First-year Info

Hello Artists!

This page is to help point you in the direction of the kind of dancing you want to do in your first semester at Bates. We have a friendly and open dance community that welcomes dancers of all levels and many styles.

First, you should join the dance list (dance@groups.bates.edu), which is where news and announcements are posted. The Bates help desk can help you join this list. Also like our Facebook page Bates College Theater and Dance, where you can hear about upcoming workshops and dance events and communicate with others about what you are doing.

There are many ways to dance at Bates, both curricular (credit earning activities and events) and co-curricular (non-credit related activities and events). We offer many academic courses that can be taken to pursue a minor or major in dance or as electives to fulfill other aspects of an academic career pursued at Bates. In addition, there are many student clubs and opportunities to dance in works choreographed by students taking composition classes. We also have the Back to Bates Showcase in early October, a great chance for students to present performances of all types, along with the First-Year piece, organized and choreographed by fourth-year dance majors as a primary community building activity.

The Dance Minor is six credits, and the Major is 11-12 credits, depending on which final Thesis or Capstone Project is chosen. A majority of student artists who major in Dance are also double majors, so there are many dance students to talk to about balancing your journey in dance with other academic pursuits. All courses are open to any dancer who can meet the requirements of that level regardless of whether you are dancing towards a degree. The Theater and Dance Department strives to make all dance and theater spaces at Bates accessible and welcoming. Our goal is to provide an environment for ongoing and engaged dialogues about how dance impacts our lives and beyond. 

If you are interested in engaging with dance here at Bates, please reach out to me directly at bevans@bates.edu, and we’ll find a time to talk through any aspect of the program. We hope your entry process for starting at Bates has gone well, and we look forward to hearing about your dance journey and hope you choose to continue it here.

In the meantime, here are some general specifics about our program: Our program’s pathway to minor or major or engage in any capacity is centered around a three-pronged approach: Physical Practice, Creative Process, and Cultural Context.

PHYSICAL PRACTICE

All the Studio classes we offer are numbered DANC 270 plus a letter and are .5 credit courses. They all concentrate primarily on the physical practice in a particular style, taught by local dance artists in the area with some opportunities to engage with National and, sometimes, international guest artists from around the world. These courses can be repeated semester after semester for credit. We have this .5 credit structure to encourage dancing every semester without fear of overloading, and although each course includes some outside class work, the bulk of the course happens in the studio. 

For the Fall 2022 Semester, we will be offering: 

  • Musical Theater Jazz (DANC 270 F)
  • **Repertory Styles (DANC 270 D) 
  • Ballet II (DANC 270 H)
  • Improvisation (DANC 270 I)
  • Hip Hop (DANC 270 K)
  • Ballet III (DANC 270 N)
  • Flamenco (DANC 270 P)
  • Two sections of Pilates (DANC 270 W A & B)
  • **Dance Repertory (DANC 253) 

For the Winter 2023 Semester, currently, we will be offering:

  • Ballet I (DANC 270 B)
  • Modern Partnering (DANC 270 C)
  • Musical Theater Jazz (DANC 270 F)
  • Intermediate Ensemble (DANC 270 G)
  • Improvisation (DANC 270 I)
  • Hip Hop (DANC 270 K)
  • Ballet III (DANC 270 N)
  • Flamenco (DANC 270 P)
  • Pilates (DANC 270 W)

**DANC 270D Repertory Styles and DANC 253 Dance Repertory**
These two courses may be the most unique course offering within the dance program, unlike any in most dance programs. Every Fall semester, we host 3-4 guest artists who showcase their creative process in two-week residencies culminating in the Marcy Plavin Fall Dance Concert. When enrolled in Repertory Styles (DANC 270 D), student artists will get the opportunity to experience 3-4 artists’ creative processes by way of master classes held throughout the artists’ residency. Throughout the semester, every 2-3 weeks, a new artist holds classes and talks about their artistry and creative process.

Student artists who would like to learn a rep piece or create a brand new work with these artists to be performed at the end of the semester would also enroll in Dance Repertory (DANC 253). This means student artists are enrolled in two courses totaling 1.5-course credit offering for the total process throughout the semester. However, we do not recommend first-year students enroll in DANC 253 unless they have extensive performance experience. The time commitment can sometimes become overwhelming as student artists adjust to the new environment and workload expectations at the College. DANC 253 requires faculty permission to enroll, and we welcome conversations to find a pathway best forward.

This is how these two courses function:

DANC 270 D Repertory Styles is overseen by Visiting Assistant Professor Tristan Koepke and engages with various other faculty and guests. It meets Mondays & Wednesdays @ 4:15-5:45pm. Throughout the semester, student artists will have a variety of teachers, and Prof. Koepke will be there running things in the background, answering questions, and filling in the class gaps throughout the semester. In addition, a few reflections are submitted comparing and contrasting the Repertory Artists and an artistically critical reflection of the Fall Concert.  

