Department of Dance

Course Descriptions

Department of Dance

DAN 101R Fundamentals of Classical Chinese Dance I (3 credits)

This studio course helps students develop a command of the fundamental techniques and movements in classical Chinese dance. The training focuses on extending the body’s flexibility and capabilities. Both English and Mandarin Chinese are used in the instruction. (This course has to be repeated once with credits awarded.)

DAN 102R Shen Yun (身韻) I (1.5 credits)

This studio course introduces the basic concepts and body postures/movements in shen yun (bearing), one of the major components of classical Chinese dance. Both English and Mandarin Chinese are used in the instruction. (This course must be repeated once with credits awarded.)

DAN 103R Special Techniques in Chinese Dance I (1 credit)

This studio course trains students progressively in the basic tumbling and somersault techniques used in classical Chinese dance. (This course must be repeated once with credits awarded.)

DAN 104R Chinese Folk and Ethnic Dances I (1 credit)

This course introduces the basic movements, stylistic characteristics, and genres in the major traditions of Chinese ethnic and folk dances. (This course must be repeated once with credits awarded.)

DAN 131 Performing and Acting (1 credit)

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.

DAN 155, 255, 355 Dance Practicum I, II, III (3 credits each)

These courses are designed to give students the opportunity to gain professional performing experience. Enrollment is audition-based. Students selected will participate in the world tour of Shen Yun Performing Arts.

DAN 201R Fundamentals of Classical Chinese Dance II (3 credits)

This studio course continues to develop students’ body flexibility and capabilities in classical Chinese dance. Both English and Mandarin Chinese are used in the instruction. Prerequisite: 8 credits of DAN101R or instructor consent. (This course must be repeated once with credits awarded.)

DAN 202R Shen Yun (身韻) II (1.5 credits)

This course introduces the basic rhythmic elements of shen yun (bearing) and representative dance movements incorporating the elements. Both English and Mandarin Chinese are used in the instruction. Prerequisite: 3 credits of DAN102R or instructor consent. (This course must be repeated once with credits awarded.)

DAN 203R Special Techniques in Chinese Dance II (1 credit)

Built upon the first year’s training, this studio course further develops students’ command of tumbling and somersault movements. Prerequisite: 2 credits of DAN103R or instructor consent. (This course must be repeated once with credits awarded.)

DAN 204R Chinese Folk and Ethnic Dances II (1 credit)

This course is a continuation of DAN104R. It helps students master more advanced movements of the Chinese Folk and Ethnic Dances previously taught while introducing a variety of other folk and ethnic dances from China. Prerequisite: 2 credits of DAN104R or instructor consent. (This course must be repeated once with credits awarded.)

DAN 221R Repertory & Rehearsal I (1 credit)

This studio course develops students’ overall performance and rehearsal skills through analyzing and rehearsing works ranging from classical Chinese dance to Chinese folk dances. Prerequisite: DAN101R, DAN102R, DAN103R, DAN104R and their repeats; or by instructor consent. (This course must be repeated once with credits awarded.)

DAN 232 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 explains the role of the mind in Classical Chinese dance learning. This course incorporates lectures, research, group discussions, and projects.

DAN 301R Fundamentals of Classical Chinese Dance III (4 credits)

A continuation of DAN201R, this course focuses on mastering advanced tumbling techniques and combining them with other techniques. Prerequisite: 8 credits of DAN201R or instructor consent. (This course must be repeated once with credits awarded.)

DAN 302R Shen Yun (身韻) III (1.5 credits)

This course further trains students in shen yun (bearing) by focusing on the interpretation of specific roles and characters in classical Chinese dance. Prerequisite: 3 credits of DAN202R; or by instructor consent. (This course must be repeated once with credits awarded.)

DAN 304R Chinese Folk and Ethnic Dances III (1.5 credits)

This course further develops students’ command of the techniques and artistic expression in Chinese folk and ethnic dances. Prerequisite: 3 credits of DAN204R; or by instructor consent. (This course must be repeated once with credits awarded.)

