Dance

John-Paul Douglas, Dittmann 200
507-786-3248

wp.stolaf.edu/dance

The Department of Dance is committed to engaging students in the study of dance as a personal art, a cultural art, and a fine art, as it prepares dance majors for a wide range of life and career options.

St. Olaf is a charter member and an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Dance.

Overview of the Major

Movement-intensive and language-intensive classes present dance as a vital form of embodied awareness, personal expression, and physical communication. The St. Olaf College B.A. in dance guides students toward lives and careers with strong physical, creative, and analytical skills at their foundation. As a result, dance majors come away from St. Olaf College with the ability to perform with professional companies or as free-lance artists; to pursue graduate study in choreography, performance, teaching; or move into areas such as dance therapy, the healing arts, and somatic studies. They enter related fields such as arts management, psychology, environmental studies, media, and more.

Intended Learning Outcomes for the Major

Students will demonstrate:

  • a physical understanding of whole body connectivity, dynamic range, and spatial clarity while dancing and creating intentional relationships with others.

  • an understanding of the multiple languages of dance and will demonstrate an ability to apply these languages to clearly communicate about dance and their experience of it.

  • an ability to create dance artifacts and to evaluate these artifacts through a reflection and revision process.

  • an ability to apply social, cultural, and historical parameters in relation to dance.

Performance and Creative Opportunities

Companydance™ offers students a range of dance creating, performing and producing opportunities and is open by audition to ALL students. The company's primary aesthetic is grounded in the modern dance tradition, but is by no means restricted to it. Auditions for Companydance™ are held during the first week of the fall term. 

Veselica International Dance Ensemble is open by audition to ALL students. The company exemplifies a global perspective that strives to spread awareness of dance forms from around the world. Veselica™ (pronounced veh-SELL-eet-sah) translates as "celebration." Artistic Director Anne von Bibra founded the international dance ensemble in the late 1980s. Auditions for Veselica are held during the first week of the fall term and sometimes during the spring term.

Distinction

See Academic Honors

Details about the distinction process can be found on the Dance Department web page.

Language-Intensive Courses (Theory)6.00
DANCE 100Introduction to Dance1.00
DANCE 124World Dance Traditions1.00
DANCE 150Movement, the Camera, and the Creative Process1.00
DANCE 231Fundamentals of Choreography and Improvisation1.00
DANCE 246Dance in the United States1.00
DANCE 270Dance Anatomy and Kinesiology1.00
Movement-Intensive Courses (Technique)1.50
Select movement-intensive courses from below to total 1.50 credits 11.50
Ballet
Ballet I (0.25)
Advanced Beginning Ballet (0.50)
Advanced Beginning Ballet (0.25)
Ballet II (0.50)
Ballet II (0.25)
Ballet III (0.50)
Ballet III (0.25)
International and Social
Ballroom I (0.25)
American Dance: Native and Immigrant Traditions (0.25)
International Dance I: A Survey (0.25)
Ballroom II (0.25)
Art of Partner Dancing (0.25)
International Dance II: Selected Dance Cultures (0.25)
Modern
Modern Dance I (0.25)
Modern Dance II (0.50)
Modern Dance II (0.25)
Modern Dance II: Technique Emphasis (.50)
Modern Dance II: Technique Emphasis (.25)
Modern III (0.50)
Modern III (0.25)
Other Topics
Topics in Rhythm in Dance (0.25)
Topics in Movement Studies in Dance (0.25)
Conditioning: Practice and Principles (0.25)
The Beat Goes On (0.25)
Senior Dance Capstone Project3.00
DANCE 399Senior Dance Seminar 31.00
Area of Specialty 22.00
Select at least two credits from within or outside the department.
Dance Companies and Productions
Dance company participation
Majors are required to participate in one of the dance companies (Companydance™ or Veselica™ International Dance Ensemble) for a minimum of three semesters.
Dance production management
Majors are required to contribute in managing a dance production for a minimum of one semester.
Total Credits10.50
1

 These will be selected in consultation with dance faculty.

