DAN-134 Course Syllabus

Beginning Ballet for Majors

Course Description

Beginning Ballet is an introduction to Ballet. It places emphasis on preparing our dance majors with either little experience or no background in dance to be able to develop technique.

Curricula For Which This Course Is Required:

DAN 134 is a beginning level course for dance majors or permission of the instructor. It fulfills a requirement for the dance major degree program.

Educational Objectives:

Educational Objectives
Educational Objective Brief description of course activities which help students to meet each of the educational objectives
A. Communicate effectively through viewing dance, writing, listening, and speaking Students will write a paper that assesses their progress in the class and sets goals for future work.
B. Work collaboratively in diverse groups directed at accomplishing learning objectives Students will be paired with their peers in the classroom and instructed to give each other feedback on corrections discussed in class.
C. Integrate knowledge and skills in their program of study. Each class culminates in longer movement phrases which allows students to integrate skills learned and perform them with attention to performance quality as well as technical clarity.

Course Objectives: Desired Student Learning

  1. Gain a basic understanding of anatomical alignment and how it functions in ballet.
  2. Learn and execute basic Ballet vocabulary.
  3. Gain an understanding of the structure and progression of a Ballet class, including barre, center, and across the floor exercises.
  4. Learn how to develop the body and practice technique outside of the classroom.
  5. Develop basic musicality working in a 3/4 and 4/4 meter.
  6. Develop basic core stability and an understanding of its importance.
  7. Develop a grounded plié as a foundation for moving across the floor.
  8. Develop beginning level turn out support and foot articulation.
  9. Begin to coordinate the upper and lower body in Ballet dancing.

Student Learning Outcomes

Student Learning Outcomes
Course Objectives Learning Outcomes
1. Gain a basic understanding of anatomical alignment and how it functions in ballet. A. Students will learn about anatomy through ballet floor exercises and barre work
2. Learn and execute basic ballet vocabulary A. Students will learn and execute basic ballet vocabulary in French and English.
3. Gain an understanding of the structure and progression of a ballet class, including floor work, center work, and across the floor A. Students will practice ballet barre exercises given in class
B. Students will practice center exercises given in class
C. Students will practice moving through space through exercises that travel across the floor.
4. Learn how to develop the body and practice technique outside of the classroom. A. Students will be assigned various exercises to develop their strength that they will be required to practice outside of class time
B. Students will be assigned various exercises to increase their range of motion that they will be required to practice outside of class time.
5. Develop basic musicality working in a 3/4 and 4/4 meter. Students will perform ballet exercises in 3/4 and 4/4 meters.
6. Develop basic core stability and an understanding of its importance. Students will develop core stability through floor exercises and barre exercises and they will continue to use the core stability as they work in center and travel through space.
7. Develop a grounded plié as a foundation for moving across the floor. Students will develop a grounded plié at the barre and use that plié to travel across the floor.
8. Develop beginning level turn out support and foot articulation. Students will develop beginning level turn out support and foot articulation through warm up exercises, barre exercises and carry that those supports on through center and traveling dancing phrases.
9. Begin to coordinate the upper and lower body in Ballet dancing. Students will perform warm up, barre and center and travelling exercises that require upper and lower body coordination.

Summary of Main Topics Covered in the Course:

  1. Anatomical alignment
  2. Internal body connections
  3. Body/mind coordination
  4. Increasing range of motion
  5. Technique - Turn Out, Coordination, Foot Articulation, Freedom in Hip Joints, Flow.
  6. Ballet Vocabulary
  7. Ballet Performance
  8. Musicality
  9. Weight/Grounding

Attendance Policy:

Attendance is extremely important to your individual growth and understanding of the class material. Students with 7 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. Note: Remember that lateness is a sign of disrespect of you and me. Be on time. Be prepared with your dance attire. Otherwise, two late arrivals and/or two non-participations of any kind (i.e. no dance attire) will count as one absence- no exception!

Attendance Scale
0-1 absences= 100
2  absences = 90
3  absences = 80
4  absences = 70
5  absences = 60
6  absences = 50
7  absences = fail the course

Absenses and Points
Absenses Points
0-1 100
2 90
3 80
4 70
5 60
6 50
7 Fail the course

2 Tardies/2 observations = 1 absence. So excessive tardies will significantly bring down your grade or cause you to fail.

Note: 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. Save your absences for when you really need them. The development of the body instrument and the material in class accumulates. Learn to enjoy the discipline and weekly demands of attendance. Furthermore, the material learned in class cannot be replicated outside of class. It is not possible to make up any missed classes.

Tardy and Observation Policy
Tardiness will not be tolerated. If you arrive more than ten minutes late for class, you must observe the class. Two tardies equal one absence. If you leave class early it will be counted as a tardy. The class is structured to build and prepare the body for movement. Missing the warm-up could result in injury. If you are ill or have an injury you may observe class. However, three observations equal one absence. If you develop a serious injury or illness during the semester you should withdraw completely from the class.