DAN 311A Dance Pedagogy A (3 credits)

This course introduces the basic principles, approaches, and materials in the teaching of dance at different levels and settings, ranging from K–12 and private studio to higher education. Both English and Mandarin Chinese will be used in the instruction.

DAN 311B 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.

DAN 312A Choreography A (2 credits)

This studio 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 will be used in the instruction. Prerequisite: DAN101R, DAN102R, DAN103R, DAN104R and their repeats; or by instructor consent.

DAN 312B 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 will be used in the instruction. Prerequisite: DAN312A; or by instructor consent.

DAN 321R Repertory & Rehearsal II (1.5 credits)

This is a continuation of DAN221R and further develops students’ overall performance and rehearsal skills. Prerequisite: 2 credits of DAN221R; or by instructor consent. (This course must be repeated once with credits awarded.)

DAN 330 Lighting Design (3 credits)

This course introduces the basic principles and techniques of lighting design for theater, dance, and other performance or presentational events. It covers the theories and application of how vision is affected by light, color, texture, and form. Course activities include lectures, interviews, and hands-on projects.

DAN 331 Scenic and Set Design (3 credits)

This course explores the fundamentals of set design for theater. The course covers the design of floor plans, scenery, stage lighting, sound, and construction management. Students will apply the technical skills discussed in lectures to hands-on projects.

DAN 332 Video Production for the Theater (3 credits)

This course covers the basic principles of video production and their application in the theater. Through hands-on lab projects, students will acquire 1) practical skills in lighting, sound, camera, and editing technology; 2) an aesthetic of visual storytelling; and 3) an understanding of how to use video on the stage.

DAN 341 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.

DAN 342 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.

DAN 352 Classical Chinese Dance Pedagogy—Peer Observation (2 credits)

Guided by an instructor, students in this course will be active observers of teaching sessions in classical Chinese dance. Through observation reports, self-evaluation, and the instructor’s evaluation, students will gain insight into the application of pedagogical concepts and principles in the teaching of Chinese dance.

DAN 370R Internship (2 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 extra credits.)

DAN 400 Chinese Dance Vocabulary (0 credit)

This is a remedial course, intended to help graduate students new to the program familiarize themselves with Chinese dance terminology. The course will cover the fundamental movements, positions, techniques, and concepts commonly used in classical Chinese dance as well as general dance vocabulary in Chinese. Through demonstration, oral practice, and movement, students will develop the verbal confidence and comprehension of Chinese dance needed for a successful start in the Fei Tian College MFA program.

DAN 401R Fundamentals of Classical Chinese Dance IV (4 credits)

This course consolidates the techniques covered in the previous three years. Different combinations of more challenging movements will be introduced. Prerequisite: 8 credits of DAN301R; or by instructor consent. (This course must be repeated once with credits awarded.)

DAN 402R Shen Yun (身韻) IV (1.5 credits)

This course helps students develop refined delivery of the shen yun (bearing) elements in Chinese dances and perfect their use in performances. Prerequisite: 3 credits of DAN302R or instructor consent. (This course must be repeated once with credits awarded.)

DAN 404R Chinese Folk and Ethnic Dances IV (1.5 credits)

This course consolidates students’ command of the styles and techniques in Chinese folk and ethnic dances through the learning of representative repertoires. Adapting the dances for modern stage presentation is a special focus. Prerequisite: 3 credits of DAN304R or instructor consent. (This course must be repeated once with credits awarded.)

DAN 403 Repertory and Analysis (2 credits)

Through examining the choreographic and technical issues in a wide selection of works, this course helps student 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.

DAN 410 Basics of Dance Assessment (2 credits)

This course introduces the basic concepts and feasible rubrics for assessing student learning outcomes in dance instruction. It examines curricular mapping with student learning outcomes. Prerequisite: junior class standing or instructor consent.

