For more information on courses and major requirements, please see the academic catalog.

Course Descriptions for 2016–2017

  • THEA 110: Beginning Acting

    Introduces students to fundamental acting skills, including preliminary physical and vocal training, improvisational techniques, and basic scene work. The course includes analysis of plays as bases for performance, with a strong emphasis on characterization. 6 credit; Arts Practice; offered Fall 2016, Spring 2017 · R. Bechtel
  • THEA 115: Principles of Design

    Explores the process of communicating ideas and experience through visual means. Whether that process begins with a written text, choreographed movement or abstract idea, such elements as color, shape, space, value and balance inevitably come into play in its visual representation. This course teaches these fundamental principles and how to apply them in practice. Principles of Design is an essential course for students interested in any aspect of theater, dance, or performance. 6 credit; Arts Practice; offered Fall 2016 · M. Kelling
  • THEA 185: The Speaking Voice

    This course seeks to provide a practical understanding of the human voice, its anatomy, functioning and the underlying support mechanisms of body and breath. Using techniques rooted in the work of Berry, Linklater and Rodenburg, the course will explore the development of physical balance and ease and the awareness of the connection between thinking and breathing that will lead to the effortless, powerful and healthy use of the voice in public presentations and in dramatic performance. 6 credit; Arts Practice; offered Fall 2016 · D. Wiles
  • THEA 190: Carleton Players Production

    Each term students may participate in one Players production, a hands-on, faculty-supervised process of conceptualization, construction, rehearsal, and performance. Credit is awarded for a predetermined minimum of time on the production, to be arranged with faculty. Productions explore our theatre heritage from Greek drama to new works. Students may participate through audition or through volunteering for production work. 1 credit; S/CR/NC; Arts Practice; offered Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017 · R. Bechtel, P. Hecker, D. Wiles
  • THEA 225: Theater History and Theory

    The theater has often had a vexed and volatile relationship with its cultural moment, and its history is as much one of revolution as of evolution. This course will look across the broad contours of theater history to examine the questions and challenges that consistently recur, including the relationship between representation and the real, between politics and aesthetics, and between the text and the body. Historical eras covered will include ancient Greece, medieval Japan, early modern Europe, and twentieth and twenty-first century Europe and America. Some class time will be spent doing performative explorations of historical texts. 6 credit; Literary/Artistic Analysis, Writing Requirement; offered Fall 2016 · R. Bechtel
  • THEA 226: Avant-garde Theater and Performance

    "Make it new!" was the rallying cry of the modernists, and ever since, the theater has never ceased its efforts to break both aesthetic and social conventions, boundaries, and taboos. Beginning with some of the important precursors of the twentieth century--Artaud, Brecht, and Meyerhold--this course will explore the history and theory of the contemporary avant-garde, charting the rise of interdisciplinary "performance" and exploring such topics as politics and aesthetics, site-specificity, body art, solo performance, and multimedia. Students will also spend significant time creating their own performance works.

    6 credit; Literary/Artistic Analysis; not offered 2016–2017
  • THEA 229: Makeup Design

    Theory and practice of two and three dimensional makeup design for the performer. This course explores corrective, character and specialized makeup techniques as well as rendering techniques. 3 credit; Arts Practice; offered Spring 2017 · M. Kelling
  • THEA 233: Sculptural Space and Performance Design

    In this course we will explore set design from the perspective of site-specific sculpture. Working in the theater at the Weitz Center for Creativity we will collaboratively design and help construct the set for the upcoming student production. The work in this class will be front-loaded (mostly weeks one to six). Several field trips and group work outside of the scheduled class time will be required.

    Prerequisites: Theater, construction, or sculpture experience. 3 credit; S/CR/NC; Arts Practice; offered Winter 2017 · S. Mohring
  • THEA 234: Lighting Design for the Performing Arts

    An introduction to and practice in stage lighting for the performing arts. Coursework will cover the function of light in design; lighting equipment and technology; communication graphics through practical laboratory explorations. Application of principles for performance events and contemporary lighting problems will be studied through hands-on application.

