Course Descriptions

Course Catalog for THEATER & DANCE
THDN 103
Basic Acting
An introduction to the basic elements of acting. Students will work on releasing tension, developing their powers of concentration, promoting spontaneity through improvisation, and exploring a systematic approach to preparing a role for performance. This course is a prerequisite for all upper-level acting courses.
1.00 units, Studio
THDN 106
Elements of Movement: As Language/As Art
An introduction to the basic elements of movement as the foundation for exploring such topics as body image, interpersonal communication, creative expression, and dance as performance.
1.00 units, Studio
THDN 107
Introduction to Performance
Utilizing improvisational structures, students will explore the performing body through movement, voice, character, and physical space as the basic elements of performance. Looking at some of the earliest performance traditions throughout the world, the course will examine the notion of performance as transformative experience and the dancer/actor as the unified source of performance. Specific contexts for performance will be studied, referencing Australian aboriginal, Asian, and Native American traditions, and how these influence and redefine the performer’s intention will be explored. Finally, students will establish a working vocabulary for the performer that evolves out of their active experience and analysis.
1.00 units, Studio
THDN 109
Performance
Major performance participation in a faculty-directed dance showcase concert or a non-faculty-directed Theater and Dance Department production. Students participating in the production should see the show's director to arrange for .25 credit. Do not register for this course during regular Trinity College registration.
0.25 units, Studio
THDN 109
Production
Major technical role in a faculty-directed dance showcase concert or a non-faculty-directed Theater and Dance Department production. Students participating in the production should see the show's technical director to arrange for .25 credit. Do not register for this course during regular Trinity College registration.
0.25 units, Studio
THDN 110
Theatrical Traditions: Classical to the Early Avant-Garde
An exploration of the fundamental components of theatrical performance: character, action, voice, gesture, and stage space. Students will be introduced to a wide range of dramatic texts, choreographies, and performance practices from both Western and non-Western traditions. The course will include a practicum component.
1.00 units, Lecture
THDN 121
Introduction to Media Studies
This course is designed to examine the language and iconography of mediated forms of communication through an interdisciplinary historical and theoretical framework. To this end we will define "media" broadly as including practices ranging from print and theatrical, to cinematic and digital forms and practices. Through the readings, lectures, and discussions, as well as their own writing, students will have the opportunity to analyze various media texts and critically explore the role of media in their own lives.
1.00 units, Lecture
THDN 123
Introduction to Ballet
Designed for the beginning-level dancer. This course combines an introduction to the fundamentals of ballet dance technique with an integrating seminar on the history and aesthetics of classical and contemporary ballet.
1.00 units, Studio
THDN 130
Jazz Dance Technique I
For the beginning dancer; a study of the fundamentals of technique and alignment as the basis for an introduction to jazz dance movement vocabulary.
0.50 units, Studio
THDN 131
Modern Dance Technique I
For the beginning dancer; a study of the fundamentals of technique and alignment as the basis for an introduction to modern dance movement vocabulary.
0.50 units, Studio
THDN 132
Introduction to Modern Dance
Designed for the beginning-level dancer. This course combines an introduction to the fundamentals of modern dance technique with an integrating seminar on the history and aesthetics of contemporary dance and choreography.
1.00 units, Studio
THDN 205
Intermediate Acting
Students will continue to refine their ability to portray character through movement and gesture, incorporating both classical and contemporary methods of performance training.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Theater and Dance 103 or permission of instructor.
1.00 units, Studio
THDN 207
Improvisation
The study of the spontaneous exploration and creation of movement as the basis for understanding the process of creative problem-solving and performance-making. Students will examine the concepts of time, weight, space, and flow; the fundamentals of breathing and centering; vocal and rhythmic elements; and the basic components of composition and design that underlie the crafting of dance/theater in the moment.
1.00 units, Studio
THDN 209
African Dance
Energetic and vibrant, African dance embodies joyful expression of the spirit through the physical body. This class provides an introduction to West African dance and culture. Students will learn steps from traditional dances from Guinea, West Africa; the role dance plays in Guinean culture; and develop an understanding of the communication between the drum and the dancer. The class includes a performance requirement, but no previous dance experience is necessary. Also listed under international studies/African studies.
