Joe Madrigal (department head)

Art and performance training expands the capabilities of the human body and imagination, developing capacities for persistence, invention, and communication. Dance minors learn self-confidence and refine their ability to conceive and enact new ideas, practices, and solutions through the performative body. Collaborative performances and studio environments stimulate active learning, and promote body and mind development toward reflecting what it means to be human. This approach equips students with skills for dealing with a complex world, and engaging with and contributing to the dance world as performers, choreographers, teachers, and collaborators.

The dance minor is appropriate for the student who is continuing their study of dance, reentering dance, or accessing dance for the first time. The discipline of dance at Luther is based in the experiential and analytical study of movement fundamentals, three courses rooted in somatic (body based) rather than dance styles education. These three courses educate the dance artist through the paired principles of: alignment and function; range and efficiency; and vocabulary and intention. Along with movement fundamentals, contact improvisation is a core component in shaping this holistic and distinct foundation for dance technique. This somatic approach to dance brings suppleness and refinement to skills attained in prior studio training and daily life movements while adding sophistication to dance making and performing.

Dance minors become dance artists, dance or movement teachers, or continue on to become dance scholars. Dance minors pursue graduate and professional studies, certification and employment in performance; choreography; dance or movement education; dance curation; dance studio or company management; somatic movement practices; somatic psychology; movement, dance, or massage therapy; medicine; and chiropractic arts.

Required for a minor: A minimum of 20 credits in dance. These 20 credits must include at least one 300-level course or three DAN-100 courses.

Dance Management Concentration: To complete the dance management concentration a student is required to complete a major in management and a minor in dance.

View program learning goals for an explanation of learning outcomes in Dance. 

Dance Courses

DAN 100 Performance Practicum

  • 0 hours
  • Fulfills: Skills, Human Expression

An intensive experiential research ensemble devoted to creating, developing, performing and producing a faculty-directed dance performance. Students in this course will be involved in research and theoretical discussion supporting active involvement in a collaborative process of performance and production. Course may be repeated an unlimited number of times (including more than one in a semester). Enrollment by audition or consent of instructor, will be limited to performing members of the ensemble for the production.

DAN 105 Movement Fundamentals I: Practices of Alignment and Function

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Expression

An introductory movement course exploring vital integrative connections between somatic practice and performance preparation. Somatic skills including dynamic alignment and functional anatomy provide the groundwork for embodied movement exploration. The study and practice of dynamic alignment and embodied anatomy unfolds new relationships between physical function and expression. (Same as IDS 105)

DAN 130 Contact Improvisation

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Skills, Human Behavior, Human Expression

This course is an introduction to the fundamentals of contact improvisation, a dance form that explores elements of physical contact among participants while challenging preconceptions about the gendered body. Emphasis will be placed on finding mindful and physical ways to prepare to be "ready" to dance: cultivating a quiet core amidst the wilderness of physical disorientation; finding the root of levity, contact point, weight sharing, and physical pathways into the floor and air; and focusing attention on the details of sensation. Students will engage in egalitarian practices for building physical skills of trust, receptivity, and responsiveness, as well as physical tolerance for waiting in the unknown.(Same as IDS 130)

DAN 140 Identity & Movement Analysis

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Expression—Primary Texts

This course introduces the student to basic principles and elements underlying dance and movement expression and experience for analyzing the moving body in the spontaneous to the performative. Students investigate from the role of "witness-spectator" or "participant-observer" how the body is both generative to identity and a location for identity through various structures (both live and recorded) of mundane, social, cultural, theatrical, ritualized, dance and movement practices. The relationship between the inner motivation of movement and the outer expression of the body is analyzed to understand intellectual, emotional, and physical responses.

DAN 205 Movement Fundamentals II: Practices of Range and Efficiency

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Expression
  • Prerequisites: DAN 105

An intermediate movement course building technical practice from basic somatic skills. This technique course supports awareness of individual movement patterns and sequences allowing for the development of new movement possibilities. This increased range and efficiency opens the door to new levels of creative expression in communication and performance. This course may be repeated twice. (Same as IDS 205)

DAN 264 Performance Research: The Happenings Course

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Expression

This experiential studio and field course will provide the student with theories, practices and performance opportunities based in creating site-specific "happenings" both on and off campus, inspired by the (American) avant-garde theatre. Students will configure and implement performance scores based in concepts of attracting attention and creating a gathering within the mundane domain. The intensity of the research is based in uncompromising realism and raw and unmediated ways in which artists confront experiences in collusion with audiences from real time in order to investigate new levels of understanding perceptual or psychological states of being human. This performance research attempts to open a disquieting discourse on contemporary daily life. Recommended for the student interested in performance and art, the historical (American) avant-garde and creating community. (Same as IDS 264)

DAN 305 Movement Fundamentals III: Practices of Vocabulary and Intention

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Expression
  • Prerequisites: DAN 205

This is an advanced movement course focusing on crystallizing performance skills through the development of individual movement versatility and invention. Practice of technique builds from somatic skills and contemporary dance vocabulary through both technical phrasing and improvisational scoring. Depth of integrative practice prepares the mover to refine movement vocabulary and clarify movement vocabulary and intention. This course may be repeated. (Same as IDS 305)

DAN 352 Moving History

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Expression—Primary Texts, Historical

This course studies a breadth of representative dance artists and practices from the ancient period to the present in order to understand intercultural and cross-cultural developments in both American and World Dance. African, American, Asian, Indigenous, and European dance forms are included, with a focus on figures and conventions which questions the construction of history and the canonization of certain dances, dance artists, and points of view. Dance and choreography are analyzed in relation to their historical, artistic, social, political, and global contexts. Depth is accomplished through individual scholarly research projects on a subject of the student's choosing, and experiential projects focused on a particular dance artist or artistic concept.

DAN 360 Dance Composition

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Expression
  • Prerequisites: DAN 101, DAN 105, THE 127, or ART 104

This course introduces the basic tools of dance-making, while exploring the development and crafting of movement within time, space, and design elements. Consideration of compositional methods in other art forms-theatre, music, visual art, literature-will inform the development of skills for creating dance/movement events. Students will prepare solo and group studies for informal performances and observe, discuss, and critique their work as they learn how to see dance as well as make it. (Same as IDS 360)