DAN-110 Course Syllabus

Dance Foundations Syllabus

  • Semester: Fall 2016
  • Instructor: Emily Berry
  • Phone:718-281-5277
  • Email: Address: Eberry@qcc.cuny.edu
  • Course Location: RFK GYM RM G-214
  • Class Day & Time: Thursdays 2:10 - 4:50
  • Office Location: RFK RM 113
  • Office Hours: Tuesdays 4:00-6:00pm, Thursdays 5:00 - 6:00pm

Course Description

Dance Foundations focuses on tools and information needed to succeed in dance. The course will consist of readings, class discussions, observation and discussion of videos and live performances, and movement classes in Bartenieff Fundamentals. We will discuss how to think like a dancer and how to make both life choices and dance choices that will facilitate a career in dance. The objective is to prepare you for what you might encounter as a dancer in the real world today!

Performance Expectations: Upon completion of the course, each student/candidate will knowledge of:

1. Current trends in dance 2. How to prepare for class, performance, and a life in dance 3. An understanding of the body, injury prevention, and development of technique(4). An understanding of what is necessary to have a career in dance 5. Demonstrate self-awareness and awareness of others when performing and engaging in-group activities

Modes of Instruction:

  • Lectures/discussions
  • Cooperative/Collaborative Learning Experiences
  • Classroom Observations and Interactions
  • Self-Assessment
  • Movement Classes in Bartenieff Fundamentals

Course Requirements and Evaluation:

A. Students are required to come to class having done the reading assignments/seen the performances and be prepared for discussion. Students will be graded on their participation in both class discussions and movement classes.


Attendance is extremely important to your individual growth and understanding of the class material. Students with 4 or more absences will fail the course- no exception! Arriving late and/or leaving early or coming to class unprepared will result in a lower final grade. Be on time. Two late arrivals and/or two non- participation of any kind will count as one absence- no exception! Also, sleeping through class discussions or dance videos will count as an absence.

Attendance Scale

Absences and Points
Absences Points
0-1 100
2 85
3 70
4 Fail the course


All absences will be considered in the final grade however for extreme emergencies (i.e. extended hospital stay) an "Incomplete" grade will be considered and discussed with the student.
- Proper dance attire is required for all movement classes.

B. Reaction Paper: 100 points Write (typed and double-spaced) an observation/evaluation of a Dance Concert. Your paper is due no later than one week after you see the concert. Guidelines for writing a reaction paper are below. Dance recitals, high school performances and kids performances do not count. ALL PAPERS ARE DUE BEFORE THANKSGIVING!!!!

C. Mid-term: 100 points - The mid-term will consist of a mid point report of your final project of the student's choosing but approved by the instructor. It should be clear that significant time and thought has gone into your project and that it has been developed over a few weeks. Your mid-term projects will be presented in class on October 20th.

D. Final Project: 100 points - See mid-term. The final projects will be presented on December 15th.

E. Other assignments: 100 points - various assignments will be given in class. They are required to be turned in or presented in the following class. This will include attending outside concerts! We will discuss as a class in the first 2 weeks of class, which concerts you will attend! You must attend a minimum of 3 concerts!!! Writing in and keeping a Journal is one of the class assignments for the semester. In addition to the assigned entries in your syllabus, you must write a minimum of 15 additional entries of topics of your choosing that are related to the class material. You will turn this in at the mid-term and end of semester. You will get it back - you will want to keep it forever as a reference to help you throughout your career! You will also be required to read one book of your choice - here are some options - 1) Last Night on Earth - Bill T. Jones 2) Alvin Ailey's Biography written by Deborah Jowitt 3) Isadora Duncan's Autobiography 4) Urban Bush Women: Twenty Years of African-American Dance Theater, Community Engagement, and Working it Out by Nadine George- Graves 5) The Black Dancing Body by Brenda Dixon-Gottschild 6) Staging Social Justice: Collaborating to Create Activist Theater by Norma Bowles and Daniel Raymond Nadon 7) The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop—and Why It Matters by Tricia Rose 8) Hip Hop America by Nelson George 9) Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation by Jeff Chang and These books are mere options - You can choose a book from this list or find one on your own. I just want you to find a book that interests you, will inspire you, and you will LOVE! If you find one on your own, just run it by me for approval! You can check the Library at QCC, your local library, or if you want a book to keep, check out half.com.