0.50 units, Studio
THDN 209
Indian Dance: Kathak Tradition
Expressive, sharp, alluring, and precise, Kathak lives today as an important school of classical dance that originated over 2,000 years ago. Evolving from a blend of Middle Eastern styles and Indian temple dance, Kathak combines dance, drama, and music to tell a story. Modern Kathak emphasizes geometrical patterns and design with special emphasis on footwork and intricate rhythmic patterns. The course covers specific techniques as well as the cultural context from which they evolved. Also listed under international studies/Asian studies.
0.50 units, Studio
THDN 209
Principles of Movement
An introduction to body alignment, flexibility, and the basic principles of movement. The course will include stretch, placement, yoga, floor barre, and breath work. For dancers, actors, athletes, and those interested in experiencing the moving body.
0.50 units, Studio
THDN 209
Hip Hop
A course in hip hop dance technique open to students of all level of experience. The course will also include discussion of the influence of Africanist traditions on contemporary Black dance and popular culture.
0.50 units, Studio
THDN 209
Movement Fundamentals: Modern Dance
A basic movement course with emphasis on alignment, breath, gesture, and physical presence.
0.50 units, Studio
THDN 209
Movements Fundamentals: Ballet
An introduction to ballet movement vocabulary with emphasis on alignment, balance, extension, and physical presence.
0.50 units, Studio
THDN 210
Contemporary Theater History
This course will provide a detailed study of the plays, performances, and techniques of major figures in world theater from the early 20th century to the present day. Artists examined include: Arthur Miller, Andre Breton, Anton Chekhov, Samuel Beckett, and Tatsumi Hijikata among other giants of contemporary theater.
1.00 units, Seminar
THDN 211
Introduction to T’ai Chi
T’ai chi is a Chinese movement practice that emphasizes a fluid flow of energy based on the dynamic interplay of yin(yielding)-yang(asserting) forces. This studio-based course will introduce students to the basic movement vocabulary of T’ai chi as well as to techniques designed to enhance balance, gestural articulation, postural alignment, centeredness and presence.
0.50 units, Studio
THDN 213
Theatrical Lighting: Design and Production
This course will, through careful examination and experimentation with the controllable properties of light, expose the students to the theories, processes, and technologies of designing and working with light.
1.00 units, Lecture
THDN 214
Costume Design
This course includes the study of the history of costume, costume research techniques, the interpretation of design, analysis of playscripts and characters, and construction techniques as appropriate to theater and dance. Students will be exposed to a wide range of skills in costuming and will produce a portfolio of work at the end of the semester. This course includes the study of the history of costume, costume research techniques, the interpretation of design, analysis of playscripts and characters, and construction techniques as appropriate to theater and dance.
1.00 units, Lecture
THDN 216
Scene Design
A survey of the elements of theatrical design coupled with extensive groundwork in scenic construction. Emphasis on the search for solutions to scenic problems, communication of ideas through scenographic methods, and hands-on construction techniques.
1.00 units, Lecture
THDN 218
Principles of Movement
An introduction to body alignment, flexibility, and the basic principles of movement. The course will include an examination of the musculoskeletal structure, basic kinesiology, stretch, placement, yoga, floor barre, and breath work. For dancers, actors, athletes, and those interested in understanding and experiencing the moving body.
1.00 units, Studio
THDN 223
Intermediate/Advanced Ballet Technique
Designed for intermediate and advanced-level dancers with previous training in ballet. This course enhances the dancer's classical vocabulary, musical sensibility, and performance skill
0.50 units, Studio
THDN 225
Introduction to Interactive Media
Cyberspace is merging with physical space as new technologies and applications make their way into almost every phase of artistic practice and root themselves in our day-to-day lives. This course is designed to provide students with an overview of new media history as well as hands-on experience using various interactive technologies towards application in live art and performance practice. Areas to be covered include: remix practice, online communities, sound/video art, and interactive audio and video programming. The forms and uses of the new technologies are explored in a studio context of experimentation and discussion. Assignments will take the form of experimental paper writing, assemblages, installations, sound mash-ups, and ‘interactive’ art projects.
1.00 units, Studio
THDN 226
Intermediate Acting: Shakespeare Performance
This course explores the unique demands of playing Shakespeare on the stage. Through work on monologues and scenes, students will learn how to bring Shakespeare’s language to life through research, analysis, and a dynamic use of the voice and body.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Theater and Dance 103 or permission of instructor.
1.00 units, Studio
THDN 229
Intermediate/Advanced Jazz Dance Technique
Designed for intermediate and advanced-level dancers with previous training in modern, jazz, lyrical, or ballet. This course deepens the dancer's understanding of the principles of jazz dance, with an emphasis on rhythmic complexity and performative style.
