The drum is the sign of life; its beat is the heartbeat of the community. Such is the power of the drum to evoke emotions, to touch the souls of those who hear its rhythms. In a Guinean community, coming together in response to the beating of the drum is an opportunity to give one another a sense of belonging and of solidarity. It is a time to connect with each other, to be part of that collective rhythm of the life in which young and old, rich and poor, men and women are all invited to contribute to the society.
 

Modern Dance History 1

In this class we study important figures in 20th century modern dance such as Isadora Duncan, Loie Fuller, Ruth St. Denis, Ted Shawn, Edna Guy, Katherine Dunham, Pearl Primus, and Rod Rodgers. We use a text, The Vision Of Modern Dance, edited by Jean Morrison Brown. This text is a collection of writings from these dance personalities with historical introductions. All of these dance personalities have specific choreographic and artistic ideas that we explore through their writings, videotapes of their dances, and by creating dance studies that are based on their ideas. We relate our work in Choreography I directly to our Dance History I studies so that the students complete written work as well as create a dance study in the studio about each historical personality.

Faculty Repertory

For all students in the dance department, in this course the faculty creates new dances for the student dancers. Each year, after an audition, every student is placed in a faculty repertory cast. The faculty choreographs a new dance for the students using a variety of rehearsal techniques and methods to generate material and to structure the dances. Each year the faculty decides on a different broad, generalized theme within which to work.  Examples of repertory projects have included – Use of spoken text as part of the score – Development of a commissioned musical score in conjunction with the choreography – Collaboration with ECA music ensembles requiring choreography with set musical scores – Use of poetry, sculpture, or painting of major artists as source ideas – Use of political and social theory or current news events as source ideas.

 

Kinesiology/Body Alignment

In Kinesiology/Body Alignment, students will examine the structure and function of skeletal and muscular systems.  (Kinesiology is the study of the body in motion through examination of how the skeleton, joints and muscles move and function.)  In this course students will examine and evaluate their own muscular flexibility and strength.  From this examination, each student will summarize strengths, limitations, muscle tension and flexibility that will be used to create a personal conditioning plan.  Students will also explore and apply principles of body alignment, explore how muscles and joints work in motion, increase flexibility and range of muscle and joint motion, examine anatomical and connectivity relationships to the execution of movement, examine ways improving overall strength and flexibility influence dance technique, promote greater body awareness and concentration and encourage self-responsibility and autonomy.

Senior Project

This course is for all students in the ECA dance department.   The purpose of the Senior Choreography Project is for senior dance students to develop and implement an original piece of choreography and for dancers to have the unique opportunity to examine the choreographic process. Dancers will explore improvisatory exercises, learn and manipulate movement phrases, and will be an integral part of the final piece of choreography. With seniors as their guides, dancers will explore choreographic devices such as spatial design, timing variations and dynamic range.  This kind of exploration will require dancers to work with patience and a generous spirit so that the seniors can take risks, make mistakes and work through choreographic challenges.  The dancers should be focused, enthusiastic and also willing to take risks.  Dancers will keep journals throughout the project and respond to reflection questions regarding the rehearsal and choreographic process.

YEAR TWO

Modern Technique 2

Modern 2 encourages students to embrace how their bodies individually experience expansion,
resistance, articulation and timing. Key components will include core strength, upper body strength and alignment in order to ask the body to experiment with traveling, momentum, balance and off­balance, inversions and reaching outward from the core. A focus on class etiquette and positive body image including listening, respect and camaraderie will be emphasized. The class is comprised of a series of taught phrases from floor to standing with release, yoga, graham, athletic, ballet and other influences. Students will be encouraged to begin how to make artistic choices within set movement phrases and cultivate these choices through the repetition of an accumulating final class phrase.

Ballet

In Ballet for second years, students explore intermediate/advanced techniques of classical ballet. These techniques include basic barre and center exercises designed to develop strength and articulation of the whole body. In Ballet II, exercises are quicker and more intricate than in Ballet I. Movement combinations include plié (small and large leg bends); tendu, degagé, frappé, and pas de cheval (leg gestures of various speed, accent and leg height); and rond de jambe en l’air, développé, fondu, fouetté and adagio (fluid, sweeping leg gestures designed to increase strength, flexibility and fluidity of movement). During center exercises students connect dance steps into various phrases. Types of phrases include allegro (quick and intricate, stationary or traveling jumps like glissade, jeté, sissone, temps de cuisse and assemblé); balancé and balancé en tournant (waltz steps); piqué and châinés practice (quick traveling turns); pirouette practice (turns in varying leg positions like passé, attitude and arabesque); and grand allegro (sweeping steps, jumps, and turns which travel across the floor). In Ballet II, students are expected to work independently at their own level, continually trying to develop their overall ballet technique and master appropriate ballet vocabulary.

