Practice in Context 1

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSCC2DP1054

Semester and Year Offered: Monsoon

Course Coordinator and Team: Ranjana Dave and Mandeep Singh Raikhy

Email of course coordinator:,

Pre-requisites: This course is suitable for students on the MA Dance Practice and students from other MA programmes who are strongly invested in performance making.

Course Objectives/Description:


Practice in Context is a course that opens up a range of possible routes and modalities within the breadth of the field and prepares them to make informed choices regarding their area of research, their choice of internship and their potential career path.

This course comprises of 4 components in Semester 3. Each of these components is delivered as an intensive block allowing for an immersive experience.

Through these components students explore and interrogate a number of specific dimensions of the field, opening up the particular skills and challenges pertaining to each one. Study will involve collaborative working as well as independent research and development.

At the end of this course, students will be able demonstrate an understanding of the knowledges and skills pertaining to diverse dimensions of practice, cultivate an emergent creative voice, interrogate the role of the performer, and identify a specific interest in the field.


At the end of the course, students will be able to demonstrate:

  • A nuanced critical and analytical understanding of the knowledges and skills pertaining to diverse dimensions of dance practice including creation, pedagogy, arts management and advocacy
  • An emergent choreographic voice through multiple opportunities for creation
  • A critical and reflexive approach to dance practice and the skills to sustain this practice within the ecology of the field.
  • Development of leadership qualities through group creative work, and in taking ownership of one’s artistic practice
  • Self-directed learning, problem-solving and communication skills through collaborative working as well as independent research and development.
  • Lifelong learning and growth through the identification of a specific research interest, the cultivation of an emergent creative voice and an interrogation of the role of the performer.

Overall structure:

The course will be taught in 4 intensive blocks:

  • Creation Component
  • Dance and Movement with Communities
  • Shaping Future Ecologies: Advocacy & Policy
  • Encounters and Collaborations: Body in the City
  • In addition, students will also arrive at their own research questions in relation to their dissertation through guided sessions on research methodology.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

Weeks 1-5 (16 hours per week)

Creation Component

Weeks 1-2

The ‘What’ Workshop

In these sessions students will begin to identify and articulate some of the possible starting points in terms of their interests as choreographers/creators through rigorous physical explorations and class discussion.

  • ‘What motivates me to move?’
  • ‘What is it I want to communicate?’
  • ‘Which artists/works influences me and what is it about their work that speaks to me?’
  • ‘What is my relationship with my own history as a mover and how do I differentiate my own concerns from those of the artists who influence me?
  • ‘What to How’

These sessions follow the ‘What’ workshops. Having identified the nature of what it might be that one wants to make, the logical step would be to formulate and delineate frameworks of practical research, further specifying the ‘What’. The students will now look at establishing working methodologies through which to generate, refine and shape movement material in a way that is consistent and coherent with the concerns of the work.

Weeks 3-7

Studio Research

These sessions are designed to allow independent studio work in order to further develop their own movement research based on all the previous inputs. Here mentors and course leaders may be invited to give feedback on movement research and methodologies that emerge. At the end of the component, students will present a choreographic sketch, a positioning presentation and supporting portfolio presentation.

Workshops with and mentorship by visiting practitioners.

Weeks 6-8 (16 hours per week)

Dance and Movement with Communities

Critical and innovative thinking, facilitation skills and sensitivity are essential to work effectively in community settings. This component will touch upon some of these considerations and require students to bring their own experiences of embodiment to develop dance/movement activities that could be responsibly and powerfully implemented within a unique context. This curriculum of 28 hours consists of:

Layers of Dance/Movement Impact: the Psychological, Social, Emotional, Physical and

Mental and Their Interrelationship

Applications of Dance/Movement: Process/Outcomes

  • As an assessment tool
  • As a preventive tool
  • As a therapeutic tool
  • As a release/catharsis tool
  • Creative Forms/Styles/Structures of Dance/Movement

Week 9 (32 hours)

Shaping Future Ecologies: Advocacy & Policy

Using the particular relationships to embodiment proposed in the programme so far as a point of departure, this component invites a reimagining of the existing ecology of the field. Through simulations, discussions, and collaborative group explorations students will critically examine existing legal and policy frameworks. Students will be required to read short texts circulated as preparatory material prior to starting the component. In addition, they may find it useful to engage with the following background readings.

Week 9-12 (16 hours per week)

Encounters and Collaborations: Body in the City

This component takes choreographic and performance practice out of the studio/theatre context, and encourages students to critically consider what happens to work when it sits in the public sphere. Students will create short experiments collaboratively where they develop sensitivity to the challenges of working site-specifically, further refining their exploration of body, space and time.

Week 14

Consolidation Week and submission of dissertation proposals.

Assessment Details with weights:

  • Participation in classroom discussions (20%)
  • Classroom projects including the submission of oral presentations and a portfolio document for component 2 (20%)
  • Classroom projects including the submission of oral presentations and a portfolio document for component 3 (20%)
  • Presentation of final work in components 1 (20%)
  • Presentation of final work in component 4 (20%)

Reading List:

  • Fraleigh, Sondra Horton, and Penelope Hanstein, eds. Researching dance: Evolving modes of inquiry. University of Pittsburgh Pre, 1998.
  • Rethorst, Susan. A choreographic mind: autobodygraphical writings. Theatre Academy Helsinki, 2012.
  • Stuart, Meg. Are We Here Yet?. Ed. Jeroen Peeters. Presses du réel, 2010.
  • Tufnell, Miranda, and Chris Crickmay. Body, Space, Image: notes towards improvisation and performance. Dance Books Limited, 1993.
  • Green, Jill. (2000). Power, Service and Reflexivity in a Community Dance Project. Research in Dance Education, 1, 53-67.
  • Kashyap, Tripura. (2005). My Body, My Wisdom: A Handbook of Creative Dance Therapy. India: Penguin Books.
  • Nelson-Jones, Richard. (2015). Basic Counselling Skills: A Helper’s Manual. SAGE Publications Ltd., 4th ed.
  • Simmonds, Jacqueline & Poynor, Helen. (1997). Dancers and Communities: A Collection of Writings about Dance as a Community Art. Australian Dance Council, Ausdance, (NSW).
  • Craik, Jennifer. Re-visioning arts and cultural policy: Current impasses and future directions. ANU Press, 2007.
  • LeBaron, Michelle. Bridging cultural conflicts: A new approach for a changing world. Jossey-Bass, 2003.
  • LeBaron, Michelle, et al. "Conflict across Cultures: A Unique Experience of Briding Differences." (2006).
  • Levine, Stewart. Getting to Resolution: Turning Conflict Into Collaboration (Large Print 16pt). ReadHowYouWant. com, 2011.
  • Khanna, Tarun, et al. "Russell Reynolds Associates--1999." Harvard Business School Case (1995): 100-039.
  • Bachelard, Gaston, and Maria Jolas. The poetics of space. Vol. 330. Beacon Press, 1994.
  • Tuan, Yi-Fu. Space and place: The perspective of experience. U of Minnesota Press, 1977.
  • Tufnell, Miranda, and Christopher Crickmay. A widening field: journeys in body and imagination. Dance, 2004.