Theater and Dance Department
Courses of Study
[TD064A] Applied Performance/Production: Noncredit.
[TD113] The Dramatic Experience In the digital age, why do people continue to create live performance? What makes the dramatic experience unique? This introductory course surveys the field of contemporary theatrical production and offers students the chance to experiment with acting, directing, playwriting and/or design projects. By watching a range of live performance works and surveying the history, literature and visual recordings of dramatic performance traditions, students learn to analyze aesthetic and cultural contexts and to discuss and write confidently about their experiences as audience members. Concludes with the creation of an original piece of theatrical 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.
TD115s Theater Technique Lab Two credit hours. Legawiec, Weinblatt
TD115Af Theater Technique Lab: Introduction to Playing Action and Character A introductory investigation of acting for the stage focused on the actor's tools - body, voice, and imagination. Through rehearsal and performance of contemporary theatrical texts, students will build their vocal, physical, and analytical skills and practice Stanislavski-based techniques for playing actions/objectives, exploring given circumstances, and connecting authentically to character, scene partner, and audience. Through monologue and scene work students will develop an understanding of the benefits and consequences of creative and aesthetic risk. They will also hone their creative practice by observing each other's work and learning constructive models for offering feedback and self-reflection. Two credit hours. Weinblatt
TD115Bf Theater Technique Lab: The Mask Unmasked Masks are among the oldest objects in human civilization. Masks are ubiquitous, used in every culture in the world. Humans have always used Mask for practical, creative and spiritual purposes - as mirror to the self, as window on the experiences of others, or as a portal to transformation. Today, we mask to protect our community - our very survival depends on it. This studio class will explore movement and expression beyond the mask of our daily lives. Students will explore literal and figurative masks through movement and gesture to create silent performance, creating our own simple masks and working with the instructor's collection of full-face character masks, adhering to sanitation protocols. This class is intended for acting students, artists in all media and anyone who seeks to increase their depth of physical expression and develop fluency in embodied languages. Some classes will be held outdoors, weather permitting. Two credit hours. Legawiec
TD116As 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. May be taken a total of four times for credit. Two credit hours. Shipman
TD116Bf Ballet Forms Technique Lab: Intermediate Establishes a strong foundation in correct posture, classical placement, musicality, and coordination. Students will develop clear understanding and execution of nuances in classical ballet technique, vocabulary, and artistry. Students must have prior dance training. This class is based on the Vagonava method (a training system that creates a connected sense of movement and expressive range), but students with any style of ballet or contemporary training are welcome. Nongraded. One credit hour. Shipman
TD117Afs Contemporary Dance Technique Lab: Beginning An introductory contemporary/modern studio course geared toward students with little or no dance experience, but also open to those looking to deepen their existing practice. Explore contemporary dance movement from a variety of lenses with a special focus on exploring how unused or unnoticed spaces inspire movement and individual compositional choices. Look at the athletics and aesthetics of the moving body, develop anatomical, sensory, and spatial awareness, execute increasingly complex movement sequences, explore improvisational scores and examine the metaphoric expressive potential of bodies in action. May be taken a total of four times for credit. Two credit hours. Laurita-Spanglet
TD117Bfs Contemporary Dance Technique Lab: Intermediate In this studio practicum, students with prior experience will develop greater facility with contemporary/modern dance choreography, a focus on artistry and agency, and a clearer understanding of anatomical structures at work. Warm-up focuses on increasing efficiency of movement articulation at the joints and progressively warming up the body. Then movement will focus on taking the body off center, to the floor, and into the air. May be taken a total of four times for credit. Nongraded. One credit hour. James
TD118f Dance Technique Lab: Dance Forms of the African Diaspora: Hip-hop In this studio-based course, students will learn movement techniques rooted in Afro-diasporic aesthetic and physical qualities including groundedness, curvilinearity, polyrhythm, syncopation, and polycentrism. Class is movement-centered, but also emphasizes understanding the historical and cultural contexts, introduces a cross-section of many movement styles under the umbrella term Hip-hop; fundamental pillars of Hip-hop; and both "mainstream" and countercultural level aspects of Hip-hop dance and culture. This course is open to all levels. No previous dance experience required, but those with dance experience are welcome. Two credit hours. James
