For more information on courses and major requirements, please see the academic catalog.

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Dance Courses

  • DANC 107: Ballet I

    A beginning course in ballet technique, including basic positions, beginning patterns and exercises. Students develop an awareness of the many ways their body can move, an appreciation of dance as an artistic expression and a recognition of the dancer as an athlete. 1 credit; S/CR/NC; Arts Practice; offered Fall 2023, Winter 2024, Spring 2024 · Jennifer Bader
  • DANC 115: Cultures of Dance

    The study of dance is the study of culture. We will look at dance as culturally-coded, embodied knowledge and investigate dance forms and contexts across the globe. We will examine, cross-culturally, the function of dance in the lives of individuals and societies through various lenses including feminist, africanist and ethnological perspectives. We will read, write, view videos and performances, discuss and move. This course in dance theory and practice will include a weekly movement lab. No previous dance experience necessary.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • DANC 147: Moving Anatomy

    This course seeks to provide an underlying awareness of body structure and function. Using movement to expand knowledge of our anatomy will encourage participants to integrate information with experience. Heightened body awareness and class studies are designed to activate the general learning process. 1 credit; S/CR/NC; Arts Practice; offered Winter 2024 · Elayna Waxse
  • DANC 148: Modern Dance I: Technique and Theory

    A physical exploration at the introductory level of the elements of dance: time, motion, space, shape and energy. Students are challenged physically as they increase their bodily awareness, balance, control, strength and flexibility and get a glimpse of the art of dance. 1 credit; S/CR/NC; Arts Practice; offered Winter 2024, Spring 2024 · Daphne McCoy
  • DANC 150: Contact Improvisation

    This is a course in techniques of spontaneous dancing shared by two or more people through a common point of physical contact. Basic skills such as support, counterbalance, rolling, falling and flying will be taught and developed in an environment of mutual creativity.

    1 credit; S/CR/NC; Arts Practice; offered Fall 2023 · Kristin Van Loon
  • DANC 158: Contemporary Dance Forms I

    This course provides an introduction to a variety of movement approaches that develop an awareness of the body in space and moving through space. Students will learn approaches designed to strengthen muscles, support joint mobility, find breath support, enhance coordination, and encourage embodied learning.

    1 credit; S/CR/NC; Arts Practice; offered Fall 2023 · Alanna Morris
  • DANC 170: Dance Improvisation

    In this course we will explore spontaneous moving, sourcing inspiration from our senses, our environment, and each other. Students will work on creating movement, improvisationally, and sharing that movement with each other. Open to all levels of experience.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • DANC 172: Contemporary Experiments

    This class is a workshop in improvisation using the individual body as a site/map for exploration. Through an embodied exploration of ancestral memory, tracing and thought to increase physical range and capacity, we will engage movement within empathetic exchanges as a collaborative process.  Open to all movers.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • DANC 190: Fields of Performance

    This introductory course in choreography explores games, structures, systems and sports as sources and locations of movement composition and performance. Readings, viewings and discussion of postmodernist structures and choreographers as well as attendance and analysis of dance performances and sports events will be jumping off point for creative process and will pave the way for small individual compositions and one larger project. In an atmosphere of play, spontaneity and research participants will discover new ways of defining dance, pushing limits and bending the rules. Guest choreographers and coaches will be invited as part of the class. Open to all movers. No previous experience necessary. 6 credits; Arts Practice; offered Spring 2024 · Judith Howard
  • DANC 200: Modern Dance II: Technique and Theory

    A continuation of Level I with more emphasis on the development of technique and expressive qualities. 1 credit; S/CR/NC; Arts Practice; offered Fall 2023, Winter 2024, Spring 2024 · Daphne McCoy
  • DANC 205: Winter Dance

    Intensive rehearsal and performance of a work commissioned from professional guest choreographer.  The class will culminate in a performance in the Spring Term, so students taking this course should plan to register for DANC 206 in Spring. Open to all levels.

