DAN-220-221-222 Course Syllabus

Intermediate Modern Dance I, II, III

Health, Physical Education, and Dance Term

RFK Room 214

Course Description:

This course explores the technique and the theory of Intermediate Modern Dance. Emphasis is placed on intermediate/advanced modern dance techniques and the application of movement principles essential to the training of the dancer. In this course, different styles of modern dance will be presented with an emphasis on improving anatomical awareness and alignment, developing integrated movement patterns and internal connections, rhythmic awareness and using dance as a form of expression.

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 are required to attend a dance concert and write a two to three page response paper about the concert.
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. Apply aesthetic and intellectual criteria in the evaluation or creation of works in the humanities or the arts Students will be given various techniques in modern dance that they will perform in the class.
D. Integrate knowledge and skills in their program of study. Each class culminates in a longer phrase that allows students to integrate the techniques learned in class as well as achieve an in depth knowledge of the course material while also working on performance quality.

Course Objectives: Desired Student Learning

  1. Students will have an increased body awareness and improved alignment.
  2. Students will gain an understanding of integrated movement patterns and connections.
  3. Students will gain body and mind coordination at a more advanced level.
  4. Students will increase their rhythmic sensitivity
  5. Students will gain an appreciation and understanding of modern dance performance at a more advanced level.
  6. Students will gain a deeper understanding of initiation and sequencing in the body.
  7. Students will learn how to look at, discuss, and write about modern dance performance
  8. Students will demonstrate self-awareness and awareness of others when performing and engaging in group activities

Summary of Main Topics Covered in the Course:

  1. Anatomical alignment
  2. Internal body connections
  3. Body/mind coordination
  4. Somatic Approaches to Training
  5. Increasing range of motion
  6. Technique
  7. Musicality/Rhythmic Sensitivity
  8. Modern Dance Vocabulary
  9. Modern Dance Performance
  10. Improvisation
  11. Choreography

Course Policies:

Attendance Policy:
Attend classes. Be on time. Attendance is extremely important to your individual growth, progress in dance skills and understanding of the class material. Each student is allowed one absence that will not affect his/her grade. After that each absence lowers the amount of points a student receives for this evaluation category. Students with 6 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

A+: 0 - 1 Absences = 100%

A: 2 Absences = 90%

B+: 3 Absences = 80%

B-: 4 Absences = 70%

C: 5 Absences = 60%

D+: 6 Absences = 50%

F: Absences = Fail The Course


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. 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, two 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. No loose hair! If you have long hair, it must be pulled back! No Jewelry!


Methods of Student Evaluation

  1. Attendance. 20% of your final grade. See scale above.

  2. Response Paper: 10% of your final grade Write (typed and double-spaced) an observation/evaluation of a Dance Concert. All concerts must be attended before March 15. Guidelines for the written paper are below.

  3. Reflective Journal: 10% of your final grade.

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 March 14 and before the finals May 18. 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.

Growth, progress & development: 20% of your final grade. Being fully present, concentrated and ready to work in class is essential. Corrections you receive should be applied in subsequent classes. Take responsibility for your own growth as a dancer. Ask for help when you need it. Present yourself professionally in proper dance attire. At this level, the dancer should be able to self-correct in class.

Mid-term evaluation: 20% of your final grade. Midterm will be on 3/28. On the midterm day class will start as usual. For the final combination students will learn a new movement phrase and perform it for evaluation and video documentation. Students will schedule a one to one conference with the Professor to view the video and discuss their progress and goals.

Final Movement Project: 20% of your final grade. The final movement project will be developed the last few weeks of class and given on 5/23.

Any physical problems, past or current, should be discussed with the instructor.


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


Guidelines for Writing the Reaction Paper

You are going to attend a live dance performance and write a 2 to 3 page paper about it. I will forward to you a list of performances taking place in the city this semester to give you some suggestions for shows that you might choose to see.

1. Pick three aspects of the performance to focus your paper on. This should be three things that interested you the most. Some examples of things to focus on: the way the choreographer integrated a certain.

2. For each of the items above explain why it moved you. Is it something you ahd never seen before? Is it something you had always hoped to see. Write a paragraph about each topic.

In the introduction to the paper, explain what performance you went to see and give me some background that can include information about the company, the theater and why you chose this concert to attend. Please do not quote word for word from the program. This does not need to be an extensive write up, just a brief introduction.

In the body of the paper you will do an in depth analysis of the one dance on the program that affected you the most. When a dance piece is successful it is a transformative experience for the viewer. That is, it changes the viewer in some way. While you are watching the performance, allow yourself to be transported emotionally, physically or intellectually. Hopefully, you will find one piece (at least) on the program you attend that does this for you. Explain what this piece did for you and why. Bear in mind that some dances are representational: the movement has dramatic or narrative points of inspiration. Other dances are abstract. That is, the movement is intended to be appreciated for its own merit. See if you can get a sense of the choreographer's intention from what you saw in the piece and from reading the program and the promotional material about the show. Once you have stated what your reaction to the dance was back it up with examples of what was happening on stage. How was the dance structured? What was the movement vocabulary like? What was the use of space like? How did the dancers relate to each other and the audience? How did the music, costume design, lighting design and other elements contribute to the piece? What was unique about the way the dancers performed? How did they communicate with their bodies? Did you recognize any familiar movement from class or observe technical skill we have been working on?

It will be useful to take notes about the show while you are there. In between the pieces the lights will come up, and this will give you a chance to write down some ideas. Try to record as much as you can remember to back up your response to the piece. Later you can phrase it in a more fully fleshed out way.

Here is an example of backing up your response with description of what you saw on stage. "The piece was exciting to me because of the choreographer's use of space. The dancers repeatedly crossed the stage, just barely missing each other and moving at a break neck speed. Their precise technique and the surprising phrasing of the movement added to the effect of the spatial patterning. The high energy saxophone music also contributed to the excitement of the piece…."

If you need some help with your paper you can visit the writing center or come see me.


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.
  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.


Cell Phone Policy
Cell phones are to be put on silence during class. Phones may be used in class only in the case of a true emergency and with the permission of the instructor. Do not check your email during class unless it is a true emergency. Please do any emergency texting or calling discreetly: leave the room to call, or text from the side of the room without disrupting class.


Health: Please report any injuries or health concerns that might affect your participation to me, including chronic (but seemingly minor) aches and pains.


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.


Reasonable Accommodations for Students with Disabilities Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable academic accommodations if determined eligible by the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSSD). Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility from the OSSD. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with the OSSD staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Campus Cultural Centers

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Kupferberg Holocaust Center Opens in a new window

Using the lessons of the Holocaust to educate current and future generations about the ramifications of unbridled prejudice, racism and stereotyping.

Queensborough Performing Arts CenterOpens in a new window
QPAC: Performing Arts CenterOpens in a new window

QPAC is an invaluable entertainment company in this region with a growing national reputation. The arts at QPAC continues to play a vital role in transforming lives and building stronger communities.

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QCC Art GalleryOpens in a new window

The QCC Art Gallery of the City University of New York is a vital educational and cultural resource for Queensborough Community College, the Borough of Queens and the surrounding communities.