NO PLAGIARISM! You can write about a wedding or any party. know how to write choreography writing strategies. please do write in the first person (I, Me), there is no objective ‘meaning,’ you can only approach the dance from your own unique positionality. You must put yourself/your background in the paper, find a way that it ties into or relates to your argument.
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“Doing” Dance Critical Analysis Paper – (20% of total course grade)
Due: Papers will be submitted online to Cougar Courses and a typed, printed, and bounded hard copy will be due
by the start of the first class falling one week after the dance practice occurred. (Example: If you dance socially at a
wedding or nightclub on March 1st your paper is due Monday, March 11th. This time restraint helps keep the
dancing details fresh in your memory.) Note: the latest I will accept papers is Week 9- Monday, March 25th.
Students are required to appreciatively, analytically, and actively participate in the ‘doing’ of a dance practice,
event, class, or performance as an academic study outside of the classroom. Students must participate in a dance
class, practice, event, or performance and submit a 2-3 page written analysis paper describing and analyzing a
‘meaning’ within the dance using choreographic writing strategies. This meaning must be related to the ‘lenses’
discussed in the course (gender, race, class, sexuality, culture, community, values, embodied knowledge,
nationalism, etc.) In addition to analyzing a ‘meaning’ made within the doing of this dance practice this paper must
also touch on how ‘doing’ dance adds a unique insight into meaning-making that outside observation may overlook.
In other words, what unique insight or knowledge may you gain by ‘doing’ the dance that might be missed or
misunderstood if you were only watching the dance? All papers must be 2-3 pages, double-spaced, typed in size
12 Times New Roman font with 1-inch margins all around. Use a separate cover page for all header information
(your name, course info, and creative paper title. Begin the paper at the top of your first page. This cover page does
not count as one of your 2-3 pages!)
Specifically, students will write a 5-paragraph essay (with an introductory paragraph that ends in your thesis
statement, 3 body paragraphs providing supporting evidence with choreographic writing strategies, and a
conclusion paragraph) in which they combine detailed movement description and analysis to make an argument
about a possible meaning within the dance. Do include your kinesthetic ‘doing’ and the unique insights gained by
doing dance rather than just watching as part of your paper (think of Sklar reading).
To structure your paper, the introductory paragraph should end with your strong and complete thesis statement: the
argument you will be making about the meaning within the dance from your perspective. Each of your three body
paragraphs will present supporting evidence that’s elaborated upon with rich choreographic writing and specific
descriptive examples. The conclusion will sum-up and tie everything together.
Note: Students must attach documentation proving they attended the dance practice to earn credit (can be a
ticket/payment stub, receipt, flyer, photo ‘selfie’ from the event, etc.)
Helpful Hints for Getting Started:
-Bring along your ‘4 Guidelines for dance analysis’ worksheet to be filled in immediately after the dance ‘doing’.
Take note of as many observations as you can, also remember your own kinesthetic and personal response to the
dancing. Guideline #4, which may involve doing background research, often helps make the connection from your
observations to the argument you will be making. Also, remember that dance is entwined within larger culture and
politics, how do your observations and initial ideas for arguments relate to macro-level cultural values, identities,
politics, norms, or stereotypes?
-Organize and categorize your observations/notes and think of them alongside the ‘lenses’ of race, class, gender,
sexuality, ethnicity, nationalism, politics, cultural communities, identities, values, etc. Other questions to consider
when formulating your argument include, what is being valued in this dance? What identities are privileged or
marginalized? What world is being created through this dance? What stereotypes are being challenged, or
reinforced, through the performance? How does all this tie into larger issues/politics within our society/world? Why
does this matter? What unique insights did you gain by doing the dance that you may have missed if you were just
-Provide the general context of the performance in your introductory paragraph, but begin with an intriguing ‘hook’
so that readers are drawn in from the beginning. (Who, what, where, when, why.)
-Strong and complete Thesis Statement Formula: “dance performance X challenges/perpetuates/reveals
___(what)___ by ___(doing a)___(doing b)___ and (doing C)___.
“Heidi and Ryan’s SYTYCD Hip Hop reinforces stereotypes about race.” – Not complete T.S., HOW does it do so?
(staging, costuming, technique, music choice, dancer’s commentary?)
“Heidi and Ryan’s SYTYCD Hip Hop shows that race is important.” – Not complete T.S., what is it saying about
racial politics specifically, and how so? (is it challenging or perpetuating stereotypes, values, or identities about
race? How so?)
“Heidi and Ryan’s SYTYCD Hip Hop reinforces traditional U.S. gender norms by featuring men in active, strong,
starring roles and techniques, and women in more passive, dependent, subtle supporting roles and techniques.” –
-Review your notes for Choreographic Writing strategies: descriptive and imaginative word choice, rich visceral
descriptions, the ‘word bank’ use of nouns+verbs+adverbs+adjectives, similes/metaphors/analogies, and physically
movement-based word choice. Save the ‘blow-by-blow’ breakdowns for small doses of skillful supporting
-Bring your body into your writing! Really focus on what you learned by doing the dance that may have been
missed from other perspectives, such as just watching or researching the dance from books. How did you feel doing
the dance, what was your body’s response? What associations, memories, or sensations did it bring up? How did
your experience affect the meaning you analyzed from the dance?
-Please do write in the first person (I, Me), there is no objective ‘meaning,’ you can only approach the dance from
your own unique positionality. You must put yourself/your background in the paper, find a way that it ties into or
relates to your argument.
-PROOFREAD! Then take a break, and proofread- again! Typos, misspelling, and grammar errors will count
-The Writing Center is a free resource available to help you! www.csusm.edu/writingcenter/index.html You are
encouraged to make an appointment at any stage of your writing. Did you take a dance class or dance socially with
your friend? Take advantage of the writing center’s ‘bring a buddy’ sessions to help you both simultaneously!
-No late papers will be accepted under any circumstances.
Grading Rubric: Papers are worth 100 points and will be evaluated as follows:
Creative title ________________________________________ 5
Organization (5 para. structure) ________________________ 5
Strength of thesis statement ___________________________ 20
Body paragraphs support/develop thesis _________________ 20
Thoughtfulness or argumentation/interpretation/content _____ 20
Effective use of Choreographic Writing/ “your bodying”____ 20
Writing style (clarity, flow, grammar, spelling) ____________ 10
Total Points: 100
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