DANC 253. Dance Repertory. In addition to the 270 D description and requirements, student artists enrolled in Dance Repertory will participate in at least 2-3 creative processes and is overseen by Assistant Professor Brian J. Evans. The course meets M-F 4:15-7 all semester except for times student artists are not engaged in an artistic process. To clarify, DANC 253 students are also enrolled DANC 270D, and completing both courses requires all aspects of the two courses to be accomplished. It is possible to earn an additional .5 credits for a total of 2 credits (see note) for participating in all four processes. Though we advise that students consider the balance between valuing time for restoration and artistic pursuits. The 1.5 credit load is a weighty time investment, and although this unique opportunity is one of the highlights of our program, we also value the practice of rest. 

Note: DANC 290 Production Credit is added at the end of a semester and will not result in a credit overload.

For the Fall 2022 Semester, the Repertory Artists are:

Lindsey Bourassa of Lindsey Bourassa Flamenco – Sept. 12 – 30th

Darrius Strong of STRONGmovment – Oct. 3rd – 15th

Tristan Koepke, Visiting Assistant Professor – Oct. 17th – Nov. 4th

Dr. Ananya Chatterjea of Ananya Dance Theatre – Nov. 7th – 18th

Marcy Plavin Fall Dance Concert & Tech Dates: Monday, November 28th – Monday, December 5th.

REP LITE Option:
DANC 270 D students all have an opportunity to engage with one creative process and perform if they have the availability to commit to the entire process and performance. At the beginning of the term, student artists can select to opt-in to one of the artistic processes and receive a DANC 290 Production Credit in recognition of their commitment to the additional workload.  Student artists will get to take classes with four Repertory artists and also choose to work intensively with one. Student artists who join a creative process will meet in the studio M-F from 4:15-7 as the piece is being created and attend all tech rehearsals and all performances when performances happen. It is a great way to bond with dancers, introduce yourself as a performer, and still have most of the semester on a less strenuous schedule.

CREATIVE PROCESS

As stated in our mission and vision, it is important to our program that in addition to understanding the “What,” we provide opportunities and spaces to learn and explore “How” to make dance or, put another way: assign movement to communicate ideas to others. Students interested in and/or pursuing a major or minor ins dance will take at least two cultural context classes.

For the 2022-2023 Academic Year, the Creative Process courses offered within the department are:

DANC 151: Making Dance I
Through an embodied application of metacognitive decision-making and praxis based in and out of studio activities, student artists will learn the basics of how they might go about making dance through the lens of a western concert dance context. Throughout the course, student artists will work individually, with a peer mentor, and within a community to work with movement, text, sound, space, and objects to craft works of art that will present opportunities to question why we do what we do and like what we like. We will make dances every day and swim through the outcomes.

DANC/THEA 105: Introduction to Performance Studies
In this course, students explore the question “what is performance?” and how this informs their understanding of an increasingly mediated and globalized world. They examine the broad spectrum of performance in its many forms, including theater, dance, visual art, performance art, everyday life, folklore, rituals and celebrations, and protests, as well as the processes of each. Students apply readings on performance theory to performance events and sites on campus and beyond. In addition, they engage in an in-depth exploration of global and intercultural performances and the growing international importance of this field.

DANC/THEA 202: Devising Performance
Devising is a contemporary performance-making practice that declines the traditional single author/choreographer/director/script model of theater in favor of a collaborative approach to generating themes, content, forms, and aesthetics for creating performance. In this hybrid course, students learn about devising practices, theories, and politics by exploring how performance companies work in this generative space and devising techniques to practice these methodologies in action.

DANC 251: Making Dance II
An exploration of the craft and the art of making dance performances and producing them in a performance space. Student artists form a cast for their work as they develop and implement movement ideas throughout the term. The course is highly tailored to the student artists who are enrolled in the course. Student artists engage with multiple production elements such as lighting, sound editing, and costume design. Readings, critical analysis, and informal showings support the complex process of creating a finished movement-based piece for public performances by the end of the semester. Successful completion of this course qualifies as a creative process credit toward the dance major and minor.

DANC 253: Dance Repertory
Student artists experience a variety of approaches to making and performing dance through intensive choreographic residencies with professional guest choreographers. The course culminates in a concert of the accumulated pieces at the end of the semester. Successful completion of this course qualifies as a creative process credit toward the dance major and minor.

