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NOTE: This page contains information from the 2012-2013 Catalog. It remains available for archival purposes only. For the most current WC Catalog content, please visit http://catalog.washcoll.edu and download this year’s edition.
Minor, Division of Humanities


The Dance Minor program offered at Washington College is designed to give students dance technique, choreographic, and performance training with particular attention to artistry and proper anatomy and biomechanics. These are facets of dance that are viewed as mutually dependent and interactive. Fundamental to the training of the dancer is the building of the dancer’s body; so the program includes technical training in a variety of dance forms as well as Pilates, yoga, and ta’i chi chu’an and work in improvisation, dance composition, dance history, and repertory.

Within the liberal arts education tradition the Dance Minor is designed as an important ingredient in the development of students for whom intellectual, physical, and artistic inquiry are linked. Critical thinking, creative imagination, intellectual and artistic collaboration, and development of aesthetic awareness and communication skills are integral components of the minor program. The courses in the Dance Minor are designed to give the student an in-depth understanding of the art of dance technique and choreography, the field of dance scholarship, the science of mind/body integration, the craft of performance, and the management and problem solving skills necessary to produce creative work.

Dance History, Dance Production and Performance, Dance Composition, and a minimum of three technique classes are required for the minor. A variety of elective classes are available to complete the minor requirement of 24 credits. The student will be required to take DAN 203 or DAN 204, DAN 228, DAN 233, DAN 310, DAN 313 plus six additional elective credits in Dance History, Production, dance technique, somatics (yoga, ta’i chi, or Pilates), or Ballroom Dance.

Dance courses that may be used for the College Distribution Requirement in the Fine Arts are Dance History I, II, Ballet I, II, III, Modern Dance I, II, III, Dance Composition, or both of the two-credit courses: Jazz/Musical Theater Dance and Tap Dance (i.e. each is 2 credits, so both must be taken to equal 4 credits).

Dance Minor Courses

  • DAN 106. Jazz and Musical Theater Dance
  • DAN 108. Tap Dance
  • DAN 113. Ballet I Beginning Ballet
  • DAN 203. Dance History I: Cultural Perspectives in Dance
  • DAN 204. Dance History II: Classical and Theatrical Dancing
  • DAN 213. Ballet II Intermediate Ballet
  • DAN 227. Modern Dance I Beginning Modern Dance
  • DAN 228. Modern Dance II Intermediate/Advanced Modern
  • DAN 233. Dance Composition
  • DAN 310. Dance Production and Performance
  • DAN 313. Ballet III Advanced Ballet
  • DAN 328. Modern Dance III – Advanced Modern

Course Descriptions

106. Jazz and Musical Theater Dance

Survey of musical theatre dance from late 19th century African-based dance forms through 21st century Broadway show styles. Focuses on the study of ballroom, ballet, jazz, and tap dance techniques, choreography, their integration in musicals, and selected repertory. “Jazz” is a compendium of movement styles that reflect African and European rhythms blended with cultural, historical, and social themes that produces a uniquely American style of dance. Includes jazz warmups, movement isolations, and combinations emphasizing rhythm, jumps, and turns. Some choreography, reading, and writing required.

108. Tap Dance

Tap is a distinctly American dance form that uses precise rhythmical patterns of foot movement and audible foot tapping to produce syncopation of sounds. Course will include instruction in basic steps such as Flaps, Shuffle Steps, Breaks, Time Steps, Waltz Clog, Cramp Roll, Riffs, Chugs, as well as complex patterns of the feet. Such forms as soft-shoe, waltz-clog, stage tap, “hoofing,” and Appalachian clogging will be explored. This course is open to all tappers, from beginning to advanced.

113. Ballet I: Beginning Ballet

Ballet is the spectacular, classical dance form that grew out of 16th century court dances. It has a tradition, a technique, and an aesthetic basis all its own. Codification of steps has been intellectual and based on geometrical-aesthetic principles. The ballet’s movement is motion dictated by taste and selectivity. Ballet I is an introduction to the fundamentals of classical ballet vocabulary; correct body placement; alignment; positions of the feet, head, and arms; flexibility; and basic locomotion in the form. The class is primarily a technique class with emphasis on proper technique at the barre, execution of movement in center and en diagonale with short variations of adagio and allegro. The course differentiates between classical and modern forms and investigates Cecchetti, Vaganova, and Bournonville styles. Some choreography, reading, and writing required.