    6 credit; Arts Practice; offered Spring 2017
  • THEA 237: Scenic Design for the Performing Arts

    This course will focus on the art and practice of creating scenic designs for the performing arts. It will introduce basic design techniques while exploring the collaborative process involved in bringing scenery from concept to the stage. The course will include individual and group projects utilizing collage, sketching, and model-making. 3 credit; Arts Practice; not offered 2016–2017
  • THEA 238: Costume Design for Theater

    An introductory course in costume design. This course will examine the basic concepts of design and how they apply to costumes. In depth analysis of the script and characters will lead to an exploration of how costume design can be used to enhance the production. Basic rendering techniques and clothing history will also be studied. 3 credit; Arts Practice; not offered 2016–2017
  • THEA 239: Topics in Theater: Costume Design

    A series of specialized courses in costume design and technical theater. The topic of this course is determined according to the opportunities offered by the departmental production of the term and the needs of the students, with consideration to the rotation of the topics. Topics offered may include: Costume Construction, Costume Patterning, Millinery, Mask Making, Textile Manipulation, Fabric Art and Clothing History. Please see the courses page of the Department of Theater and Dance website for further description of the current term's topic. 3 credit; Arts Practice; not offered 2016–2017
    Extended departmental description for THEA 239

    The Topic for Winter 2016:

    This course will explore a variety of techniques that fall under the heading of Fabric Art , Modification & Manipulation. Some of the techniques we will explore are: Texturizing, Image Transfer, Dyeing, Random Cut Fabric Weaving, Fabric Painting and possibly Silk Screening.

    The Topics courses are always directly connected to a Theater and Dance Department production. This course will design and make the fabric used for the costumes of a Spring Concert dance, choreographed by Jane Shockley for Semaphore. Homework for this project may need to be completed during ‘lab’ hours.

    Each student will also make a ‘book’ of technique samples and at least one personal project.

  • THEA 242: Modern American Drama

    A study of a selection of significant American plays from Eugene O'Neill's Hairy Ape (1920) to August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean (2003) in the context of larger American themes and cultural preoccupations. The premise of this course is that these plays define the modern American theatre. By studying them we will gain a deeper understanding of American theater and the links that connect it to the larger culture and to some of the transformative events of American history.

    6 credit; Literary/Artistic Analysis; not offered 2016–2017
  • THEA 245: Directing

    Although many directors begin their artistic careers in some other discipline (usually acting), there is a set of skills particular to the director's art that is essential to creating life on stage. Central is the ability to translate dramatic action and narrative into the dimensions of theatrical time and space: the always-present challenge of "page to stage." In this course, students will learn methods of text analysis strategic to this process as well as the rudiments of using that analysis to generate effective staging and powerful acting. Having mastered the fundamentals, students will then explore and enhance their theatrical imagination, that creative mode unique to the medium of live performance. Class time will be devoted to work on three major projects and almost daily exercises.

    6 credit; Arts Practice; offered Winter 2017 · R. Bechtel
  • THEA 246: Playwriting

    A laboratory to explore the craft of playwriting, concentrating on structure, action and character. The class uses games, exercises, scenes, with the goal of producing a short play by the end of the term. 6 credit; Arts Practice; not offered 2016–2017
  • THEA 255: Acting Shakespeare

    While widely read, Shakespeare's plays were written to be performed. Students in this class will explore approaches to performing Shakespeare using rehearsal techniques developed in British and American theaters with an emphasis on the use of the First Folio. Students will analyze texts and create performances that examine Shakespeare's use of rhetoric, imagery and poetic structure while examining some of his principle themes. Video and audio recordings will be used to develop a critical perspective on acting Shakespeare with an emphasis on the differing demands of live and recorded performance. 6 credit; Arts Practice; not offered 2016–2017
  • THEA 312: Problems in Acting

    Topics in Theater Acting will encompass a series of specialized courses in acting at the advanced level. Topics offered may include non-Western performance forms, Restoration comedy, Theater of the Absurd, Chekhov, and other period- or genre-based modes.

    Prerequisites: Theater 110 6 credit; Arts Practice; offered Winter 2017
  • THEA 315: Creativity and Aesthetics

    With the rise of the "creative economy" and the "creative class," "creativity" itself has become a buzzword. But what do we talk about when we talk about creativity? This course will begin with the premise that creativity is not necessarily an innate attribute, but one that can be cultivated, and students will explore and expand their own creative resources. Importantly, we will explore the intersection of personal creativity and cultural aesthetics. How is creativity released, restrained, or channeled through aesthetics? In addition to theoretical readings, student artists of all kinds will have the opportunity to create a variety of projects. 6 credit; Arts Practice; not offered 2016–2017
  • THEA 320: Live Performance and Digital Media

