Jane Hawley

Jane Hawley portrait
Professor of Dance

Office: Center for the Arts 109

Phone: 563-387-1694

Email: hawleyja@luther.edu


As a dance artist, Jane specifically explores movement by emphasizing skeletal initiation and alignment, contact improvisation and improvisational and somatic practice. Her dances involve the accumulation and integration of images, rather than steps, to inspire technical range and virtuosic intention.

As a teacher and scholar, Jane is deeply curious in renovating dance training through the exploration and research on the relationship of self to body. Her research emphasizes understanding of the body as an instrument of expression and that the realization of self is through the continuous study of mind/body interdependence. Challenges with this research lie in the negotiating between boundaries of developing innovative and intentional movement vocabulary, organizing dance making, performing, and engendering movement vitality in every day.

Hawley designed the Movement Fundamentals curriculum and in the fall of 2001, implemented the curriculum into the Luther CollegeTheatre/Dance department in Decorah, Iowa.

DAN 100: Production Practicum

An intensive experiential research ensemble devoted to crafting, creating, developing, performing, and producing a faculty-directed theatre and/or dance event. Students in this course will be involved in research and theoretical discussion supporting active involvement in a collaborative process of performance, design and production management, such as director/designer assistant; set construction; lighting, sound, costume, properties, make-up/hair, and stage management.

DAN 105: Movement Fundamentals I: Practices of Alignment and Function

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 205: Movement Fundamentals II: Practices of Range and Efficiency

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. Prerequisite: DAN 105 or consent of instructor.

DAN 264: Performance Research: The Happenings Course

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 305: Movement Fundamentals III: Practices of Vocabulary and Intention

An advanced movement course crystallizing performance skills through the development of individual movement versatility and invention. Technique practice builds from somatic skills and contemporary dance vocabulary through both technical phrasing and improvisational scoring. This depth of integrative practice prepares the mover to refine movement vocabulary and clarify movement intention.

DAN 360: Dance Composition

An introduction to the basic tools of dance-making, this course explores the development and crafting of movement, time, space, and design elements. Consideration of compositional methods in other art forms‚ÄĒtheatre, music, visual art, literature‚ÄĒwill inform the development of skills for creating dance/movement events. Students will prepare solo and group movement studies for informal performance and observe, discuss, and critique each other’s work as they learn how to see dance as well as make it.

DAN 351: Dance History

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 490: Senior Seminar

An intensive, collaborative study of selected theories, performance artist(s), writer(s), selected 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

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.

  • M.F.A. in Performance and Choreography, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Phi Kappa Phi, 1995
  • B.A., Luther College, Decorah, IA, Major: Theatre, 1987

Student/Faculty Collaborative Research:

The MF curriculum has been in practice since 2001, and presented at national and international conferences because of its radical proposals for change in dance training. MF training proposes theory and practice are in deep relationship with one another. Thus, the MF curriculum implements radically different ways of perceiving, learning, understanding and training the dance artist in technique, choreography, and performance. The Movement Fundamentals (MF) curriculum, coupled with the dance form of Contact Improvisation, takes a step further outside of the traditional and current dance-training paradigm of dance style imitation and repetition. Instead of continued training in codified dance styles, the MF curriculum proposes to develop dance artists who understand how to move while cultivating intentional movement vocabulary. The articulate body is understood and experienced as an intelligent instrument, and integration of mind, body, and spirit supports the student’s development as an engaged and engaging artist, empowering and enlivening the creative imagination in self and community.

Unwrapping the Essence of God with Bodily, Phenomenological Epistemology through Touch Practices, Calli Micale/Hawley, Senior Honor’s Project, 2012-2013

Body of Stories: Expressed Lived Experience through Storytelling and Movement, Amanda Moran/Hawley, Senior Honor’s Project, 2011-2012; American College Dance Festival Presentation, Springfield, MO, March 2012; Arizona State University MF Residency, Dance Department, Tempe, AZ, May 2012; and Luther College Student Research Symposium, May 2012

Movement Fundamentals in Film, Triple A Student/Faculty Research Grant; American College Dance Festival Presentation, Springfield, MO, March 2012; Arizona State University MF Residency, Dance Department, Tempe, AZ, May 2012; and Luther College Student Research Symposium, May 2012  Mike Moran/Hawley, 2011-2012

Artistry and Articulation: Practice-Based Investigation of the Movement Fundamentals Theory & Curriculum, Sophia Rog/Hawley, Luther College Student/Faculty Research Project, Summer 2011 and Triple A Student/Faculty Research Grant, 2011-2012; and Arizona State University MF Residency, Dance Department, Tempe, AZ May 2012.

Devised Works:

Trembling beside you, March 2001

An evening of dance in empathy toward the imagined fear of war and waiting in the dark before taking action or fire.

This Fragile Moment, November 2003

An evening of dance and photography based on a kaleidoscopic voyage pondering the profundity of the mundane.

Portals, November 2005

An evening of dance examining the origins and evolution of the tango dance form and personal emotions within partnering human relationships.

Depth of Field, May 2007

A devised mixed-media performance investigation how perception is fueled by what attracts and repels our senses, questioning how space and time alter our investigation into deeper fields of perceiving the Other.

Reign, November 2008

A devised mixed-media performance work investigating the Masculine in Politics: four primordial archetypes campaign for decent leadership‚ÄĒsovereign, lover, magician, warrior.

The Assemblage Point, May 2011

A myth performance centered around the shadow and light aspects of twelve archetypal energies, which beckon to dream a new world into being. The archetypes are: Child; Divine; Lover; Hedonist; Alchemist; Saboteur; Femme Fatale; Networker; Trickster; Thief; Student; God; and Advocate.

A Tragedy Like Macbeth, November 2012

An evening of dance based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, which explores ideas of losing footing, gaining and losing power, and gaining wisdom.¬† It attempts to balance elements of the new and old in both music and movement.

Body of Water, March 2015

An evening of dance and video, which examine human’s relationship with water and what¬†we can do, collectively and individually, to prevent its contamination and loss.

Invitation Game, March 2016

A mixed-media performance which invited the audience to play, move, and explore along with the performers.  This classy carnival included games where the audience could interact, like making sculpture beneath a parachute, listening to music through headphones and moving to it, and drawing on a large piece of paper. View a video about the piece.

Who Do You Trust?, November 2016

A mixed-media performance displaying nine duets within an art gallery exhibition format. It seeks to understand where w