RCHUMS 235 - Topics in World Dance
Section: 001
Term: WN 2018
Subject: RC Humanities (RCHUMS)
Department: LSA Residential College
Requirements & Distribution:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

People around the world express their deepest cultural and spiritual values through dance. Dance marks key rites of passage in the human life cycle – birth, puberty, marriage and even death. Dance can be a political statement. It can affirm group solidarity. It can be a martial art or encourage meditation. This course explores theatrical, religious and social dance in a variety of cultures including groups in Africa, The Middle East, India, Indonesia, Japan, China, Korea, Brazil, Argentina, Australia and the Caribbean and Pacific Islands. What role does dance play within the culture that produces it? How are social, political and spiritual values reflected in dance structure and movement? How are cultural attitudes towards class and gender revealed in dance? How do performance styles and choreography differ across cultures?

This course will survey a diversity of dance traditions throughout the world. Students will gain insight into the functions, aesthetics, history, and cultural context of dances within specific societies. Theatrical, religious, popular, and social dance traditions will be examined in a variety of cultures including groups in Africa, Japan, India, South America, Aboriginal Australia, Indonesia (Bali, Java), the Mideast, and others. A variety of broad comparative issues will be explored:

  • How does dance reflect the values of the society which produces it?
  • How are gender, class, relationships between individual and group, and political and spiritual values displayed through dance structures and movements?
  • What is the creative process for producing these dance works?
  • How is the visual imagery of dance movement designed and how can an audience decipher it?
  • What are the basic elements of dance choreography?
  • How do choreographic structures differ cross-culturally?
  • How do the training, preparation, and performance practices of dancers differ cross-culturally?
  • How do the dances of these cultures employ or integrate other art forms such as music, theater, and costume design?
  • How are dance productions evaluated and critiqued within different cultures?

Course Requirements:

In addition to lectures and readings, the class will feature several guest artist/speaker presentations, viewings of films and videos, and observations of dance rehearsals, classes, and performances.

Intended Audience:

All students from any school or major (LSA, SOMTD, and beyond) You do not have to have any experience in dance to do well in this course.

RCHUMS 235 - Topics in World Dance
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM
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