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Theater and Dance Course Descriptions
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[TD013] Introduction to the Alexander Technique The Alexander Technique is an educational method that focuses on teaching individuals efficient, coordinated use of their bodies in everyday activities. Whether standing, sitting, bending, or lifting, students learn to accomplish activities from a place of balance and support. Enhances performance in music, dance, theater, and sports as it minimizes effort, tension, and fatigue. Simple principles realign the body for maximum health and function, thereby reducing stress and injury and improving mental acuity and physical appearance. Noncredit.
TD064Af Applied Performance/Production: Lysistrata Students may register without credit for working on Theater and Dance Department faculty-directed productions (as actors, dramaturges, stage managers, and theater technicians). May be taken up to eight times. Prerequisite: Audition. Noncredit. CONNER
TD064Bf Applied Performance/Production: First-Year Dance Event Students may register without credit for working on Theater and Dance Department faculty-directed productions (as actors, dramaturges, stage managers, and theater technicians). May be taken up to eight times. Prerequisite: Audition. Noncredit. KLOPPENBERG
TD064Cs Applied Performance/Production: New Works Festival Students may register without credit for working on Theater and Dance Department faculty-directed productions (as actors, dramaturges, stage managers, and theater technicians). May be taken up to eight times. Prerequisite: Audition. Noncredit.
[TD111] Articulating the Physical Addresses writing as process of discovery, expression of creative and critical thought, and embodied pursuit. Opinion, authorship, and identity are interwoven and grounded in the body. Through movement, experiential anatomy, and choreographic thought, explore the language of/from the body and understand the textual nature of written words, body, self, society, landscape, visual frame, and dance performance. Look at how choreographic thought informs writing. Translations between the visual and the visceral develop active, individual, confident, and vivid writing voices. No prior dance experience required. Four credit hours. A,W1.
[TD113] The Dramatic Experience Survey of history, literature, and visual recordings of dramatic performance traditions. Offers students opportunities to see live performances and facilitates introductory-level participation exercises and projects designed to provide a basis of understanding for students coming from various fields of study. Students will display a basic understanding of fundamental theater and dance terminology; will discuss and write confidently about their experiences as an audience member, demonstrating the ability to debate varied and possibly opposing positions on the aesthetic and sociopolitical context of performance material in question; and will collaborate and problem solve in the creation of an original piece of theater performance or design. Four credit hours. A.
[TD114] The Dance Experience A broad introduction to the field of contemporary dance including opportunities to experiment with studio practices (dance techniques and creative choreographic exercises) and to study and analyze the form's history and theory. No prior dance training necessary. Students with dance training are invited to enroll, understanding that technique will be taught at an introductory level but incorporating valuable exercises in contextualizing and discussing dance. At the end students will be able to demonstrate the fundamentals of contemporary dance movement, communicate (in verbal and written form) aesthetic ideas, and meaningfully engage in the creative research process. Four credit hours. A.
TD115Af Theater Technique Lab: Confident and Connected Voice Students will learn a comprehensive vocal warm-up that includes techniques for identifying and releasing tension, expanding breath awareness and capacity, exploring resonance, supporting appropriate volume, and developing strong articulation skills. In-class exercises, discussions, and weekly journal responses will help students begin to observe their own vocal habits and analyze both theories about and practical approaches to owning the voice as an instrument of powerful creative expression. By the end, students will lead peers in effective vocal warm-up, share orally and in writing observations about vocal habits and perceived changes, and present a memorized text with clear speech and strong vocal connection. Two credit hours. WEINBLATT
TD115Bs Theater Technique Lab: British Dialect Scene Study Workshop Focusing on material from George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde, students will explore scenes through basic acting techniques and learn the mechanics of Standard British and Cockney stage dialects. Includes an introduction to the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and its use as a tool for learning key vowel and consonant substitutions. Culminates in a workshop performance of selected scenes. By the end of term, students will have developed strong articulation and enhanced listening skills, learned various techniques for effectively producing and sustaining a stage dialect, and explored the practical application of dialect through rehearsal and performance of classic stage literature. Two credit hours. WEINBLATT
[TD115C] Theater Technique Lab: Musical Theater Skills Scenes and songs from the musical theater repertoire. Working in groups of two and three, students learn how to turn the transition between speech and singing into a character choice. Emphasis on scene work, vocal technique, and pursuing character objectives through song. Two credit hours.