2

Each student designs an individualized area of specialty derived from their own interests and investigation.

3

Must be taken fall of senior year. Final projects may take the form of a research paper, performance, choreography, or blended project.

The dance major curriculum is compatible with other majors. Recent and current double majors include physics, exercise science, anthropology and sociology, theater, English and more.

Movement-Intensive Courses

Courses in which moving is the primary mode of learning. These courses might resemble a traditional dance technique class or a class in which movement exploration and invention is emphasized. All movement-intensive courses taken for 0.25 credit in the Dance Department are repeatable up to a total of eight times. Students receive numeric but not GE credit for a repeated course. GE credit is granted only once. Students ready to take an intermediate-level movement-intensive course MUST have instructor approval.

DANCE 106: Ballroom I (0.25)

Ballroom classes are taught from a social/aesthetic perspective. In this course, students learn fundamental steps, rhythms, and styling in foxtrot, slow waltz, Viennese waltz, east coast swing, and cha cha. P/N only. Offered each semester.

DANCE 107: Topics in Rhythm in Dance (0.25)

Students explore dance genres that embody a strong rhythmic foundation. They experience rhythmic pattern as an organizing principle for the human body, an expressive capacity, and a social connector. Students investigate the cultural and social milieu from which dance genres emerge. Dance genres could include, hip hop, African, Asian, and Caribbean dance forms, tap dance, or jazz dance. Offered periodically.

DANCE 108: American Dance: Native and Immigrant Traditions (0.25)

This course presents dances derived from immigrant and native traditions and includes Cajun, clogging, contras, hula, squares and vintage dance forms such as Charleston, among others. P/N only. Ticket/transportation fee required. Offered periodically.

DANCE 109: International Dance I: A Survey (0.25)

International dance classes emphasize dance in its varied cultural contexts. This course surveys dance from around the world with emphasis on European and Near Eastern forms. P/N only. Ticket/transportation fee required. Offered annually.

DANCE 111: Modern Dance I (0.25)

This course introduces modern dance as a style of dance and a dance aesthetic. It explores at a beginning level a range of movement vocabulary, body awareness, and creative process. Teaching faculty bring their individual movement backgrounds to the class content. P/N only. Offered each semester. May be repeated several times with permission of instructor.

DANCE 121: Ballet I (0.25)

This course provides students with an introduction to ballet technique, vocabulary, proper body alignment and body awareness. Outside work includes practicing, reading, writing and concert attendance. P/N only. May be repeated with permission of instructor. Offered each semester.

DANCE 141: Topics in Movement Studies in Dance (0.25)

Students learn special topics in dance in a movement intensive environment. Students study the historical, social, and cultural context in which the dance topic emerged and currently functions and the physical and expressive capacities that distinguish it from other forms. Dance topics could include somatics, Gaga, contact improvisation, yoga, partnering, or aerial dance. Topics may vary from year to year. No prerequisite. Offered periodically.

DANCE 160: Conditioning: Practice and Principles (0.25)

Students engage in the physical practice and theory of the Pilates mat conditioning system. Students increase strength, flexibility, stamina, coordination and body/mind awareness through mindful practice of dynamic alignment, correct body usage, breath control, and anatomical study. The course utilizes rhythmic repetition and flowing movement. Additional exercise props will be used. This course includes repertoire developed to help improve key dance specified areas and is appropriate for all populations and levels of fitness. Offered annually.

DANCE 205: The Beat Goes On (0.25)

Explore pulse and rhythm through a range of dance and movement activities, including body and vocal percussion, clogging, drumming, and tap dancing. Investigate how physical rhythms are established as students shift body weight, manipulate time, and emphasize a pulse. Explore the connections between rhythm, the innate instinct to follow rhythmic patterns in life, and the predisposition to generate one's own rhythms. Join the beat! P/N only. Offered periodically.