Choreography 2

In Choreography II, students will continue to explore new ways of inventing movement through breaking away from their habitual movement choices. Using basic forms of dance composition such as space, time, level, direction and dynamics students will create solo and group collaborations that will be shared with the class encouraging them to experiment, analyse and evaluate the results of their work. Self­motivation, problem solving and a generous environment are required while working cooperatively as both choreographer and dancer. Each student is required to bring their journal each class for in­class assignments.

 

Modern Dance History 2

What are the fundamental principles of movement?  What is dance for?   What is it about?   The new 20th century art form known as Modern Dance was born out of the continued investigation of these questions. In this course we will explore the answers that the pioneers of Modern Dance, Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey Charles Weidman, Hanya Holm, Lester Horton, have left us.  We will study their choreographic themes, practice some of the movement techniques they developed, and think about their uses of stage, space, and costumes. We will understand what made each of these dancer's answers so radical for their times.  Of course, Modern Dance didn't end with the founders; each influenced a new generation of dance creators.  Who did they influence and what answers did the new generation develop to our initial questions?  We will look at the work of Merce Cunningham, Alvin Ailey, Anna Sokolow, Katherine Dunham,  Alvin Nikolais, and many others. Finally, what is the connection between our dance practices at ECA and earlier generations? Throughout our course we will be constructing a Modern Dance Family Tree.  In dance, we can choose our own ancestors. By the course's end, I hope you will come closer to finding your own dance parents. What vision of dance would you take from him/her what would you reject?

 

Faculty Repertory

For all students in the dance department, in this course the faculty creates new dances for the student dancers. Each year, after an audition, every student is placed in a faculty repertory cast. The faculty choreographs a new dance for the students using a variety of rehearsal techniques and methods to generate material and to structure the dances. Each year the faculty decides on a different broad, generalized theme within which to work.  Examples of repertory projects have included – Use of spoken text as part of the score – Development of a commissioned musical score in conjunction with the choreography – Collaboration with ECA music ensembles requiring choreography with set musical scores – Use of poetry, sculpture, or painting of major artists as source ideas – Use of political and social theory or current news events as source ideas.

Professional Repertory (Guest Artist Susan Thomasson)

In this course for sophomores and juniors, students will learn professional repertory.  Guest artist Susan Thomasson will reconstruct “Rooms”, internationally acclaimed choreography by Anna Sokolow.  Additionally, a select ECA alumni work will be reconstructed.  Both dances will be performed in New Dances: ECA Faculty Repertory concert in March 2018.

Senior Project
This course is for all students in the ECA dance department.   The purpose of the Senior Choreography Project is for senior dance students to develop and implement an original piece of choreography and for dancers to have the unique opportunity to examine the choreographic process. Dancers will explore improvisatory exercises, learn and manipulate movement phrases, and will be an integral part of the final piece of choreography. With seniors as their guides, dancers will explore choreographic devices such as spatial design, timing variations and dynamic range.  This kind of exploration will require dancers to work with patience and a generous spirit so that the seniors can take risks, make mistakes and work through choreographic challenges.  The dancers should be focused, enthusiastic and also willing to take risks.  Dancers will keep journals throughout the project and respond to reflection questions regarding the rehearsal and choreographic process.

YEAR THREE

Modern Technique 3/4 (Monday/Wednesday, 1-2:25pm)

The material presented in this course introduces the student to universal movement principles, such as weight transfer, level change, dynamic alignment, initiation and sequencing, rotation, connectivity patterns and core support.  Simultaneously, students integrate specific stylistic vocabulary associated with traditional modern, release-based, classical and athletic techniques.  The class evolves from a center warm-up that includes floor work, through more complex combinations and sequences that travel.  Students are encouraged to increase physical and expressive range as a performer, identify and integrate personal preferences into dance artistry, take risks in problem solving, and accumulate knowledge of dance as an artistic practice. Attention is focused on: expanding movement vocabulary; awakening spatial intent; identifying a stronger sense of weight, suspension and momentum; understanding torso articulation in relation to lower body support; achieving optimal alignment with less stress; and, promoting a disciplined and productive learning environment.