Final Grading Procedures
Final Grading Procedures Points
A 450-500
B 400-449
C 350-399
D 300-349
F 299 and Below

Grading Standards:

A grade of A is given for superlative work that demonstrates a profound commitment to the course material, and further, that goes on to employ this material as a springboard for independent thought and work. Excellent work performed by the student (demonstrates ownership of the material and begins to apply a higher level of cognitive and creative thinking, plus completing Above Average Work (B-Grade). A grade of B is given for very good work that completely fulfills all the requirements of the course in a conscientious and dedicated manner, and that demonstrates mastery of the course content. Above average work performed by the student (begins to apply the information learned and demonstrates enthusiasm for learning new information, plus completing Average Work (C Grade) A grade of C is given for work that fulfills all the requirements of the course in a satisfactory manner, but that falls short of demonstrating rigor and mastery. Average work performed by the student (attends class; arrives on time; prepared for class; retains information from class to class; and respectful throughout the learning process) A grade of D is given for work that is unsatisfactory. A grade of F is given for work that fails to fulfill the requirements of the course as listed above

Guidelines for Writing the Reaction Paper

When a dance performance is successful, it is a transformative experience. That is, it changes the viewer in some way. When you are watching the dance performance, allow yourself to be taken in on an emotional, physical, or intellectual level. You can connect what you are seeing to your own personal life or history. How has the performance changed you in some way or why was it not successful in being a transformative experience?

Dance can be representational, i.e. "jump for joy" or non-representational, just "jump", which is the "art for art's sake" approach. Look at the whole structure of the dance. Does it begin slowly or quietly and build to a large climax, or does it do the opposite? How was that structure effective or was it not effective? Look at the dancers as performers, their energy, physicality, effectiveness as a performer, etc. How did the performance affect you?

You should be able to discuss the different elements of the performance, i.e. the lighting, music or sound, costumes, and choreography. Did the elements support each other? Look at how the dancers are moving through space, their relationship to each other, and movements that you may recognize from class.

When you go to the performance, make sure to take notes. DO not write during the performance because you will lose the flow and timing of the piece, but write down notes after the piece is finished. You will want to refer to your notes in writing your paper. The lights in the house will come up between pieces. You can take notes then. Your paper should be at least three FULL double-spaced typed pages. DO NOT write "what" you saw! For example, "The dancers wore red leotards with pink ruffles as they leaped across the stage". Write from the perspective of what you got from the performance, how it moved you, etc. then use movement examples to back up your findings. There are no right or wrong interpretations of what you see as long as you back up your ideas and explain why you came to those conclusions.

Below are some Grammar Examples to help you:

*prepositional phrases When you begin a sentence with a prepositional phrase, you need a comma after the prepositional phrase. I wrote that sentence so that the explanation of it is also an example of it. Some examples of prepositions are: in, when, after, under, etc. You do not need a comma when the prepositional phrase comes at the end of a sentence. Again, I wrote the rule with sentence structure that also serves as an example of the rule.

*conjunctions (and, or, but) A conjunction is a word that is used to combine either two complete sentences or a complete sentence with a related thought. When a conjunction is used to combine two complete sentences, you need a comma. When a conjunction is used combine a complete sentence with an incomplete sentence, you do not use a comma. It is always a good idea to look at each half of the sentence independently to evaluate whether they are complete sentences or not. Make sure each half has a subject and a verb. If only one half has a subject and a verb, then you don't need the comma. Here are two examples of when you need a comma or not.

I ate an apple with peanut butter on it for breakfast, and I loved it! (two complete sentences=needs a comma) I ate an apple with peanut butter on it for breakfast and loved it! (complete sentence with connected thought - missing the subject =no comma)

*Look at all of your sentences and make sure they have both a subject and a verb.

*When you begin a sentence with a time word, you need a comma after it. For example, then, next, finally all require commas after them when they begin a sentence. Finally, I finished my paper. No comma is necessary if you rearrange it to read: I finally finished my paper. Another example is: Then, the doorbell rang.