DANCE 206: Ballroom II (0.25)

This course provides instruction in basic steps, rhythms and styling for tango, rumba, west coast swing, and quickstep. Students learn advanced patterns in slow waltz. Emphasis is on styling and quality of movement. P/N only. Ticket/transportation fee required. Offered annually, usually in the spring semester.
Prerequisite: DANCE 106 or permission of instructor.

DANCE 207: Art of Partner Dancing (0.25)

This course focuses on social dance forms performed in pairs. Students will work on developing the skills necessary for success with such forms, including communicating non-verbally with a partner, particularly in lead/follow situations, giving weight and counter-balancing with a partner, roatating as a pair while progressing around the floor, etc. Repertoire for the class includes a range of social/vernacular dance forms such as Salsa, Viennese Waltz, Tango, Hambo, and Rørospols among others.
Prerequisites: DANCE 106, DANCE 108, DANCE 109 or permission of instructor.

DANCE 209: International Dance II: Selected Dance Cultures (0.25)

Students focus intensively on the dance forms and styles of selected cultures chosen by the instructor in consultation with the students. P/N only. Ticket/transportation fee required. Offered periodically.
Prerequisite: DANCE 109, DANCE 124, or permission of instructor.


The following movement-intensive courses are offered at both 0.50 credit (DANCE 130DANCE 210, DANCE 220, DANCE 250, DANCE 310, DANCE 320) and 0.25 credit (DANCE 131DANCE 211, DANCE 221, DANCE 251, DANCE 311, DANCE 321). Movement-intensive courses taken for 0.50 credit entail additional outside work and may be taken only once. It is recommended that students take movement-intensive courses for 0.50 credit first. Movement-intensive courses taken for 0.25 credit may be repeated up to a total of eight times.

DANCE 130: Advanced Beginning Ballet (0.50)

This course offers an expansion of ballet technique, vocabulary, proper body alignment, and body awareness beyond the beginning level. Outside work includes practicing, reading, writing, and concert attendance.Ticket/transportation fee required. Offered annually in the spring semester.
Prerequisite: DANCE 121 and/or permission of the instructor.

DANCE 131: Advanced Beginning Ballet (0.25)

This course offers an expansion of ballet technique, vocabulary, proper body alignment, and body awareness beyond the beginning level. Outside work includes practicing, reading, writing, and concert attendance. Ticket/transportation fee required. May be repeated with permission of instructor. Offered annually in the spring semester.
Prerequisite: DANCE 121 and/or permission of the instructor.

DANCE 210: Modern Dance II (0.50)

Students expand their understanding of modern dance by building on the components of Modern Dance I, adding attention to movement qualities, elements of space, dance vocabulary and of technique with an emphasis on phrasing and sequencing movement. Some sections may also include a focus on performing skills. Open to majors and other students with instructor's permission. May require ticket/transportation fee. Offered each semester.
Prerequisites: DANCE 111 and permission of instructor.

DANCE 211: Modern Dance II (0.25)

Students expand their understanding of modern dance by building on the components of Modern Dance I, adding attention to movement qualities, elements of space, dance vocabulary and of technique with an emphasis on phrasing and sequencing movement. Some sectionsmay also include a focus on performing skills. Open to majors and other students with instructor's permission. May be repeated with permission of instructor. Offered each semester.
Prerequisite: DANCE 111 and permission of instructor.

DANCE 220: Ballet II (0.50)

This course offers an expansion of ballet vocabulary and technique with an emphasis on movement quality, clarity and efficiency. Outside work includes practicing, reading, writing and concert attendance. Open to majors and other students with instructor's permission. Offered each semester.
Prerequisite: DANCE 121 and DANCE 130/DANCE 131 and/or permission of the instructor.