TD118Bf Dance Technique Lab: Dance Forms of the African Diaspora: Dancesof Resistance In this studio-based course, students will learn movement techniques rooted in Afro-diasporic aesthetic and physical qualities including groundedness, curvilinearity, polyrhythm, syncopation, and polycentrism. Class is movement-centered and emphasizes understanding historical and cultural contexts of a range of forms through which various Black communities across the globe gathered to celbrate community and articulate resistance to oppression in diverse, but aesthetically-linked ways. Students will connect these Africanist elements in contemporary movement forms. Open to all levels of dance experience; those with significant dance experience will gain tools to understand the roots of their training more fully. Two credit hours. Hunter, Valentine
TD120f First-Year Writing: Performing Spaces/Writing the City Explores how we understand the places, cities, and towns we inhabit. In what ways are our routes through these spaces a kind of performance, and how can writing help us closely observe, describe, analyze, and critique our environments? We'll discuss the embodied and spatial effects of Covid-19 and recent uprisings against anti-black violence and study topics like settler colonialism, resource extraction, redlining, and urban protests, amongst others. Concurrently, we'll try out performance strategies on campus that demonstrate its importance in understanding space. Throughout the semester, we will ask: how does space write the body and how does the body rewrite space? Four credit hours. A, W1. Shanks
TD124s Performance, Politics, amd Practice Introduces students to the study of performance by exploring its power and questioning how it frames our world. We examine how performance helps us make sense of and challenge economic, gendered, sexual, racialized, political, and social structures. Through lectures, critical readings, discussion, field trips, and embodied practice, students will study performance as a creative act, a means of understanding power, a methodology for passing on memory and identity, and a way of comprehending the world. Topics include: theater, dance, performance art, everyday life, protest, and the gendered, sexed, and racialized performance of bodies. Four credit hours. A, I. Shanks
TD132f Boundaries and Margins: Speaker Series This course will consider a broad range of boundaries from national borders to social categories, from laws to metaphysics. We will explore how boundaries mark relational sites where meaning, value, and belonging are made, reworked, and contested. The theme will also allow us to interrogate the margins, those liminal spaces existing outside the mainstream, far from the center, next to the external limits—spaces of subversion, resistance, and survival. Students will attend public lectures by visiting scholars and Colby faculty as well as film screenings, performances, and community events. Together, we will engage in focused discussion and create innovative documentation of these events. Boundaries and Margins humanities theme course. One credit hour. Brown, Brunetaux
TD135s Introduction to Design An introduction to the principles of visual design and their role in the dramatic event. Particular emphasis is placed on bringing the imagined world of the playwright and choreographer to life through the use of space, light, and clothing. Historical and contemporary texts are explored through lectures, critical research, discussions, and projects. Students 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. Previous experience is not necessary. Four credit hours. A. Ervin
TD141f 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. Weinblatt
[TD147A] Articulating the Physical Addresses writing as a process of discovery, an expression of creative and critical thought, and an embodied pursuit. Opinion, authorship, and identity are interwoven and grounded in the body. Through movement, experiential anatomy, and choreographic thought, we explore the language of/from the body and understand the textual nature of written words, body, self, society, landscape, visual frame, and performance. We 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. Satisfies the Arts (A) and First-Year Writing (W1) requirements. Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in Biology 147 and Theater and Dance 147B. Four credit hours. A, W1.
[TD147B] Somatic Practices: Yoga Somatic practices guide inquiry into the physical, ask us to identify familiar sensory-motor patterns, and open space for new movement patterning. Somatic practices help improve posture, alignment, efficiency, and health. Somatics refers to perceiving the body from within; reflection spawns transformation. This course teaches the practice of yoga including physical postures, breath (pranayama), and meditation. Yoga is a system of integrated mental and bodily fitness that combines a dynamic physical musculoskeletal practice with an inwardly focused mindful awareness of the self, the breath, and somatic energetic pathways. The systematic practice of yoga has benefits for both the body and the mind. Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in Biology 147 and Theater and Dance 147A. Two credit hours.