    1 credit; S/CR/NC; Arts Practice; offered Winter 2024 · Alanna Morris
  • DANC 206: Spring Dance

    Rehearsal and full concert performance of student dance works created during the year and completed in the spring term. Open to all levels.

    Prerequisites: Dance 205 or 215 1 credit; S/CR/NC; Arts Practice; offered Spring 2024 · Judith Howard, Daphne McCoy
  • DANC 208: Ballet II

    For the student with previous ballet experience. This course emphasizes articulation of technique and development of ballet vocabulary. 1 credit; S/CR/NC; Arts Practice; offered Fall 2023, Winter 2024, Spring 2024 · Jennifer Bader
  • DANC 210: Contemporary Dance Forms II

    This course is intended for students seeking to refine and deepen their awareness of embodied movement approaches. Through these approaches, students will work to develop an alert and articulate body. In both standing and floor work, momentum, dynamic shifts and spatial challenges are introduced.

    1 credit; S/CR/NC; Arts Practice; offered Winter 2024 · Elayna Waxse
  • DANC 215: Winter Dance, Student Choreography

    For students enrolled in Dance 205, supervised student choreography with two public showings. Prerequisites: Dance 205 1 credit; S/CR/NC; Arts Practice; offered Winter 2024 · Judith Howard
  • DANC 253: Movement for the Performer

    This course investigates the structure and function of the body through movement. Applying a variety of somatic techniques (feldenkrais, yoga, improvisation, body-mind centering). The emphasis will be to discover effortless movement, balance in the body and an integration of self in moving.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • DANC 254: Jazz Dance: Roots and Grooves

    This course positions jazz and related social dance styles as forms with African diasporic roots and American branches. Composed of 60% in-class movement investigation and 40% both in-class and out of class reading, viewing, writing, and creating, Jazz Dance: Roots and Grooves will ask students to invest in how the elements of groove, improvisation and interaction unite different approaches to jazz and make it a form that appreciates the past, centers the present and innovates for the future. Some dance experience recommended.

    3 credits; Arts Practice; offered Winter 2024
  • DANC 265: Performing the Orient

    Magic carpets, glittering pagodas, harem fantasies…Orientalism dominated Europe’s creative landscape and imagination since the 1700s, but what purpose did it serve? This class will explore over 300 years of “exotic” portrayals of “Orientals” on the Western ballet and opera stages, and geopolitics that impacted how we view Asian people and cultures to this day: from Genghis Khan, the Opium Wars, Chinese Exclusion, to Japanese Internment and #StopAsianHate. The course will also examine the creative process of shifting a Eurocentric work of art for a multiracial audience and provide practical frameworks for how to create art outside of your own cultural experience.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • DANC 266: Reading The Dancing Body

    Dance is a field in which bodies articulate a history of sexuality, nation, gender, and race. In this course, the investigation of the body as a “text” will be anchored by intersectional and feminist perspectives. We will re-center American concert dance history, emphasizing the Africanist base of American Dance performance, contemporary black choreographers, and Native American concert dance. Through reading, writing, discussing, moving, viewing videos and performances the class will “read” the gender, race, and politics of the dancing body in the cultural/historical context of Modern, Post Modern and Contemporary Dance.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • DANC 268: The Body as Choreographer

    á“The pleasure of the text is that moment when my body pursues its own ideas-for my body does not have the same ideas I do.” -Roland Barthes. Through guided movement sessions we will explore the body as a source for ideas. Using “Authentic Movement,” experiential anatomy practices and compositional strategies, students will generate several small compositions and one larger gallery project exploring alternative spaces and the influx of various media (movement, text, images, technology, objects, sites, fabric). This choreography “lab” will help answer the question: How do you make a dance? For both beginning and advanced dance students.á

    not offered 2023–2024
  • DANC 295: Dance Lab

    DANCE LAB will provide an adventurous and practical space where students of various levels can explore body-based performance with an emphasis on the solo form. Students will examine the choreographic elements of space, time, energy, action, framing, and environment as they discover personal aesthetics and investigate how to organize physical ideas in both immediate and virtual spaces. A community of deep listening will support creative acts that can effect change – socio-political-personal. Performance solos will be developed through discussion, peer feedback, and regular meetings with the faculty mentor. Work for the class will include your own rehearsals and, outside readings and viewings. The ability to record your work is required and access to a camera is recommended (phones are fine).