DAN 411 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: DAN201R, DAN202R, DAN203R, DAN204R and their repeats; or by instructor consent.

DAN 412A 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.

DAN 412B 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.

DAN 413 Issues in Dance 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.

DAN 421R 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. Prerequisite: 3 credits of DAN321R; or by instructor consent. (This course must be repeated once with credits awarded.)

DAN 422 Music Literature in Chinese Dance (3 credits)

This course examines the connection between dance movements (including shen yun (bearing) and techniques) and music in the performance and choreography of Chinese dance. Students will study the music literature from various perspectives for the purpose of enhancing performance and choreographic techniques. Prerequisite: MUS110; or by instructor consent.

DAN 430 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: DAN201R, DAN202R, DAN203R, DAN204R, and their repeats; or by instructor consent.

DAN 450 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.

DAN 451 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.

DAN 452 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.

DAN 455 Advanced Dance Practicum IV (4 credits)

This course is open to senior students wishing to play a solo or lead role in the world tour of Shen Yun Performing Arts. Enrollment is audition-based and is contingent upon the availability of relevant roles. Prerequisite: 4 credits from DAN155-355.

DAN 480 Stage Management: Concepts and Practice (2 credits)

This course covers the principles of Stage Management and their application as they pertain to the theatrical production (especially dance production) process. Students gain insight into the responsibilities and necessary qualities of a stage manager through taking part in production projects.

DAN 501R Advanced Classical Chinese Dance I (4 credits)

This first-year graduate-level course aims to refine students’ expression and execution of classical Chinese dance and related techniques. The course focuses on distinctions in movement articulation 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.

DAN 510 Advanced Pedagogy I (2 credits)

The purpose of this course is to train students to become confident and critical dance teachers who can conduct classes that are both purposeful and engaging. Because teaching itself is an art that requires considerable planning and collaboration, students will work extensively with peers to develop and prescribe appropriate course material, provide corrective remedies for movements, and experiment with various teaching methodologies. Students will also observe various contexts in pedagogy such as those for teaching children and grade-level students. By engaging in topical discussions and putting their ideas into practice, students will move beyond conceptual understanding and ultimately improve their skills as dance educators.

DAN 511 Advanced Pedagogy II (2 credits)

The Advanced Chinese Dance Pedagogy II course focuses on application, analysis, and creation. By giving students 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.

DAN 512 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 befit 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.

DAN 521 Chinese Dance Repertory I (4 credits)

This advanced course focuses on detailed technical studies of narration within a dance context, precision through 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.

DAN 523 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 how health is viewed as a holistic integration of body, mind, and spirit. This course will include lectures, group discussions, and mentored research projects.

DAN 531 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 study the portrayal of characters and situations with reference to Chinese culture and history.

DAN 541 Chinese Dance Throughout the Ages (3 credits)

This course provides the theoretical foundation for the advanced study of Chinese dance by exploring the philosophical, cultural, and aesthetic underpinnings of classical Chinese dance and Chinese folk and ethnic dance. Building upon students’ prior knowledge of various forms and techniques of Chinese dance, this course allows students to reflect on the unique characteristics/categories of Chinese dance, including form (shen fa 身法) and bearing (shen yun 身韻) from multiple theoretical perspectives. It also discusses the implications of the revival of traditional Chinese dance in the context of globalization in the 21st century. 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 role of Chinese dance in modern society.

DAN 551 Integration of Dance and Music (1 credit)

This course offers students of the two master’s degree-conferring departments the opportunity to make use of their knowledge and experience in the production of joint performance projects. Each course is expected to produce at least one project. For dance, this may involve choreography, directing, and dance performance. For music students, this may involve composing dance music in collaboration with choreographers, conducting the music, and performing the music. The technical work related to the production project, such as sound engineering, theater lighting, or filming, may be shared among the students. The end product should be a self-contained piece, which will be performed or played for the College community at a scheduled time and venue. The course is usually jointly mentored by two faculty members, one from the Department of Dance and one from the Department of Music.