Advanced Ballet (Thursday, 1-2:25pm)

Advanced Ballet further develops the technical skills achieved by students in their previous two years at ECA. Following the form of traditional Ballet classes, students begin at the barre, with a sequence of exercises designed to shape the body into an articulate instrument for the expression of movement, with increased emphasis on deepening muscular awareness to achieve correct alignment, turnout, strong and supple feet and legs, simple but expressive arms, and overall clarity of movement. The barre is followed by center floor work including: adagio (slow movement requiring increasing degrees of control), pirouettes, petite and grand allegro, (small quick jumps and large traveling jumps, respectively). Throughout the class students will work on musicality, phrasing, movement dynamic and performance. Students will also be required to learn Ballet terminology.

Choreography 3 (Monday/Wednesday, 2:35-4:10pm)

In Choreography 3 third-year students will deepen their artistic voice as they experiment and refine their understanding of choreographic elements and skills by studying master choreographers of the 20th and 21st century. Students will individually choreograph a group dance, drawing on the ideas and style of a master choreographer from the 20th and 21st century. Students will study their master choreographer through text sources as well as online, DVD and live performances. The students are required to submit a research paper about the master choreographer as well as a choreographer’s statement of intent, clearly relating their choreographic ideas to the historical figure chosen. The choreographer’s statement is submitted before the students create their dance.

Partnering

This class draws from classical and post-modern partnering techniques. With a focus on proper skeletal alignment, students will explore catching, releasing, supporting, assisting with jumps, shared weight and point of contact. Initially in small groupings, duets and trios, eventually expanding to larger groupings, students will begin by exploring short partnered sequences. Partnered studies will be continuously built class by class throughout the quarter. These studies will introduce and reinforce elements of shared weight, relationship to gravity, coordination of footwork and a dynamic rhythmic structure. Emphasis is placed on increasing the students’ physical awareness, coordination, phrasing and developing safe dance practices. A strong focus is placed on a creative response and generosity to a partner while dancing together, proper body positioning in relationship to a partner, and the individuals’ responsibility to the group dynamic.

Faculty Repertory

For all students in the dance department, in this course the faculty creates new dances for the student dancers. Each year, after an audition, every student is placed in a faculty repertory cast. The faculty choreographs a new dance for the students using a variety of rehearsal techniques and methods to generate material and to structure the dances. Each year the faculty decides on a different broad, generalized theme within which to work.  Examples of repertory projects have included – Use of spoken text as part of the score – Development of a commissioned musical score in conjunction with the choreography – Collaboration with ECA music ensembles requiring choreography with set musical scores – Use of poetry, sculpture, or painting of major artists as source ideas – Use of political and social theory or current news events as source ideas.

Professional Repertory (Guest Artist Susan Thomasson)

In this course for sophomores and juniors, students will learn professional repertory.  Guest artist Susan Thomasson will reconstruct “Rooms”, renowned work of choreographer Anna Sokolow.  Additionally, dancers will learn a select ECA alumni piece.  Both dances will be performed in New Dances: ECA Faculty Repertory concert in March 2018.

Senior Project

This course is for all students in the ECA dance department.   The purpose of the Senior Choreography Project is for senior dance students to develop and implement an original piece of choreography and for dancers to have the unique opportunity to examine the choreographic process. Dancers will explore improvisatory exercises, learn and manipulate movement phrases, and will be an integral part of the final piece of choreography. With seniors as their guides, dancers will explore choreographic devices such as spatial design, timing variations and dynamic range.  This kind of exploration will require dancers to work with patience and a generous spirit so that the seniors can take risks, make mistakes and work through choreographic challenges.  The dancers should be focused, enthusiastic and also willing to take risks.  Dancers will keep journals throughout the project and respond to reflection questions regarding the rehearsal and choreographic process.

 

YEAR FOUR

Modern Technique 3/4

The material presented in this course introduces the student to universal movement principles, such as weight transfer, level change, dynamic alignment, initiation and sequencing, rotation, connectivity patterns and core support.  Simultaneously, students integrate specific stylistic vocabulary associated with traditional modern, release-based, classical and athletic techniques.  The class evolves from a center warm-up that includes floor work, through more complex combinations and sequences that travel.  Students are encouraged to increase physical and expressive range as a performer, identify and integrate personal preferences into dance artistry, take risks in problem solving, and accumulate knowledge of dance as an artistic practice. Attention is focused on: expanding movement vocabulary; awakening spatial intent; identifying a stronger sense of weight, suspension and momentum; understanding torso articulation in relation to lower body support; achieving optimal alignment with less stress; and, promoting a disciplined and productive learning environment.

