Department of Theatre and Dance

Advanced Contemporary 365 (1 Unit) Spring 2020

Tuesday and Thursday 10:30-11:45 AM

Frederick Rehearsal Hall, Modlin Center for the Arts


Prof. Alicia Díaz

Office: Booker Hall 223

Office hours: By Appointment




In this class, we will engage in dance studies both physically and intellectually. We will deepen our knowledge of contemporary dance, developing organic movement patterns while maximizing circular forces, coordinating breath and movement, and working with gravity and momentum. Class material will include set phrases and improvisational exercises, work with partners, as well as creating and performing original material. An important component of the course will be to investigate movement independently to further develop each individual artistic voice. Drawing from that independent movement research, you will design and teach mini-classes to your peers that will focus on your own movement and artistic interests. Final projects will consist of presentation of individual and/or collaborative original works accompanied by artist statements reflecting on the creative process and performance experience.

Throughout the semester, we will attend dance concerts, performances in other disciplines, museum exhibits, and artists talks in order to analyze and think critically about a wide range of artistic approaches. Readings, written assignments, and videos will be assigned to enhance your understanding of course material, study contemporary dance artists in more detail, contextualize required events, and contribute to discussions on the role of dance in society.  Questions pertaining to the relationship between dance, race, gender, sexuality, culture and politics will be explored. 


  • What role(s) does dance play in society?
  • How is dance itself a way of learning and knowing?
  • How can the knowledge(s) embedded in the dancing body foster inclusivity, equity, and justice? 


    • What differentiates dance from other art forms?
    • In a world with diverse dance forms, what makes a certain dance genre valued over the other and who gets to decide what’s better and what’s not? 
    • How do the 8 ways of knowing affect dancers, space, and classroom dynamic/politics? (Language, sense perception, emotion, reason, Imagination, faith, intuition, and memory)
    • How am I aware of my mind, body, and environment while dancing compared to other aspects of my life?
    • How can dance impact the perspectives of both ourselves as individuals and the roles we hold in society?
    • How does dance reflect and create society’s values and morals?
    • How does dance enable and/or constrain spiritual strength and awareness?




Grading will be based on a 100-point system: 

20    Independent Movement Research

10    Attendance and Response to Events

5      Midterm Mini Class

5      Final Project

5      Artist Statement

15    Digital Portfolio

40    Class participation: disposition and effort.  Students are expected to be open to learn new and unfamiliar material, participate both physically and verbally in class discussions, and complete all assignments on time. Points for assignments related to weekly readings and videos will come out of this class participation.



  • MOVEMENT RESEARCH NOTEBOOK—Devote a “movement research notebook” for this course and bring it to every class for in-class written assignments and discussions. (not graded)
  • INDEPENDENT MOVEMENT RESEARCH—You will be required to devote weekly studio time outside of class (twice a week for 45 minutes) to: 1) explore and investigate movement concepts and practices from class, and 2) develop a personal consistent movement practice to support your work as a dance artist, for example: improvisation; yoga; authentic movement, partnering, Bartenieff Fundamentals; or another movement practice of your choice. Document your sessions in your movement research notebook, including what you did, what you discovered, and plans for the future. There will be 3 updates submitted on Blackboard throughout the semester. (20 pts) 
  • WEEKLY READINGS, VIDEOS, RESEARCH:  Readings, videos, and online research will be assigned throughout the semester.  You will be required to enter a written response on Blackboard and to present your ideas in class. You will also be responsible for leading class discussion 2x in the semester (points will be assigned from participation total).
  1.     MIDTERM— Building on your Independent Movement Research and course material, you will create and teach a “mini-class” to fellow students.  Guidelines TBA (5 pts) 
  1.     FINAL PROJECT— Research of selected dance artist or company and performance of original work inspired by that research. See guidelines for this assignment on Blackboard.  (5 pts)
  • ARTIST STATEMENT—Reflecting on your final project and drawing from class experiences, notes in your movement research notebook, and written responses to readings, videos, and performances, write an essay discussing the concept of your final project, the creative process, and insights gained from the experience of performing the work. The artist statement should include a reflection of your development and growth during the course and future interests.  See guidelines for this assignment on Blackboard. (5 pts)
  • ATTENDANCE TO SELECTED EVENTS —We will attend selected performances and events throughout the semester. You will be required to write responses on Blackboard and to facilitate at least one class discussions. (10 pts) 
  • PARTICIPATION, EXPECTATIONS, AND AGREEMENTS—Contribute to create and participate in an inclusive, compassionate and respectful environment that supports exploration, promotes learning, and demands excellence from all participants. You are expected to fulfill all assignments on time—failure to do so will result in loss of grade points. You are expected to participate actively in discussions regarding readings/assignments, to listen carefully to others, and to offer thoughtful and informed contributions. (60 pts)



An overall neat appearance is expected.