DAN 555 Practicum (4 credits)

The practicum allows students to build their professional experience with leading companies and institutions. By practicing and applying their artistic skills in real-world settings, students gain first-hand knowledge and 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 specification directly related to their graduate studies. Regardless of their emphasis, 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. Any student who wishes to acquire more practical experience is welcome to repeat this course.

DAN 561 Seminar: Dance in Cultural Context (2 credits)

This seminar approaches the study of dance both as an art form as well as a means of understanding different cultures by exploring the historical, cultural, and social contexts of various dance practices. It intends to help students bridge the gap between Eastern and Western dance traditions and better understand the role of Chinese dance in the global arts community. A primary focus of the course is to enable students to articulate differences in dance traditions, including dance concepts and terms, using both English and Chinese. Students also practice how to communicate about their dance experiences—from systematic explanations of dance fundamentals to the description of the emotions, aesthetics, and cultural implications—to help others better appreciate classical Chinese dance.

DAN 556 Independent Study or Project (1-6 credits)

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.

DAN 562 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.

DAN 601R Advanced Classical Chinese Dance II (4 credits)

This second-year 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.

DAN 602 Techniques of Other Dance Systems: Ballet I (2 credits)

In this rotation of Techniques of Other Dance Systems I, the course aims to instruct students in one of the most popular dance traditions in the world, classical ballet. Designed for students who are technically proficient in other dance forms, this course will broaden students’ range of skills, allowing them to practice ballet fundamentals and beginning- to intermediate-level technique and movements. The course will feature various exercises on barre and center, as well as targeted practice in various leaps, turns, and steps in ballet. Throughout the course students will also examine the relationship between ballet movements and movements of other styles such as modern, Western folk, and Chinese.

DAN 603 Techniques of Other Dance Systems: Ballet II (2 credits)

For this rotation, the course builds upon the skills students have attained in the previous ballet course by introducing advanced-level movements and more difficult routines that require more control, coordination, and technical competency. Aside from regular barre and center work, students will also practice various solo enchaînements while examining and performing excerpts from classic repertoire, which allow students to refine their artistry and perform with further emphasis on character and musical style. By the end of this course, students will be well-rounded artists, versed in ballet terminology and proficient in intermediate-level ballet technique.

DAN 611 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.

DAN 612 Graduate Choreography II (2 credits)

This course is the culmination of students’ previous studies in choreography and is designed to help students come up with ideas while invoking within them with 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.

DAN 621 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 from a variety of artistic fields. 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.

DAN 631 Dance Kinesiology (2 credits)

An investigation into the field of dance science, this course will introduce students to the human skeletal system; joint biomechanics; muscle origin, insertion, and action; and the concept of tensegrity in biomechanics. It will explore the principles of physical structure, function, and dynamic alignment as they relate to dance performance enhancement and injury prevention. The course will introduce students to healthy living concepts such as nutrition and holistic mind-body connections. Course activities will include lectures, class discussion, skill and technique demonstrations, and relevant audiovisual content.

DAN 650 Master’s Project (6 credits)

The Master’s Project is a yearlong endeavor that allows students to 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 for progress checks and will have the opportunity to collaborate with students from other programs during the process. By the end of the year students will have completed their project, which they will present through a concert, demonstration, and/or written documentation. The goal of the master’s project is to validate students’ abilities to investigate and bring to light new perspectives and understandings within the field of classical Chinese dance.

DAN 663 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 aesthetic 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.

DAN 671 Internship (4 credits)

Fei Tian College offers internships so that graduate students can connect knowledge gained in on-campus courses 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. This course aims to help students think more about their career development. Other than completing assigned duties and demonstrating professional competencies, graduate students will need to evaluate themselves by reflecting 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 as they can enhance a student’s résumé and allow students to explore different fields of interest while gaining practical experience.