TD116Af Ballet Forms Technique Lab: Beginning Beginning-level ballet, focused on developing the functional anatomy of the moving body through classical ballet vocabulary. Students are introduced to the basic vocabulary of the form and encouraged to experiment with groundedness and lightness, balance and stasis, support and tension, force and energy. Students will demonstrate increased flexibility, strength, coordination, and body connectivity. Two credit hours. KUNST
TD116Bs Ballet Forms Technique Lab: Intermediate An exploration of the principles of ballet including, but not limited to, technique, vocabulary, and history. Students will make the vital connection between theory and practice by demonstrating their knowledge of technique within the classroom and will recognize the benefits of risk-taking through theory, performance, and evaluation. They will understand the cultural history of ballet through independent practice and research, as well as synergetic discussion. Two credit hours. KUNST
TD117Af Contemporary Dance Technique Lab: Beginning Level An introductory contemporary/modern studio course for students at the beginner or advanced-beginner level. It will address movement fundamentals from a variety of influences and their application in executing increasingly complex movement sequences. Students will develop deeper awareness, skill, confidence, and individuality in movement—a solid base for continued study in dance or one that can inform other creative pursuits from a more embodied point of view. Two credit hours. KLOPPENBERG
TD117Bfs Contemporary Dance Technique Lab: Intermediate/Advanced Level In this studio practicum, students with prior dance experience at the intermediate or advanced level will develop greater facility with contemporary/modern dance practices. Students will increase efficiency of movement articulation at the joints, will increase ability to perform complex movement in a dynamic range of qualities, will make nuanced and subtle choices in performance, and will understand how to approach complex movement sequences as embodied investigations. Students will demonstrate increased flexibility, strength, coordination, and body connectivity. Two credit hours. KLOPPENBERG
[TD119] Popular Dance Forms Technique Lab An exploration of choreography and techniques from masters of musical theater, including Hanya Holms, Agnes De Mille, Bob Fosse, Gower Champion, Michael Bennett, Michael Kidd, Twyla Tharp, and Jerome Robbins. Introduces students to the basic principles of musical theater dance movement: body alignment, coordination, strength and flexibility, and forms of locomotion. Students will increase their technical understanding of musical theater dance, build body strength and coordination, develop aesthetic understanding and taste, and learn how to cultivate a personal movement aesthetic within the genre. Two credit hours.
[TD131] Theater Production An introduction to basic theatrical engineering, computer-aided drafting (CAD), and technical planning. Students help build a show from the ground up and will apply this knowledge while collaboratively inventing and drawing technical solutions to theoretical scenery. No previous experience is necessary, but students who have taken Stagecraft will find this an excellent companion course. Three credit hours. A.
TD135fs Introduction to Design An introduction to the principles of visual design and their role in the dramatic event. Particular emphasis on bringing the imagined world of the playwright to life through the use of space, light, and clothing. Historical and contemporary texts are explored through lectures, critical research, discussions, and projects. Students will learn to use their unique creative potential to research and define a design concept, express this concept orally and in writing, and present the concept visually using sketching, rendering, computer visualization, and scenic modeling. Four credit hours. A. THURSTON
TD139fs Stagecraft I Introduces students to scenic construction, theatrical rigging, lighting production, and prop-making concepts, techniques, equipment, and materials, emphasizing problem solving through research, experimentation, and collaborative learning while considering the environment, economic choices, and safety. Students will learn to appreciate the performative aspects of stagecraft by participating in a behind-the-scenes role during the construction period, technical rehearsals, and performances of a faculty-directed, department production. Independent out-of-class work is essential. Previous experience is not necessary. Four credit hours. A. ERVIN
[TD140] Solo Performance Workshop Students will develop original solo performance pieces based on folktales from their own cultural/religious/ethnic backgrounds, writing new material to illuminate the connections between ancient folk wisdom and personal experience. Once working scripts are complete, the focus will shift to acting and storytelling techniques, culminating in a public performance. Students will gain a deeper understanding of their folk heritage, will learn basic elements of script writing and adapting source material for performance, will use their voices and bodies to bring text to life, will engage in a full creative process, and will develop the confidence to connect with an audience. Three credit hours.
[TD141] Beginning Playwriting An introduction to the playwriting process for students interested in dramatic storytelling and the process of new play development. Student work focuses on 1) close reading and analysis of representative plays in order to understand dramatic structure, characterization, rhythm, imagery, etc.; 2) creative experimentation through a series of writing exercises; and 3) participation in the process of workshopping class products, including offering and receiving constructive criticism. Four credit hours. A.
