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Special Topics

Theatre & Dance Special Topics Courses 2020 - 2021

Block 1

TH 200 Writing from the Well: Mining the Subconscious

Where does inspiration come from? How is it channeled? This class is a foray into the process of dramatic writing (writing for the stage: monologues and plays) that emerges from the well of the subconscious. Our investigations and experiments will seek to liberate the imagination, discover the conduits to deliver our creative expression and deepen our capacity for creative exploration and appreciation. Mindfulness practices, dreams, the tarot, ritual, silence, play may all be a part of our writing/making practice. Sanchez, 1 unit

Block 2

Topics in Dance: Philosophies of the Body

Comparative (and connected) exploration of philosophies of the body. In the west, we have inherited a model of the body as object, opposite to the mind - reinforced by a variety of everyday discourses including medical and health discourses as well as those around beauty, capability, and culpability. While this course will historicize continental European theories of mind-body duality, we will dive into specific other philosophical traditions - embodied as well as textual - which offer very different models for the thinking-feeling-subjective body, with their own complexities and critical possibilities. We will address bodies (in motion), perception/cognition, and power (variously defined). Ultimately, these various approaches force us to question what it means to even talk about "a body". Pallavi Sriram, 1 unit

TH200: Black Women in the United States and Diasporic Theatrical Expression

"This course provides an examination of the landscape of theatrical production and interdisciplinary performance by women in the African Diaspora / Black Women, specifically in the United States. This course includes close reading, analysis and discussion of play scripts, poetry, related theoretical and historical readings, film and theatrical presentations. Some examples of themes we will explore are Black women and feminism, ritual as performance and meditations on the lived experience(s) and identities and cultural values of Black women in the diaspora. Rollins, 1 unit

Block 3

DA200/EN286 Moving Writing/Writing Movement

This course explores creative process through the mediums of movement and creative writing, using their intersection as a way to explore new territory for student writers, for students with experience in dance, and for students new to both disciplines. We will invite students to use movement as a way into the body, allowing for a deeper engagement with the writing they create, as well as to use their writing as a starting point for developing movement. Womack, 1 unit

TH200/CO300 Samuel Beckett

In one of his final works, Beckett encapsulates his artistic approach: "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better." His oeuvre attests to his constant experimentation with fiction, the essay, media, and theatre. Accordingly, the course explores representative examples of Beckett's work in each of these genres, from all stages of his career, both those originally written in English and those originally written in French. We will try, fail, try again, fail again, and fail better to answer the question, what does Beckettian mean? Lindblade/Schreiner, 1 unit

J Block

DA/TH200 The Nakedness of Being

Nakedness of Being is an experiential and experimental performance course taught by Eiko Otake, a New York-based movement artist. This course combines Eiko's embodied creative practice with the study of postwar Japanese arts. Through the study of movement, readings, videos, and films we will learn that space/time is not a white canvas that stands alone and empty. Here and now are continuous parts of a larger geography (space) and history (time) and as such are dense with memories, shadows, and possibilities. We will see art works and films from postwar Japan as examples of artistic representations of despair and perseverance. What is it to forget, remember, mourn, and pray? How do we transcend violence and loss? How does being or becoming a mover or dancer affect our emotional rigor, seeing/learning, and creativity? These are some of the many questions that we will explore. This is not a dance class, nor is it geared toward performers. We will learn some movement together, but the course encourages students to think about movement as a method of accessing human experiences and building knowledge, a way to explore sensations, thoughts, and reactions to a particular space. Otake, 1 unit

Block 5

TH200/FM200 Hollywood Musical

Lindblade/Sarchett 1 unit

TH 200 Story of You: The Art of Solo Performance

What are the stories that you are made of? Where do you, the protagonist in your own life, and you, the actor, meet? In this class we will execute a variety of creative work translating facets of our own lives and ideas about the world into our autobiographical mythologies as an investigation of the art of solo performance. We will also look at the work of contemporary solo theatre artists and their diverse range of style and content. Select work will be presented at the end of the block. No prior experience in performance is necessary! Sanchez, 1 unit

Block 6

DA200 DanSix

Prominent Native choreographers Rosy Simas and Sam Aros Mitchell will teach a special dance course in Block 6, Spring 2021. Simas and Mitchell will work with students as active contributors to make a public performance that will be staged at the end of the block. This performance will take the place of the department's annual faculty dance concert, DanSix. Depending on the interests of participants in the course, the performance could be an installation or involve multimedia elements, especially if there are students with experience in film and video. Along the way, the creative process will be supplemented with readings and viewings by artists, activists, and scholars working in indigenous performance, somatic practices, and the politics of cultural appropriation. There are no prerequisites for the course, which is open to both trained dancers and students new to the stage. For more information about Rosy Simas' choreography and films. Simas, 1 unit. please visit https://www.rosysimas.com/.

DA200/RM200: Dance, Popular Culture and Afro-Asia

From Afropop to 'Bollywood' to K-Pop, we are increasingly familiar with these 'global' pop cultural paradigms. This course examines dance and/as popular culture (alongside music) across the Afro-Asian world in order to examine the intersections of location and exchange, decentering Eurocentric notions of the non-west and of 'the global' generally. Across the Indian Ocean, Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia and beyond are connected by multiple long histories of imperialisms, religions, trade economies, and urban cultures. Bringing these to bear, we examine the complex interplay between erasures of non-western pasts and new trans-media circulations in the present. Whether marfa wedding bands, Singapore nightlife, Hip Hop student groups, or chakacha in Mombasa, dance moves between digital, cinematic and physical spaces - leading us towards a more complicated politics of location and different bodily possibilities of the 'cosmopolitan'. Sriram, 1 unit

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