    6 credits; Arts Practice; offered Fall 2023 · Judith Howard
  • DANC 300: Modern Dance III: Technique and Theory

    Intensive work on technical, theoretical, and expressive problems for the experienced dancer. 1 credit; S/CR/NC; Arts Practice; offered Fall 2023 · Daphne McCoy
  • DANC 301: West African Dance

    In this class you will be introduced to traditional West African dance movement accompanied by live drumming. A variety of dynamics such as grounding, centeredness, and footwork will be addressed. Each class will cover the cultural background of the rhythm as well as the conversation between drummer and dancer. All levels are welcome to join in this vigorous experience of West African dance forms.

    2 credits; S/CR/NC; Arts Practice; offered Fall 2023 · Whitney McClusky
  • DANC 309: Ballet III

    This is an advanced class for students who have some capabilities and proficiency in ballet technique. Content is sophisticated and demanding in its use of ballet vocabulary and musical phrasing. 1 credit; S/CR/NC; Arts Practice; offered Spring 2024 · Jennifer Bader
  • DANC 310: Contemporary Dance Forms III

    This advanced course will continue to focus on a variety of embodied movement approaches to refine the awareness of the moving body and prepare for the rigors of performance and physical research. The aim will be on finding a personal connection to movement through subtlety, speed and effort.

    1 credit; S/CR/NC; Arts Practice; offered Spring 2024 · Elayna Waxse
  • DANC 350: Semaphore Repertory Dance Company

    Provides advanced dance students with an intensive opportunity to develop as performers in professional level dances. Skills to be honed are: the dancer as contributor to the process of art-making; defining individual technical and expressive gifts; working in a variety of new technical and philosophical dance frameworks. In addition to regular training during the academic terms, participation in a “preseason” rehearsal period before fall term is required. A few pieces of student choreography will be accepted for repertory. The group produces an annual concert, performs in the Twin Cities and makes dance exchanges with other college groups.

    Prerequisites: Audition required 1 credit; S/CR/NC; Arts Practice; offered Fall 2023, Winter 2024, Spring 2024 · Judith Howard, Daphne McCoy

Theater Courses

  • THEA 100: What Stories Teach Us

    The stories we encounter from sources as diverse as theater, television, film, literature, the internet and the news, may lead us to believe things about the lives we lead and the world we live in that may or may not be “true.” This course will examine some of the stories we encounter, look at ways that popular culture oversimplifies or falsifies them and look at ways that theater and literature question and complicate them. The course will focus in particular on plays, films, TV shows, news and short fiction that deal with race, gender, gender identity, class, sexuality and criminal justice.

    6 credits; Argument and Inquiry Seminar, Intercultural Domestic Studies, Writing Requirement; offered Fall 2023 · David Wiles
  • THEA 110: Beginning Acting

    Introduces students to fundamental acting skills, including preliminary physical training, improvisational techniques, and basic scene work. The course includes analysis of plays as bases for performance, with a strong emphasis on characterization.

    6 credits; Arts Practice; offered Winter 2024, Winter 2024, Spring 2024, Spring 2024 · Jeanne Willcoxon, Andrew Carlson
  • THEA 115: Principles of Design

    Explores the process of communicating ideas and experience through visual means. Whether that process begins with a written text, choreographed movement or abstract idea, such elements as color, shape, space, value and balance inevitably come into play in its visual representation. This course teaches these fundamental principles and how to apply them in practice. Principles of Design is an essential course for students interested in any aspect of theater, dance, or performance.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • THEA 185: The Speaking Voice

