Students will explore the historical and cultural contexts of mainstream 20th century musical theatre/jazz dance by engaging with the aesthetic, technical and stylistic specifics of seminal choreographers such as Jack Cole and Bob Fosse. Learning will be organised around and oriented toward demonstrated understanding of the influences on influential figures and on jazz and musical theatre dance at large of different dance cultures and styles (Indian, African and Latin dance) and the genres of ballet, modern dance, social dance, cabaret, and burlesque theatre. This understanding will be demonstrated through students' creation of dance choreographies in the style of choreographers covered within the module, contingent on skill level.
The module differs from Introduction to Musical Theatre Dance (DR684) in its focus on the development of enhanced dance technique and style and in its creative element of composition.
Weekly workshop sessions will include a comprehensive isolation-based musical theatre/jazz warm-up, followed by movement studies focused in depth on the technique and style of the choreographer(s) covered. In addition, students will view filmed musical theatre dance numbers and present critical analyses of these, as well as of assigned readings, in small groups during seminar classes. Viewing or attendance of two full-length musical performances (at least one live) will also be required; provision for zero-cost options will be offered. These tasks will lead towards the composition and performance of student choreographies in small groups and a reflective research essay detailing the process through which the choreography was developed.
24 sessions including workshop and seminar sessions (12 x 2 hours, 12 x 3 hours = 60 hours), Musical Theatre Performance attendance (2x3 hours), Independent Study (234 hours)
Method of assessment
- 40% Performance of group-composed choreography (assessed individually)
- 40% Reflective essay portfolio – 2500 words covering development of choreography with reference to musical theatre history and theoretical discourses
- 20% Seminar, workshop, and choreography preparation and participation, assessed through written critical responses, student-led oral seminar presentations, and rehearsal log books
• Card, A. (1998), "The great articulation of the inarticulate: Reading the jazz body in Australian and American popular culture in the 1960s," Journal of Australian Studies 22:58, 18-28.
• Gottschild, B. D. (1998), Digging the Africanist Presence in American Performance: Dance and Other Contexts, Westport: Greenwood Publishers.
• Grant, M. (2005), The Rise and Fall of the Broadway Musical, Boston: Northeastern University Press.
• Maclean, A. (1997), “The Thousand Ways There Are to Move: Camp and Oriental Dance in the Hollywood Musicals of Jack Cole,” in Bernstein, Matthew and Studlar, Gaylyn, Visions of the East: Orientalism in Film, New Brunswick, Rutgers University Press, 59-77
• McWaters, D. (2008), The Fosse Style, Gainesville: The University of Florida Press, 2008.
• Pullen, K. (2011), “If Ya Liked It, Then You Shoulda Made a Video: Beyoncé Knowles, YouTube and the public sphere of images,” Performance Research, 16:2, 145-153.
• Stearns, J. and Stearns, M. (1994), Jazz Dance: The Story of American Vernacular Dance, 2 rev. ed. New York: Da Capo Press.
• Symonds, Dominic and Taylor, Millie (2014), Gestures of Music Theater: The performativity of song and dance, Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press.
• Taylor, M. and Symonds, D. (2014), Studying Musical Theatre: Theory & Practice. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
• Wasson, S. ( 2013), Fosse. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)
-Demonstrate developed knowledge and understanding of the genre of musical theatre dance over the 20th century, including key practitioners and cultural influences
-Demonstrate enhanced movement technique and vocal skills in musical theatre/jazz dance performance appropriate to the module level
-Demonstrate practical embodied and creative knowledge of musical theatre dance technique, aesthetics and style through composition in the style of choreographers and periods covered in the module
-Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of the legacy of key musical theatre dance choreographers for current popular dance forms
-Demonstrate the ability to critically analyse musical theatre performance in terms of its representations of historical, cultural, political, and gendered identities
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