Dance Course Descriptions
DAN101R Fundamentals of Classical Chinese Dance I (3 credits)
This studio course reviews and refines the fundamental elements and poses of classical Chinese dance through short movement combinations. By the end of the course, students are expected to have a grasp of the Fei Tian stylistic requirements for classical Chinese dance. This course also places a heavy emphasis on flexibility training. Students majoring in Classical Chinese Dance are expected to complete DAN101R twice for a total of 6 credits.
DAN102R Shen Yun (身韻) I (1.5 credits)
This course studies the subtlety of body language for actualizing the aesthetics of classical Chinese dance and introduces students to the Fei Tian requirements for shen yun (bearing). Students practice shen yun elements through coupled movements. Students majoring in Classical Chinese Dance are expected to complete DAN102R twice for a total of 3 credits. (Note: The term shen yun is completely distinct from the performing arts organization name, despite its being a homophone.)
DAN103R Special Techniques in Chinese Dance I (1 credit)
This studio course reviews and reinforces the jiqiao (difficult techniques) and tanzigong (tumbling) used in classical Chinese dance. Students majoring in Classical Chinese Dance are expected to complete DAN103R twice for a total of 2 credits.
DAN104R Chinese Folk and Ethnic Dances I (1 credit)
This course primarily focuses on Tibetan ethnic dance and hua-gu-deng (flower drum lantern) folk dance from eastern China, with an emphasis on rhythmic analysis. Students examine how the local customs and cultures inform the unique stylistic features of the dance forms. Students majoring in Classical Chinese Dance are expected to complete DAN104R twice for a total of 2 credits.
DAN121R Performing and Acting (2 credits)
This course develops students’ appreciation and understanding of the art of acting with the purpose of strengthening their acting skills and expressive power in dance performances. May culminate in performance.
DAN155, 255, 355 Dance Practicum I, II, III (3 credits each)
These courses are designed to give students the opportunity to gain professional performing experience. Auditions may be required. Students selected will participate in performances with professional performance companies such as Shen Yun Performing Arts. Pass/No Pass grading scale.
DAN201R Fundamentals of Classical Chinese Dance II (3 credits)
Through the use of extended and increasingly difficult dance combinations, this studio course continues to condition students for classical Chinese dance. Emphasis is placed on the fluidity of transitions between poses and movement phrases. Students majoring in Classical Chinese Dance are expected to complete DAN201R twice for a total of 6 credits. Prerequisite: 6 credits of DAN101R or instructor consent.
DAN202R Shen Yun (身韻) II (1.5 credits)
This course practices and refines the fine motor skills of the hands and feet alongside use of breath and facial expression to maximize expressive power. The class utilizes short dance combinations that are performative in nature. Students majoring in Classical Chinese Dance are expected to complete DAN202R twice for a total of 3 credits. Prerequisite: 3 credits of DAN102R or instructor consent.
DAN203R Special Techniques in Chinese Dance II (1 credit)
A continuation of DAN103R, this studio course provides students an opportunity to further refine the quality of the jiqiao (difficult techniques) and tanzigong (tumbling) movements particular to classical Chinese dance. Students majoring in Classical Chinese Dance are expected to complete DAN203R twice for a total of 2 credits. Prerequisite: 2 credits of DAN103R or instructor consent.
DAN204R Chinese Folk and Ethnic Dances II (1 credit)
This course primarily focuses on Mongolian ethnic dance. Students examine the inseparable link between the traditional nomadic lifestyle of Mongolians and the fundamental elements of this dance form, including shoulder, arm, and wrist coordination as well as stylistic jumps that imitate riding on horseback. Dances may incorporate the use of props such as chopsticks, wine cups, and bowls, which symbolize the importance of hospitality to the Mongolian people. Students majoring in Classical Chinese Dance are expected to complete DAN204R twice for a total of 2 credits. Prerequisite: 2 credits of DAN104R or instructor consent.
DAN221R Repertory & Rehearsal I (1 credit)
This course develops students’ overall performance and rehearsal skills through studying, rehearsing, and participating in the dance production process with resident and guest artists. May culminate in performance. Students majoring in classical Chinese dance are expected to complete DAN221R twice for a total of 2 credits. Prerequisites: 6 credits of DAN101R, 3 credits of DAN102R, 2 credits of DAN103R, and 2 credits of DAN104R.