TD164s Applied Performance/Production Students participating in Theater and Dance Department productions as performers, designers, stage managers, theater technicians, and other production positions may register for credit. May be taken up to eight times for credit. Nongraded. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. One credit hour. Brown, Kloppenberg, Shanks
[TD171] Acting I Explores the use of the body, voice, emotion, and intellect to create a theatrical character. Through close study of several acting systems, 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.
[TD216B] Ballet Forms Technique Lab: Intermediate Establishes a strong foundation in correct posture, classical placement, musicality, and coordination. Students will develop clear understanding and execution of nuances in classical ballet technique, vocabulary, and artistry. Students must have prior dance training. This class is based on the Vagonava method (a training system that creates a connected sense of movement and expressive range), but students with any style of ballet or contemporary training are welcome. Nongraded. Prerequisite: Theater and Dance 116B. One credit hour.
TD217fs Contemporary Dance Technique Lab II: Beginning In this studio practicum, students with prior experience will develop greater facility with contemporary/modern dance choreography, a focus on artistry and agency, and a clearer understanding of anatomical structures at work. Warm-up focuses on increasing efficiency of movement articulation at the joints and progressively warming up the body. The center work will focus on complex movement patterns in a dynamic range of qualities, exploring how to apply the principles of ballet vocabulary practiced at the barre in choreography that takes the body off center, to the floor, and into the air. Prerequisite: Theater and Dance 117. One credit hour. Laurita-Spanglet
TD217Bfs Contemporary Dance Technique Lab II: Intermediate In this studio practicum, students with prior experience will develop greater facility with contemporary/modern dance choreography, a focus on artistry and agency, and a clearer understanding of anatomical structures at work. Warm-up focuses on increasing efficiency of movement articulation at the joints and progressively warming up the body. Then movement will focus on taking the body off center, to the floor, and into the air. Nongraded. Prerequisite: Theater and Dance 117B. One credit hour. James
[TD222] Revolutionary Performances: Theater and the Energy of the Unspoken (in English) Listed as Russian 222. Four credit hours. A.
[TD223] Critical Race Feminisms and Tap Dance Listed as Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies 223. Four credit hours. A, U.
[TD224] Performance Studies I Explores world performing traditions from c. 534 BCE to c. 1700 CE 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.
TD226fs Contemporary Art and Performance Course focuses on global art from the 1960s to the present, examining how globalization, imperialism, and neoliberalism impact artistic production. Students will study the meanings attached to the category of “contemporary art”; the rise of the curator, biennial, and art fair; and the role protest groups hold in shaping the arts. Because of the embodied nature of many of these subject areas, the course emphasizes performance and embodied practices. We will examine genres like: performance art, post-modern dance, experimental jazz, Afrofuturism, Gutai, Viennese Actionism, as well as institutional critique, conceptual art, and post-minimalism. Four credit hours. A. Shanks
TD239fs 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, computer-aided drafting (CAD), and CNC computer-assisted woodworking. Independent out-of-class work is essential. Prerequisite: Theater and Dance 139. Four credit hours. Ervin
[TD241] Playwriting Workshop: Ensemble Playwriting Explores a potent resource for theatrical writing: the collective work of an ensemble. We will investigate collaborative storytelling, in which the entire class contributes to the process. As writers, we will explore a number of traditional and innovative devising methods, including interviews, archival research, and improvisation. Taking as examples the work of renowned theater collectives and collaborative playwrights (such as MoisƵs Kaufman & Tectonic Theater Project, The Civilians, and The Wooster Group) we turn ideas generated by the group mind into a scripted performance piece. Four credit hours. A.