Required Dance Attire:

Students must wear appropriate dance attire. Leotards and tights or a tight fitting top and dance pants are acceptable. Jeans or any type of pants that button and zip are not acceptable. Baggy clothes are not acceptable. The professor must be able to see the alignment of the dancer. Ballet shoes or athletic socks designated solely for ballet class and regularly washed are required. No loose hair! If you have long hair, it must be pulled back! No Jewelry!

Methods By Which Student Learning Will Be Evaluated:

  1. Attendance and Participation - 20%. See Scale Above.

  2. Growth, Progress, and Development – 20%

    Be energetic and interested in your class. Take corrections and work on them inside and outside of class. Your technique should progress from class to class. Ask for help and clarification when you need it.

  3. Personal Goals and Self-Evaluation Papers – 10%. See Guidelines Above.

  4. Reflective Journal – 10%. See Guidelines Above.

  5. Midterm Exam – 20%

  6. Final Exam – 20%

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.

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.

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.

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.

Exams and Written Assignments

1. Studio Exams

A. Midterm Exam
The midterm class will start with a warm up and barre as usual. Some center and/or barre exercises will serve as the midterm exam. The midterm will be videotaped and you will be required to set up an appointment to view yourself on video during the weeks after the midterm. This will be a good time to reflect on your progress and renew/revise your goals for the remaining part of the semester

B. Final Exam
The final class will start with a warm up and barre as usual. The center material will be a repetition of the material we will have been working on for the previous 3 or 4 weeks. The movement combinations will be performed in small groups and evaluated for technical skill, expressiveness, musicality and growth.

2. Written Assignments

A. Personal Goals
Each dancer has her/his own individual path of development. This writing assignment is aimed at focusing your work in this class (and your other movement classes this semester) so that you can get the most out of the experience. You are going to pick either two or three dance skills that you would like to improve on this semester and explain them for the reader.

Your paper should start with an introduction. This is where you can explain any background information about your training history, injuries, ambitions etc.

The introduction will be followed by the body of the essay. In the body you will thoroughly explain what dance skills you plan to focus on. You can use corrections you have received in this class or previous classes as guidelines or you can choose areas you personally feel you need improvement from your own observations. You can meet with me to discuss the video material taken in the second class or get my general input to prepare for this paper. Some possible areas of focus include:

  • Developing core support and moving from your center
  • Correcting alignment issues (such as head forward, pelvis tilted forward or back, hyperextended knees, feet sickling, spine tilted, ribs forward, sitting into a hip etc.)
  • Developing flow
  • Coordinating upper and lower body Maintaining spinal alignment in plié.
  • Finding power to move through space in the plié. Increasing musical sensitivity
  • Improving spatial awareness Moving boldly across the floor Developing turn out support Improving balance
  • Improving balon (elevation in jumping) Clarifying line
  • Grounding
  • Releasing unnecessary tension
  • Picking up movement phrases more quickly Phrasing
  • Many others that you may think of

In the body of the essay completely explain which skills you plan to focus on. If you will do special work on this area outside of class explain this. To conclude your essay, explain how these skills will impact your overall dancing.

B. Self Evaluation
In this essay you will reflect on your work over the course of the term. You will use your areas of focus from your personal goals writing assignment as a starting point in this discussion. Did you work on those areas? What specifically did you do in class and outside of class to address those skills? What have you experienced yourself doing in class that lets you know if you did or did not make progress with those skills? Were there other ways in which your dancing grew over the semester? Does the class leave you with goals for continued growth in your next dance classes? You will get a lot of information from your journal that will help you shape this essay if you are writing regularly and reflecting honestly.

C. Reflective Journal Assignment
Each student will keep a reflective journal as part of this course. The journal is a place to formalize your thinking about the material in the course and reflect on your experience in class and in practice outside of class.

You are required to do at least two entries per week in the journal. After each class meeting, I will give you a prompt to stimulate your thinking for the journal. Your response for that day could relate to my prompt but also may include other issues from that class including – corrections you received, things you are working on, notations about approaches to an exercise that helped or didn’t, discussions about difficulties with an exercise, specific vocabulary, new steps or sequences that you need to remember or practice etc.

The journals will be collected at midterm and before the finals. They will be graded on the basis of their content. I am looking for discussion that is thoughtful, honest and reflects a true commitment to the process of developing dance skills. I am not concerned with the writing being formally structured. This is a place to play with ideas. I DO need to be able to read it, so it should be in legible and comprehensible English. I will not, however, take points off for grammar errors or spelling errors. It can be typed or written by hand but it needs to be legible. Also this is not a personal life journal. This is a journal about your Ballet class. Please limit your discussion to things relevant to your building of your dance skills.


PLEASE NOTE: During the teaching process, in order to engender correct alignment and coordination, it may be beneficial to the student for me to touch the student at various body parts: arms, hands, chest, lower back, abdomen, neck, legs, feet, etc. If you do not wish to be touched, please inform me at the beginning of the semester and your wishes will be respected.

Academic Integrity

Forms of 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.

Any other serious violations of academic integrity as determined by the instructor.

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