    Digital media has so infiltrated live performance that it has become almost as common as sets, lights, and costumes. With video technology becoming increasingly powerful and affordable, the screen has become ubiquitous on stage, sometimes eclipsing the performers. Media culture has also become a recurrent subject for critical exploration both on and off stage. In this class, students will learn the software and hardware skills necessary to incorporate digital media into performance projects, as well as the historical and theoretical context necessary to bring a critical approach to their work. Prerequisites: Any course in Theater Arts, Dance, Cinema and Media Studies, Studio Art, creative writing or musical composition. 6 credit; Arts Practice; offered Spring 2017 · R. Bechtel
  • THEA 345: Devised Theater and Collective Creation

    A usual evening in the theater consists of seeing a text--the play--staged by a director and performed by actors. While this is certainly a collaborative endeavor, recent decades have seen a marked increase in "devised theater," a mode intended to upset the traditional hierarchies of theatrical production. In practical terms, this means the abandonment of the extant text in favor of a performance "score"--sometimes textual, often physical--developed improvisationally in rehearsal by the performers. This course will explore the methods and approaches used to work in this collective and highly creative manner, and will culminate in a public performance. We will also discuss the history and cultural politics that inform devised practice. Prerequisites: Theater 110, Dance 150 or 190 6 credit; Arts Practice; not offered 2016–2017
  • THEA 351: Women Playwrights/Women's Roles

    A study of images of women in plays by Shakespeare, Ibsen, Strindberg, Tennessee Williams, and a number of women playwrights from Hellman and Clare Booth Luce to Caryl Churchill to Ntozaue Shange. 6 credit; Literary/Artistic Analysis, Intercultural Domestic Studies; not offered 2016–2017
  • THEA 400: Integrative Exercise

    1-6 credit; S/NC; offered Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017
  • DANC 107: Ballet I

    A beginning course in ballet technique, including basic positions, beginning patterns and exercises. Students develop an awareness of the many ways their body can move, an appreciation of dance as an artistic expression and a recognition of the dancer as an athlete. 1 credit; S/CR/NC; Arts Practice; offered Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017 · J. Bader
  • DANC 115: Cultures of Dance

    The study of dance is the study of culture. We will look at dance as culturally-coded, embodied knowledge and investigate dance forms and contexts across the globe. We will examine, cross-culturally, the function of dance in the lives of individuals and societies through various lenses including feminist, africanist and ethnological perspectives. We will read, write, view videos and performances, discuss and move. This course in dance theory and practice will include a weekly movement lab. No previous dance experience necessary.

    6 credit; Humanistic Inquiry, International Studies; offered Winter 2017 · J. Howard
  • DANC 147: Moving Anatomy

    This course seeks to provide an underlying awareness of body structure and function. Using movement to expand knowledge of our anatomy will encourage participants to integrate information with experience. Heightened body awareness and class studies are designed to activate the general learning process. 1 credit; S/CR/NC; Arts Practice; offered Spring 2017 · J. Shockley
  • DANC 148: Modern Dance I: Technique and Theory

    A physical exploration at the introductory level of the elements of dance: time, motion, space, shape and energy. Students are challenged physically as they increase their bodily awareness, balance, control, strength and flexibility and get a glimpse of the art of dance. 1 credit; S/CR/NC; Arts Practice; offered Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017 · D. McCoy
  • DANC 150: Contact Improvisation

    This is a course in techniques of spontaneous dancing shared by two or more people through a common point of physical contact. Basic skills such as support, counterbalance, rolling, falling and flying will be taught and developed in an environment of mutual creativity. 1 credit; S/CR/NC; Arts Practice; offered Fall 2016, Winter 2017 · J. Shockley
  • DANC 190: Fields of Performance

    This introductory course in choreography explores games, structures, systems and sports as sources and locations of movement composition and performance. Readings, viewings and discussion of postmodernist structures and choreographers as well as attendance and analysis of dance performances and sports events will be jumping off point for creative process and will pave the way for small individual compositions and one larger project. In an atmosphere of play, spontaneity and research participants will discover new ways of defining dance, pushing limits and bending the rules. Guest choreographers and coaches will be invited as part of the class. Open to all movers. No previous experience necessary. 6 credit; Arts Practice; offered Spring 2017 · J. Howard
  • DANC 200: Modern Dance II: Technique and Theory

    A continuation of Level I with more emphasis on the development of technique and expressive qualities. 1 credit; S/CR/NC; Arts Practice; offered Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017 · D. McCoy
  • DANC 205: Winter Dance

