Class Preparation, Codes of Safety, and Studio Etiquette
Students are expected to come to each and every class ready to dance, wearing clothing suitable for unrestricted movement. Only dance or athletic wear is allowed. Leotards, close-fitting tops, and modern/jazz-style/ pants are expected; jeans, short-shorts and overly long or baggy clothes are not acceptable. Hair should be tied back and away from the face. For your personal safety and the safety of those around you, all dangly or obtrusive jewelry (including watches) must be removed. For safety students must dance barefoot; socks can be worn for the warm up, but must be removed to cross the floor. Street shoes are not allowed on the dance floor.
Dance practices often involve both close proximity and contact with fellow dancers and hands-on feedback. Should you know this is an area of discomfort for you—for whatever reason—with this level of proximity or physical contact, please come talk to me early in the semester so that we can develop a plan for your receiving feedback in the class. Part of dance practice is an ongoing relationship with one’s day-to-day needs and experiences, should your needs around touch and proximity shift throughout the semester you are always encouraged to update me to your needs.
Because of the physical demands and close proximity, dance classes require high standards of personal hygiene on the day of class. To be sensitive to potential allergies, please also refrain from wearing cologne, perfume and heavily scented lotions to the studio. It is strongly recommended that you do not wear eyeglasses during class, as they limit your movement choices and pose safety risks. If at all possible, please wear contact lens or plan to remove your glasses for physical practice.
Only bottled water is permitted in the studio; please bring it with you, if you will want it during the course of the class. Absolutely no gum chewing is allowed. Cell phones must be OFF for the duration of the class. As dance is a physical practice, we need to be attentive to our own bodies and our surroundings. If you experience an injury or see any blood, alert the professor or lab supervisor immediately.
Our classes foreground the body as a site of discourse and encourages open dialog about how identities are constructed and confounded by physical and kinesthetic practices. As a result, our conversations sometimes tackle issues that can be considered “touchy” or “controversial.” And, at times, the dance works that we will look at may contain graphic imagery and/or potentially offensive language. While it may not be easy to talk about each and all of these issues, I will assume that each student is comfortable viewing and discussing such material. If you are not, please come see me outside of class and I will do my best to address your concerns with sensitivity.
Segues, Professorial Direction
As these dance courses are hybrid, some switching between modes of learning will be necessary. Some classes will be more movement based, others more focused on dialogue and embodied learning, others may focus on film analysis, textual analysis, or choreographic sharing. Please be prepared to let the professor of each course guide the class. This may mean being ready to go back to the syllabus goals, or listening closely to peers discoveries, working in a group mode or sharing with the course with professorial feedback. When moving across the floor in technique classes focus your energy on your work, not in dialogue or chatting with your peers. In choreography classes, please always watch with respect granting the full attention to your peers. You will be provided with Liz Lerman’s feedback model which will be available for some upper level courses so that students learn how to share feedback with other students. All of these modes of learning and exchanging are meant to create a safe space for you, the teacher and your peers. If you do not feel safe with segway or change in topic, discussion or listening please speak to the professor promptly or write an email with your concerns. Please remember the growth of a safe, yet physical and intellectually challenging classroom to learn dance as an academic discipline is always the goal and this is an ongoing process to create spaces of learning in a clear and concise way.
Cultural Modes of Learning
Your teachers come with different tool kits to teach dance pedagogy in movement, meaning and analysis. Please be open to learning embodied information in ways different from your past experiences. For examples, Asian, African, Caribbean, modern, classical and postmodern vocabularies all have different histories and modes of transmission. Please be open and non-judge mental of yourself and others. If you feel discomfort with a way of learning movement material or with the learning process please speak to your professor or write a note to the dance faculty.
Dance and movement practices have their own sets of pedagogies. Please work with each professor in a professional manner and be open to ways of learning with both the body and the mind. If this is challenging in a way that is uncomfortable, please dialogue with your professor. Dance dialogues, may take the body as the first source of information, students may be asked to respond directly to their resonance with text, and be asked to un-pack identity based information in relation to their written, dialogue based or performance based work. These pedagogies will be different from your other courses across campus as dance requires very different tools so that students may learn with both their minds and their bodies.
As foregrounded, discussions of race, gender, sexuality, inter-culturalism, postcolonialism, disability etc will occur in these classroom spaces. Please pay attention to your responses and work on mindful ways of responding to your peers. Dance is ultimately a powerful art form and is a multivalent set of inquiries. If you are uncomfortable or feel unsafe for any reason then speak to your professor or write a note immediately.