School of Theatre & Dance
Dance in Paris

Semester in Paris Curriculum

All Paris Semester students must register for at least 13 credits in Dance and 4 credits in French language.  Students can choose which courses and number of credits fit best with the courses the student needs to transfer to their home institution, in any/all of the following courses offered during the Dance in Paris Semester Program (see course offerings below). Regardless of whichever courses the student decides to use for credit-transfer, the total number of registered credits must equal at least 13 credits in Dance and 4 credits in French language.
Even though there are many listed courses in the curriculum, all students are required to take all the course offerings/classes/workshops.  This kind of “layered, integrated” approach to learning means that the Paris Semester is effectively one course where the experience is synthesized throughout the semester through lectures, shared discussions and practice.  Students will have far more contact hours with the faculty than is quantifiable in 17 credits, which means the amount of credits a student needs to transfer should fill the home institution’s requirements up to 3 credits in several of the courses offered.  Syllabi for all courses will be provided upon registration, or earlier if there are questions by the home institution's Registrar or Dance faculty.

Here are the courses that will be offered in Spring 2018:
French Language and Culture  (4 credits, 60 contact hours)
The Étoile School (  is where students are enrolled in an immersive French language course at the beginning of the semester, but then move to a less intensive French learning process after the first three weeks. Students will be tested at weekly intervals, and evaluations are written by the teachers regarding students’ progress at the end of the grading process. The professor of French will also conduct “useful French” language classes for students at the Paris Opera, in dance technique classes and the supermarket.  At the end of the course of study, students receive a record of their progress. All students will be tested on their French language capacity before the semester starts to gauge their language level.  Students with considerable language skills will be leveled appropriately, though it is expected that most students will have little experience in French language beyond a year or two, at best.  Although the sit-down French classes will end early on the Program calendar, the French language, and the instruction of it, will be integrated throughout the semester.  Several of the technique classes and choreographic workshops will be taught in a mixture of French and English, and a few in French-only.
Dance History  (1 - 3 credits, 70 contact hours overlapping with World Dance and Culture)
This is a lecture/seminar course in major trends in dance history tracing the development of dance as an art form from its Western roots in the French court to the turn of the 20th century female emancipation during the Belle Époque to the most contemporary avant-garde choreographers on the Continent.  The course will look at specific dances from the Western theatre dance canon, as well as non-Western dance forms that have crisscrossed and influenced contemporary dance culture, while examining trends and unifying themes of selected major choreographers and styles of the last several centuries.   The course will investigate the political, social, cultural and reactionary elements that have come to define and redefine Dance. Accompanying selected readings, students will also see over 20 live dance performances and visit major sites (Château de Versailles, l’Opéra de Paris, etc.) that relate directly to the study of historical trends in dance.  This course will be taught by program director, Michael Foley, although the course dovetails with the World Dance and Culture course in many respects.
World Dance and Culture  (1 - 3 credits, 70 contact hours overlapping with Dance History)
This course has been designed to explore the origins and evolutions of dances created in French/Arabic-speaking Africa, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.  Students will attend workshops and performances that delve deeper into the dances across the French/Arabic-speaking diaspora, as well as engaging in direct discourse about politics, gender and democracy, which will accompany selected readings.  This course will be led by Wanjiru Kamuyu, although the course dovetails with the Dance History course in many respects.
Modern Dance  (1 - 3 credits, 60 contact hours)
This is an advanced level modern dance technique course focusing on the ability to process physical material efficiently while placing emphasis on the acquisition of technical skills, as well as enhancing one’s individual artistic sensibilities and exploring self-identification. The course meets three times a week for the entire semester, and classes are taught by esteemed European dance professionals including Julien Desplantez and Wanjiru Kamuyu.
Ballet (1 - 3 credits, 60 contact hours)
This course in Ballet is designed for serious, upper-level intermediate/advanced dancers. During this course, students will add to the material already gleaned from their ballet classes in their respective programs. The course meets three times a week for the entire semester, and classes are taught by European dance professionals including former Joffrey Ballet soloist, Jenny Sandler, and former Nederlands Dans Theater soloist and current Sasha Waltz company member, Kévin Quinaou.
Choreography (1 - 3 credits, 60 contact hours)
The emphasis of the Choreography class is the investigation of four different choreographic processes under four distinct choreographers over the course of the semester.  Students will be developing a different choreographic skill set with each choreographer. These choreographic workshops are offered over four separate long weekends so students can focus on the choreographic processes independently of technique classes.  Three of these choreographic workshops are “destination intensives” meaning that the students travel outside of Paris to study with these important European-based dance-makers:
  • Paris, France: Nathalie Pubellier (Artistic Director, Compagnie L’Estampe)
  • Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Maurice Causey (Former Ballet Frankfurt/Forsythe)
  • Berlin, Germany: Heidi Weiss (Co-Artistic Director, Weiss/Mann Productions)
  • Rouen, France: Nadine Beaulieu (Director, Compagnie Nadine Beaulieu)
Yoga (1 - 2 credits, 30 contact hours)
This course is designed to expose students to the basic principles and philosophy of yoga.  Through the analysis and explorations of breath, postures (asanas) and meditation, students will incorporate elements of the yogic philosophy toward the construction and development of their own personal yoga practice.  This course meets every Wednesday (one class in yoga philosophy and one flow class) over 11 weeks during the semester.  Classes are taught at the Centre de Yoga du Marais by the Centre’s owner, Michelle Jacobi, a longtime yoga teacher and yoga therapist.
Improvisation  (1 - 2 credits, 30 contact hours overlapping with Choreography and Modern Dance Technique)
The study and cultivation of improvisation as both a technical skill set and a choreographic devise will be integrated into several of the technique classes, workshops and choreography classes throughout the semester. Specific emphasis will be placed on bringing a dancer’s creative confidence to the surface through concepts, exercises and structures to help dancers develop skills for using improvisation as a tool for cultivating useful movement and thematic material for their own creative work.
Independent Project/Study course  (variable credit and contact hours)
Students needing to design a specific course tailored to their needs to fulfill course material at their home institution can propose coursework inside an “independent project” course, which can also be completed in Paris.
Students will also have a 20-class card at one of Paris’s premier dance studios, which features a wide range of professional-level technique classes from ballet to modern to hip-hop to jazz to theater-dance.  Classes are taught by some of the leading dance professionals in the world including Wayne Byars, Natsuko Amano, Michaël Cassans and Yanis Marshall, among dozens of others.  Attendance in these classes is a mandatory part of the coursework during the Paris Program, and counts toward the final grade in the technique classes.

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