    This course seeks to provide a practical understanding of the human voice, its anatomy, functioning and the underlying support mechanisms of body and breath. Using techniques rooted in the work of Berry, Linklater and Rodenburg, the course will explore the development of physical balance and ease and the awareness of the connection between thinking and breathing that will lead to the effortless, powerful and healthy use of the voice in public presentations and in dramatic performance. 6 credits; Arts Practice; offered Winter 2024, Spring 2024 · David Wiles
  • THEA 190: Carleton Players Production

    Each term students may participate in one Players production, a hands-on, faculty-supervised process of conceptualization, construction, rehearsal, and performance. Credit is awarded for a predetermined minimum of time on the production, to be arranged with faculty. Productions explore our theatre heritage from Greek drama to new works. Students may participate through audition or through volunteering for production work. 1 credit; S/CR/NC; Arts Practice; offered Fall 2023, Spring 2024 · Jeanne Willcoxon
  • THEA 195: Acting Shakespeare

    Though widely read, Shakespeare’s plays were written to be performed. This acting class, designed for students with no prior experience with Shakespeare, will explore approaches to performance with an emphasis on the use of the First Folio. Students will create performances using Shakespeare’s approaches to rhetoric, imagery and structure while examining some of the plays’ principal themes. Video and audio recordings will be used to develop a critical perspective on acting Shakespeare with an emphasis on the differing demands of live and recorded performance.

    6 credits; Arts Practice; offered Fall 2023 · David Wiles
  • THEA 199: Theater Practicum

    This course is designed for students who have major responsibilities in Carleton Players productions as Stage Managers, Actors and Designers. Students enrolled in this class will have more responsibility and be expected to commit to more time than the students registered in Theater 190, including additional time for research, design and role preparation. Students in this course will get in-depth learning experiences in the processes most central to the discipline; the creation of performances. Students will waitlist for the course; enrollment in the course will be by instructor’s permission depending on the responsibilities students have.

    Prerequisites: Waitlist only, instructors permission required 3 credits; S/CR/NC; Arts Practice; offered Fall 2023, Spring 2024 · Jeanne Willcoxon
  • THEA 225: Theater History and Theory

    Throughout history, theatrical performance has been both a reflection of cultural values and a platform for envisioning social change. In this course, students will examine many of the traditions that inform contemporary understandings of theatre, including Greek tragedy, commedia dell’arte, Japanese Noh, Sanskrit drama, Realism, Brechtian theatre, and the Theatre of the Oppressed. Students will also study the history of theatre in the United States by examining blackface minstrel performance, African American drama, and the role of theatre in the social movements of the twentieth century. Class sessions will combine lecture, discussion, embodied exercises, and performance of historical texts.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • THEA 226: Avant-garde Theater and Performance

    “Make it new!” was the rallying cry of the modernists, and ever since, the theater has never ceased its efforts to break both aesthetic and social conventions, boundaries, and taboos. Beginning with some of the important precursors of the twentieth century–Artaud, Brecht, and Meyerhold–this course will explore the history and theory of the contemporary avant-garde, charting the rise of interdisciplinary “performance” and exploring such topics as politics and aesthetics, site-specificity, body art, solo performance, and multimedia. Students will also spend significant time creating their own performance works.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • THEA 227: Theatre for Social Change

    This class is an examination of significant artists who use theatre as a tool for envisioning and enacting social change. We will study the justice-making strategies of a variety of artists, including Augusto Boal, Cherríe Moraga, Anna Deavere Smith, among many other contemporary artists whose work continues to shape American society. We will also examine influential methods of using theatre for social change, including documentary theatre, Theatre of the Oppressed, theatre for young audiences, and theatre in prisons. The class will include a number of guest artist visits from people making work in the field. The final project will be an original theatrical creation that uses the strategies studied in class to address a contemporary social issue.

    6 credits; Arts Practice; offered Spring 2024 · Jeanne Willcoxon
  • THEA 228: Performing Women

    Through a performance studies lens, this course analyzes performances of gender and race in American theatre, focusing on female-identified artists of color. Our starting questions are: How do we read “woman” on stage and how have artists disrupted or supported dominant understandings of “woman” through theatrical performances?  Additionally, how have artists intentionally challenged this gender binary in performance? Among other artists, we examine the work of Angelina Weld Grimké, Kristina Rae Colón. Larissa FastHorse, Teatro Luna, Young Jean Lee, and Aditi Brennan Kapil. At the end of the course students move from an analysis of performance to creation of their own performance pieces.