    Intensive rehearsal and performance of a work commissioned from a professional guest choreographer. Open to all levels. 1 credit; S/CR/NC; Arts Practice; offered Winter 2017
  • DANC 206: Spring Dance

    Rehearsal and full concert performance of student dance works created during the year and completed in the spring term. Open to all levels. Prerequisites: Dance 204, 205, 214, or 215 1 credit; S/CR/NC; Arts Practice; offered Spring 2017 · J. Howard, J. Shockley
  • DANC 208: Ballet II

    For the student with previous ballet experience. This course emphasizes articulation of technique and development of ballet vocabulary. 1 credit; S/CR/NC; Arts Practice; offered Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017 · J. Bader
  • DANC 215: Winter Dance, Student Choreography

    For students enrolled in Dance 205, supervised student choreography with two public showings. Prerequisites: Dance 205 1 credit; S/CR/NC; Arts Practice; offered Winter 2017
  • DANC 253: Movement for the Performer

    This course investigates the structure and function of the body through movement. Applying a variety of somatic techniques (feldenkrais, yoga, improvisation, body-mind centering). The emphasis will be to discover effortless movement, balance in the body and an integration of self in moving. 3 credit; Arts Practice; offered Winter 2017 · J. Shockley
  • DANC 266: Reading The Dancing Body: Topics in Dance History

    This course will look at dance as a field in which bodies articulate a history of sexuality, nation, gender, and race. Students will survey a range of dance forms in the United States and indigenous communities of the Americas as well as the Caribbean, South Asia, and South Africa. Specific explorations will include classical Indian dance, Native American performance, jazz, contact improvisation, and Hip-Hop performance. Through reading comprehension, written reflections and analyses, classroom dialogue, and oral presentation work, we will outline dance history in terms of anti-colonial and civil rights movements from Modernism through Post-Modernism—that is, from the imperialism at the dawn of the twentieth century to current late-capitalism. Students will be introduced to interdisciplinary methodologies in dance studies by learning to: conduct dance analysis in their accounts for gesture and social context; theorize according to the intersection of multiple social categories; and write autoethnographies or critical inquiries into personal experience.

    6 credit; Humanistic Inquiry, Intercultural Domestic Studies; offered Fall 2016 · A. Williams
  • DANC 268: The Body as Choreographer

     "The pleasure of the text is that moment when my body pursues its own ideas-for my body does not have the same ideas I do." -Roland Barthes. Through guided movement sessions we will explore the body as a source for ideas. Using "Authentic Movement," experiential anatomy practices and compositional strategies, students will generate several small compositions and one larger gallery project exploring alternative spaces and the influx of various media (movement, text, images, technology, objects, sites, fabric). This choreography "lab" will help answer the question: How do you make a dance? For both beginning and advanced dance students.  6 credit; Arts Practice; offered Winter 2017 · J. Howard
  • DANC 300: Modern Dance III: Technique and Theory

    Intensive work on technical, theoretical, and expressive problems for the experienced dancer. 1 credit; S/CR/NC; Arts Practice; offered Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017 · J. Shockley
  • DANC 301: Contemporary Styles and Techniques: African Dance

    A physical exploration of the technical, theoretical and stylistic bases of different approaches to modern dance movement chosen yearly from such techniques as: Body Mind Centering; Limon; Cunningham; Graham; African-Caribbean. Prerequisites: Some previous dance experience. 2 credit; S/CR/NC; Arts Practice; offered Fall 2016 · W. McClusky, J. Howard
  • DANC 309: Ballet III

    This is an advanced class for students who have some capabilities and proficiency in ballet technique. Content is sophisticated and demanding in its use of ballet vocabulary and musical phrasing. 1 credit; S/CR/NC; Arts Practice; offered Spring 2017 · J. Bader
  • DANC 350: Semaphore Repertory Dance Company

    Provides advanced dance students with an intensive opportunity to develop as performers in professional level dances. Skills to be honed are: the dancer as "tool" and contributor to the process of art-making; defining individual technical and expressive gifts; working in a variety of new technical and philosophical dance frameworks. In addition to regular training during the academic terms, participation in a "preseason" rehearsal period before fall term is required. A few pieces of student choreography will be accepted for repertory. The group produces an annual concert, performs in the Twin Cities and makes dance exchanges with other college groups. Prerequisites: Audition required 1 credit; S/CR/NC; Arts Practice; offered Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017 · J. Howard, J. Shockley