Lang’s General Degree Requirements
In addition to the requirements outlined here, Lang has specific requirements, including a minimum number of credits in liberal arts courses as well as college residency requirements. All students should read Lang’s General Degree Requirements and consult with both their Student Success advisor and their Departmental Faculty Advisor each semester to ensure that they are on track to graduate.
To be sure your Degree Works account reflects the information in this worksheet, students should forward any approved exemptions from the following requirements to their Student Success advisor.
Requirements for the BA in Contemporary Dance
As of fall 2020, students declaring the major in Contemporary Dance must take 12 courses, outlined as follows. Students must earn a grade of C or higher in all courses to meet the requirements for the major in Contemporary Dance. Declare your major by following the process outlined in Declaring Your Major. Students who have declared the major in Contemporary Dance before fall 2020 but wish to follow the fall 2020 curriculum can consult their Student Success advisor about submitting a Change of Catalog Year request. Only specific courses satisfy the major requirements, including electives. Courses should be chosen carefully, in consultation with the Departmental Faculty Advisor and your Student Success advisor. Track your progress using the worksheet (below). See the university course catalog for fall 2023 Contemporary Dance courses that fulfill these requirements.
The curriculum of the Contemporary Dance program is structured around four focus areas:
Rather than using the familiar term "technique," the Dance program uses "movement practice" for its dance classes to signal an ongoing approach to physical exploration, as opposed to a linear path toward "mastery." With an opportunity to study movement practices ranging from ballet to contact improvisation to vogue, students consider diverse understandings of the body and virtuosity. Engaging in dynamic studio work, students and faculty ask: What can a body do?
In Lang's "choreographic research" courses, students explore varied approaches to the creative process as conceived and employed by some of the field's most adventurous contemporary practitioners. These courses frame dance making as a series of investigatory acts, an arena for research and discovery. Students work individually and collaboratively as choreographers and learn methods to describe, analyze, and critique one another's movement studies.
History and Theory
Lang Dance students engage in a range of academic seminars, analyzing dance through a variety of methodological and theoretical approaches and honing their skills as readers and writers. Working closely with faculty and peers (including students majoring in music, visual arts, theater, and a range of other disciplines) students think critically about the body and consider the opportunities and challenges that come with analyzing movement. In addition to considering dance in relation to other art forms, students learn to situate dance within social and cultural contexts.
Each semester, students have the opportunity to work with guest artists in an intensive rehearsal process, presenting a re-staged or new dance in a public performance. Residencies often include a study of the influences that have affected the guest artist's life and work. Guest artists have included Sarah Michelson, Eiko Otake, John Jasperse, Luciana Achugar, Reggie Wilson, Souleymane Badolo, Beth Gill, Yvonne Meier, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Juliette Mapp, Sally Silvers, and representatives from the Trisha Brown Dance Company. Each year, one performance work is created by an artist-in-residence from Movement Research, a New York-based professional organization that serves as a laboratory for experimentation in movement-based performance arts. Recent MR artists include Juliana May, David Thomson, Ivy Baldwin, Jeanine Durning, Joanna Kotze, and Nami Yamamoto.
The Contemporary Dance major requires courses in the four focus areas listed above, distributed as follows.
- LDAN 2018 Foundations in Dance Studies (3-4 credits)
- LDAN 2040 Introduction to Dance History (3-4 credits)
- LDAN 2050 Choreographic Research Intro (2 credits)
- LDAN 2502 Experiential Anatomy (3-4 credits)
Movement Practice courses:
- Select a combination of 1- and 2-credit courses to fulfill this requirement (total 5 credits).
- Trio of Contemporary Dance Practices (required; 2 courses)
- Introduction to Contemporary Dance Practices (1 credit)
- Contemporary Dance Practices (1-2 credits)
- Contemporary Dance Practices, Continued (1 credit)
- Introduction to Modern Dance Practices (1 credit)
- Introduction to Ballet Practices (1 credit)
- Ballet Practices (1 credit)
- Ballet Practices, Continued (1 credit)
- Hip-Hop Dance Practices (1 credit)
- Hip-Hop Dance Practices, Continued (1 credit)
- Contact Improvisation Practices (1 credit)
- Capoeira (1 credit)
- West African Dance Practices (1 credit)
Other required courses:
- Lang InterArts (LINA) courses (9-12 credits)
- 1 Dance seminar elective (3-4 credits). Sample classes:
- I Have a Dream: Dance in Education
- Dance History (a second course, in addition to the major requirement)
- Politics of Improvisation
- Debates in Performance Studies
- Ephemeral Art
- Practical Side of Performance
- Arts Media Toolkit
- Approved Dance elective (studio or liberal arts seminar; 8 credits). These eight variable dance credits can be fulfilled by either studio or liberal arts credits, in any combination, from courses within the Dance area of study. For example, students who become interested in the field of Critical Dance Studies could fulfill this requirement with two Dance seminars; students more interested in performance careers could take predominantly studio courses such as dance practice and performance courses; and students more interested in creative practice could fulfill these elective credits primarily with choreographic research courses.
- Choose one in consultation with the Departmental Faculty Advisor (4 credits):
- LINA 4900: The Arts Senior Seminar
- LINA 4990 Approved individual or independent project
Total credits: 40-47