[TD157] Live Performance in the Digital Age Explores the impact of digital innovation on live performance. The incorporation of computer-driven digital media in theater and dance events provides new information streams and redefines the performance context for an audience. Students explore computation-based, interactive theater and dance through critical analyses of digital age performances, individual research assignments, and collective creation of performance works using a digitally-equipped performance venue. Four credit hours. A.
TD164fs Performance Lab Series An applied laboratory course designed for students who have been cast in the annual Performance Lab Series production. Under the mentorship of theater and dance faculty and staff, students work in a team to collaborate in the practice and creation of new work, to apply problem solving and critical thinking skills to embodied investigations, and to engage in creative exploration in the formation of new performance work. Outcomes include understanding creative research as a rigorous, complex undertaking and cultivating a personal performance aesthetic incorporating individual choices and risks, both creatively and in performance. Prerequisite: Audition. One credit hour. CONNER, KLOPPENBERG
TD171f Acting I: Stanislavski Explores the use of the body, voice, emotion, and intellect to create a theatrical character. Through close study of Stanislavski's system, students prepare monologues and scenes to articulate possible interpretations of a play script or performance clearly and effectively. In-class performances further an awareness of individual and ensemble physicality in order to communicate emotion, thought, aesthetic intention, and mind-body awareness. Emphasis on analysis and concentration. Final performances stress the benefits and consequences of creative and aesthetic risk. No prior experience necessary. Four credit hours. A. ZAZZALI
TD197j Light of the Mind: Celebrating Colby's Bicentennial Performers (actors, singers, and dancers) interested in participating in "Light of the Mind" may audition for a role in the company. Jan Plan will be devoted to rehearsing this new multimedia performance work by professors Lynne Conner and Jonathan Hallstrom, which will be performed on Wednesday, February 27 as part of the College's official bicentennial celebration. Students will gain skills in collaboration, oral presentation, creative expression, and aesthetic literacy. Rehearsal times will be scheduled after auditions are completed. Prerequisite: Auditions on Sunday, October 7 from 1 to 4 p.m. in Strider Theater. Sign up for an audition slot before October 7 on sheets on the call board outside Runnals 104A. Contact Professor Conner for more information. Three credit hours. CONNER
TD224f Performance History I Explores world performing traditions from c. 534 B.C.E. to c. 1700 C.E. by examining the ways theater, dance, and other types of live performance arise out of and give expression to their surrounding cultures. Using multiple media (text, video, artifacts), students develop a familiarity with aesthetic and social values within specific eras and across time. Oral and written research projects (individual and group) further analytical and collaborative skills and develop cogent and expressive writing and speaking. Exposure to different cultures increases awareness of diversity and the capacity for self-reflection. Four credit hours. L. ZAZZALI
TD226s Performance History II Explores world performing traditions from 1700 to the early 1970s by examining the ways theater, dance, and other types of live performance arise out of and give expression to their surrounding cultures. Using multiple media (text, video, artifacts), students develop a familiarity with aesthetic and social values within specific eras and across time. Oral and written research projects (individual and group) further analytical and collaborative skills and develop cogent and expressive writing and speaking. Exposure to different cultures increases diversity awareness and the capacity for self-reflection. Four credit hours. L. CONNER
[TD235] Intermediate Design: Scene Painting An introduction to the principles and practices of theatrical scene painting through studio-based projects and work on the Tartuffe production. Involves a series of assignments designed to develop basic skills in painting stage scenery. Students learn a variety of techniques employed in scenic art (including faux finishing, cartooning and layout, and trompe l'oeil) along with creative problem-solving strategies; gain an understanding of the role of the scenic charge artist and the relationship to other members of the production team; improve existing drawing skills and increase color theory comprehension. Four credit hours. A.
[TD239] Stagecraft II Further exploration of scenic construction, theatrical rigging, lighting production, and prop-making concepts, techniques, equipment, and materials, emphasizing problem solving through research, experimentation, and collaborative learning while considering the environment, economic choices, and safety. An expansion of the course of study from Stagecraft I in which students will examine scene painting and computer-assisted woodworking. Independent out-of-class work is essential. Prerequisite: Theater and Dance 131 or 139. Four credit hours.
[TD248] The Citizen Artist: Theater and Social Change An introduction to the theory and practice of community-based theater, including close study of practitioners who use theater as a tool for social change in the United States and abroad. Students analyze and discuss the history and theory of community-based theater, develop an understanding about the relationship between art and civic dialogue, learn theater exercises and techniques, and explore creative tools for devising original exercises and performance works. Projects incorporate academic learning, community service, and civic engagement on and off campus; creative exploration of both campus and community issues will be encouraged and supported. Previously offered as Theater and Dance 198. Four credit hours. A, U.