DAN232 Mind, Body, and Dance (2 credits)
This course is a basic course for classical Chinese dance majors, based on the unique needs of classical Chinese dance training. It introduces both Eastern and Western concepts of the human body and explores the role of the mind in classical Chinese dance learning.
DAN301R Fundamentals of Classical Chinese Dance III (4 credits)
This course prepares students to apply the fundamentals from DAN101R and 201R for practical stage performance. Complex movement and compound dance combinations are used for intensive conditioning. Students majoring in Classical Chinese Dance are expected to complete DAN301R twice for a total of 8 credits. Prerequisite: 6 credits of DAN201R or instructor consent.
DAN302R Shen Yun (身韻) III (1.5 credits)
This course prepares students for performance of classical Chinese dance through using character portrayals to refine shen yun (bearing). The course also introduces the use of props, such as shuixiu (water sleeves) and changchou (silk ribbons), to deepen students’ understanding of shen yun. When possible, bazigong (theatrical techniques using traditional weapons) is also used to enrich the students’ experience. Students majoring in Classical Chinese Dance are expected to complete DAN302R twice for a total of 3 credits. Prerequisite: 3 credits of DAN202R or by instructor consent.
DAN304R Chinese Folk and Ethnic Dances III (1.5 credits)
This course provides an in-depth study of hua-gu-deng (flower drum lantern), one of the oldest folk dance styles of the Han Chinese. Students learn how the dance form and its unique musical accompaniments are used for various celebratory purposes. Students also learn how China’s northern and southern subcultures have influenced the special characteristics of hua-gu-deng. Students majoring in Classical Chinese Dance are expected to complete DAN304R twice for a total of 3 credits. Prerequisite: 2 credits of DAN204R or by instructor consent.
DAN311A Dance Pedagogy A (2 credits)
This course introduces the basic principles, approaches, and materials in the teaching of dance at different levels and in different settings, ranging from K–12 and private studio to higher education. Both English and Mandarin Chinese are used in the instruction. Prerequisite: Junior class standing.
DAN311B Dance Pedagogy B (3 credits)
Through seminar and praxis formats, this course helps students apply the knowledge and competencies acquired in DAN311A. Students will be guided in developing pedagogical approaches, making lesson plans, and teaching classical Chinese dance in multiple settings. Prerequisite: DAN311A or by instructor consent.
DAN312A Choreography A (2 credits)
This course introduces the basic elements of choreography and the different choreographic devices. Students will use the devices to compose their own works. Emphasis is on classical Chinese dance. Both English and Chinese are used in the instruction. Prerequisite: 6 credits of DAN101R, 3 credits of DAN102R, 2 credits of DAN103R, and 2 credits of DAN104R; or by instructor consent.
DAN312B Choreography B (2 credits)
This course explores dance making as a creative problem-solving endeavor and focuses on group dances and narrative dances in classical Chinese dance. Both English and Chinese are used in the instruction. Prerequisite: DAN312A or by instructor consent.
DAN321R Repertory & Rehearsal II (2 credits)
This is a continuation of DAN221R and further develops students’ overall performance and rehearsal skills. May culminate in performance. Students in the Performance and Choreography concentration are expected to complete DAN321R twice for a total of 4 credits. Prerequisite: 2 credits of DAN221R or by instructor consent.
DAN341 Policies and Standards in Dance Education (1 credit)
A series of weekly discussion/seminar sessions, this course familiarizes students with the latest policies in the state of New York regarding education and physical education. There is an emphasis on the commonality between Chinese dance and physical education.
DAN342 History of Dance: East and West (2 credits)
This is a survey of the development of the major dance traditions of the East and the West. It examines the origins of the dance traditions and major milestones while reflecting on the philosophical and aesthetic underpinnings of the different dance forms.