    6 credits; Literary/Artistic Analysis, Writing Requirement; offered Winter 2024 · Jeanne Willcoxon
  • THEA 229: Makeup Design

    Theory and practice of two and three dimensional makeup design for the performer. This course explores corrective, character and specialized makeup techniques as well as rendering techniques.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • THEA 234: Lighting Design for the Performing Arts

    An introduction to and practice in stage lighting for the performing arts. Coursework will cover the function of light in design; lighting equipment and technology; communication graphics through practical laboratory explorations. Application of principles for performance events and contemporary lighting problems will be studied through hands-on application.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • THEA 237: Scenic Design for the Performing Arts

    This course will focus on the art and practice of creating scenic designs for the performing arts. It will introduce basic design techniques while exploring the collaborative process involved in bringing scenery from concept to the stage. The course will include individual and group projects utilizing collage, sketching, and model-making.

    6 credits; Arts Practice; offered Fall 2023
  • THEA 238: Costume Design for the Performing Arts

    An introductory course in costume design. This course will examine the basic concepts of costume design and how they apply to the performing arts. The collaborative process, basic rendering techniques and clothing history will also be studied. In depth analysis of script, characters and choreography will lead to an exploration of how the principles of costume design can be used to enhance a production. The course will include individual projects, group projects and attendance at live performances.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • THEA 242: Modern American Drama

    A study of significant American plays from the early twentieth century to the present, including playwrights such as Tennessee Williams, August Wilson, Alice Childress, Suzan Lori-Parks, and Lauren Yee. We will read plays from a theatrical lens, discussing them as blueprints for performance by examining their structure, characters, language, and theatricality. We will also discuss how these plays are in conversation with contextual historical events and notions of American identity.

    6 credits; Intercultural Domestic Studies, Literary/Artistic Analysis, Writing Requirement; offered Spring 2024 · David Wiles
  • THEA 245: Directing

    Although many directors begin their artistic careers in some other discipline (usually acting), there is a set of skills particular to the director’s art that is essential to creating life on stage. Central is the ability to translate dramatic action and narrative into the dimensions of theatrical time and space: the always-present challenge of “page to stage.” In this course, students will learn methods of text analysis strategic to this process as well as the rudiments of using that analysis to generate effective staging and powerful acting. Having mastered the fundamentals, students will then explore and enhance their theatrical imagination, that creative mode unique to the medium of live performance. Class time will be devoted to work on three major projects and almost daily exercises.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • THEA 246: Playwriting

    A laboratory to explore the craft of playwriting, concentrating on structure, action and character. The class uses games, exercises, scenes, with the goal of producing a short play by the end of the term. 6 credits; S/CR/NC; Arts Practice; offered Spring 2024 · Andrew Rosendorf
  • THEA 251: Top Girls: Women Playwrights

    A study of women playwrights, performance-makers, and performers and the representations of women they create on stage. Playwrights addressed will range from historical figures like Lillian Hellman to their more recent descendants, such as Caryl Churchill, Suzan Lori-Parks, and Young Jean Lee. More broadly, the course will look at women who have figured prominently as directors or creators of non-traditional performance, such as Hallie Flanagan, founder of the Federal Theater Project, or more recently, Elizabeth LeCompte, artistic director of the experimental Wooster Group.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • THEA 255: August Wilson: History and the Blues

    This course will explore the ten plays that comprise August Wilson’s “Century Cycle.” Wilson wrote one play for each decade of the twentieth century, exploring the movement of African-Americans, in critic John Lahr’s words, “from property to personhood.” Wilson’s work, inspired by the Black Arts movement of the 1960’s-70’s is rooted musically in the Blues, the African American musical form at the root of modern American popular music. We will read these plays, informed by the Blues, against the major historical events in African-American life during each of the decades they represent.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • THEA 256: Costume Construction