  • Long comfortable pants that cover the lower part of the legs.
  • Kneepads:
  • Keep hair off the face but wear in such a way that facilitates floor work (i.e.: no buns or pony tails in the center of the head).
  • No jewelry. 


  • Punctuality is expected.
  • Full participation is expected in every class.
  • Illness or injury must be discussed with the instructor BEFORE class.  If unable to take class physically, students will be expected to observe, take notes, and participate in group discussions.
  • Turn off all phones.  No texting during class.
  • No gum.


Attendance is essential for the learning process.  Two unexcused absences are allowed and students are responsible for all material covered. After two absences, the final course grade will drop one-half (1/2) letter per absence.

If late, it is the student’s responsibility to notify the professor after class so an absence can be changed to a late.

Students who are sick (not contagious) or injured may observe class and take detailed notes or write a 1-page response paper of the class in order to get credit for class participation.  The notes or response paper must be typed and are due the following class period.


You are required to see the performances listed below. If you have a conflict with attendance, please clear this by the second-class meeting on Thursday, January 16.  Please mark these dates on your calendar: 

  1. Alonzo King Lines Ballet

Wednesday, January 22 @ 6:30 PM = Community Movement Workshop

Frederick Rehearsal Hall


Thursday, January 23 @ 7:30 = Performance and Post-Performance Discussion

Alice Jepson Theatre, Modlin Center for the Arts


2. Roundtable—Afro-Diasporicities: Memory, Resistance, and Healing in the 21st Century

Wednesday, January 29 @ 5:30 PM

Carole Weinstein International Center Commons

International Center Commons


3. Ballet Folclórico de México de Silvia Lozano

Wednesday, March 18 @ 7:30 PM

Alice Jepson Theatre, Modlin Center for the Arts


4. Lío Villahermosa

Saturday, March 28 @ 7:30 PM

Cousins Studio, Modlin Center for the Arts


5. Commemorative Act of Enslaved Burial Ground @ UR

Collaborative Arts Lab: Dance, Humanities, and Technology

Wednesday, April 1 @ 6 PM

Sites on UR campus


6. Stefanie Batten Bland and Company

April 3-4 (TBD) @ 7:30 PM

Modlin Center for the Arts


*Modlin Center Procedures for Tickets to Required Performances*

‪It is the student’s responsibility to retrieve their tickets at the Modlin Center Box Office by presenting their student ID no later than 1 month prior to the performance.  Seats being held for students will be released after that date and made available for public purchase. Exceptions will be made for events occurring in September and January. The Modlin Center cannot guarantee a seat for the student if the voucher is not redeemed by the deadline. Student tickets will be $10 for single event tickets, $5 for subscription tickets, or $7 for single events required for a class. The Box Office is open from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. weekdays during the academic year and 90 minutes before performances.


Academic Honesty: Students are expected to uphold the Honor Code (htpp://  The honor pledge, written in full and signed, is required on all work submitted in this class.  Students cannot submit the same work to different instructors if registered for more than one dance class per semester.

Learning Differences: Students with learning, physical, or psychiatric disabilities enrolled in this course that may need disability-related classroom accommodations are encouraged to make an appointment to see me as well as consult with Tinina Cade, Associate Vice president for Student Development.

 If you experience difficulties in this course, do not hesitate to consult with me. There are also other resources that can support you in your efforts to meet course requirements.

Academic Skills Center (, 289-8626 or 289-8956): Supports students in assessing their academic strengths and weaknesses; honing their academic skills through teaching effective test preparation, critical reading and thinking, information processing, concentration, and related techniques; working on specific subject areas (e.g. calculus, chemistry, accounting, etc.); and encouraging campus and community involvement.

Career Services ( or 289-8547):  Assists students in exploring their interests and abilities, choosing a major, connecting with internships and learning experiences, investigating graduate and professional school options, and landing a first job.  We encourage students to schedule an appointment with a career advisor during their first year.

Counseling and Psychological Services ( or 289-8119): Assists students in meeting academic, personal, or emotional challenges. Services include assessment, short-term counseling and psychotherapy, crisis intervention, psychiatric consultation, and related services.

Speech Center ( or 289-6409): Assists with preparation and practice in the pursuit of excellence in public expression.  Recording, playback, coaching and critique sessions offered by teams of student consultants trained to assist in developing ideas, arranging key points for more effective organization, improving style and delivery, and handling multimedia aids for individual and group presentations 

Writing Center ( or 289-8263): Assists writers at all levels of experience, across all majors. Students can schedule appointments with trained peer writing consultants who offer friendly critiques of written work. 

Boatwright Library Research Librarians ( or 289-8669):  Assist students with identifying and locating the best resources for class assignments, research papers and other course projects.  Librarians also assist students with questions about citing sources correctly.  Students can schedule a personal research appointment, meet with librarians at the library’s main service desk, email, text or IM.