Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Summer 2023
Units: 1
Hours: 3 laboratory per week (36 total per quarter)
Advisory: This course is included in the Dance Technique family of activity courses.
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Area VII: Lifelong Learning
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Identify beginning contemporary dance steps and combinations with correct terminology and analyze musical phrasing.
  • Perform the introductory and beginning exercises of the technique of contemporary dance while exhibiting correct body placement, flexibility and coordination.


Introduction to the fundamental techniques of contemporary dance. Emphasis is placed on development of the knowledge and understanding the principles of contemporary dance, including basic movement theory, technique, and repertoire from global artists.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:

  1. Recognize and employ fundamental contemporary dance theory and technique
  2. Demonstrate creative application of dance techniques and problem-solving through movement and exploration
  3. Analyze and discuss contemporary dance as an art form
  4. Apply basic exercise physiology to contemporary dance technique

Course Content

  1. Recognize and develop fundamental contemporary dance technique
  2. Demonstrate creative application of dance techniques through movement exploration and improvisation
    1. Floor work: alignment, breathing, articulation and stretching of individual muscles and body parts, flection and extension, rotation, contract, release, and combination of movement in seated and lying positions
    2. Floor center work: balancing, lateral stretching, isolations and contractions, body releases, drops, falls, tilts, brushes and other footwork, swings, jumps, leaps, recovery, suspension, arabesque, attitude, and turns
    3. Moving through space:
      1. Basic locomotor movements, to include walk, run, hop, jump, slide, leap, gallop, triplet combinations, and in all directions
      2. Qualities of movement: percussive, sustained, vibratory, swinging, suspended
      3. Basic turn technique
    4. Demonstrate full body awareness
      1. Alignment and weight placement
      2. Use of turnout and parallel positions
      3. Axial motions on and off center
      4. Contract and release from core
      5. Fall and recovery
    5. Identify spatial orientations
      1. Stage directions
      2. Space as tangible volume shaped by the dancer
      3. Negative space
    6. Time orientation: listening and hearing, recognizing and responding to pulse, meter, tempo, and abstract sounds; rhythm exploration: the relationship of movement to sound and music
      1. Sensory stimuli (texture, taste, lighting, sound, and music)
      2. Abstract concept of time, space, shape, energy
      3. Theme, mood, emotions
      4. Props, sets, costumes, and extensions of the human form
      5. Completion of a basic movement phrase
      6. Combining given movement in a new way
      7. Creation of original movement
    7. Analyze contemporary dance as an art form
      1. Historical overview of contemporary dance, including Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor, Martha Graham, Twyla Tharp, Katherine Dunham, Mia Michaels
      2. Approaches to contemporary dance
      3. Contemporary dance in relationship to other contemporary art forms
    8. Apply basic exercise physiology to contemporary dance technique
      1. Develop cardiovascular endurance
      2. Employ anaerobic training
      3. Improve efficiency and body mechanics
      4. Employ techniques for overall flexibility
      5. Comprehend techniques to avoid common injuries

Lab Content

  1. Demonstration and practice of introductory floor, barre, and center exercises in contemporary dance technique
  2. Demonstration and practice of across the floor exercises in contemporary dance technique
  3. Demonstration and practice of proper body awareness and alignment

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

1. Dance studio and audio set-up.
2. Leotards, tights recommended, or exercise clothing with appropriate dance shoes.
3. When taught as an online distance learning or hybrid section, students and faculty need ongoing and continuous internet and email access.

Method(s) of Evaluation

Methods of Evaluation may include but are not limited to the following:

Periodic evaluation of performance skills
Demonstration and explanation of selected combinations
Written critique of live dance performances
Written examination on basic vocabulary and theory
Creative project: movement problem-solving
Evaluation of student's weekly journal

Method(s) of Instruction

Methods of Instruction may include but are not limited to the following:

Collaborative small group learning
Lecture presentations and classroom discussions

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Ambrosia, Nora. Learning About Dance, 8th ed.. 2018.

Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

  1. Written critique of a live dance performance
  2. Optional writing exercises based on recommended reading