DAN350 Independent Study in Dance (1-4 credits)
This independent study course allows students an opportunity to investigate a topic outside the current dance curriculum. All independent study courses must be approved in advance and be closely supervised by a faculty member. An independent study proposal must include a course outline developed through consultation between the student and faculty supervisor; it will serve as the official course description. The course may take the form of faculty-supervised research, study, or a project. This course may be repeated for credit.
DAN352 Classical Chinese Dance Pedagogy — Peer Observation (2 credits)
Guided by an instructor, students in this course are active observers of teaching sessions in classical Chinese dance. Through observation reports, self-evaluation, and the instructor’s evaluation, students gain insight into the application of pedagogical concepts and principles in the teaching of Chinese dance.
DAN370R Internship (1-3 credits)
The purpose of an internship is to let students gain valuable work experience in a professional environment by applying what they have learned. An internship usually lasts for five weeks with 20 to 40 hours of work per week. Review of applications usually begins in early April. This course may be repeated once for additional credit.
DAN400 Chinese Dance Vocabulary (0 credit)
Intended to help graduate students familiarize themselves with important dance terminology, the course covers vocabulary for the fundamental movements, positions, techniques, and concepts used in classical Chinese dance. Through demonstration, oral practice, and movement, students will develop the verbal confidence and comprehension of Chinese dance needed to start the Fei Tian College MFA program.
DAN401R Fundamentals of Classical Chinese Dance IV (4 credits)
This course consolidates the training covered in the previous three years. Emphasis is placed on the expressivity and refinement of movements. Students majoring in Classical Chinese Dance are expected to complete DAN401R twice for a total of 8 credits. Prerequisite: 8 credits of DAN301R or by instructor consent.
DAN402R Shen Yun (身韻) IV (1.5 credits)
This course polishes students’ delivery of the shen yun (bearing) elements practiced in DAN102R-DAN302R. By the end of this course, students will be able to effectively use shen yun in performances and to fulfill various choreographic needs. Students majoring in Classical Chinese Dance are expected to complete DAN402R twice for a total of 3 credits. Prerequisite: 3 credits of DAN302R or instructor consent.
DAN403 Repertory and Analysis (2 credits)
Through examining the choreographic and technical issues in a wide selection of works, this course helps students develop basic plans and strategies in teaching a spectrum of techniques and shen yun (bearing) in classical Chinese dance. Prerequisite: junior class standing or instructor consent.
DAN404R Chinese Folk and Ethnic Dances IV (1.5 credits)
This course primarily focuses on the dance of the ethnic Korean people of northeastern China. Students learn the unique musical rhythms, breath control, and rounded movements central to this dance genre. Students majoring in Classical Chinese Dance are expected to complete DAN404R twice for a total of 3 credits. Prerequisite: 3 credits of DAN304R or instructor consent.
DAN410 Educational Psychology in Context (2 credits)
This course introduces the basic concepts and appropriate rubrics for assessing student learning outcomes in dance instruction. It examines mapping curriculum to student learning outcomes. Prerequisite: junior class standing or instructor consent.
DAN411 Dance in Education (1 credit)
This course examines the role of dance in education, and in arts education in particular. Students will reflect on the principles and philosophies of creative movement as a basic human means for understanding themselves, other people, and the world around them. Prerequisite: 6 credits of DAN201R, 3 credits of DAN202R, 2 credits of DAN203R, and 2 credits of DAN204R; or by instructor consent.
DAN412A Advanced Choreography (2 credits)
This course focuses on choreographing in the styles of the different ethnic dance traditions in China. There will be in-depth study of the cultural characteristics of the ethnic dances. Both English and Chinese will be used in the instruction. Prerequisite: DAN312B or by instructor consent.
DAN412B Independent Study in Choreography (2 credits)
This course offers individual students the opportunity to synthesize their knowledge and experience in choreography and to create works under the close supervision of a dance faculty member. Prerequisite: DAN412A or by instructor consent.
DAN413 Principles of Guidance and Pedagogy (3 credits)
This course explores issues in teaching dance at the college level, including topics such as lesson planning, class structure, student learning objectives, assessment methods, and grading. It includes preparation of a syllabus and studio teaching practice. This course takes the form of reading assignments, in-class discussions, lectures, observation and teaching summaries, self-reflective critical journal entries, and portfolio building.
