2012-13 Catalog

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Offering Description

Dance: Body, Culture and Behavior


Winter 2013 and Spring 2013 quarters

Amy Cook biology, fish biology , Kabby Mitchell dance
Fields of Study
biology, dance, health and physiology
Preparatory for studies or careers in
dance, anatomy, physiology, cultural anthropology, behavior, writing and education.

Dance is a complex mix of human physiology, emotion and culture. The term "dance" has also been used by animal behaviorists to describe movements animals do as part of courtship and other social interactions. In this program we will explore dance from these various perspectives. Students will develop the skills necessary to dance and will gain a better understanding of what is behind the movements--both in terms of anatomy and physiology and in terms of what dance means to us as humans. We will examine and perform dance, not simply within categories like ballet or modern, but from a broader perspective of movement and culture.

In winter we will examine the anatomical and physiological basis of dance and other demanding activities. Through labs, lectures and workshops we will look at the structure of the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and respiratory systems and how these function both independently and together to allow us to do anything from walking across the street to performing the complex movements of dance. These ideas will be reinforced in dance workshops and students will be encouraged to learn through paying attention to what is happening in their own bodies. Students will begin to develop an understanding of the dance community and how it fits into a larger social and community context.

In spring we will continue our examination of the physiology of dance and integrate energy, metabolism, balance and coordination with cultural studies. Students will continue to develop and hone their movement and dance skills in workshops and work towards a final performance in which they will be asked to show what they have learned in the program and bring together the major program themes. We will also look at the activities that animal behaviorists call dance and compare them to dance in humans. What are animals trying to communicate in their dances? Is there any evidence of individuality or creativity in animal dance? Students will be encouraged to think deeply about what dance is and whether it is unique to humans.

This program is for anyone who has an interest in dance, human biology and culture and students do not need to have a background in either dance or science to succeed in the program. In taking an interdisciplinary approach to dance we hope to attract both students who have a long-term interest in dance as a career and students who have never before thought about learning to dance but are interested in human physiology and culture and would like to be involved in a creative approach to learning the major concepts of these fields.

Online Learning
Enhanced Online Learning
Greener Store
Required Fees
$36 in spring for tickets to a performance.
Special Expenses
$75 per quarter for performance event tickets.
Offered During

Program Revisions

Date Revision
March 5th, 2013 Spring fee added