Ben Moore (department head)

Art and performance training expands the capabilities of the human body and imagination, developing capacities for persistence, invention, and communication. Dance majors learn self-confidence and refine their ability to conceive and enact new ideas, practices, and solutions through the performative body. Collaborative performances and studio environments stimulate active learning, and promote body and mind development toward reflecting what it means to be human. This approach equips students with skills for dealing with a complex world, and engaging with and contributing to the dance world as performers, choreographers, teachers, and collaborators.

The dance major is appropriate for the student who is continuing her/his study of dance, re-entering dance, or accessing dance for the first time. The discipline of dance at Luther is based in the experiential and analytical study of movement fundamentals, three courses rooted in somatic (body based) rather than dance styles education. These three courses educate the dance artist through the paired principles of: alignment and function; range and efficiency; and vocabulary and intention. Along with movement fundamentals, contact improvisation is a core component in shaping this holistic and distinct foundation for dance technique. This somatic approach to dance brings suppleness and refinement to skills attained in prior studio training and daily life movements while adding sophistication to dance making and performing.

Dance majors become dance artists, dance or movement teachers, or continue on to become dance scholars. Dance majors pursue graduate and professional studies, certification and employment in performance; choreography; dance or movement education; dance curation; dance studio or company management; somatic movement practices; somatic psychology; movement, dance, or massage therapy; medicine; and chiropractic arts.

Required for a major: 33 credit hours including DAN 100/THE 100 (6 times), DAN 101, 105, 205; DAN 130 or 230; DAN 264; DAN 300/THE 300; DAN 305, 351, 360. Writing requirement completed with DAN 351.

Dance Synthesis: During the sophomore year majors will develop a written reflection outlining their previous work in the performing arts and develop possible pathways for future directions leading toward their senior project.

Required for a minor: DAN 101, 105, 130, 205; DAN 300 or THE 300; DAN 100 (three times) or DAN 100 (one time) and DAN 305.

Dance Management Concentration: To complete the dance management concentration a student is required to complete a major in dance and a minor in management, or a major in management and a minor in dance.

Dance Courses

DAN 100 Performance Practicum

  • 0 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Expression, Skills

An intensive experiential research ensemble devoted to creating, developing, performing and producing a faculty-directed dance performance. Students in this course will be involved in research and theoretical discussion supporting active involvement in a collaborative process of performance and production. Dance majors must complete six performance practicums, while minors must complete three. Course may be repeated an unlimited number of times (including more than one in a semester). Enrollment by audition or consent of instructor, will be limited to performing members of the ensemble for the production.

DAN 101 Dance Technique and Analysis

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Expression—Primary Texts

This course introduces Movement Fundamentals (MF) through theatrical, social, ritualized dance and movement practices. Students will investigate how MF prepares them for analyzing ritualized dance and movement practices and for teaching and performing various dance and movement forms (ballet, contemporary, jazz, hip-hop, yoga, pilates, swing, ballroom, martial arts, etc). This course examines the performing body as primary text through performance (both live and recorded) and theoretical texts from various theatrical, social, ritualized dance and movement practices.

DAN 105 Movement Fundamentals I: Practices of Alignment and Function

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Expression

An introductory movement course exploring vital integrative connections between somatic practice and performance preparation. Somatic skills including dynamic alignment and functional anatomy provide the groundwork for embodied movement exploration. The study and practice of dynamic alignment and embodied anatomy unfolds new relationships between physical function and expression.

DAN 130 Contact Improvisation

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior, Human Expression, Skills

This course is an introduction to the fundamentals of contact improvisation, a dance form that explores elements of physical contact among participants while challenging preconceptions about the gendered body. Emphasis will be placed on finding mindful and physical ways to prepare to be "ready" to dance: cultivating a quiet core amidst the wilderness of physical disorientation; finding the root of levity, contact point, weight sharing, and physical pathways into the floor and air; and focusing attention on the details of sensation. Students will engage in egalitarian practices for building physical skills of trust, receptivity, and responsiveness, as well as physical tolerance for waiting in the unknown.(Same as WGST 131)

DAN 199 Dance Synthesis

  • 0 hours

During the sophomore year majors will develop a written reflection outlining their previous work in the performing arts and develop possible pathways for future directions leading toward their senior project.