TD255s Zen Theater: Acting, Dancing, Singing Japanese Noh Listed as Music 255. Four credit hours. A. NUSS
[TD258] Improvisational Practices in Dance Approaches improvisation as a compositional, formal performance form and, metaphorically, as a means to open to the unknown, prepare to live in unpredictable environments, recognize options as they exist around us, imagine possible futures, and make clear choices. Students cultivate heightened awareness, develop a receptive, responsive bodymind—open, playful, daring, associative, resourceful, and able to craft choices based on instinct and design. Students remain in process and take risks non-judgmentally, with courage putting those skills to the test in formal performances, carefully crafting each work as it emerges. Four credit hours. A.
TD261s Topics in Theater Performance/Production: New Works Practicum Students will learn the craft of producing new works (plays, dance projects, and performance pieces) and gain an understanding of the theory and practice of theatrical production. Begins with reading/analyzing case studies of new works before designing and organizing production elements for the "New Works Festival." Students will work as a team to administer the festival and will also have the opportunity to pursue a specialization track (directing, acting, dramaturgy, design, stage management, marketing, stagecraft, or public relations). Out-of-class time will be devoted to rehearsals and other production needs. No performance-related experience necessary. Can be repeated once. Previously offered as Theater and Dance 361. Four credit hours. CONNER
TD262s Topics in Dance Performance/Production: Collaborative Company Experience Offers students the chance to learn and practice a range of dance production topics. Since content will vary, can be repeated once. In 2011 students will work as an ensemble to create and perform new choreographic projects including, but not limited to, pieces for the "New Works Festival" in April. Each piece will ultimately be shaped by the artistic director, but will include substantial contributions of each member of the company. Students will experience choreography as an unfolding process, creative research, and a collaborative endeavor. At the end, students will be able to demonstrate fundamentals of theatrical production, communicate aesthetic ideas, and collaborate with artistic team colleagues. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Four credit hours. KLOPPENBERG
TD264Af Applied Performance/Production: Lysistrata This updated version of Aristophanes's great comedy will be presented on the Strider Theater stage Nov. 8-10. Auditions are open to all Colby students. Check the Theater and Dance website for dates and times. Nongraded. Prerequisite: Audition. Two credit hours. CONNER
TD264Bf Applied Performance/Production: First-Year Dance Event Calling all first-year dancers and non-dancers interested in a modern/contemporary dance performance opportunity. A chance for students new to the Colby community (first-years and transfers) to experience the process of creating and performing a new repertory piece to be performed as part of the Colby on Stage event during Family Homecoming and other on-campus venues during the semester. Auditions open to both experienced dancers and those without prior experience; the piece will have room to highlight both. Check the Theater and Dance website for dates and times. Nongraded. Prerequisite: Audition. One credit hour. KLOPPENBERG
TD264Cs Applied Performance/Production: New Works Festival TBA. Nongraded. Prerequisite: Audition. One credit hour.
TD265f Topics in Design: Stage Lighting A chance to learn and practice a range of theater production topics. Content will change each semester and the course can be taken up to two times. Stage lighting provides an opportunity for student light designers to collaborate with student choreographers creating an original dance. Students work in a supervised environment to explore light design theory, then apply this theory in real-time in Strider Theater. Students will learn to demonstrate fundamentals of light design, communicate aesthetic ideas, use sophisticated technology to render design concepts, collaborate with artistic team colleagues, and critically evaluate design objectives. Four credit hours. A. THURSTON
[TD271] Acting II: Character and Ensemble An investigation of the use of the body and movement in the creation of dramatic characters. Through solo and group work students will develop an awareness of individual and ensemble physicality in order to communicate emotion, thought, and aesthetic intention. They will begin to explore acting styles needed for plays outside of the Modern tradition. Through in-class and public performances students will develop an understanding of the benefits and consequences of creative and aesthetic risk. At the conclusion, students will display an understanding of aesthetic knowledge and sensibility by participating in and observing each other's work. Prerequisite: Theater and Dance 171 or two sections of 115. Four credit hours.
