Welcome to THEA 130 – Intermediate Dance Theory and Technique (Winter, 2015)


Please familiarize yourselves with this site as well as our ecommons page where you can download the syllabus.
Bring the syllabus to class on Tuesday, Jan 6.

This class meets Tuesdays and Thursdays in Theater Arts, A105, 12noon-1:45pm. My office hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays 2:00-3:00pm as well as by appointment. You can find my office in the J building (room J-14).

Please email me if you have any questions or concerns at gcasel@ucsc.edu.

Looking forward to working with you this quarter.

Best, Gerald Casel


7 thoughts on “Welcome to THEA 130 – Intermediate Dance Theory and Technique (Winter, 2015)

  1. After taking the intro class last quarter leading up to this course, I knew I was going to be challenged. I was, and am still, hoping for a challenge. I guess I just thought I had worked past some of the issues from last quarter, but I came to realize after Thursday’s class that it doesn’t happen that fast. Last quarter I had no idea how much I was not in touch with myself as a whole. What I mean by this is, my mind and body working together as one. I found myself at times saying, “*** yeah I am moving naturally or organically” and if felt great. Other times I was thinking so much and confused why my body wouldn’t do what I asked of it. Then I realized, you can’t ask one part of yourself to do something to the other part.

    My goals this quarter are to center myself, move as, “one continuous unit”, dance organically and find a way to forget what my mind or body is trying to do and just let it go so it is able to do it. It is just as hard to articulate what I mean by this as it is to physically do it. All I can say is that in Thursday’s class I was working too hard to adapt. It was frustrating and embarrassing to myself. I knew what I wanted to do, how I wanted to move and my body was capable, yet I couldn’t let it all go and flow together. This is going to be a struggle that will be both technically and emotionally challenging this quarter. I need to find my presence.

    As for the video posted, I really enjoyed Bonnie Bainbridge-Cohen’s advice. Last quarter and this quarter I can see how we will be working to make overeating “one continuous unit” as she described. It is hard to let one’s center say “shut the whatever up”. Cohen describes this by saying to let the feet continue the movement for one half way and to let the pelvis go. She expresses how hard this is because the pelvis as a center is so much closer to the mind than the feet which are comprised of a bunch of small muscles. Does she mean to meditate and dance (or just to be physically aware) that one must think of the mind as one big muscle? I had a very wonderful dance teacher who told me to, “peel yourself” off the floor. I feel like this is what Cohen might be trying to express. I also really liked Cohen’s last comment, “rattan than..I don’t know..making it a position”. I feel as if I am always making things a position, or worrying about the next step, the count, the everything of a movement and to “make it a position” means your letting that one muscle get in the way. I hope I can let that one big muscle quiet so the rest of my muscles can flow into a natural movement. I know I am not getting there and it’s frustrated when I know I have been before.

  2. I have taken a few classes with Gerald now and every time i take a class of his, I learn something new. One would assume that because you’ve taken multiple classes with the same professor, it would become easier. However, that is not the case for me. It is totally the opposite for me; the theater classes become more difficult. They become challenging because you start to familiarize yourself with certain techniques and that makes it that much more difficult because now that you’re familiarized with the movements, you have to apply every concept. One of my personal goals for this quarter, is to feel comfortable in own skin. I look forward to a great quarter!

  3. This week left me feeling nervous about the class. I feel unprepared and like I’m too amateur to take this class, especially with all the clearly trained dancers around. I let myself get too in my head and concerned, and I found this clouded my judgement and my ability to perform the moves Gerald instructed for us. As usual, when I went to the wings of the class to practice by myself, I did fine, but the moment I went up to perform I froze and forgot everything. It’s funny how much “performance anxiety” hinders a person. I need to focus on the fact that this is not a performance. It’s a practice, and I need to be proud of myself everyday for working hard and trying my best at something I’ve never really done before. I need to stop comparing my beginnings to all the advanced dancers. They’ve been doing this for years, and I’m just starting out. And that’s OK…I need to keep reminding myself of that.

  4. The last class we had was with Ted Walburten and we focused on the Bartinieff Fundamentals. I have had several classes with Ted and we have gone over these different movement patterns in nearly every class. I think it is important and helpful to be aware of the different planes that the body can be moving in. I thought it was somewhat difficult to distinguish the light movement quality from the free- flow movement quality, because they both seem to have a freedom and looseness to them. I think that the differentiation comes in the imagery associated with both movement qualities, such as imagining a feather for the light movement. This imagery reminds me of Gaga movement technique because the emphasis of the movement is not on the form itself but the body’s becoming into the idea that you are trying to express. I really enjoy thinking about dance in this way. Instead of the focus on a certain form to imitate, I am allowing my body to encompass a certain quality that will inevitably be different from anyone elses.

  5. Yes, I agree with Terra about differentiating the qualities of bound and free-flow, each of us will react to the personal image in our minds. As I was walking recently, the water flowing in the river made me think of those movement qualities we practiced in Ted’s class. The water is “free-flowing” and “bound” by the banks at the same time, similar to my movement being bound by my body. Practicing the Bartenieff fundamentals has reconnected my body and opened some movement pathways that were blocked by old injuries. The connection between the floor movements and the standing combinations is becoming more natural. There was a moment when I was standing on one leg and feeling the diagonal pull as my free leg rotated to the front. It felt familiar because my muscles remembered the upper/lower opening sequence as my toe was reaching into space. These fundamentals and Gerald’s somatic sequence are restoring my self-confidence and strengthening my body. My goal is to practice on my own more often and dance on the weekend!

  6. I love the flow of the dances, that every part is a movement, not necessarily striking a pose. I want to gain tools and notice tension in my body, like in my jawbone and relax it consciously. A lot of flows on the floor and knees are hard on my body. Smoother transitions is a solution to that; something I am working on. I wish we had clearer counts and names of poses or direction of right/left (cues to remember). My body and planks feel stronger yay!

  7. I just wanted to say thank you Gerald. Having class with you has been such a wonderful experience. This was my third dance class at UCSC. I have always heard such great things about you and you most definitely live up to your reputation. Thank you for encouraging me even though I have no technical training. Even though combinations may look hard at first trying and failing is better than not trying at all, especially because if you keep trying enough eventually you will get it. You’re a great teacher. Thank you so much.

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