Theater and Dance Department
Courses of Study
[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.
TD115Af Theater Technique Lab: Shakespeare Conflict and Combat Exploring Shakespeare's complex language and imagery through the voice and body can unlock a deep connection to the ideas and emotions of his stage classics. This interactive lab course will focus on the essential element in all drama: conflict. Through course work students will examine poetic structure, word choice and punctuation to reveal clues about the motivations of some of the Bard's best-known feuding lovers and mortal enemies. Students will engage with the wit and precision of battling through wordplay and then advance to the basics of stage combat to physically explore the intensity of conflict that goes beyond language. All participants will learn basic acting techniques and the fundamentals of safe combat choreography through scene work culminating in final presentations for the Colby community. Two credit hours. Weinblatt
[TD115B] 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.
[TD116A] 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.
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. Instructor, Kloppenberg
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. 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. May be taken a total of four times for credit. Two credit hours. Instructor, Kloppenberg
TD118s 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. Instructor
TD135f 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.
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. Kloppenberg
TD171f 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. Brown
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. Instructor
TD217Bfs Contemporary Dance Technique Lab II: Intermediate One credit hour. Instructor, Kloppenberg
TD222s Revolutionary Performances: Theater and the Energy of the Unspoken (in English) Listed as Russian 222. Four credit hours. A. Parker
TD223s Critical Race Feminisms and Tap Dance Listed as Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies 223. Four credit hours. A, U. Thomas
TD224f 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. Shanks
TD226s Performance Studies 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. Instructor
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.
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
TD247f 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. Shanks
[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.
[TD261J] 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.
[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: Jaclyn Backhaus' Set in the Living Room of a Small Town American Play is the story of a group of middle- and working-class suburbanites living in Illinois in 1947, all enmeshed in their own tragedies. The play is rooted in the American drama of the 1940s and 1950s, and it playfully explores that style, as well as the pursuit of the American dream. Students participating as stage managers, performers, designers, theater technicians, and production assistants may register for credit. Nongraded. Prerequisite: Audition. Two credit hours. Instructor
TD264Bf Applied Performance/Production: Fall Performance Projects Fall Performance Projects includes new works by four student choreographers and guest artist Joanna Patterson; highlights first year students in the first year theater and dance projects directed by senior majors Gabriella Foster and Kaylee Pomelow; and features a powerful solo by Visiting Assistant Professor Tsaibwom Akuchu. FPP highlights products of curricular creative research that emphasize experimentation, collaboration, and hybridity. Students participating as stage managers, performers, designers, theater technicians, and production assistants may register for credit. Nongraded. Prerequisite: Audition. Two credit hours. Kloppenberg
TD264Cs Applied Performance/Production: Spring Production 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. Two credit hours. Instructor
[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.
TD271s 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. Instructor
TD281s 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. Instructor
[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.
TD297f 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. Energy/Exhaustion humanities lab. 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.
TD361Cfs Special Topics in Performance Four credit hours. Instructor
TD361Jj 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. Team
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. Instructor