Theater and Dance Department


Courses of Study

[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.
[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.
TD113s    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. Bercovici
[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. May be taken a total of four times for credit. Two credit hours. Weinblatt
TD115Bs    Theater Technique Lab: An Actor Prepares Students will learn practical skills and strategies for understanding and engaging in "actor homework." We will explore the actor's preparation for a production cycle beginning with auditioning, continuing through rehearsal and into performance. Using tools such as deep text analysis, physical and vocal exploration of character, and identifying and experimenting with active choices, students will gain confidence in their abilities to bring their own creative ideas to the artistic process and to become true collaborators with directors and fellow actors. Culminates in a showcase of monologues and scenes from contemporary dramatic literature. May be taken a total of four times for credit. Two credit hours. Weinblatt
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. May be taken a total of four times for credit. Two credit hours. Patterson
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. May be taken a total of four times for credit. Two credit hours. Instructor
TD117Afs    Contemporary Dance Technique Lab: Beginning/Partnering An introductory contemporary/modern studio course geared toward students with little or no dance experience, but also open to those looking to deepen their practice or practice partnering. Explore contemporary dance movement from a variety of lenses with a special focus on the fundamentals of contemporary partnering—bearing and sharing weight, engaging and following momentum. Look at the athletics and aesthetics of the moving body, develop anatomical, sensory, and spatial awareness, execute increasingly complex movement sequences, and examine the metaphoric expressive potential of bodies in action. May be taken a total of four times for credit. Two credit hours. Kloppenberg, McDonough
TD117Bf    Contemporary Dance Technique Lab: Intermediate/Ballet In this studio practicum, students with prior experience will develop greater facility with contemporary/modern dance choreography and a clearer understanding of anatomical structures at work. We will begin with a ballet barre, focusing on increasing efficiency of movement articulation at the joints and progressively warming up the body. The contemporary/modern 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. May be taken a total of four times for credit. Two credit hours. Kloppenberg
[TD118]    Dance Technique Lab: Dance Forms of the African Diaspora 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. Open to all levels. No previous dance experience required, but those with dance experience are welcome. May be taken a total of four times for credit. Prerequisite: Concurrent registration in Theater and Dance 197. Two credit hours.
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. Independent out-of-class work is essential. 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. Oldham
TD164fs    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. Thurston
TD171f    Acting I 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. Bercovici
TD223j    Critical Race Feminisms and Tap Dance Listed as Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies 223. Three credit hours. A, U. Thomas
TD224f    Performance History 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. Oldham
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. Oldham
[TD235]    Intermediate Design: Interactive Performance A studio course concentrating on the exploration of viable design solutions for dramatic texts and choreographic ideas. Conceptual choices are informed by research and expressed through a variety of media including computer design, rendering, modeling, and technical drawings. Emphasis is placed on the necessary balance between theory and practice and centers on an integrated visual design philosophy including scenery, projection, costumes, and light. Students will learn to analyze research for creative design potential, formulate complex design solutions, integrate a more sophisticated understanding of the principles of design using computation and digital media, and express final design ideas in an interactive performance staged in the Cellar Theater. Four credit hours. A.
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 and computer-assisted woodworking. Independent out-of-class work is essential. Prerequisite: Theater and Dance 139. Four credit hours. Ervin
[TD241]    Playwriting Workshop: Solo Performance and Devised Theater Explores two potent resources for theatrical writing: the individual and the collective. Half of the course is devoted to solo performance, in which the life experience of the writer provides the basis for a unique form of storytelling. We will study representative one-person shows and performance art before putting it into practice ourselves. The other half investigates collaborative storytelling, in which the entire class contributes to the process. Taking as examples the work of renowned theater collectives and collaborative playwrights, we turn ideas generated by the group mind into a scripted performance. Four credit hours. A.