0.50 units, Studio
THDN 232
Intermediate/Advanced Modern Dance Technique
Designed for intermediate and advanced-level dancers with previous training in modern, jazz, lyrical, or ballet. This course deepens the dancer's understanding of the principles of modern dance, with an emphasis on alignment, breath, and dynamic range.
0.50 units, Studio
THDN 233
Critical Views/Critical Values
Why are we profoundly moved by a particular performance we see? Why are we perplexed? Or disturbed? What is going on in a performance that we should understand in order to come to terms with our own values about art and life? And how have others come to such terms? These are the questions that students will consider as they examine a broad array of critical perspectives on performances both present and past as a means to developing their own criteria for critical elevation.
1.00 units, Lecture
THDN 235
Voice
This course teaches students how to use the voice in performance by expanding their expressive range through structured exercises that develop resonance and articulation and that free specific tension points. The approach to vocal work developed by Kristin Linklater will be the foundation for this investigation.
1.00 units, Studio
THDN 236
Contemporary Dance History: Global Perspectives
A study of the origins and development of dance in various world cultures. Students will explore how the Western modern dance aesthetic has evolved concurrently with the development of non-Western dance forms and will address questions of crossover of form and content, the transmission of cultural values, and the implications for contemporary choreography. Also listed under international studies-global studies.
1.00 units, Lecture
THDN 238
European Theater: East and West
A detailed study of the development of the major philosophies, techniques, and performances of European theater. The course will examine such figures as Chekhov, Meyerhold, Abdoh, Grotowski, Fo, Artaud, Pinter, Buchner, Beckett, and Sartre.
This course is not open to first-year students.
1.00 units, Lecture
THDN 239
Theater of the Americas
A detailed study of the major philosophies, techniques, and performances of theater in North and South America including Nelson Rodrigues (Brazil), Teatro Experimental (Chile), Arthur Miller, Guillermo Gomez-Pena, and the Wooster Group (United States). Also listed under American studies, Latin American studies, and English.
1.00 units, Lecture
THDN 239
Contemporary American Theater
This course will provide a detailed study of the plays, performances, and techniques of major figures in American theater from the early 20th century to the present day. Artists examined include: Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, The Group Theater, Edward Albee, Guillermo Gomez-Pena, and the Wooster Group, among others. Also listed under American studies and English.
1.00 units, Lecture
THDN 240
Theater: Politics and Protest
This course will examine the performance of counter culture with particular attention being paid to the relationship between power, politics, and the theater. Additionally this class will explore how performance is used to influence both social action and government processes. We will collectively identify significant issues in political performance: What constitutes a political performance? What should it achieve? Is it the expression of an idea, utopia, or issue? These foundational questions will open the door for a consideration of productions and texts ranging from “street theatre,” expressed as mass demonstrations, to subversive guerilla performance to the study of formal play-scripts. Topics/artists covered will include The Group Theater, Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee, and the performance history of the ‘Occupy’ movement, among others.
1.00 units, Seminar
THDN 247
Post War American Theater
This course offers a survey of prominent plays and choreographies authored by American theater artists during the post-war period (1945-1965). Playwrights such as Arthur Miller, Lorraine Hansberry, and Tennessee Williams, along with selected choreographers, including Martha Graham and Alvin Ailey will be discussed with reference to the House Committee on Unamerican Activities; the popularity of Freudian and Jungian psychoanalysis; the emergence of a civil rights movement; and the social and political forces of "containment" that defined the early years of the Cold War era.
1.00 units, Seminar
THDN 270
Arts in Action: Moving into the Community
In this course we will examine the way the arts in general and movement in particular both engage a community and are engaged in the community. Using Hartford and the region as a field for our inquiry, we will look at the role the arts play in contributing to the overall health of a community with a particular focus on schools for at-risk youth, correctional institutions, homes for the elderly, specialized magnet schools, after-school programming and performance that utilizes the community as a generative resource. In addition to readings, films, guest speakers and discussions, there will be applied observation and study in the city of Hartford and beyond.
1.00 units, Seminar
THDN 302
Horror and the Culture of Excess
Zombies, vampires, and werewolves appear across the landscape of contemporary film, television, and theater. Monsters reveal the limits of the imagination and have traditionally symbolized the domains beyond rationality and the terrors of the unconscious. This course will examine the horror genre, paying particular attention to such topics as: psychopathology and private worlds; fear of imperfection and impurity; and the performance of excess. Students in the course will examine films (including The Ring and Videodrome); television shows (including Walking Dead, True Blood, and Twin Peaks); and performance events such as haunted houses, ghost tours, séances, and other phantasmagoria.