DAN 205 Movement Fundamentals II: Practices of Range and Efficiency

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Expression
  • Prerequisites: DAN 105

An intermediate movement course building technical practice from basic somatic skills. This technique course supports awareness of individual movement patterns and sequences allowing for the development of new movement possibilities. This increased range and efficiency opens the door to new levels of creative expression in communication and performance. This course may be repeated twice.

DAN 230 Contact Improvisation II

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Expression
  • Prerequisites: DAN 130.

Building on introductory practices of contact improvisation, students will develop their physical skills in both capacity and subtlety within the form. Students will improve listening and internal awareness for very fast dancing, patterning in and out of the floor, more innovation in lifting, and maintaining the point of contact coming out of lifts. Further study includes the craft and facilitation of scores for the practice and performance of contact improvisation.

DAN 264 Performance Research:The Happenings Course

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Expression

This experiential studio and field course will provide the student with theories, practices and performance opportunities based in creating site-specific "happenings" both on and off campus, inspired by the (American) avant-garde theatre. Students will configure and implement performance scores based in concepts of attracting attention and creating a gathering within the mundane domain. The intensity of the research is based in uncompromising realism and raw and unmediated ways in which artists confront experiences in collusion with audiences from real time in order to investigate new levels of understanding perceptual or psychological states of being human. This performance research attempts to open a disquieting discourse on contemporary daily life. Recommended for the student interested in performance and art, the historical (American) avant-garde and creating community.

DAN 300 Production Studio

  • 1 hour

An experiential collaborative component for the dance major. Set within a faculty-directed project or production, the student participates in research, dialogue, and the underpinnings of producing work. Requires junior or senior standing. (Same as THE 300)

DAN 305 Movement Fundamentals III:Practices of Vocabulary and Intention

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Expression
  • Prerequisites: DAN 205

This is an advanced movement course focusing on crystallizing performance skills through the development of individual movement versatility and invention. Practice of technique builds from somatic skills and contemporary dance vocabulary through both technical phrasing and improvisational scoring. Depth of integrative practice prepares the mover to refine movement vocabulary and clarify movement vocabulary and intention. This course may be repeated.

DAN 351 Dance History

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Historical, Human Expression—Primary Texts

This course studies a breadth of representative dance artists, artworks and practices from the ancient period to the present in order to understand intercultural and cross-genre development of performance dance. African, American, Asian and European dance forms are included, with a focus on figures and conventions in ballet and Western modern and contemporary dance. Dance and choreography are analyzed in relation to their historical, artistic, social and political contexts. Depth is accomplished through individual scholarly research projects on a subject of the student's choosing, and experiential projects focused on a particular dance artist or artistic concept.

DAN 360 Dance Composition

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Expression
  • Prerequisites: DAN 101 or DAN 105; THE 127 or ART 104.

This course introduces the basic tools of dance-making, while exploring the development and crafting of movement within time, space, and design elements. Consideration of compositional methods in other art forms-theatre, music, visual art, literature-will inform the development of skills for creating dance/movement events. Students will prepare solo and group studies for informal performances and observe, discuss, and critique their work as they learn how to see dance as well as make it.

DAN 490 Senior Seminar

  • 2 hours
  • Prerequisites: Senior standing

This is an intensive, collaborative study of selected theories, performance artist(s), writer(s), aselected period, or movement. The seminar will often intersect the disciplines of theatre and dance. The course format rests upon student-led discussion and development of an artist's manifesto, both of which will be used to focus and develop the senior project proposal.

DAN 491 Senior Project

  • 2 hours
  • Prerequisites: DAN 490 and senior standing

Students will complete an individualized or collaborative senior project. The project will include a written artist's statement, process documentation, post-project reflection/critique, and will be presented publicly. Students will orally defend their project before the department following the public presentation. Double majors may petition the department to accept another department's senior project in lieu of the dance senior project requirement. If double majoring, and choice is to do senior project in a major other than dance, the dance program requests the deliberate integration of dance practice or production with the project, as well as selection of a dance faculty member for an advisory role.