DAN421R Repertory and Rehearsal III (2 credits)
This course enhances students’ performance and rehearsal skills through the study of repertory and participation in choreographic collaborations with accomplished choreographers. May culminate in performance. Prerequisite: 3 credits of DAN321R or by instructor consent. Students majoring in classical Chinese dance with a Performance and Choreography concentration are expected to complete DAN421R twice for a total of 4 credits.
DAN414 Music Literature in Chinese Dance (2 credits)
This course examines the connection between dance movements and music in the performance and choreography of Chinese dance, including how the shen yun (bearing) is affected. Students will study the music literature from various perspectives for the purpose of enhancing performance and choreographic techniques. Prerequisite: MUS110 or by instructor consent.
DAN430 Stagecraft and Dance Production (2 credits)
This course introduces the basic elements and principles of theater production. Topics include set, costume, lighting, and sound design. Prerequisite: 6 credits of DAN201R, 3 credits of DAN202R, 2 credits of DAN203R, and 2 credits of DAN204R; or by instructor consent.
DAN450 Research Paper (4 credits)
This course offers the opportunity to write a research paper on a dance-related topic. The topic is selected by the student with advice and approval from the instructor.
DAN451 Senior Production (4 credits)
This course offers students an opportunity to develop their creative skills through choreographing and producing a small-scale dance performance of considerable complexity. The course is open to a limited number of students.
DAN452 Dance Teaching Practicum (4 credits)
This course allows students to practice their skills in dance teaching through supervised classroom teaching. Each student regularly meets with a faculty member for feedback and guidance regarding course planning, implementation of instructional strategies, and self-evaluation. Prerequisite: DAN311B and DAN341 or by instructor consent.
DAN453 Independent Study in Dance Production (2 credits)
Students enrolled in this course will explore specific issues in dance production with the guidance of a faculty member. The outcome is usually a research paper or a small stage design/production project. Prerequisite: instructor consent.
DAN455 Advanced Dance Practicum IV (4 credits)
This course is open to seniors wishing to tour or spend a season with a professional performance company, such as Shen Yun Performing Arts, to gain hands-on artistic and/or managerial experience. Enrollment is audition-based and is contingent upon the availability of relevant roles. Prerequisite: Instructor consent; 3 credits from each of DAN155, 255, and 355 is preferred.
DAN501R Graduate Classical Chinese Dance (4 credits)
This graduate-level course aims to refine students’ artistic expression and execution of classical Chinese dance. It focuses on distinctions in movement articulation with emphasis on shen-dai-shou (the body leads the hands, 身帶手), kua-dai-tui (the hips lead the legs, 胯帶腿), and the integration of the outer form with the inner spirit. Students practice complex sequences of movements with attention to expressive clarity and amplified expression. Upon completion of the course, students will have a better command of the technical and stylistic variations in classical Chinese dance. Students in the MFA program are expected to complete DAN501R four times for a total of 16 credits.
DAN510 Advanced Pedagogy I (2 credits)
Since teaching itself is an art that requires considerable planning and collaboration, students in this course work extensively with their peers to develop appropriate course materials, provide corrective remedies for movements, and experiment with various teaching methodologies. They also observe different pedagogical contexts, such as for teaching children and for grade-level pupils. Through discussion and putting their ideas into practice, students can become confident and discerning dance teachers able to conduct classes that are both purposeful and engaging.
DAN511 Advanced Pedagogy II (2 credits)
This course focuses on application, analysis, and creation. Through opportunities to teach full-length classes, students will be able to analyze and evaluate their peers while developing their own philosophies and teaching ideals. The course trains students to examine the contextual complexities of dance education and to develop course materials with respect to higher education. By the end of this course, students will hand in a portfolio that recounts their pedagogical findings and designs for a systematic course in classical Chinese dance. Prerequisite: DAN510 or by instructor consent.
DAN512 Graduate Choreography I (2 credits)
This course introduces the expressive dancer to new ways of thinking and creating. In their first year of the graduate dance program, students expand their artistic potential and explore how to make their choreographic work more compelling. By tailoring thematic movement sequences to specific personas and considering other theatrical factors, students will learn to view their work as a whole, and most importantly, from the audience’s standpoint. This course also instills in students an appreciation for the reiterative creative process.