TD258s    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. Kloppenberg
TD261s    Topics in Performance: The Musical as Dramatic Literature The Broadway musical is arguably America's most significant contribution to performance history, but it has only recently begun to receive serious scholarly attention. We will examine the form as a major contribution to American art and literature. By looking at representative examples of musicals over the last hundred years, we will explore how this unique combination of song, dance, and story has shaped generations of performance practice. We will also identify key aesthetic trends, locating the ways in which the American musical has reflected and contributed to larger conversations of cultural identity. Four credit hours. A. Oldham
TD261Jj    Topics in Performance: Activist Storytelling Workshop Students will create original story-based performance pieces inspired by their own passion — issues such as the environment, race, poverty, reproductive justice, freedom of speech, LGBTQ+ rights, disability, diversity, access to education, etc. Students will explore a variety of writing and performance styles and techniques to engage in creative process and generate material. Culminates in a showcase presentation of solo and small group pieces at Colby and at a professional performance venue in Portland, which will require additional travel and rehearsal time the final week of Jan Plan. No previous writing or performance experience necessary. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. Three credit hours. A. Weinblatt
[TD262]    Topics in Dance: 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. 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.
TD264Af    Applied Performance/Production: Fall Performance Projects Three creative processes: First-Year Theater Project, First-Year Dance Project, and Majors and Minors Project. All rehearse separately (rehearsals will not conflict), but perform together at Family Homecoming weekend, October 27 and 28. The Majors and Minors Project provides an opportunity for students from all areas in theater and dance to engage in shared creative research, building on traditions from devised theatrical and collaborative choreographic practices; students collaborate to develop text, movement, and design elements. Students participating as stage managers, performers, designers, theater technicians, and production assistants may register for credit. Nongraded. Prerequisite: Audition. Two credit hours. Kloppenberg
TD264Bf    Applied Performance/Production: The Taming of the Shrew The story of Katherina Minola, a fiercely independent young woman held in captivity by her father and then sold into marriage to the highest bidder. Her husband, Petruchio, recognizes her brilliance, and, in his words, the "two raging fires meet together [and] consume the thing that feeds their fury." Shakespeare's passionate love story and searing critique of gender roles is turned here into a fresh and politically relevant musical adaptation. Parts for 10-20 actors. Performances Dec. 1-2. Students participating as stage managers, performers, designers, theater technicians, and production assistants may register for credit. Nongraded. Prerequisite: Audition. Three credit hours. Bercovici
TD264Cj    Applied Performance/Production: Lebensraum Playwright Israel Horovitz's vision of a modern day Germany, where Chancellor Stroiber attempts to atone for the holocaust "and to reduce, as much as humanly possible, the immeasurable shame we Germans feel each day of our lives." The fresh approach of this play challenges a trio of actors to breathe life into over 50 characters while remaining forever entertaining. Performances February 8-10. Students participating as stage managers, performers, designers, theater technicians, and production assistants may register for credit. Nongraded. Prerequisite: Audition. Three credit hours. Ervin
TD264Ds    Applied Performance/Production: The Wonderful World of Dissocia Anthony Neilson's colorful modern play sends its main character, Lisa Jones, on a journey to a curious land unlike any place else. There she discovers that nothing is as it seems. As the playwright has said, "if you like Alice in Wonderland but there's not enough sex and violence in it, then Dissocia is the show for you." Performances March 15-17. Students participating as stage managers, performers, designers, theater technicians, and production assistants may register for credit. Nongraded. Prerequisite: Audition. Two credit hours. Oldham
TD264Jj    Applied Performance/Production: Portland Ballet Students will spend Jan Plan in Portland, Maine where they will participate in daily company classes with the Portland Ballet Professional Company, in a new creative project with a visiting choreographer, and will have part-time internships in a variety of areas. Interested students should contact Professor Kloppenberg early in the fall and are strongly encouraged to enroll in TD116 and/or TD117 in the fall semester to be ready to work at a high level. Nongraded. Cost in 2018: $750 Prerequisite: Audition. Three credit hours. Yanowsky
[TD265]    Topics in Design 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. Four credit hours. A.
TD271s    Acting II: The Psycho-Physical An investigation of the use of movement and development of outer form to create character psychology. Techniques explored include those of Anne Bogart, Michael Chekhov, Mary Overlie, Tadashi Suzuki, and Ruth Zaporah. Working with extant text and creating original work, students will develop mind/body and compositional awareness. They will display an understanding of aesthetic knowledge and sensibility by participating in and observing each other's work. 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. Bercovici
[TD281]    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. Four credit hours.
TD285f    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.
TD361s    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. Bercovici
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. Thurston