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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : History of Art

Postgraduate Course: What Moves Them: Dance and Performance Art Since 1913 (HIAR11091)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course provides a detailed examination of the development of contemporary dance and live performance from 1913 to the present day. Through analysis of visual, filmed and written material, you will identify crucial parallels between dance and visual art movements, connecting aesthetic analysis to relevant social and historical context throughout the period surveyed.

Beginning with an overview of early avant-garde performance initiated by Nijinsky and Stravinsky's revolutionary Rite of Spring (1913), this course will equip you with an in-depth understanding of the evolution of transgressive live art and dance. Subject matter will include Dada performance, early modern dance, Fluxus, Gutai and Happenings, dance theatre, postmodern American dance and action painting, Viennese Actionism violence and body art, and the contemporary performance landscape. In addition, intersections with important theoretical discussions will arise, including issues of cultural appropriation, race and gender studies and queer theory. This course thus offers a wide-ranging exploration of the radical potential of live performance.
Course description This is a new course offering for the history of live art and performance at postgraduate level. It is aimed at students interested in dance studies and performance art history, as well as those interested in cross-cultural dialogues between East and West throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The course will appeal to students enrolled in modern and contemporary art courses and to postgraduates in contemporary art and European studies.

The seminar format will encourage active student participation through presentations (a single 15-minute presentation per week) followed by class discussion facilitated by the course organiser. Each week, reading and visual material will be assigned in order to provide the student with a grounding in some of the critical theories applicable to the study of dance and performance. These readings form the basis of discussion, as will a significant amount of archival video material that we will watch together throughout the course. This is a unique approach to understanding performance history, and one of the few opportunities to do so outside of the conservatoire environment in the UK.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  21
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1.5, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Assessment Components:

The course will be assessed through a 4000 word essay (100% weighting). For the essay, you will devise your own question and prepare a bibliography together with formal abstract including detailed information on the proposed topic, research methodologies and essay structure.

Assessment Rationale:

Through course preparation and discussion, and through independent study, you will learn, use and critique principal theories and concepts in a context that may be unfamiliar. The extent of your knowledge and understanding will be tested through the written assignment.

You will apply your knowledge and understanding through the choice of examples and case studies you select for class discussion and for formative and summative assessment activity. The summative essay assignment in particular will enable you to execute a significant project of research through which you will be expected to demonstrate originality, creativity and critical questioning of core case studies and values that underlie the subject, period and geography. The examination of an aspect of art and performance history likely to be unfamiliar to you will challenge you to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding by questioning areas of learning which may have been more familiar prior to taking this course.

Through oral and written participation in class and in peer and expert interaction, you will test and apply your critical analysis, synthesis and evaluation of empirical and theoretical knowledge. At the heart of this course are issues of cultural appropriation, gender studies, race and queer theory, all of which are complex areas you will tackle throughout each seminar. You will communicate to a range of audiences, peer and expert, in class presentations and essays.

The research necessary for successful independent study, class presentation and research demands high-level information literacy and research skills. You will join a learning community of peers, and the learning community of History of Art in Edinburgh College of Art. In addition to class and programme activities, you will attend weekly research seminars. Peer learning groups and class sessions demand critical reflection, self-awareness and interaction. This is especially relevant in this course which deals with a range of important contemporary and historical issues.
Feedback One-to-one 30 minute feed-forward session will be arranged for each student during which material relating to the presentation and essay will be discussed and further direction given.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a specialist and integrated knowledge of the development of dance and performance art from 1913 to the present, and of key works and artists driving the evolution of these forms.
  2. Demonstrate skills in visual and theoretical analysis, particularly in relation to dance and performance art.
  3. More effectively structure arguments which synthesize a range of complex positions and, in some cases, present original research.
Reading List
Banes, Sally, Dancing Women: Female Bodies on Stage (London: Routledge, 1998

Birringer, Johannes, Pina Bausch: Dancing across Borders, The Drama Review: TDR, vol. 30, no. 2 (Summer, 1986)

Burt, Ramsey, Alien Bodies: Representations of Modernity, 'Race and Nation in Early Modern Dance, London: Routledge, 1998

Climenhaga, Royd, The Pina Bausch Sourcebook: The Making of Tanztheater, London: Routledge, 2013

Franko, Mark, Dancing Modernism/Performing Politics, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995

Franko, Mark, The Readymade as Movement: Cunningham, Duchamp, and Nam June Paik's Two Merces, RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics, no. 38 (Autumn, 2000)

Harper, Philip Brian, The Subversive Edge: Paris Is Burning, Social Critique, and the Limits of Subjective Agency, Diacritics, vol. 24, no. 2/3 (Summer - Autumn, 1994)

Johnson, Dominic, Critical Live Art: Contemporary Histories of Performance in the UK, London: Routledge, 2013

Johnson, Dominic, Pleading in the Blood: The Art and Performances of Ron Athey, Bristol: Intellect Books, 2013

Jones, Amelia, Body Art/Performing the Subject, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998

Jones, Amelia, Holy Body: Erotic Ethics in Ron Athey and Juliana Snapper's Judas Cradle, TDR: The Drama Review, vol. 50, no. 1 (Spring, 2006)

Manning, Susan, German Rites: A History of Le Sacre du Printemps on the German Stage, Dance Chronicle, vol. 14, no. 2/3 (1991)

Munroe, Alexandra [ed.], Japanese Art After 1945: Scream Against the Sky [exh. cat. Yokohama Museum of Art/San Francisco Museum of Modern Art], New York: H. N. Abrams, 1994

Reynolds, Dee, Rhythmic Subjects: Uses of Energy in the Dances of Mary Wigman, Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham, Alton: Dance Books, 2007

Sontag, Susan, Against Interpretation, New York, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1966

Weir, Lucy, Abject Modernism: The male body in the work of Tatsumi Hijikata, GŁnter Brus and Rudolf Schwarzkogler, Tate Papers, no. 23 (Spring, 2015)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Many of the skills you will develop will be transferrable. These include:

- Independent research (locate, access and interpret information)
- Critical analysis
- Presentation (oral and written)
- Communication
- Organisation (the ability to plan workloads and meet deadlines)
KeywordsDance,performance,body art,Modernism,postmodernism,gender,queer studies,interculturalism
Course organiserDr Lucy Weir
Tel: (0131 6)51 8500
Course secretaryMrs Anna Johns
Tel: (0131 6)51 5740
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