DAN521 Chinese Dance Repertory I (4 credits)
This advanced course focuses on detailed technical studies of narration within a dance context, precision in the depiction of characters, and efficient and organized methods for rehearsals of a dance group. This is a very interactive course, allowing students to experiment and express the creativity they developed in previous repertoire courses. May culminate in performance.
DAN523 Holistic Health for Artists (2 credits)
This course aims to introduce the concept of holistic health from both Western and Eastern perspectives with emphasis on concepts that support the learning and performing of classical Chinese dance. Students will finish the course with basic knowledge of health as a holistic integration of body, mind, and spirit. This course will include lectures, group discussions, and mentored research projects.
DAN531 Acting For Stage (1 credit)
This graduate-level acting course focuses on refining acting skills with respect to clarity of expression for a variety of performance settings. It gives students the opportunity to practice and refine their performing skills by revisiting fundamental acting concepts and engaging in a wide range of improvisational exercises. Through this course, students will primarily study the portrayal of characters and situations with reference to Chinese culture and history.
DAN541 Chinese Dance Throughout the Ages (3 credits)
This course explores the philosophical, cultural, and aesthetic underpinnings of classical Chinese dance and Chinese folk and ethnic dance. Topics include: the origins and aesthetic basis of Chinese dance, the influence of traditional Chinese ideologies on dance, the systematization and methodology of Chinese dance, the cross-pollination between classical Chinese dance and ethnic and folk dances, and the implications of the revival of traditional Chinese dance in the context of globalization in the 21st century.
DAN551 Integration of Dance and Music (1 credit)
This course gives MFA students an opportunity to further develop their musicality and explore the connection between dance and music. Through guest lectures and discussions with composers and conductors, students are exposed to the creative process of music composition so as to better understand what goes into designing a musical piece for dance, and specifically for classical Chinese dance and Chinese folk and ethnic dance. In this workshop-based course, students also have the opportunity to choreograph their own dances pieces in response to different styles of music.
DAN555 Graduate Practicum (4 credits)
The practicum allows graduate students to build their professional experience with leading companies and institutions. Students gain first-hand experience related to their career goals and build professional relationships invaluable to their future careers. Students may choose to have a practicum emphasis in performance, choreography, pedagogy, production, artistic management, or any other specialization directly related to their graduate studies. All students receive one-on-one guidance and mentoring from assigned instructors or preceptors. All practicums are designed to help students build a strong work ethic and enhance their professional knowledge. Students who wish to acquire more practical experience may repeat this course.
DAN556 Graduate Independent Study or Project (1-6 credits)
This course allows graduate students to explore topics of individual or professional interest that do not fall within the standard curriculum. Each independent study course is flexible and personalized—designed by each student with his/her guiding instructor—so that students can get the most out of their specific studies and achieve their intended goals.
DAN561 Seminar: Dance in Cultural Context (2 credits)
This seminar approaches the study of dance as a means to better understand different cultures through the historical, cultural, and social contexts of a dance piece. It helps students bridge the gap between Eastern and Western dance traditions and better understand the role of Chinese dance in the global arts community. One focus of the course is to enable students to articulate differences in dance traditions, including dance concepts and terms, in both English and Chinese. Students also practice communicating their experience of dance—from systematic explanations of dance fundamentals to the description of the emotions, aesthetics, and cultural implications—to help others better appreciate classical Chinese dance.
DAN562 Topics in Chinese Dance Ethnography (2 credits)
This seminar course is designed to address various topics regarding selected Chinese dance forms. Students will study and analyze social, cultural, and political influences on ethnic dance forms in the past and present. Through a series of workshops, guest instructors will introduce students to various dance styles, providing them with direct exposure through active participation. Workshops include movement analysis and discussion of cultural connotations that build the underlying dance aesthetic. Topics will be determined based on guest speaker availability.
