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Dance History: Global, Cultural and Historical Considerations (Part 1)

an image showing multiple dancers' bare feet. They are wearing blue pants.

Professor: Patricia Cohen

Tuition: $295 member / $370 non-member

This course is a pre-requisite for OPDI-111b,but can also be taken alone without 111b.  Learn more about OPDI-111b.

6 Weeks; 1.5 NDEO-Endorsed PDCs

This course is offered in two parts. It provides an overview of dance history in cultural and historical context, from its earliest documentation (pre-historic times) to current practices, including the emergence of
new dance forms through transmigration (e.g. Kathak to Flamenco, Clogging to Tap, Gumboot to Stepping). Global in its perspective, the course equally emphasizes Western and Non-Western dance forms. Using context as its primary lens, the course covers theatrical, folk and social forms of dance in socio-economic, religious, and political environments. The effects of culture on what and how we dance and the corresponding influence of dance on its society will also be explored. The course is intended to serve the needs of a wide variety of students including: 1) dance students, professional dancers and educators who desire a global overview of dance history, 2) students, professional dancers and educators who are curious about the interconnections of dance and society, 3) students who need a dance history prerequisite for further study, or 4) dance educators preparing for K-12 certification content exams in certain states such as New York.

This course is a pre-requisite for OPDI-111b,but can also be taken alone without 111b. In Part 1 of this course the student will explore the terminology and descriptions used in the study of dance history along with the functions that dance plays in our lives such as social, theatrical, political, religious, etc. The course will then move on to a review of Classical dance forms (e.g. ballet, Bharata Natya, etc.) and Blended dance forms (e.g. tap).

Book Required: Dils, A. and Albright, A. (2001). Moving History/Dancing Cultures. Middletown, CT. Wesleyan University Press.

Questions about this Course?  Email

Past Student Testimonials

"I really appreciated all the feed back Professor Cohen provided us with. She took time to respond with detail to each of our submissions, with clear praise and questions that could help us go deeper."

"Professor Cohen provided us with a rich variety of material from varying cultures and perspectives. These proved excellent points of departure from which to explore and research themes that were interesting to us."

"I really enjoyed the structure of the course. It was well designed -- the engagement with the readings, viewings, and each other's writings. I liked the peer to peer interaction portion and will take this idea with me into my own teaching."

"I like the way the class was structured starting with macro and micro approach to dance analysis then moving in to more specific thematic sub sets based on the purpose or ramifications of dances. I take this approach with my students already and appreciated the research based evidence and writings that helped go deeper in these concepts."

Professor Bio

Patricia Cohen, MA is an adjunct faculty member in NYU/Steinhardt’s MA dance education program, where she mentors student leadership to promote enhanced understanding of diversity and equity. Cohen develops and teaches courses for NDEO’s Online Professional Development Institute, including the Professional Teaching Standards for Dance Arts; Dance History: Global, Cultural and Historical Considerations, and two mini courses. She presents regularly at NDEO and other national and international conferences. Cohen contributed two chapters to the 2014 book, Jazz Dance: A History of Roots and Branches, Guarino and Oliver, editors. She co-created NDEO’s 2016 and 2019 special topics Jazz Dance conferences, which were based conceptually on the book and on contemporary issues in jazz dance. She contributes to and serves on the editorial board of NDEO’s Dance Education in Practice journal. A founding member of NDEO, Cohen has served on the NDEO Board of Directors. She received the 2011 NDEO Leadership Award. Pat teaches OPDI-111a&b: Dance History: Global, Cultural and Historical Considerations, OPDI-M2: Elements of Movement, and OPDI-M4: Developmental Domains.

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