TD281s Directing Emphasizes the collaborative nature of theater. Allows students to explore a wide variety of performance styles. Practical matters such as casting, the design process, and working with actors will be discussed along with historical and contemporary roles of the director. Students will cast and direct scenes in class and present a final directing concept for a longer, more substantial piece of work. Equal parts studio and lecture, requires stringent attendance and preparatory/rehearsal time outside of class. Students will be able to demonstrate fundamentals of composition and blocking, communicate aesthetic ideas, and collaborate with artistic team colleagues. Previously listed as Theater and Dance 379. Four credit hours. ZAZZALI
[TD285] Choreographic Process This introduction to dance-making examines the creative process focusing on physical language, dynamics, and spatial arrangements as possibilities for constructing meaning. We look at movement vocabulary as something that is invented, created personally, crafted carefully in time, space, dynamic arrangement, and relationship to other bodies, always holding the potential for surprise from inside and out. We explore movement ideas, construct and deconstruct movement phrases, discuss readings, choreography, processes, class studies, and roadblocks. Students will begin to discover individual, choreographic points of view and will learn about a diverse set of contemporary choreographers and their work. Four credit hours. A.
[TD335] Topics in Design Advanced studies in design and technical production. Emphasis is placed on the theoretical and historical role of design in theater and dance. Topics vary from semester to semester and focus on the historical context of design, design theory, production design, technical theater, and theater architecture. Prerequisite: Theater and Dance 135 or 139. Four credit hours.
[TD339] Stagecraft III Further exploration of scenic construction, lighting production, and prop-making concepts, techniques, equipment, and materials. In addition to expanding their studies from Stagecraft II, students will examine welding and three-dimensional computer-assisted wood carving. Out-of-class work is essential. Prerequisite: Theater and Dance 239. Four credit hours.
[TD349A] Topics in Dramatic Literature: Political Theater from Lysistrata to Stuff Happens References to the "political stage" during elections remind us that since ancient times theater and politics have been closely linked. The Greeks used plays to expose enemies as well as to model behavior for democratic governance. More recently, British playwright David Hare's Stuff Happens turned real speeches, meetings, and press conferences into an evening of controversial theater about the Iraq war. The focus will be on dramatic texts and live performance (from street theater to sketch satire) that explore the complexities of the political realm. Four credit hours.
TD355f Applied Choreography Students with previous experience in contemporary choreography at the college level will create original works for formal performance through a rigorous creative process that includes feedback from faculty and peers, presentation of design concepts, and collaboration with student lighting designers. Course will address contemporary issues in dance including viewings of work by active, acclaimed, and emerging professional choreographers. Prerequisite: Theater and Dance 285, or 258 with permission of instructor. Four credit hours. KLOPPENBERG
TD361s Advanced Topics in Performance: Commedia dell'Arte as Actor Training Explores commedia dell'arte from both a theoretical and practical perspective by combining commedia acting techniques and exercises with an academic study of the social history of the form. Using mask work and improvisation as a basis for creating original characters, students develop expressive physical and vocal instruments, as well as hone their imagination and concentration skills towards taking creative risks in their acting. Students will also intellectually engage commedia as an important part of theater history by examining its contemporaneous cultural context and tracing its legacy. A performance piece for the Colby community will be the culminating activity. Prerequisite: Theater and Dance 171. Four credit hours. ZAZZALI
[TD365] Advanced Topics in Design Advanced studies in design and technical production. Emphasis is placed on the theoretical and historical role of design in theater and dance as it informs contemporary scenography. Topics vary from semester to semester and may focus on the historical context of design, design theory, production design, digital design, technical theater, or theater architecture. Previously listed as Theater and Dance 335. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. Four credit hours.
[TD368] Out on Stage: Advanced Topics in Performance History and Literature Explores the history of gay and lesbian identity on the U.S. stage (theater/dance) from 1900 to 2012. How homosexuality has been portrayed in performance and how performance can contribute to personal constructions of identity. Through engagement with texts, the archive, and theory, students explore and articulate, in writing and in oral presentations, the sociopolitical context of a specific topic, increasing their capacity for self-reflection and their ability to compare social values and ethical systems. Four credit hours.
TD483f, 484s Honors Thesis in Theater and Dance Majors may apply for admission in spring of their junior year. Requires research conducted under the guidance of a faculty member and focused on an approved topic leading to the writing of a thesis, an oral public presentation or performance, and a presentation in the Colby Undergraduate Research Symposium. Prerequisite: Senior standing, a 3.25 grade point average, a 3.50 major average at the end of January of the junior year, and unanimous approval of the department. Three or four credit hours. FACULTY
TD491f, 492s Independent Study Individual projects in areas where the student has demonstrated the interest and competence necessary for independent work. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. One to four credit hours. FACULTY
TD493s Senior Seminar This capstone experience offers students the chance to engage in seminar-level discussions on the history and aesthetics of performance and to further develop individual areas of expertise in performance praxis. Prerequisite: Senior standing as a theater and dance major. Four credit hours. KLOPPENBERG