DAN601 Graduate Classical Chinese Dance Studio Practice (4 credits)
This graduate course in classical Chinese dance challenges students to achieve complete assimilation of spirit and form while performing composite routines that require both expressive versatility and technical competency. The course allows students to hone their artistry and technique through self-tailored routines and stylistic solos. Apart from fundamental training, students will also receive mentorship and engage in movement exploration for particular dance pieces. They will be prompted to reflect upon their achievements and develop their own artistic forte, as part of becoming a well-rounded and distinguished dancer.
DAN602 Techniques of Other Dance Systems I (2 credits)
The course is designed to broaden students’ range of skills in a dance system other than classical Chinese dance. The dance system may differ from year to year.
DAN603 Techniques of Other Dance Systems II (2 credits)
As a continuation of DAN602, this course builds upon the skills students practiced in the previous course. For the ballet rotation, the course introduces intermediate-level techniques and routines that require more control, coordination, and technical proficiency. Students will also be introduced to classic repertoire. Prerequisite: DAN602 within the same dance system, or by instructor consent.
DAN611 Psychology in Dance Education (2 credits)
This course introduces the essentials of psychological principles, theories, and concepts as they apply to the educational environment related to classical Chinese dance. Through various activities, students will explore how to structure effective pedagogical approaches in order to meet the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor needs of learners and to forge a positive learning atmosphere in dance education.
DAN612 Graduate Choreography II (2 credits)
This course is the culmination of students’ previous studies in choreography and is designed to help students conceive new ideas while invoking within them a sense of traditional aesthetics. Students will delve deeper into the realm of artistic creation by critiquing works on various levels—from historical narrative works to contemporary artistic interpretations, and from the effective development of choreographic elements to what makes a dance piece poignant and powerful. Prerequisite: DAN512 or by instructor consent.
DAN621 Chinese Dance Repertory II (4 credits)
This course allows students to hone their expressive abilities through rigorous rehearsal and performance. Students will be under the direction of experienced choreographers and professionals. The course explores ways in which the dancer deepens his or her connection with the audience on an emotional as well as a spiritual level. This course culminates in a final recital showcasing a variety of student-selected works accompanied by a live orchestra. Prerequisite: DAN521 or by instructor consent.
DAN631 Dance Kinesiology (2 credits)
An investigation into the field of dance science, this course introduces students to the human skeletal system; joint biomechanics; muscle origin, insertion, and action; and the concept of tensegrity in biomechanics. It explores the principles of physical structure, function, and dynamic alignment as they relate to dance performance enhancement and injury prevention. The course also touches on healthy living concepts such as nutrition and holistic mind-body connections. Course activities include lectures, class discussion, skill and technique demonstrations, and relevant audiovisual content.
DAN650 Master’s Project (1-6 credits)
The master’s project is a year-long endeavor that allows students to do research and contribute knowledge to the field of dance. Students work with their assigned thesis advisor to determine their topic and method of investigation. They consult with their advisor frequently and have the opportunity to collaborate with students from other programs. By the end of the year students should have completed their project, which will be presented through a concert, demonstration, and/or written documentation. The goal of the master’s project is to validate the student’s ability to investigate and bring to light new perspectives and understandings within the field of classical Chinese dance. Students should complete DAN650 for a total of 6 credits.
DAN663 Perspectives on Dance Aesthetics (2 credits)
This is a seminar course. Through a series of lecture topics, graduates will be given opportunities to develop their aesthetic tastes and refine their preferences. Students will be exposed to a range of repertoire; afterwards, they will analyze them within the context of aesthetic principles, including Chinese artistic values. Ultimately, this course aims to motivate students to appreciate aesthetic ideals that have inspired artists for millennia and to provide new wisdom to fuel their artistic goals.
DAN671 Graduate Internship (1-4 credits)
Through internships, graduate students can think more deeply about their own career development and connect their academic learning with hands-on professional experience. Students can apply to dance companies, schools and institutions, media groups, and other hosts to find internships that fit their individual specialties and interests. Internships may or may not be paid, depending on the host institution. Other than completing assigned duties and demonstrating professional competencies, graduate students will need to reflect on their personal strengths, where they need to improve, and what actions they should take to achieve their goals. While internships are not required for graduation, they are strongly encouraged.