1.00 units, Lecture
THDN 303
Acting: Physical Theater
The use of masks goes back to the origins of theater and has been a vital element of advanced actor training. Through practical exercises that are designed to open up the expressiveness of the actor's body we will explore the world of masks and contemporary physical theatre. Readings will focus on the historical aspects of masks and their importance as a means of expression.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Theater and Dance 103 or 207.
1.00 units, Studio
THDN 304
Directing
This course explores the fundamentals of stage directing. Students will read texts by and about major 20th-century directors. In addition, students will direct a scene for each class, focusing on and combining different directing skills, including the understanding of stage space, movement, and text. The class will culminate in a presentation of one-act plays directed by the students.
Prerequisite: C- or better in THDN 103 or 107, or Permission of the Instructor
1.00 units, Studio
THDN 307
Performance Art
Students will explore the diverse genre of performance art from 1968 to the present. Emphasis will be placed on actively developing group and solo performance work using autobiographical material, found text, visual imagery, music, and movement. The course will culminate in the creation of original performance pieces.
Prerequisite: At least one theater and dance course or permission of instructor.
1.00 units, Lecture
THDN 309
Performance
No Course Description Available.
0.50 units, Lecture
THDN 309
Stage Production
Major performance or design participation in a faculty-directed Theater and Dance Department production. Cast members will enroll at the first rehearsal. Design students will enroll with the technical director. All students participating in the production will receive .5 credit and will be graded. Do not register for this course during regular Trinity College registration.
0.50 units, Studio
THDN 310
Dance Technique and Performance
For students with previous training at the intermediate or advanced level in ballet, modern, jazz, or lyrical techniques. In this course, students will work to deepen and refine their dance technique with an emphasis on how technical proficiency informs performance. By learning and performing a dance repertory piece, students will have the opportunity to further hone their skills and to increase their range as performers.
1.00 units, Studio
THDN 315
Making Dances
An introduction to the principles of choreography using a variety of improvisational and compositional structures. In addition to making their own dances, students will study the working methods and dances of several major contemporary choreographers. Concurrent enrollment in a technique class, either for credit or as an auditor, is recommended.
1.00 units, Studio
THDN 332
Education Through Movement
In this course, students will examine the philosophical and theoretical foundations of arts education in general and movement education in particular. Students will participate in a semester-long movement/arts residency program in a Hartford elementary school with professional artists from the community. This project, which culminates in a large-scale performance piece with the children, gives students an on-site experience of how movement is integrated into an existing public school curriculum. Also listed under educational studies.
1.00 units, Lecture
THDN 340
Field Studies
An independent research project in the community under the guidance of a faculty member and a community member.
1.00 units, Independent Study
THDN 345
Special Topics Anton Chekhov: Research and Performance
An in-depth investigation of the writings (plays, letters, and literature) of the Russian playwright Anton Chekhov. Class meetings will include both practice and seminar components. Research and discussion will focus on Chekhov's texts as works written in and for their own time and as "blueprints" for reinterpretations by contemporary directors and playwrights. The course will culminate in a theater production that emerges from the class study. Students taking this course will work as an ensemble to fulfill this project. Significant evening rehearsal time will be expected.
1.00 units, Seminar
THDN 345
Special Topics: Interactive Media
Cyberspace is merging with physical space as new technologies and applications are making their way into almost every phase of the economy and rooting themselves in our day-to-day lives. This course is designed to provide students with hands-on experience using various technologies including online communities and interactive audio and video programs. The technologies are examined as tools to be employed in a variety of performance situations. The forms and uses of the new technologies are explored in a studio context of experimentation and discussion.
1.00 units, Studio
THDN 345
Special Topics: Ancient Greek Theatre
An in-depth investigation of the plays and performance traditions of Classical Greek Theatre. Class meetings will include both practice and seminar components. Research and discussion will focus on the texts as plays written in and for their own time and as “blueprints” for reinterpretation by contemporary directors and playwrights. Students enrolled in the course will work together to create an ensemble theater performance as the culminating project for the course. Significant evening rehearsal time will be expected.