203. Dance History I: Cultural Perspectives in Dance

An exploration of specific primitive and ancient cultures as well as contemporary world dance forms and their historical and cultural contexts, including pre-Christian civilizations—the African diaspora, America (Native American and Hawaiian dance and Meso-America), Polynesia, Asia, the Far East, India, Egypt, and Europe prior to the Golden Age of Ballet, and early social dancing and the relationship of dance forms to society and patterns of culture. This course will trace the role of dance as religious ritual, form of education, popular entertainment, and means of passing on a culture’s history—viewing dance in relation to the social, geographical, and political context of each period and culture.

204. Dance History II: Classical And Theatrical Dancing

An in-depth historical exploration of the development of theatrical dance in the Western world (ballet, modern dance, and theatrical dancing in Europe and America) with a special emphasis on the relationship between dance and other performing arts. The course examines the cultural forces affecting the development of these forms, their origins in Greek theater and Roman spectacle to the Renaissance, the Golden Age of Ballet, and through the 20th century, and the contributions of the major figures (choreographers, dancers, teachers, etc.) in the field.

213. Ballet II: Intermediate Ballet

This course continues the mastery of technique and skill of classical ballet. While emphasis is still on placement of the body, alignment, and proper technique at the barre, center, and en diagonale, variations of adagio, petite allegro, and grande allegro will be more complicated and more lengthy; and students should demonstrate improved physical control and coordination. Course includes ballet history and terminology and introduces partnering. Some choreography, research, and writing required. [May not be taken without having taken Ballet I except by permission of instructor.]

227. Modern Dance I

An introduction to basic principles of modern dance as a creative art form: dance movement, body alignment, coordination, strength, and flexibility, movement vocabulary, dance sequences, and musicality. Improvisation exercises and short composition studies will be included. If taken for academic credit, concert attendance and two short papers are required. Focuses on a biomechanical approach to movement and basic principles and techniques derived from the American founders of modern dance—Graham, Cunningham, Limon, Weidman. Some choreography, research, and writing required.

228. Modern Dance II

Continued exploration and development of modern dance technique, where expressive movement is highly selected, spatially designed, and organized through rhythmic structure. Focuses on both abstract and thematic material, complex sequences, and extended creative studies with emphasis on dynamics, direction, level, range, focus, floor pattern, space, and time. Course includes improvisation, taking weight/partnering, and short compositional pieces as well as choreography, selected readings, and writing of critiques. [May not be taken without having taken Modern Dance I except by permission of instructor.]

233. Dance Composition

This course in choreographic theory and the study of the basic principles of dance composition explores the use of improvisation, movement dynamics, effort, meter, space, shape, and rhythm. Students explore compositional devices and develop solo and small group works. Students are encouraged to create in their range of vocabularies. Directed learning uses experiences with dynamics, rhythm, motivation, and gesture coordinated with aesthetic principles of form to develop studies and dances. Principles explored are applicable to dance making in a wide variety of styles, and students are encouraged to create in their range of vocabularies. Includes development of critical awareness, reading, writing, video and live concert viewing, movement studies, journals, and a final piece for public performance.

310. Dance Production

A practicum of theatre crafts and techniques involved in dance production, including lighting, sound, set and costume design and construction, makeup, stage-management, and filming dance. Includes choreography, production, and performance of student and faculty works, both on and off campus.

313. Ballet III: Advanced Ballet

Further development of ballet technique including differentiation between classical and modern forms; investigates Cecchetti, Russian/Vaganova, Bournonville/Royal Danish Ballet styles; and emphasizes clean line, technique, and vocabulary. Teaching methods and solo and group choreography are explored. Some reading, research, and writing required. [May not be taken without having taken Ballet II except by permission of instructor.]

328. Modern Dance III – Advanced Modern

Continued practice in technique of modern and contemporary movement skills, including approaches to various styles, emphasizing the body as an instrument of expression and techniques for increasing kinesthetic sensitivity. If taken for academic credit, concert attendance, writing assignments, and solo and group choreography are required. [May not be taken without having taken Modern Dance II except by permission of instructor.]