*When a phrase beginning with "which" is used at the end of a sentence, you need a comma. For example: The Christmas present I ordered for my mother arrived on December 27th, which was too late.

*Then, just check for consistent verb tense. If you are writing about an experience that has already happened, it should be in the past tense.

*Having another person read your paper aloud to you will also help you in editing it. Often, when we are reading our own writing, we see what we want to say in our heads rather than what is actually written on the paper. Hearing someone else read it will help you to get what you really mean on the paper.

Course Schedule
Week Date Topic Assignments
1. 8/25 Introduction to Class

Journal entry - what inspires you, what motivates you to dance - to work hard

Recommended - Read Article: So You TAhink You Can Ace College Dance

2. 9/1 What Qualities/Practices do you need to succeed in dance Journal entry - what are your tendencies that hold you back and what are you going to do to change them - write out a clear action plan - not philosophy although philosophy might help! You need to have an action plan!!!! Recommended - Read Articles: Be a Smart Dancer & Breaking the Mold
3. 9/8 Class Etiquette Journal Entry - What will you do differently regarding class etiquette? What will you continue to do that has been serving you well? Mid-term proposals - typed - due 9/15
4. 9/15 Discuss Mid-term Proposals Scheduling - Time Management Journal Entry - how have your time management skills helped/hurt you in the past - what is your action plan to better your time management skills? What is your daily practice? What is your weekly practice? Assignment - Typed - turned in 9/22 - Write out your schedule from the time you wake until the time you sleep for the week.
5. 9/22 Writing About Dance Journal Entry - See a performance and write about it in your journal! This will count for one of your 3 performances - it is practice for your paper!!!
6. 9/29 How to approach possibilities - how to approach an e- mail/interact with teachers/artists/possible job opportunities - how to communicate How to present yourself Journal entry - How has communication affected you in the past, how has it helped you/hurt you - what is your action plan for future communication? Assignments - 1) typed and turn in on 10/13 - a sample e- mail to an artist you would like to work with/take class from introducing yourself to them 2) typed and turned in on 10/13 - a sample e-mail thanking a teacher/artist for class/rehearsal
7. 10/13 Auditions - Head Shots & Resumes Put together a Dance Resume
8. 10/20 Present Mid-Term Project Journal Entry - How did your Mid-Term Project go???? How do you feel about it? What did you do well? What would you do differently?
9. 10/27 How to prevent injuries/ Journal entry: How have injuries affected you? How has muscle tension affected you? How have you reacted to soreness? Assignment - Typed - Develop plan to prevent injuries turn in 10/27
10. 11/3 Discuss Injury Prevention Plans Journal Entry - how do you think your injury prevention plan will affect your career in dance?
11. 11/10 Discuss s in dance Go See DANCE!!!!!
13. 12/1 How to prepare Journal Entry - Develop your pre-performance ritual - write one out - try it as if you were going to perform that day! Then, write about your reaction to it? What worked well for you? What would you change? Try it again!!!!
14. 12/8 How to approach a Dance Final Exam Journal Entry - develop a plan to succeed in your final exams!!!!
15. 12/16 Present Final Projects

Academic Integrity Violations

Violations of academic integrity can occur in a number of ways. Acts of academic dishonesty include (the complete listing with definitions and examples is included in the main body of the QCC Academic Integrity code):

  1. Plagiarism - the inclusion of someone else's words, ideas or data as one's own work without acknowledging the source.

  2. Fabrication - the use of invented information or the falsification of research or other findings.

  3. Cheating - an act or an attempted act of deception by which students seek to misrepresent that they have mastered information on an academic exercise that they have not mastered.

  4. Academic Misconduct - any act to gain an undue academic benefit for oneself or to cause academic harm to another.

  5. Any other serious violations of academic integrity as established by the professor.

Any student who feels that he/she may need an accommodation based upon the impact of a disability should contact me privately to discuss his/her specific needs. Please contact the office of Services for Students with Disabilities in the Science Building, room 132 (718-631-6257) to coordinate reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities.

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