TD242f Acts of Activism Looks at the uses of performance and other artistic media to bring about social change, such as protests, marches, walking tours, dance parties, digital media and public theatre. This semester we will specifically explore the role of performance, and aesthetics more broadly, in contemporary activist movements within the context of the global health pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement. Is art an effective activist strategy today? If so, how, when, where? How is activism itself a performance and what is "performative" activism? We will look at how aesthetics can help build connections across transnational movements as well as across history. How have aesthetic tactics changed over time and across borders and what does this tell us about emerging political landscapes? Four credit hours. A. Brown
TD243f Leadership Behind the Scenes: Stage Management It takes a coordinated effort by many people to put on a professional performance; stage managers are the conductors behind the scenes of those shows. In this course, students take a peek backstage and learn the complex systems by which productions are fully realized. Class explores techniques for successful collaborative work and helps students identify personal and productive leadership styles. Four credit hours. A. Gallant
TD245s Performance Art: The Body Politic A survey of some of the histories, theories, contexts, and developing practices within performance art. We will delve into the work of artists from a range of historical, geographic and cultural contexts through text, performance materials, video, archival collections, field trips to performances and artist visits. Most importantly, we will develop our own critical voices and perspectives through embodied engagement, producing a bi-weekly performance art showcase at Colby. Through a series of guided workshops, we will try on strategies that performance artists have established in their own practices and we will create our own in order to ask: what limits, definitions, and structures can performance art intervene upon and reimagine in our contemporary moment? Boundaries and Margins humanities lab. Four credit hours. A. Brown
[TD247] Performing the Museum Explores the intersection of museums and performance. Museums occupy important roles in our cultural landscape. In recent decades, art museums have increasingly included the work of performance-based artists. We will historicize the relationship between museums, live performance, display strategies, and collecting practices. Foundational ideas: the archive, the collection, and questions of historicization will frame our discussions around the term museum and how it functions as performance. With a focus on display, we will question how bodies are framed by and placed within museums. With a series of contemporary case studies, we will question how performers and curators negotiate staging performance in museum spaces. Four credit hours. A.
TD252f Choreography for the Camera: The Art of Athletics Examines the aesthetic properties of the expenditure of bodily, physical energy through practical explorations in choreography and filmmaking. We take as source material the effortful movement of athletics, exploring how to aestheticize and translate that action through choreographic logic and by framing it in for the screen. Course begins with contextual theoretical frameworks for choreographic practice and dance for the camera and concludes with practical experience producing a film. Briefly considers notions of spectatorship and audience, considering the distinctions between live events and events on the screen. No prior experience necessary. Previously offered as Theater and Dance 297 (Fall 2019). Note: Section B will be asynchronous with small group meetings scheduled independently. Four credit hours. A. Kloppenberg
[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 nonjudgmentally, with courage putting those skills to the test in formal performances, carefully crafting each work as it emerges. Four credit hours. A.
TD261Jj Topics in Performance: Activist Storytelling Workshop In this interactive writing and performance workshop, students will create original story-based performance pieces inspired by the issues that matter to them the most, such as climate change, racial equity, reproductive justice, freedom of speech, LGBTQ+ rights, disability justice, sexual assault, domestic violence, access to education, etc. We will analyze Ted Talks, The Moth, and other popular story-based media to help us understand what elements we need to create authentic connections with audiences. Students will explore a variety of writing and performance styles and techniques to engage in a collaborative creative process. Depending on safety measures, "Show Up. Stand Up. Speak Up." will culminate in a live performance for a small audience which will be filmed to share digitally online. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. Three credit hours. A. Weinblatt
[TD262] Topics in Dance: Collaborative Company Offers students the chance to learn and practice a range of dance production topics. Since content will vary, can be repeated once. 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. Four credit hours.