Advanced Ballet

Advanced Ballet further develops the technical skills achieved by students in their previous two years at ECA. Following the form of traditional Ballet classes, students begin at the barre, with a sequence of exercises designed to shape the body into an articulate instrument for the expression of movement, with increased emphasis on deepening muscular awareness to achieve correct alignment, turnout, strong and supple feet and legs, simple but expressive arms, and overall clarity of movement. The barre is followed by center floor work including: adagio (slow movement requiring increasing degrees of control), pirouettes, petite and grand allegro, (small quick jumps and large traveling jumps, respectively). Throughout the class students will work on musicality, phrasing, movement dynamic and performance. Students will also be required to learn Ballet terminology.

Choreography 4

Choreography 4 is an intensive laboratory in which students rigorously practice a cycle of various operations involved in making dance works: inventing, manipulating and organizing choreographic material. Class review and synthesis of the student’s previous choreographic studies serve as a springboard for the Senior Dance Project (later in the year).  Choreographic prompts or problems stimulate action and require a large measure of initiative and independent decision making.  Students work cooperatively as both choreographer and dancer to experiment with diverse compositional practices from contemporary dance.  Video viewing, discussion, reading and writing assignments complement daily creation activities.  A movement journal is also an essential learning tool for recording the ongoing artistic discovery process. Each class consists of experimentation, individual and group studio research, presentation and discussion.

Senior Special Project: TBA

Senior Seminar: College Application/Studio Exploration

Senior Seminar: College Application/Studio Exploration is a laboratory in which students rigorously practice the various operations involved in making dance works: inventing, manipulating and organizing choreographic material. Students work collaboratively – discussing ideas, developing projects, and developing a studio plan, both individually and as a group.  Students examine various multimedia themes, determine which to explore in class.  They practice various ways to teach improvisations and ways to manipulate and expand movement phrases in preparation for senior project rehearsals. Each class consists of experimentation, individual and group studio research, presentation and discussion. In Senior Seminar, students will participate in master classes in including lighting and costume design and Garage Band. NOTE: At the beginning of this course, seniors will have the opportunity for college preparation – lab time to complete essays and the Common App, special seminars, and studio time to develop college audition solos.

Senior Seminar: Teaching, Partnering/Production Techniques

Senior Seminar: Teaching, Partnering/Production Techniques is a laboratory in which students rigorously practice the various operations involved in making dance works: inventing, manipulating and organizing choreographic material. They will explore various teaching strategies in preparation for teaching their choreography to peers.  They will examine and practice effective ways to teach partnering. They will complete a Senior Project Survey detailing their choreographic ideas for their senior project, share their ideas and brainstorm ways to expand their movement ideas into viable choreographic material. They will practice various ways to teach improvisations and ways to manipulate and expand movement phrases in preparation for senior project rehearsals. They will examine the aspects of producing dance works – discovering that initial choreographic spark, transforming that idea into movement, developing choreography, exploring ways to organize and manage rehearsals, conducting music searches, managing technical rehearsals, etc.  Students will keep a movement journal – an essential learning tool for recording the ongoing artistic discovery process.

Faculty Repertory

For all students in the dance department, in this course the faculty creates new dances for the student dancers. Each year, after an audition, every student is placed in a faculty repertory cast. The faculty choreographs a new dance for the students using a variety of rehearsal techniques and methods to generate material and to structure the dances. Each year the faculty decides on a different broad, generalized theme within which to work.  Examples of repertory projects have included – Use of spoken text as part of the score – Development of a commissioned musical score in conjunction with the choreography – Collaboration with ECA music ensembles requiring choreography with set musical scores – Use of poetry, sculpture, or painting of major artists as source ideas – Use of political and social theory or current news events as source ideas.

Senior Choreography Project

This course is for all students in the ECA dance department.   The purpose of the Senior Choreography Project is for senior dance students to develop and implement an original piece of choreography and for dancers to have the unique opportunity to examine the choreographic process. Dancers will explore improvisatory exercises, learn and manipulate movement phrases, and will be an integral part of the final piece of choreography. With seniors as their guides, dancers will explore choreographic devices such as spatial design, timing variations and dynamic range.  This kind of exploration will require dancers to work with patience and a generous spirit so that the seniors can take risks, make mistakes and work through choreographic challenges.  The dancers should be focused, enthusiastic and also willing to take risks.  Dancers will keep journals throughout the project and respond to reflection questions regarding the rehearsal and choreographic process.