    The first four weeks of this course will use a Zen-like approach to sewing. We will focus on hand sewing techniques, including the Japanese technique of Sahsiko, that can be used to repair, reuse and reinvent clothing. Section one will focus on basic stitches and closures, while section two will practice couture hand sewing techniques and practices.The last half of the term we will work on sewing machines.Section one will learn how to use the machine, covering basic stitches and techniques.Section two will expand on the their sewing machine skills and explore a variety of advanced techniques.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • THEA 257: Costume Pattern Development

    Costume Pattern Development is an in-depth exploration of flat patterning techniques. These techniques will be used to translate a costume or clothing design to a pattern that can be used to create the designed garment. Each student will pattern and create a garment of their own design. Knowledge of sewing is beneficial but not required.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • THEA 260: Space, Time, Body, Minds

    What is a body? What can bodies do? These questions guide our journey into the elements of space/time/body/mind as anchor points to explore contemporary performance art. We will engage feminist technoscience studies, geographies of space and place, trauma-informed care practices, intersectional women of color feminisms, and art as activism to deepen our evolving understandings of spacetimebodyminds. Students will develop performance solos in their chosen artistic mediums that take up and respond to bodies as theoretical, material, concrete, and abstract. The course is open to all students, regardless of experience level, with an interest in: movement, performance, art, community building, feminist theory, and collective creation. Assignments will include a mix of viewings, creative response sheets, journal prompts, embodied exercises, and a research-based photo essay.

    not offered 2023–2024
  • THEA 270: Art and (Un)Freedom

    Underpinned by women of color feminisms, abolitionism, and socially engaged performance practices, this course unpacks how art is a vehicle for social change in spaces of unfreedom such as: jails, prisons, ICE facilities, detention centers, and group home facilities. Work for the class will include readings and creative reading responses, researching case studies, and reflective assignments. As a culminating project, students will create individual performance-based works informed by critical understandings of punishment, crime, enslavement, surveillance, and/or state violence.  

    not offered 2023–2024
  • THEA 314: Advanced Acting

    Advanced Acting focuses on in-depth scene study, auditioning, and acting for the camera. While Beginning Acting THEA 110 is recommended, students with other previous acting experience may also register.

    6 credits; Arts Practice; offered Winter 2024 · Andrew Carlson
  • THEA 320: Live Performance and Digital Media

    We live in a world where the presence of digital technology is ubiquitous. Our reality is augmented by portals that open up universes of undiscovered possibilities for expanding, creating, archiving and documenting art. Yet these media have a physical presence that demands the artist find new ways of negotiating space and time on a stage. This class explores the ways in which digital media shape the everyday and ways in which they relate to performing and performance art in a historical, cultural and technological sense. Students will experiment with processes for incorporating digital technologies into their performances, while engaging in conversations around embodiment, identity and space.

    Prerequisites: Any course in Theater Arts, Dance, Cinema and Media Studies, Studio Art, creative writing or musical composition. 6 credits; Arts Practice; offered Spring 2024 · Zoe Cinel
  • THEA 345: Devised Theater and Collective Creation

    A usual evening in the theater consists of seeing a text–the play–staged by a director and performed by actors. While this is certainly a collaborative endeavor, recent decades have seen a marked increase in “devised theater,” a mode intended to upset the traditional hierarchies of theatrical production. In practical terms, this means the abandonment of the extant text in favor of a performance “score”–sometimes textual, often physical–developed improvisationally in rehearsal by the performers. This course will explore the methods and approaches used to work in this collective and highly creative manner, and will culminate in a public performance. We will also discuss the history and cultural politics that inform devised practice.

    Prerequisites: Theater 110 or Dance 150 or 190 or instructor permission 6 credits; Arts Practice; offered Fall 2023 · Jeanne Willcoxon
  • THEA 400: Integrative Exercise

    1-6 credit; S/NC; offered Winter 2024, Spring 2024 · Andrew Carlson