TD264Af Applied Performance/Production: Fall Theater Production TBD Prerequisite: Audition. Two credit hours. Brown
TD264Bf Applied Performance/Production: Dance Repertory Project TBD Prerequisite: Audition. One credit hour. Kloppenberg
TD264Cs Applied Performance/Production: Fringe Self Production Lab Auditions held within the first week of classes in February. Students participating as stage managers, performers, designers, theater technicians, and production assistants may register for credit. Nongraded. Prerequisite: Audition. One credit hour. Kloppenberg
[TD264G] Applied Performance/Production: Performance Technology Incubator A student-driven performance incubator exploring the role of computation and digital media technology in live performance. This creative think-tank uses interdisciplinary collaborative process led by professionals in the field to develop an original work for the stage. Students participating as directors, composers, musicians, programmers, performers, stage managers, designers, and theater technicians may register for credit. Performs in Strider Theater March 7-9. Nongraded. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Two credit hours.
[TD268] Design Thinking Studio: Performative Sculpture Listed as Art 268. Four credit hours. A.
[TD271] Acting II A deep investigation of the actor's tools: body, voice, and imagination in the creation and interpretation of character. Through exploration of classic and contemporary theatrical texts, students will build their vocal, physical, and analytical skills and practice action-based techniques to discover authentic connection to text, creative collaborators, and audience. Through in-class and public performances of monologues and scenes students will develop an understanding of the benefits and consequences of creative and aesthetic risk. They will also hone their creative practice by observing each other's work and learning constructive models for offering feedback and self-reflection. May be taken a total of two times for credit. Prerequisite: Theater and Dance 171 or two different sections of 115, 258, or 261. Four credit hours.
[TD281] Directing Emphasizing interactive collaboration, this introduction to directing for the stage will focus on two major components of the director's craft: preparing a text and working with actors. With inspiration and guidance from the writings of experts Katie Mitchell and Anne Bogart, students will practice techniques for investigating and preparing a script and draw on their own creative instincts to create exercises for helping actors connect with text and each other. Students will cast and direct scenes from a selected contemporary play and present them in class for feedback as well as in a final showcase for the public. Stringent attendance and significant preparatory/rehearsal time outside of class required. Four credit hours.
TD285s 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. Kloppenberg
TD339s 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. Ervin
[TD355] 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.
[TD361] Directing II: Vision and Pedagogy In this advanced directing course, students will develop and hone aesthetic vision through a variety of different creative invitations. They will simultaneously explore the pedagogy of directing: the skills needed to identify and dismantle actor habits and hangups. Prerequisite: Theater and Dance 281 or 285. Four credit hours.
[TD361J] Advanced Topics in Performance: Directed by a collaborative team of guest artists rooted in visual art, theater, and dance, students will collaborate to create a multi-arts, immersive performance to be installed and performed on tour in Boston. Through both practiced and cutting edge methods, the process examines the tenuous state of communication in our technologically-mediated culture. Artists will examine the relationship between personal and collective histories translated through memory. Interested students studying abroad in either the fall or spring semesters should contact Professor Annie Kloppenberg. Prerequisite: Theater and Dance 164 or audition. Three credit hours.
TD365f Advanced Topics in Design: Architectural Imaging An intensive study of the integrated use of computer-aided design (CAD). Centering on an architectural concept developed through research and contextual study, students utilize CAD to investigate and test design assumptions and to fully conceive multidimensional architectural expression. Students use their own creative potential to develop virtual architectural models, allowing imagination, critical thinking, and an understanding of traditional and contemporary presentation techniques to define final design expression. Students must have access to a laptop for the semester. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. Four credit hours. A. Thurston
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 Liberal Arts 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.
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 critical and analytical skills related to performance culture. Taught each year by a different member of the faculty who chooses the theme and identifies reading/viewings from a master list developed by the department. The structure includes seminar-style discussions based on significant weekly readings/viewings, a professional preparation workshop, and peer-to-peer tutorial sessions wherein the reading/viewing material is chosen by the students (with the guidance of the professor) and the discussion is generated and moderated by the students (with input from the professor). Prerequisite: Senior standing as a theater and dance major. Four credit hours. Kloppenberg