DANC 262: Embodying Activism: Performing a Living Definition
A hybrid lecture/studio practice course intended to generate a living definition of embodying activism to be performatively personified. Through a series of social justice lensings, student artists determine for themselves what they consider activism and how they would engage that distinction throughout their creative process. Successful completion of this course qualifies as a cultural context or creative process credit for the dance major and minor.

DANC 360: Independent Study
In consultation with a faculty advisor, students individually design and plan a course of study or research not offered in the curriculum. Course work includes a reflective component, evaluation, and completion of an agreed-upon product. Sponsorship by a faculty member in the program/department, a course prospectus, and permission of the chair are required. Students may register for no more than one independent study per semester.

CULTURAL CONTEXT

As stated in our mission and vision, it is important to our program that in addition to understanding the “What” and “How,” we endeavor to understand the importance of “Why.” Students interested in and/or pursuing a major or minor ins dance will take at least two cultural context classes. Many courses outside the department can and do certainly qualify as a cultural context course. If a student artist is curious about if a course would qualify for the pursuit of the major or minor, a conversation with the student’s artist advisor and the department chair would determine the viability of qualification. In addition, a brief written statement of how the student artist proposes how they would apply the information gleaned from the course towards their embodiment.  

For the 2022-2023 Academic Year, the Cultural Context courses offered within the department are:

DANC/THEA 105: Introduction to Performance Studies
In this course, students explore the question “what is performance?” and how this informs their understanding of an increasingly mediated and globalized world. They examine the broad spectrum of performance in its many forms, including theater, dance, visual art, performance art, everyday life, folklore, rituals and celebrations, and protests, as well as the processes of each. Students apply readings on performance theory to performance events and sites on campus and beyond. In addition, they engage in an in-depth exploration of global and intercultural performances and the growing international importance of this field.

DANC/THEA 202: Devising Performance
Devising is a contemporary performance-making practice that declines the traditional single author/choreographer/director/script model of theater in favor of a collaborative approach to generating themes, content, forms, and aesthetics for creating performance. In this hybrid course, students learn about devising practices, theories, and politics by exploring how performance companies work in this generative space and devising techniques to practice these methodologies in action.

DANC 250 Dance History
Student artists focus on the history of dance. How dance was developed, and the ideas and conditions that inform how dance is perceived presently. Successful completion of this course qualifies as a cultural context credit for the dance major and minor.

DANC 252 – Contemporary Issues in Dance
This course focuses on current dance works and some of the issues that inform contemporary dance practices. Discussions include how choreographers, performers, and societies confront matters of the political climate, cultural diversity, entertainment, globalization, and the politicized human body in dance.

DANC 262: Embodying Activism: Performing a Living Definition
A hybrid lecture/studio practice course intended to generate a living definition of embodying activism to be performatively personified. Through a series of social justice lensings, student artists determine for themselves what they consider activism and how they would engage that distinction throughout their creative process. Successful completion of this course qualifies as a cultural context or creative process credit for the dance major and minor.

DANC 360: Independent Study (included if the proposal is geared towards Cultural Context integration.
In consultation with a faculty advisor, students individually design and plan a course of study or research not offered in the curriculum. Course work includes a reflective component, evaluation, and completion of an agreed-upon product. Sponsorship by a faculty member in the program/department, a course prospectus, and permission of the chair are required. Students may register for no more than one independent study per semester.

BATES DANCE FESTIVAL

Bates students have unparalleled access to attend the world-renowned Bates Dance Festival as a part of the tuition package attending Bates. For those Bates students pursuing a Major, there is a requirement to participate in the festival as a part of a course DANC 300 – Bates Dance Festival. The festival always occurs during the later part of July and extends into the first part of August. Student artists will need to return to campus to attend the festival.

As the Festival is its own entity, unassociated with the dance program (other than this major requirement), student artists will go through the Festival’s application process and register for the course. For more information, please reach out to Allie James, BDF Director of Training Programs.

Below is the course description:
For students with previous kinesthetic training who can demonstrate fluency and commitment to their practice, this course provides Bates students with the opportunity to participate in the Bates Dance Festival Professional Training Program. Full participation in the program requires 30 weekly hours of technical training across multiple dance disciplines and theoretical practices. Festival courses are taught by leading scholars, artists, and practitioners in their fields. An integral part of this course is attending festival concerts, informal showings, discussions, and video presentations. This course may be repeated for credit. Enrollment is limited to 10. Instructor permission is required.

THESIS

The culminating moment for Dance Majors is their final Thesis or Capstone. Please visit the website to explore further: Thesis Guidelines.

Brian J. Evans – Assistant Professor bevans@bates.edu

Tristan Koepke – Visiting Assistant Professor tkoepke2@bates.edu