1.00 units, Lecture
THDN 345
Special Topics: Improvisational Theater and Social Change
This course is based on the political theater methods of Augusto Boal and the performance work of InterAct, a California-based theater troupe. Studio coursework will culminate in an improvised, interactive presentation focused on campus climate issues that will be performed for the College community. Such campus climate issues that will be considered are homophobia, racism, rape prevention and sexual harassment. As preparation for the performance presentation, students will work on improvisation skills, conduct research, and explore the principles of Boal's "Theater of the Oppressed."
1.00 units, Lecture
THDN 345
Special Topics: Writing for Stage and Screen
The course covers the essentials of playwriting, and the specific demands of different media for dramatic writing. It is designed to introduce students to the fundamentals of developing and writing scripts for film/television, and the live stage. Students will explore examples of both genres of dramatic writing and learn to write effectively in each.
1.00 units, Seminar
THDN 363
Performance Theory
This course will explore performance theory from the Greeks to the present day. Particular emphasis will be paid to the application of theory to theatrical creation and to the role of theater in society.
This course is reserved for junior and senior Theater and Dance majors, or permission of instructor.
1.00 units, Lecture
THDN 364
Acting for Stage and Screen
This intermediate-level acting class explores the parallels and differences between acting in the theater and on film. Through scene work we will examine which particular skills are necessary for either one and the techniques that an actor can apply to create engaging performances.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Theater and Dance 103 or permission of instructor.
1.00 units, Seminar
THDN 373
Human Rights Through Performance: Mothers of the Disappeared
In this course we will examine selected human rights issues through a multi-disciplinary, multi-arts approach that includes readings, discussion, journal writing, movement exploration, and finally, the creation of a performance piece. This semester's study will look at women's protests in Chile during Pinochet's regime of political terrorism (1973-1988). Through our readings we will contextualize this phenomenon in Chilean history as well as look for parallels in other periods of political terrorism around the globe. Finally, we will build a performance piece that expresses our findings and collective viewpoint.
1.00 units, Lecture
THDN 393
Playwrights Workshop
An introduction to different styles and techniques of playwrighting through the study of selected plays from various world theater traditions. Assignments and exercises will lead to the development of short plays scripted by students.
Prerequisite: At least one theater and dance course or permission of instructor.
1.00 units, Seminar
THDN 393
Playwrights Workshop I
An introduction to different styles and techniques of playwriting through the study of selected plays from various theater traditions. Assignments and exercises will lead to the development of short plays scripted by students.
Prerequisite: At least one theater and dance course or permission of instructor.
1.00 units, Seminar
THDN 399
Independent Study
Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and chairperson are required for enrollment.
0.50 units min / 1.00 units max, Independent Study
THDN 466
Teaching Assistantship
Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and chairperson are required for enrollment.
0.50 units min / 1.00 units max, Independent Study
THDN 493
Advanced Playwriting
An independent project under the supervision of a faculty member that includes a stage production component.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Theater and Dance 393.
1.00 units, Independent Study
THDN 494
Advanced Directing
An independent project under the supervision of a faculty member that includes a stage production component.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Theater and Dance 394
1.00 units, Independent Study
THDN 496
Senior Thesis Part 1
The first semester of a capstone exercise for all theater and dance majors who do not elect the two-credit thesis option. Students will be required to present an original theatrical piece and to submit an accompanying paper as the culmination of their work in the Theater and Dance Department.
1.00 units, Independent Study
THDN 497
Senior Thesis Part 2
The second semester of a capstone exercise for all theater and dance majors who do not elect the two-credit thesis option. Students will be required to present an original theatrical piece and to submit an accompanying paper as the culmination of their work in the Theater and Dance Department.
1.00 units, Independent Study
THDN 498
Senior Thesis Part 1
Year-long independent study. An option available only to students with strong academic records in the major and proven ability to work independently. Individual topics to be selected by the student and approved by departmental faculty. It is expected that the thesis will consist of a substantial written component with a performance or public presentation which relates in some fundamental way to the written part of the thesis. Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and chairperson are required for each semester of this year-long thesis. (two course credits are considered pending in the first semester; two course credits will be awarded for completion in the second semester.)
2.00 units, Independent Study
THDN 499
Senior Thesis Part 2
An option available only to student with strong academic records in the major and proven ability to work independently. Individual topics to be selected by the student and approved by departmental faculty. It is expected that the thesis will consist of a substantial written component with a performance or public presentation which relates in some fundamental way to the written part of the thesis. Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and chairperson are required for each semester of this year-long thesis. (2 course credits are considered pending for Part 1 in the first semester; 2 course credits will be awarded for completion of Part 2 in the second semester.)
2.00 units, Independent Study