DANCE 221: Ballet II (0.25)

This course offers an expansion of ballet vocabulary and technique with an emphasis on movement quality, clarity and efficiency. Outside work includes practicing, reading, writing and concert attendance. Open to majors and other students with instructor's permission. Offered each semester. May be repeated with permission of instructor.
Prerequisite: DANCE 121 and DANCE 130/DANCE 131 and/or permission of the instructor.

DANCE 250: Modern Dance II: Technique Emphasis (.50)

Students further develop artistic, athletic technical skills in modern dance through concentrated work on movement sequencing and dance conditioning. Students learn, create, and perform movement patterns rich in attention toward actions and alignments of the spine, spatial pathways, dynamics of time and energy, expression of weight/gravity, and intricate foot and legwork. Offered spring semester.
Prerequisite: two terms of DANCE 111 or permission of instructor. Open to dance majors and other students with permission of instructor.

DANCE 251: Modern Dance II: Technique Emphasis (.25)

Students further develop artistic, athletic technical skills in modern dance through concentrated work on movement sequencing and dance conditioning. Students learn, create, and perform movement patterns rich in attention toward actions and alignments of the spine, spatial pathways, dynamics of time and energy, expression of weight/gravity, andintricate foot and legwork. May be repeated with permission of instructor. Offered spring semester.
Prerequisite: two terms of DANCE 111 or permission of instructor. Open to dance majors and other students with permission of instructor.

DANCE 310: Modern III (0.50)

This course builds on the concepts and components of Modern Dance I and II. Offered each semester.
Prerequisite: DANCE 210/DANCE 211 or DANCE 250/DANCE 251 (at least twice) and/or permission of the instructor. Open to dance majors and other students with instructor's permission.

DANCE 311: Modern III (0.25)

This course builds on the concepts and components of Modern Dance I and II. Open to majors and other students with instructor's permission. Offered each semester. May be repeated with permission of instructor.
Prerequisite: DANCE 210/DANCE 211 (at least twice) and/or permission of the instructor. Open to dance majors and other students with instructor's permission.

DANCE 320: Ballet III (0.50)

This course offers a further exploration of ballet vocabulary and technique for the advanced dancer with an emphasis on clarity, intention, and musicality. Offered each semester.
Prerequisite: DANCE 221. Open to dance majors and other students with instructor's permission.

DANCE 321: Ballet III (0.25)

This course offers a further exploration of ballet vocabulary and technique for the advanced dancer with an emphasis on clarity, intention, and musicality. May be repeated with permission of instructor. Offered each semester.
Prerequisite: DANCE 221. Open to dance majors and other students with instructor's permission.


Language-Intensive Courses

Courses in which lecture, discussion, and writing are primary modes of learning.

DANCE 100: Introduction to Dance

This introduction to dance course allows students to broadly experience dance. Students explore dance from the following perspectives: historical, cultural and social, creative and expressive, performing, critical and aesthetic, and kinesthetic. The intention of the course is to broaden students' perceptions about dance. Lectures, student presentations, experiential movement labs, and viewing of both live and recorded dance performances are all components of the course. No dance experience required. Ticket/transportation fee required. Offered annually in the fall semester.

DANCE 124: World Dance Traditions

An introduction to world dance traditions, this course examines dance forms, functions, contexts, and differing aesthetics found in selected cultures of Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, the South Pacific, and Latin America. The course includes lectures, discussion, video-viewing, and required field-trips to dance events, in addition to studio experiences where students learn dances from the cultures studied. No previous dance experience required. Ticket/transportation fee required. Offered alternate years.

DANCE 150: Movement, the Camera, and the Creative Process

Students learn, embody, and integrate elements of dance and film by engaging in the creative practice of making dance for the screen. Each student gains experience as a director, performer, videographer, editor, and critic in this collaborative learning community. Students discuss and analyze live movement studies, screendances by peers and professionals, and relevant texts. Other technologies, such as 3D character animation and reactive/interactive technology, may be introduced. The class culminates with an evening public showing. Offered alternate years. Counts toward media and film studies concentrations.

