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PHSE115 Fundamentals of Dance

Introduces and compares key fundamental processes, methodologies, and movement systems associated with the study of dance, the theatre arts, movement analysis, and therapeutic physical activity.

Theoretical learning will accompany practical experience, which will include:

  • Improvisational techniques
  • Interactive group work
  • Somatic studies, including dynamic alignment and re-patterning
  • Authentic movement
  • Self-maintenance practices
  • Laban movement analysis
  • Feldenkrais awareness through movement
  • Alexander technique
  • and more

Paper title Fundamentals of Dance
Paper code PHSE115
Subject Physical Education
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period Second Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,038.45
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,680.00

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This paper is open to any student with an interest in somatic philosophies of the moving body in relation to dance, physical education, psychology, neurology or performing arts.
Teaching staff
Lecturer: Ali East
Invited guest experts.
Paper Structure
Students will undertake a comparative weekly study of the following, as these practices apply to dance, physical education and health and performing arts:
  • Dynamic anatomy and the movement systems of Laban
  • Bartinieff fundamentals
  • Feldenkrais
  • Alexander technique
  • Skinner releasing
  • Body-mind centring
  • Authentic movement practice
  • Contact improvisation
  • Pilates
  • Tai chi
  • Yoga
General subject matter includes:
  • Somatic perception and memory
  • Spontaneity and intuitive movement investigation
  • Interactive group improvisation
  • Anatomical alignment
  • Integration, coordination, rhythmicality and control
  • Reflective self-practice, critical movement analysis
  • Self-maintenance and re-education of movement patterns for therapeutic purposes
  • Awareness of the potential application of dance and somatics movement systems in various contexts, such as therapy, education, theatre arts, fitness, physiotherapy, dance performance and everyday life
Teaching Arrangements
The paper will consist of two 50-minute lectures and one 2-hour practicum per week. Each week a new dance/somatic system will be explored.
A reader will be provided.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Interdisciplinary perspective, Communication, Critical thinking, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
By the end of this paper students will be able to:
  • Apply a wide range of fundamental movement systems and investigative practices that make up the broad area of somatic education and bodily knowledge
  • Investigate, experientially, improvisation and individual intuitive movement response
  • Implement a cross-referencing and comparison of ideas, issues and somatic practices between the various performing arts disciplines
  • Hone self-reflexive writing skills and record acute body awareness and experience

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Second Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Tuesday 11:00-11:50 28-34, 36-41
Wednesday 12:00-12:50 28-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
P1 Monday 12:00-13:50 28-34, 36-41