Responding to Site / Site Specific Dance (DAN4331.01)

Erin Ellen Kelly, MFA Teaching Fellow

In this course we will work with specific sites as the spark for dance. By developing an awareness of location through our senses, and propelled by symbiotic relationships, we will activate dances in partnership with place. We will explore indoor and outdoor locations. We will walk, sit, vocalize and move with an internal awareness of and relationship to the external conditions.

We will examine places that move and inspire us before we fully understand why they do and explore choosing places because of their qualities and/or history. We will be investigating what brings a sense of comfort and at times sit within our discomfort to better understand our relationship to occupying certain places. This course will require physical rigor and patience.  

Through a series of questions, we will examine the aesthetics, history, condition/qualities and metaphors of the chosen locations: 

  What is the objective of working with the particular location? 

  Are we looking to appease or interrupt the existing conditions? 

  What is the existing soundscape? 

  What music/sound comes to mind in reference to the location that isn’t there?

  What is the location’s current function?

  What is its history? 

  How does the public interact with and move through it?

  How would a dancing body affect the location?

  How do bodies fit or not fit/belong in or to the space?


We will discuss examples of various approaches to working with site.

Some classes will require participants to be prepared to work with the weather, conditions and terrain of a particular site.

Learning Outcomes:
Heighten sensory awareness to surrounding environments
Experience a process of site specific and site responsive dance
Explore subtle and nuanced relationships to environments
Feel how instinct and impulses interact with predetermination

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Prerequisites: Please email me by November 28th to explain your interest in this course:
Corequisites: Dance or Drama Lab Assignment if students are registered for 4 or more credits in Dance.
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 2
T/F 2:10PM - 4:00PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 15
Course Frequency: One time only

Categories: Four Credit , 4000 , All courses , Dance , Fully In-Person
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