DANCE 231: Fundamentals of Choreography and Improvisation

A basic course in principles and methods for creating dances, this course focuses on the elements of dance composition and improvisation, the relationship of form and content, and the relationship of the dancer and the dance. It is appropriate for students interested in any or all forms of dance and for those interested in other forms of composition (music, visual art, etc.). Offered annually in the fall semester.

DANCE 246: Dance in the United States

Students trace and integrate the African-American and Euro-American dance traditions of the late 19th, 20th, and early 21st centuries, paying attention to their similarities and differences.The focus is on the theatrical dance genres of ballet, modern, and jazz (includes social dance, tap, and some musical theatre dance). At the same time, the course attends to the economic, religious, political, and social forces that have affected the development of dance in the United States. No dance experience required. Ticket/transportation fee required. Offered annually in the spring semester. Counts toward race and ethnic studies, American studies, and women's and gender studies majors and race and ethnic studies and women's and gender studies concentrations.

DANCE 270: Dance Anatomy and Kinesiology

Students study musculoskeletal anatomy (structure) and kinesiology (science of human motion) from the perspective of dance training and performance. Students learn anatomical terminology, identify select bones (major features, articulations) and muscles (locations, actions), and analyze their influence during coordinated movement patterns. Students learn joint structure and mechanics, alignment and imbalances, movement behavior, conditioning needs, and injury prevention. Students learn to notice, measure, experience, sense, and reflect upon the impact of anatomical characteristics and anomalies. Offered annually.
Prerequisite: students taking this course should have previous experience in a movement intensive practice similar to dance, athletics, or exercise science. Offered annually in the fall semester.

DANCE 290: Topics in Dance

Students investigate a specific topic in dance through lecture, readings, class discussions, the viewing of live and recorded dance, and group projects. Potential topics could include dance and social justice, politics and the performing arts, dance and gender, dance aesthetics and ethics. Topics vary from term to term. May be repeated if topic is different. Offered annually in the fall semester.

DANCE 294: Internship

DANCE 298: Independent Study

DANCE 374: Advanced Choreography

In this advanced analysis of principles and methods for creating dances, students survey current trends in dance performance as well as choreograph new works. Offered annually in the spring semester.
Prerequisite: DANCE 231.

DANCE 394: Academic Internship

DANCE 396: Directed Undergraduate Research

This course provides a comprehensive research opportunity, including an introduction to relevant background material, technical instruction, identification of a meaningful project, and data collection. The topic is determined by the faculty member in charge of the course and may relate to his/her research interests. Offered based on department decision. May be offered as a 1.00 credit course or .50 credit course.
Prerequisite: determined by individual instructor.

DANCE 398: Independent Research

DANCE 399: Senior Dance Seminar

In this culminating dance major course, students develop and execute their final senior projects in their individual areas of specialty, including planning for and promoting the presentation of their projects. Students prepare for dance and other career options by developing professional correspondence documents, learning and practicing interviewing skills, creating video samples of their work, and leading discussions on dance-related topics relevant to the individual student. Open to dance majors only. Offered annually in the fall semester.

Chair, 2016-2017

Heather J. Klopchin

Associate Professor of Dance

modern dance technique; ballet technique; dance history; Companydance

Jennifer Bader

Instructor in Dance

ballet

Andrea C. Conger

Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance

dance ethnology; ballroom; Veselica

Karla Grotting

Instructor in Dance

jazz; tap

Janice Roberts

Professor of Dance

modern dance; choreography; Companydance

Anthony W. Roberts

Artist in Residence in Dance

modern dance; dance technology; Companydance

Djenane Saint Juste

Instructor in Dance

Haitian dance

Anne von Bibra (on leave fall)

Assistant Professor of Dance

dance ethnology; ballroom; Veselica