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Students are required to watch a pre-recorded (live) dance performance.
The main objective of this assignment is for you to view a professional dance performance and to experience the dance for yourself as an audience member. The assignment will be graded based largely on how well you follow all of the instructions outlined below. Points will be deducted for failure to complete the assignment as directed. So please read the instructions carefully and ask about anything that is not clear to you.
As you will be playing the role of dance critic, you will need to do some research on the background of the dance company and/or the choreographer whose work you watched. That information must be cited correctly using MLA guidelines. However, this is NOT a research paper. Much of what you will write is based on your understanding and experience of the show. DO NOT include any information or cite a published dance review of the performance. All material must come from you and be based on your experience alone.
Please be aware that your work may be checked for plagiarism. Plagiarism is a serious offense and will affect your grade on this assignment, your grade for this course, and/or your standing at the college.
The Dance Criticism Paper should:
(1) directly address the performance and
(2) involve a critique of the performance.
Your Dance Criticism Paper should be 2 pages, a maximum of 4 pages.
You must include a Works Cited Page.
Even though a dance critic reflects your point of view, you must base your opinions and examinations on the elements of choreographer and performance as outline in your textbook. Use those terms and concepts as a guiding tool in structuring your critique.
Please keep in mind that the reader of your review may not have seen the particular concert that you are reviewing so when voicing an opinion on certain elements in the show, you must describe the scene in the dance that helps support your viewpoint. For example, “the dance seemed to be about the joy of Spring evidenced by exuberant leaps and costumes flowing with pastel colors.”
While watching the production, chose three elements to focus on.
Follow the directions below. Your paper must include each of the sections listed.
Statement of Event
Your opening paragraph should state the name of the dance company and it needs to tell us where and when the performance took place. You will need to include some historical or informational tidbits about the company (these can be gathered from the theatre, the program, or online).
Identification of Specific Dance
Select at least 1 dance from the long concert or list the 3 elements from an evening-long work that you respond to and/or recognize. Provide the following information about the work selected:
Name of the Piece
Date the work was created (if provided)
Name of Musical Artist (if provided)
List any media (set design, sculpture, video) used to create the work, and the artist’s name (if applicable and provided)
You should be able to find all this information in the program.
Description of Specific Work of Dance
Describe the dance identified above (as if you are describing it to someone who hasn’t seen it). In other words, what happens during the piece? Include information on the subject matter, formal elements – music and costumes – and principles of choreography. Use terms that you learned in class when appropriate.
However, be sure to do more than just list a lot of terms. Explain how the terms apply to this particular dance piece. Someone reading your description should have a mental image of how the piece was performed. This description must be very clear and should not include any personal opinions. What you are writing is a literal description of the dance performed, from beginning to end.
Analysis of Specific Work of Dance/Element
Your comments about the dance can be interspersed within the description and any personal opinion that you share should include visual evidence from the choreography or you may include your comments at the end of the paragraph.
Go beyond just a general description of the dance. Consider and address the following questions and ideas:
What was the piece about? What is the choreographer trying to do? Change your point of view? Tell a story? Create a feeling? Experiment in public with one or several elements of dance (i.e. spatial arrangements, timing, groupings, partnering, new movement styles, props)?
The movement vocabulary or style used and how it related to the theme of the dance. Were the elements used suitable for the theme? Why? Did the artist push the subject matter or rely on available stereotypes and obvious dance steps or clichés?
The technical ability of the performers in carrying out the vision of the choreographer. Were the dancers technically up to the task? Did the group look well-rehearsed?
Whether the music was suitable for the dance. Costumes and how they related to the theme or story.
Were the sets and props necessary and effective for the dance? Why?
Whether the idea of the piece was clear and effective. If so, why? If not, why not?
What do you think the artist’s intention was? Do you think he/she succeeded?
You may also add some comments on areas not mentioned above that interested you about the dance.
If you are watching a full-length production, you must choose at least 3 elements to discuss using this format. A full-length production is one that is 30 minutes or longer.
Describe your general experience of watching a professional dance performance. Include details that summarize your appraisal of the concert. You may wish to discuss the following:
Whether the program was varied enough,
Whether the dances were too long or too short,
What is your response to this dance? Describe why you like or dislike about it?
Does it evoke any emotion?
For example: Do you like or relate to the subject matter?
What do you think the dance is about or what is its meaning?
Address the Performance as a Global Learning Tool
How does the performance you selected play a role in teaching diversity, human interaction locally and globally, and addressing world issues?
Guidelines for Viewing a Dance Performance
When writing a dance critique, there are many things to consider prior to the performance. For instance:
Who is performing?
Are they professionals or amateurs?
Is it a new work or classic choreography reset?
Who are the choreographers?
Are they known for other works?
It is important to meditate carefully on the performance prior to seeing it so you can take as much from it as possible.
Be an active participant, not a passive consumer.
Work hard at viewing the piece as the choreographer did in making the work.
Consider the style of dance you are watching.
Is the performance experimental or conventional?
What are the cultural implications, if any?
How do elements of the performance, such as lighting, scenery, and costume, enhance the choreography?
If the performance is abstract, take as much as you can from it and try to formulate your idea of it. Remember, there is no right answer since art is abstract and everyone responds to art differently.
Write the paper as soon as possible after you watch the performance to prevent forgetting anything.
Here is the piece: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkAHSXki4eI